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How to make India pandemic proof

GS-2: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.


The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the vulnerabilities of the global health system, and there is a growing need for countries to prepare for future pandemics. India has taken several measures to make the country pandemic-proof.


Strengthening Health Systems

  • India launched its flagship program, Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission (PM-ABHIM), in October 2021, to prevent, prepare, and respond to pandemics. The program aims to fill the gaps in institutions and systems at both national and state levels. 

  • The government brought several ministries under the Principal Scientific Advisor to address the shortcomings that were observed during the pandemic.

A One Health Approach

  • India has adopted a holistic "One Health" approach that addresses the health of people, animals, and ecosystems together. 

  • The National Institute for One Health in Nagpur will identify hotspots for endemic and emerging zoonotic diseases to contain their spread early on.



  • India is augmenting surveillance in 20 cities, both large and small, to identify the most vulnerable areas and provide early alerts. 

  • The Ayushman Bharat Digital Health Mission can facilitate bringing private hospitals and clinics under a common platform and placing data in the public domain

  • In villages, partnerships with communities, dairy cooperatives, and the poultry industry will be needed to identify new infections.


Genomic Surveillance

  • India has created a formidable network of institutions that can identify new pathogens

  • Complemented by wider testing of wastewater and samples from incoming ships and aircraft, these surveillance systems will also be extended to other South Asian countries.


Training and Simulation

  • India has started semi-annual training sessions that simulate the spread of viral diseases using mobile technology and Big Data, similar to South Korea's approach after the 2015 MERS outbreak.


Manufacturing and Research

  • Indian manufacturers produced vaccines, test kits, therapeutics, masks, and other items at very competitive prices during the pandemic. 

  • The partnerships between research bodies and manufacturers will need to be sustained and enhanced to make India a global hub in the biopharma sector. 

  • India is expanding its network of research laboratories to cover all respiratory viruses of unknown origin. 

  • The clinical trial network set up under the National Biopharma Mission will improve access to affordable new vaccines and drugs in India and around the world.


World Bank Support

  • The World Bank has recently augmented its support to India's health sector to $3.5 billion. 

  • The bank is working with PM-ABHIM to build institutions and systems for preventing and responding to future pandemics. 

  • The provision of primary health care will also be improved by supporting the Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres under the National Health Mission at the Centre and in seven states.

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Fact File

UNPFII calls for inclusion of indigenous people in socio-economic development, conservation of environment

  • The 22nd session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) is taking place at the UN headquarters in New York from April 17 to April 28, 2023.
  • It is the largest international annual gathering of indigenous peoples.


  • Established in 2000, UNPFII is the UN's central coordinating body for matters relating to the concerns and rights of the world's indigenous peoples.

  • It is an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

  • Mandate: To discuss indigenous issues related to Economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health, and human rights.

  • The Permanent Forum is one of three UN bodies that are mandated to deal specifically with indigenous peoples’ issues.

Indigenous peoples

  • Indigenous peoples have a historical continuity with a given region prior to colonization and a strong link to their lands, maintain distinct social, economic, and political systems, have distinct languages, cultures, beliefs, and knowledge systems, and are determined to maintain and develop their identity and distinct institutions.

‘Indian companies filed 1.38 lakh tech patents during 2015-22’

  • The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) launched the India Patents report which reveals that from 2015 to 2021, Indian companies filed 138,000 technology patents in India, indicating an accelerating pace of technological innovation in the country.

Key-Highlights of the Report:

  • The US remains a key export market for India with over 9,500 patents filed by India domiciled companies in the US between 2015-2021.

  • Over 60% of the technology patents were filed by Indian companies and start-ups.

  • 21% of the tech patents were related to Software Applications and Healthcare and Medical Devices, the leading segments.

  • AI patents more than doubled in the period 2015-2021 compared to 2015-19, and over 1,300 patents were filed in the AI domain during 2015-2021.

  • IoT was in the lead with a growth of 45% in 2015-2020/21 compared to 2015-19.

  • Cloud Computing remained another key emerging area accounting for a growth of 33.6%, while cybersecurity accounted for the majority share of granted patents in 2015-2020/21 at 27.4%.

Conservation work at Delhi’s Zafar Mahal set to begin

  • Conservation works at Zafar Mahal in south Delhi's Mehrauli are set to be initiated by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

Zafar Mahal

  • The Zafar Mahal is a Mughal-era monument that stands next to the Dargah of Qutubuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki. As its name suggests - the Zafar Mahal served as a summer palace for the Mughal family.
  • It was acting as the royal palace for Mughals during the Urs of Hz. Bakhtiyar Kaki, when the Phoolwaalon ki sair festival, started by them was celebrated. 

  • It consists of the Mahal (built by Akbar Shah II)Hathi Gate (built by Zafar).

  • Originally built by Akbar II in 1820, the Zafar Mahal was renovated by his son, Bahadur Shah Zafar II, who added a new gateway, a new storey, and some ornate chhatris, or domed pavilions to the complex. 

  • He also renamed the palace - from the Lal Mahal (Red Palace), it became known as the Zafar Mahal. 

  • The Zafar Mahal complex also contains some cenotaphs of the later Mughal Emperors.


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