September 2019

Daily Current Affairs (20-09-19)


Related Topics: Art & Culture, Sangam Age


  • 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.
  • The report titled, ‘Keeladi-An Urban Settlement of Sangam Age on the Banks of River Vaigai’, was published by the TNAD.

Findings of the Report

  • Second urbanisation [the first being Indus] of Vaigai plains happened in Tamil Nadu around 6th century BCE as it happened in Gangetic plains.
  • Keeladi findings push back the date of Tamil-Brahmi script to another century, i.e., 6th century BCE.
  • The society in Keeladi had used animals predominantly for agricultural purposes.
  • They attained literacy or learned the art of writing as early as 6th century BCE.

Study of samples and specimens

  • Six carbon samples collected from the fourth season (2018) of excavations at Keeladi were sent to Beta Analytic Lab, Miami, Florida, U.S., for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) dating.
  • Skeletal fragments were sent to Deccan College Post Graduate and Research Institute in Pune, and it was found that fragments were of species such as cow/ox (Bos indicus), buffalo (Bubalus bubalis), sheep (Ovis aries), goat (Capra hircus), nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus), blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra), wild boar (Sus scrofa) and peacock (Pavo cristatus).
  • Pottery specimens from Keeladi sent to the Earth Science Department of Pisa University, Italy, through Vellore Institute of Technology for mineral analysis, confirmed that water containers and cooking vessels were shaped out of locally available raw materials.


  • While three excavations were undertaken by the Archaeological Survey of India, the fourth excavation was undertaken by the TNAD. The fifth excavation by the latter is under way.
  • In 2013-14, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) carried out explorations in 293 sites along the Vaigai river valley in Theni, Dindigul, Madurai, Sivaganga and Ramanathapuram districts.
  • Keezhadi in Sivaganga district was chosen for excavation and artefacts unearthed by the ASI in the second phase of the excavation at Pallichanthai Thidal of Keezhadi pointed to an ancient civilisation that thrived on the banks of the Vaigai.
  • Carbon dating of charcoal found at the Keezhadi site in February 2017 established that the settlement there belonged to 200 BC.
  • The excavations proved that urban civilisation had existed in Tamil Nadu since the Sangam age.

[Source: The Hindu]



Related Topics: Government Schemes & Initiatives, Women Empowerment


  • Union Human Resource Development Minister has launched several initiatives of All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in New Delhi.
  • It includes Facilitation through Margadarshan and Margadarshak, Model Curriculum for Diploma Courses, Waste Management Accelerator for Aspiring Women Entrepreneurs (WAWE Summit 2019) and 360-degree Feedback of Faculty.

WAWE Summit 2019

  • Waste Management Accelerators for Aspire Women Entrepreneurs (WAWE) Summit will be the largest gathering of young women students to promote entrepreneurship in waste management and providing alternatives to single use plastic carry bags.
  • Indian Institute of Waste Management (IIWM) & All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) will be registering the interested participation and guiding them to connect from “Start Up India to Stand Up India”.
  • Theme: Make your own bag – empowering women to take up income generation activity and entrepreneurship in waste management through making a business out of this record creating concept.
  • This conclave will be part of a series of activities to encourage entrepreneurship amongst young graduates.

Other Initiatives

Facilitation through Margadarshan

  • Under this scheme, institutions having good accreditation record / highly performing institutions are supposed to mentor relatively newer 10 – 12 potential institutions.
  • Best practices in teaching learning process followed in mentor institute are diffused to mentee institutions.

Facilitation through Margadarshak

  • Under this scheme, mentor teachers or Margdarshaks who are either serving or superannuated but willing and motivated with good knowledge of accreditation and who can devote adequate time to make required visits to these Institutions are identified.
  • These Margdarshaks will regularly visit to the mentee institutions, stay on their campus and guide them for their improvement in quality so that institutions are able to get accreditation by NBA.

Model Curriculum for Diploma Courses

  • AICTE, being fully aware of the fact that diploma education should make students job ready faster, in consultation with its All India Board of Technician Education (AIBTE) constituted subject-wise team of 3-4 experts drawn from academia and industry to prepare model curriculum for Diploma Courses in seven disciplines.
  • This Model Curriculum has come up after several meetings and thoughtful deliberations of experts.
  • It has been prepared while keeping in view the latest industry trends and market requirements.

360-degree Feedback of Faculty

  • As per the recommendations of AICTE, Ministry of Human Resources Development gave the mandate to the 7th Pay Commission, of understanding certain key aspects of teacher’s activities and its impact as perceived by other key stake holders of the college education process.
  • AICTE 7thPay Regulation defines the process of collecting the 360-degree Feedback Data that will be submitted by the education institutes.
  • It starts by first establishing a data framework that maps Teachers, Students and Subjects/courses to capture the data at source through online mechanism.
[Source: PIB]



Related Topics: Government Schemes & Initiatives, Public Health


According to a new study published in The Lancet, 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.


The report is a joint initiative of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Key Highlights

  • 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.
  • While the base for NNM targets is NFHS-4 data, the study considers prevalence levels determined in 2017 as the base level, which are comparable with the former.
  • The study used all accessible data sources from India, including national household surveys, a variety of dietary and nutrition surveys, and other epidemiological studies, to arrive at its findings.

Are the findings worrisome?

  • Poshan Abhiyaan has doubled the rate of decline. For example, it sets a target of 2% reduction per year for underweight, but the percentage of reduction for this indicator typically is 1%.
  • The prevalent levels were slow; but the country aspires to make them faster and is making extra efforts to achieve that.
  • As per Dr. Vinod K. Paul, Member, NITI Aayog, the findings are not worrisome and Poshan Abhiyaan has the potential to change the scenario.

Aspirational Targets

  • The study points out that the malnutrition indicator targets set by NNM for 2022 are aspirational.
  • 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 the projections based on trends so far.

About National Nutrition Mission

  • It was launched by PM Narendra Modi in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan in March 2018.
  • It targets to reduce level of under-nutrition and other related problems by ensuring convergence of various nutrition related schemes.
  • It will monitor and review implementation of all such schemes and utilize existing structural arrangements of line ministries wherever available.
  • It targets to reduce stunting, under- nutrition, anaemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) and reduce low birth weight by 2%, 2%, 3% and 2% per annum respectively.
  • Although the target to reduce Stunting is at least 2% p.a., Mission would strive to achieve reduction in Stunting from 38.4% (NFHS-4) to 25% by 2022 (Mission 25 by 2022).
  • Its large component involves gradual scaling-up of interventions supported by on-going World Bank assisted Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Systems Strengthening and Nutrition Improvement Project (ISSNIP) to all districts in the country by 2022.

[Source: The Hindu, PIB]




The Kerala High Court 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. The verdict came on a petition filed by Faheema Shirin, a third-semester student, 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. The court observed that 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.


Central government has appointed R.K.S. Bhadauria as the next Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief. He has played a major role in the indigenous Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme. He was also the chairman of the Indian negotiating team for the 36 Rafale jets deal with France. Services chiefs have tenure either for three years or until 62 years of age, whichever comes first.


U.S.-headquartered Google has announced the setting up of a research lab in Bengaluru that will work on advancing artificial intelligence-related research with an aim to solve problems in sectors such as healthcare, agriculture and education. The new lab will be a part of and support Google’s global network of researchers.

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