Communicable and Non-communicable diseases – HIV, Malaria, Cancer, Mental Health, etc.

Tuberculosis (TB): India’s Renewed Commitment


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: TB, TB day and Theme and Government initiatives

Mains level: TB burden, Government's efforts and challenges


“The theme of World TB Day 2023 — “Yes, we can end TB!”

Central Idea

  • India’s National TB Elimination Programme has set a goal to eliminate TB by 2025. However, with India contributing 28% of the global TB burden and spending only 2.1% of its total budget on healthcare, the pace of program implementation has slowed down, especially during COVID-19. Increased investments and multi-sector collaboration are required to meet the target. 24 th March is marked as World TB day.

Back to basics: TB

  • Tuberculosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
  • It mainly affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body such as the kidneys, spine, and brain.
  • TB spreads through the air when a person with active TB disease in the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, or speaks.
  • Symptoms of TB include coughing that lasts for three or more weeks, chest pain, coughing up blood, fatigue, fever, and weight loss.
  • TB can be treated with antibiotics, but drug-resistant forms of TB are a growing concern.

India’s Battle Against TB

  • International Union Against TB: India’s fight against TB began in 1929, when it joined the International Union Against Tuberculosis.
  • TB division: After independence, the Union government established a TB division under the Directorate General of Health Services with the Ministry of Health to oversee the plan.
  • National TB Control Programme: The National TB Institute was established in Bengaluru in 1959, and the National Tuberculosis Control Programme (NTP) was formulated in 1962. The Revised National TB Control Programme was developed in 1963.
  • National TB Elimination Programme: India’s National TB Elimination Programme now leads the effort to eliminate TB by 2025, five years ahead of the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • TB Harega Desh Jeetega: TB Harega Desh Jeetega (TB will lose, the nation will win) campaign to raise awareness about the disease and encourage people to get tested and treated.

Challenges in Implementation

  • Lower budgetary allocation: India contributes 28% of the global TB burden, and as of 2022-23, it spends only 2.1% of its total budget on healthcare, the lowest among BRICS countries, and comparable to Bangladesh (2.5%) and Pakistan (3.4%).
  • Slow release of funds: The Joint Monitoring Mission Report 2019 by the Ministry of Health mentions that the slow release of funds has had a significant impact on the program’s effectiveness.
  • Low fund utilization: The low fund utilization has resulted in a lack of resources for critical TB control interventions such as early detection, diagnosis, and treatment.
  • COVID-19 slowed down implementation: Implementation of the TB program has slowed down with COVID-19 and requires further policy development, planning, and additional financing.

Way Ahead: Opportunities for Collaboration

  • Different actors need to join hands to support the government’s inter-sectoral, multi-centric program approach for TB elimination and empower community response at the grass roots level.
  • Investing in strategic areas like diagnostics and access that have been barriers in the past is critical for reshaping the national TB strategy.
  • The theme of World TB Day 2023, “Yes, we can end TB!” conveys a message of hope that getting back on track to turn the tide against the TB epidemic is possible.

Facts for Prelims: CB-NAAT

  • CB-NAAT stands for Cartridge-Based Nucleic Acid Amplification Test, which is a diagnostic test used to detect the presence of genetic material of certain types of bacteria, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
  • CB-NAAT is a highly sensitive and specific test that can detect MTB and drug-resistant strains of MTB in a short amount of time.
  • The test uses a small cartridge that contains all the necessary reagents and probes to detect MTB nucleic acid. The sample (usually sputum or other respiratory specimen) is mixed with the reagents and the cartridge is placed into a machine that performs the amplification and detection of the nucleic acid.
  • CB-NAAT has been endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a preferred test for the diagnosis of TB and drug-resistant TB.
  • The Government of India has launched a national program called Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP) to provide free diagnosis and treatment of TB, and CB-NAAT is a key component of this program.
  • However, the cost of the test remains a challenge, and efforts are underway to make the test more affordable and accessible to all.



  • To successfully eliminate TB by 2025, India must prioritize sustainability through strategic investments, focusing on areas with the greatest need and adequately resourcing TB initiatives. With collaborative efforts and commitment, India can overcome its TB burden and achieve its ambitious target. Together, we can make it happen.

Mains Question

Q. Highlight the major initiatives taken by India to combat Tuberculosis and enumerate the challenges and way ahead towards achieving the goal of TB elimination by 2025.



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