Daily Current Affairs : 20th and 21st

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

  1. Access to Internet
  2. Poshan Abhiyaan or National Nutrition Mission (NNM)
  3. Emerging threats to children
  4. Controlled Human Infection Model (CHIM)
  5. Airfield pavement management system
  6. Dementia
  7. Savitri bai Phule
  8. Facts for Prelims : RK Bhaduria, Keeladi 

1 . Access to Internet

Context : The Kerala High Court on Thursday held that the right to have access to the Internet is part of the fundamental right to education as well as the right to privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution.

About the Case

  • The verdict came on a petition filed by Faheema Shirin, a third-semester B.A. English student of the college at Chelanur, challenging her expulsion for not adhering to restrictions on the use of mobile phone.
  • As per the rules of the girls’ hostel, inmates were restrained from using mobile phones from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. every day. She, along with a few other inmates, had protested against the restriction, as it was hampering their learning process.
  • She contended that the use of mobile phones amounted to a violation of fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. In fact, the internet, accessible through mobile phones or laptops, provided an avenue for the students to gather knowledge.

About the Judgement

  • The court observed, “When the Human Rights Council of the United Nations has found that the right of access to Internet is a fundamental freedom and a tool to ensure right to education, a rule or instruction which impairs the said right of the students cannot be permitted to stand in the eye of law.”
  • The Judge observed that the action of the college authorities infringed the fundamental freedom as well as privacy and would adversely affect the future and career of students who want to acquire knowledge and compete with their peers, such restriction could not be permitted to be enforced.
  • The court while citing the observations of the Supreme Court in the S.Rengarajan and others v. P. Jagjivan Ram (1989) case said “ the fundamental freedom under Article 19(1)(a) can be reasonably restricted only for the purposes mentioned in Article 19(2) and the restriction must be justified on the anvil of necessity and not the quicksand of convenience or expediency.”
  • The court added that the hostel authorities were expected to enforce only those rules and regulations for enforcing discipline. Enforcement of discipline shall not be by blocking the ways and means of the students to acquire knowledge
  • The court further said that college authorities as well as parents should be conscious of the fact that the students in a college hostel are adults capable of taking decisions as to how and when they have to study.

2 . Poshan Abhiyaan or National Nutrition Mission (NNM)

Context :India is unlikely to meet targets set under the ambitious Poshan Abhiyaan or National Nutrition Mission (NNM) for reduction in prevalence of stunting, underweight, low birth weight and anaemia in women and children by 2022 if there is no progress achieved in improving the rate of decline observed between 1990 and 2017, according to a new study published in The Lancet.

About the Report

  • The Global Burden of Disease Study 1990-2017 is a joint initiative of Indian Council of Medical Research, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Key Findings of the Report

  • Study points out that the rates of improvement desired under the Poshan Abhiyaan are aspirational.
  • The study points out that India will miss its target for stunting levels of 25% by 9.6%; underweight target of 22.7% by 4.8%; desired low birth level of 11.4% by 8.9%; anaemia level among women of 39.4% by 13.8%; and anaemia level among children of 44.7% by 11.7%, according to the Global Burden of Disease Study 1990-2017
  • Findings suggest that the malnutrition indicator targets set by NNM for 2022 are aspirational, and the rate of improvement needed to achieve these targets is much higher than the rate observed in this study, which might be difficult to reach in a short period. This slow pace of improvement needs to be accelerated, so that future prevalence of the malnutrition indicators is better than our projections based on trends so far.

Note : POSHAN Abhiyaan covered under July Current Affairs

3 . Emerging threats to children

Context : In an open letter issued by the UNICEF’s executive director Henrietta Fore marking 30 years since the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF outlines eight growing challenges for the world’s children.

Challenges for World’s Children

  • Prolonged conflicts
  • Pollution
  • Climate crisis
  • Rising level of mental illness
  • Mass migration
  • Population movements
  • Statelessness
  • Online misinformation


  • The UNICEF suggests that we should start by equipping young people with the ability to understand who and what they can trust online, so they can become active, engaged citizens.
  • Treatment and rehabilitation for young people affected by mental health issues should be prioritised. Stigma and taboo surrounding mental illness should be challenged so that treatment can be sought and support provided.

4 . Controlled Human Infection Model (CHIM)

Context : The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) is close to finalising three projects worth ₹135 crore, involving Indian and European scientists, to develop new influenza vaccines. What will make these projects unique is that they involve a Controlled Human Infection Model (CHIM)

About Controlled Human Infection Model and its Benefits

  • In CHIM model volunteers who take part in trials will be infected, under expert supervision, with infectious viruses or bacteria.
  • Vaccines traditionally are made of a weakened form of a disease-causing virus or bacteria and injected into the body to coax the immune system into making antibodies that create immunity against future infection.
  • Years of vaccine development has shown that frequently vaccines that work in small groups of people may not always work in large populations, or those that are effective in one country may not be in another.
  • CHIM models help vaccine-makers decide whether they should go ahead with investing in expensive trials.
  • A CHIM approach will speed up the process whereby scientists can quantify whether potential vaccine candidates can be effective in people and identify the factors that determine why some vaccinated people fall sick and others do not. The risk in such trials is that intentionally infecting healthy people with an active virus and causing them to be sick is against medical ethics. It also involves putting human lives in danger.
  • Experts in vaccine development, social scientists and bio-ethicists are expected to prepare, with the DBT’s support, a guidance document that will elaborate upon the circumstances under which CHIM trials may be conducted, facilities needed, the profile of potential volunteers, the informed-consent forms they would need to sign and the compensation that can be offered.
  • Post the availability of guidance documents, there needs to be approval from the Drug Controller-General of India. “Any such trial will have to comply with the rules governing clinical trials in India. The influenza trials will be performed outside India, but what we are hoping to get out of this is learning,”

5 . Airfield Pavement Management System

Context : The Airports Authority of India (AAI), along with the CSIR-Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), is set to install airfield pavement management systems (APMS), in a first, at 10 airports across India.

About Airfield Pavement Management System

  • Airport pavement management systems (APMS) are computer-based decision support systems that can be used by the agencies running airports to determine cost-effective maintenance and rehabilitation strategies to preserve the various pavement structures (runways, taxiways, etc.) which are a critical component of these facilities.
  • Chennai, Surat, Kolkata, Gaggal, Imphal, Agartala, Vadodara, Rajahmundry, Khajuraho and Gaya are the medium traffic airports shortlisted for the APMS project.
  • It will assist airport managers in developing viable strategies to maintain the pavements in a serviceable condition over a given period and quantify information on maintaining a pavement network at an acceptable level of service.
  • It will also optimise pavement-related expenditure.

6 . Dementia

Context : Almost a quarter of Indians surveyed said that they considered those suffering from dementia to be “dangerous” and about three-fourths opined that those with dementia are “impulsive and unpredictable,” according to a report released by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), a London-based non-profit organisation.

About Dementia

  • Dementia is not a single disease; it’s an overall term that covers a wide range of specific medical conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Disorders grouped under the general term “dementia” are caused by abnormal brain changes. These changes trigger a decline in thinking skills, also known as cognitive abilities, severe enough to impair daily life and independent function. They also affect behavior, feelings and relationships.
  • Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of cases. Vascular dementia, which occurs because of microscopic bleeding and blood vessel blockage in the brain, is the second most common cause of dementia.
  • But there are many other conditions that can cause symptoms of dementia, including some that are reversible, such as thyroid problems and vitamin deficiencies.
  • Dementia is caused by damage to brain cells. This damage interferes with the ability of brain cells to communicate with each other. When brain cells cannot communicate normally, thinking, behavior and feelings can be affected.

7 . Savitri bai Phule

About Savitri bai Phule

  • Savitribai Phule was born in a family of farmers in Naigaon, Maharashtra. She played an important role in improving women’s conditions and became the pioneer of women’s education in the country.


  • Savitribai Phule is hailed as India’s one of the first modern feminists.
  • Married at the tender age of nine, she fought against social evils like child marriage and sati pratha.
  • In the 19th century, public education was limited and there were only a few missionary schools which were “open to all”. In this period, Jyotiba (husband), at the age of 21, and Savitri, 17, opened a school for women in 1848. The school was the first school for girls in India. They together went on to open 18 schools for girls.
  • She not only worked for women’s rights but also championed the cause of fighting against the practice of corrupt caste system.
  • Opening up a well for the untouchables in her own house was an act resulting from her vehement defiance to untouchability and her compassion for the outcast.
  • Savitribai Phule was not just a social reformer but also a philosopher and a poet. Her poetry mostly revolved around nature, education and the abolition of caste system.
  • She observed the miserable conditions of pregnant rape victims and therefore, along with her husband, opened a care centre “Balhatya Pratibandhak Griha”.
  • In order to reduce the miseries of the widows, she organised and led a strike against the barbers to dissuade them from shaving the heads of the widows which was a norm back in those days.
  • In order to encourage students to study and reduce the drop-out rate, she used to give stipends to children for attending school.
  • At a time when caste system was embedded in Indian society, she promoted inter-caste marriages.
  • She along with her husband founded the Satyashodhak samaj. It was a social reform society founded by Jyotirao Phule in 1873 espoused a mission of education and increased social rights and political access for underprivileged groups, focused especially on women, Shudras, and Dalits, in Maharashtra. Savitribai was the head of women’s section of the society. 

8 . Facts for Prelims

RK Bhaduria

  • Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria is appointed as new IAF Chief


  • In a major turning point in the cultural historiography of the ancient Sangam Age, the Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department (TNAD) has stated that the cultural deposits unearthed during excavations at Keeladi in Sivaganga district could be safely dated to a period between 6th century BCE and 1st century CE.

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