Mumbai saw a 20% rise in TB cases in 2015 over that of 2014, with the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) registering higher multi-drug resistance. According to figures provided by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), in 2014, around 30,000 cases were reported. In 2015, it went up to 41,056. The BMC says it is the improved diagnostic system that has brought out the rising number of TB cases.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>“The number of GeneXpert machines (to diagnose drug- resistant forms of tuberculosis in two hours) have gone up. Right now, we have 16 of these machines and we will be getting four more. This has allowed us to screen more people,” said Sanjay Deshmukh, additional municipal commissioner, BMC.The BMC figures also showed almost double the number of XDR TB cases in 2015 as compared to 2014. “In 2014, we screened 10,002 suspected drug-resistant patients. Out of them, 3,522 were found to have MDR-TB and 396 had XDR-TB. In 2015, we screened 16,750 suspected patients. Of them, 3,652 were found to have MDR-TB and 645 XDR-TB,” said Dr Daksha Shah, Mumbai, TB officer. The emphasis is on early detection and diagnosis, she said. Mumbai has 25% of the total TB cases in Maharashtra. She said that TB reporting has improved in the private sector. “Earlier, only 3,833 TB patients were notified by private practitioners. In 2015, we saw as many as 13,873 drug- sensitive TB cases being notified by the private sector. Among them, 11,102 were initiated on free drugs in 2015,” said Shah.Deshmukh said that, in the last few years, the BMC has taken some proactive campaigns like TB Harega, Desh Jeetega, which have crated better awareness. “In a survey, we found that our campaign was noticed by 99 million people on television and 2.5 million people in the print media. We need better awareness for early detection and diagnosis. Awareness will also ensure TB patients complete their treatment without defaulting and the stigma attached to the disease is gone,” said Deshmukh. In 2016, the BMC plans to conduct house-to-house survey in 12 high-risk wards. “We had conducted TB mapping and found that wards like H east, R south, P north, K east, N south, M east, M west, G north and F north had high incidences of TB. With the help of an NGO, we plan to start house-to-house survey from April. This will help in early referral of suspects for diagnosis,” said Deshmukh. The BMC will also be rolling out the Bedaquline conditional access programme in a few days. “Bedaquline, the first anti-TB drug in 40 years, will be introduced in the Sewri TB hospital, and 100 patients will be enrolled. It is a 24-week regime and will be given with other MDR medicines,” said Deshmukh.
India’s defence budget outlay for the financial year 2016-17 was announced to be Rs2.58 lakh in the annual budget laid down in Parliament by finance minister Arun Jaitley on Monday.While this amounts to a meagre hike of 1.16 percent on the basis of the budget estimates of 2015-16, but on being calculated against the revised estimates of the last fiscal which was Rs2.33 lakh crore, it comes around an increase of 9.76 percent.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The capital expenditure outlay for the defence services has been put at Rs78,586 crores as compared to the last year of Rs86, 894 crores. Even as the revised estimate for last financial year showed unused fund of Rs11,595 crore, another Rs6,700 crore of the expenditure budget remained unspent.Another Rs82,000 crore was allocated towards pension funds, that goes mainly for the beneficiaries of the One Rank One Pension scheme, notified in last fiscal. An amount of Rs60,238 crore was the revised estimate under pensions, last financial year.Adding the pension funds makes the total defence budget accounting for 2.2 percent of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that still lags by 0.8 percent for India to be able to take on China militarily, according to experts.India’s defence budget share was 1.74% of country’s GDP in 2015-16.There were anxious moments in the Parliament on Monday since Jaitley didn’t mention the defence outlay in his speech, which came as a break from the tradition in more than 15 years.