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Current Affairs 27 April 2024

  1. Resurfacing of Muslim Quota Issue in Andhra Pradesh Sparks Religion-Based Reservation Debate
  2. Study Reveals Novel Adaptation Mechanism of Mpox Virus for Enhanced Human Infection
  3. Discovery of 3,730 Lead Coins at Phanigiri Buddhist Heritage Site in Telangana
  4. Supreme Court of India Raises Concerns Over Misuse of Social Media for Spreading Misinformation
  5. Phi-3-mini
  6. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  7. Auto-Brewery Syndrome


Recently, the issue of the 5% quota allocated to Muslims in Andhra Pradesh in 2004 has resurfaced, reigniting the debate surrounding religion-based reservation policies.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Background of Reservation for Muslims in Andhra Pradesh
  2. Various Legal Provisions Related to Reservation
  3. Arguments Related to Religion-based Reservation in India

Background of Reservation for Muslims in Andhra Pradesh

Muslim Population in Andhra Pradesh

  • Muslims make up around 9.5% of Andhra Pradesh’s population.
  • Some Muslim groups already benefit from quotas ranging from 7% to 10% in the state’s OBC lists.

Advocacy for Inclusion in OBC Category

  • There’s been advocacy for the inclusion of all Muslims in the OBC category, following the examples set by Karnataka and Kerala.

Reservation in 2004

  • In June 2004, the government assessed the socio-economic and educational status of Muslims in the state to consider their inclusion in the OBC list, resulting in a 5% reservation under Articles 15(4) and 16(4).
  • However, the Andhra Pradesh High Court invalidated this quota for being implemented without reference to the Backward Classes Commission and for not excluding the creamy layer, asserting that the Muslim community is not a homogeneous group.

Reservation in 2005

  • The Backward Classes Commission recommended reservations for the entire Muslim Community, citing their social, educational, and economic backwardness.
  • Subsequently, the state government introduced an Ordinance providing a 5% quota for Muslims, which was later replaced with legislation.
  • Once again, the High Court struck down this quota, arguing that the Commission lacked objective criteria to conclude that Muslims, as a group, were backward in Andhra Pradesh.

Legal Proceedings

  • The Supreme Court, in 2010, instructed to maintain the status quo pending further hearings.
  • While the final hearing in the Supreme Court was initially set for 2022, it was postponed until after the resolution of the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quota issue.

Issues with Andhra Model of Reservation

  • Treating Muslims as a homogeneous group violates the principle of equality in the Constitution’s Basic Structure.
  • It also contravenes the constitutional prohibition on granting reservations solely based on religion (Articles 15(1) and 16(2)).
  • The High Court noted that Andhra Pradesh’s reservation quota, already at 46%, exceeded the 50% limit with the addition of a 5% quota for Muslims, questioning the rationale behind this breach.

Various Legal Provisions Related to Reservation

Constitutional Provision:

  • Article 16(4) of the Constitution permits reservation for “backward class of citizens,” granting states the authority to identify eligible backward communities.
  • Under Article 15 for educational institutions and Article 16(4) for public employment, eligibility for reservation necessitates demonstration of social and educational backwardness and inadequate representation in government roles.
Key Supreme Court Judgements:

The State of Madras v. Smt. Champakam Dorairajan Case, 1951:

  • Invalidated caste-based reservations in educational institutions, prompting the 1st Constitutional Amendment.

Indra Sawhney v. Union of India Case, 1992:

  • Enunciated reservation limitations including creamy layer exclusion, 50% quota cap, and barring reservations in promotions (except for SC/ST).

M. Nagaraj v. Union Of India Case, 2006:

  • Upheld Article 16(4A) allowing reservations for SC/ST in promotions, establishing criteria including social and educational backwardness, inadequate representation, and maintaining efficiency.

Jarnail Singh vs Lachhmi Narain Gupta Case, 2018:

  • Applied creamy layer exclusion to SC/ST in promotions and waived the necessity for quantifiable backwardness data.

Janhit Abhiyan vs. Union of India, 2022:

  • Upheld the validity of the 103rd Constitutional Amendment, providing 10% reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) among forward castes.

Arguments Related to Religion-based Reservation in India

Arguments in Favor:
  • The Sachar Committee Report highlights the socio-economic disparities faced by Muslims, warranting reservations to address this gap.
  • Constitutionally, affirmative action is permissible for socially and educationally backward classes regardless of religion.
  • Religion-based reservations can ensure equitable representation of marginalized religious groups.
Arguments Against:
  • Critics contend that religion-based reservations contradict the secular principle of treating all religions equally.
  • Such reservations may exacerbate communal tensions and fracture national unity.
  • Reservations should be solely based on economic criteria to ensure assistance reaches genuinely disadvantaged individuals, irrespective of religion.
  • Implementing religion-based reservations could present administrative hurdles and potential misuse challenges.

-Source: Indian Express


A recent study uncovered a novel adaptation mechanism of the Mpox virus, enhancing its capacity to infect humans amidst recent outbreaks. In a move to alleviate stigma towards monkeys and reflect the virus’s direct human infectivity, the name was changed from “monkeypox” to “mpox.”


GS II-Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Monkeypox virus
  2. Zoonotic disease
  3. Symptoms and treatment

About Monkeypox virus

  • The monkeypox virus is an orthopoxvirus, which is a genus of viruses that also includes the variola virus, which causes smallpox, and vaccinia virus, which was used in the smallpox vaccine.
  • Monkeypox causes symptoms similar to smallpox, although they are less severe.
  • While vaccination eradicated smallpox worldwide in 1980, monkeypox continues to occur in a swathe of countries in Central and West Africa, and has on occasion showed up elsewhere.
  • According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), two distinct clade are identified: the West African clade and the Congo Basin clade, also known as the Central African clade.

Zoonotic disease

  • Monkeypox is a zoonosis, that is, a disease that is transmitted from infected animals to humans.
  • According to the WHO, cases occur close to tropical rainforests inhabited by animals that carry the virus.
  • Monkeypox virus infection has been detected in squirrels, Gambian poached rats, dormice, and some species of monkeys.
  • Human-to-human transmission is, however, limited — the longest documented chain of transmission is six generations, meaning the last person to be infected in this chain was six links away from the original sick person, the WHO says.
  • Transmission, when it occurs, can be through contact with bodily fluids, lesions on the skin or on internal mucosal surfaces, such as in the mouth or throat, respiratory droplets and contaminated objects.

Symptoms and treatment

  • According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), monkeypox begins with a fever, headache, muscle aches, back ache, and exhaustion.
  • It also causes the lymph nodes to swell (lymphadenopathy), which smallpox does not.
  • The WHO underlines that it is important to not confuse monkeypox with chickenpox, measles, bacterial skin infections, scabies, syphilis and medication-associated allergies.
  • The incubation period (time from infection to symptoms) for monkeypox is usually 7-14 days but can range from 5-21 days.
  • Usually within a day to 3 days of the onset of fever, the patient develops a rash that begins on the face and spreads to other parts of the body.
  • The skin eruption stage can last between 2 and 4 weeks, during which the lesions harden and become painful, fill up first with a clear fluid and then pus, and then develop scabs or crusts.
  • According to the WHO, the proportion of patients who die has varied between 0 and 11% in documented cases, and has been higher among young children.
  • There is no safe, proven treatment for monkeypox yet.
  • The WHO recommends supportive treatment depending on the symptoms.
  • Awareness is important for prevention and control of the infection.

-Source: The Hindu


Telangana’s Department of Heritage recently uncovered a hoard of 3,730 lead coins hidden in an earthen pot at Phanigiri, a well-known Buddhist heritage site situated 110 km away from Hyderabad.


GS I: History

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Excavation Findings
  2. Significance of Phanigiri Village
  3. Key Facts About the Ikshvaku Period

Excavation Findings:

  • An excavation at the Southernmost monastic cell revealed a globular pot, 16.7 cm in diameter and 15 cm in height, discovered at a depth of 40 cm from the ground level.
  • The pot’s mouth was covered with a shallow pot externally and a broken bowl base internally, containing 3730 coins, averaging 2.3 grams each.
  • Archaeologists concluded that the coins, featuring an elephant symbol on the obverse and Ujjain symbol on the reverse, made of lead and similar in appearance, belong to the Ikshvaku period (3rd-4th century CE) based on stratigraphical and typological studies.
  • Additionally, various valuable cultural artifacts and structural remnants were unearthed, including stone and glass beads, shell bangle fragments, stucco motifs, broken limestone sculptures, toy cartwheels, iron nails, and pottery.
Earlier Excavation:
  • Previous excavations at Phanigiri spanned seven field seasons, revealing significant structures such as a Mahastupa, apsidal Chaitya Grihas, Votive stupas, pillared congregation halls, Viharas, platforms with staircases, and an octagonal stupa chaitya.
  • Notable findings from earlier excavations include a 24-pillared mandapa, a circular chaitya, and various cultural artifacts like terracotta beads, semi-precious beads, iron objects, shell bangle pieces, coins, stucco figures, Brahmi label inscriptions, and a holy relic casket.

Significance of Phanigiri Village:

  • Located on the left bank of the Bikkeru Rivulet, a Musi River tributary, Phanigiri is strategically positioned on a hilltop along the ancient trade route (Dakshinapatha) connecting north to south.
  • The village derives its name from the hillock’s snake hood-like shape, with “Phani” meaning snake and “Giri” meaning hillock in Sanskrit.
  • Inhabited from 1000 BCE to the late 18th century CE, Phanigiri was a vibrant site occupied during pre/proto-historic, early historic, early medieval, and Asaf Jahi periods.
  • The Buddhist monastery at Phanigiri is considered more significant than those at Amaravathi and Vijayapuri (Nagarjunakonda) in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Discovered and protected during the Nizam period, the site was initially excavated from 1941 to 1944 by Sri Khaja Mahamad Ahmad.
  • Other nearby Buddhist sites include Vardhamanukota, Gajula Banda, Tirumalagiri, Nagaram, Singaram, Aravapalli, Ayyavaripalli, Arlagaddagudem, and Yeleswaram.

Key Facts About the Ikshvaku Period:

  • The Ikshvakus emerged in the Krishna-Guntur region following the decline of Satavahana power in the eastern part of the peninsula.
  • Named after the legendary King Ikshvaku, the Ikshvaku dynasty (300 CE- 400 CE) left its mark primarily through inscriptions, coinage, and archaeological excavations.
  • Historical evidence indicates that the dynasty originated in the Vijayapuri region (modern Bellary district, Karnataka) around the 3rd century CE.
  • Succeeded by the Pallavas, the Ikshvakus played a significant role in shaping the political landscape of their time.

Expansion and Consolidation:

  • King Kanha, a prominent ruler of the Ikshvaku dynasty, expanded their territorial influence significantly.
  • Through his conquests, which extended into parts of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Maharashtra, King Kanha established the Ikshvakus as a formidable regional power.

Cultural and Economic Contributions:

  • The Ikshvaku dynasty was known for its active patronage of Buddhism, leading to the construction of splendid stupas and monasteries such as those found at Kanaganahalli and Sankaram.
  • Coins minted during the Ikshvaku period featured Buddhist symbols and regional deities, contributing to the circulation of currency and showcasing the dynasty’s cultural and economic influence.

-Source: Indian Express, The Hindu


The Supreme Court of India has expressed concerns about the increasing misuse of social media platforms to disseminate misinformation regarding ongoing court cases. The court has highlighted that such “fake news” interferes with judicial proceedings and requires immediate attention and action.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. How Social Media is Regulated in India?
  2. Impacts of Social Media on Different Sections of Society
  3. Enhancing the Utility and Credibility of Social Media

How Social Media is Regulated in India?

Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act):
  • This foundational law establishes the legal framework for electronic governance and governs various aspects of electronic communication, including social media.
  • Section 69A of the IT Act, 2000 grants the Government authority to block public access to information under specific conditions related to:
    • Sovereignty and integrity of India
    • Defence of India
    • Security of the State
    • Friendly relations with foreign States
    • Public order
    • Prevention of incitement to cognizable offenses related to the above.
  • Section 79(1) of the IT Act, 2000 provides intermediaries, such as social media platforms, exemption from liability for third-party information, subject to certain conditions:
  • The intermediary’s role is limited to providing access to a communication system for transmitting, hosting, or storing third-party information.
  • The intermediary does not initiate or control the transmission, recipient selection, or content modification.
  • However, certain contentious sections like Section 66A (pertaining to online content) were invalidated by the Supreme Court due to concerns regarding freedom of speech, as seen in the Shreya Singhal v/s Union of India Case.
Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021:
  • These rules mandate social media platforms to exercise greater diligence in content moderation to ensure online safety by promptly removing inappropriate content.
  • Users must be informed about privacy policies and are advised to avoid posting copyrighted material, defamatory content, or anything threatening national security or friendly relations.
  • The 2023 Amendment to these rules requires online intermediaries, including social media platforms like Facebook and internet service providers like Airtel, to prevent the dissemination of inaccurate information about the Indian government.
  • They are also mandated to remove content flagged as false by fact-checking units to maintain legal protection from third-party content.
  • However, the implementation of amended provisions was recently halted by the Supreme Court.

Impacts of Social Media on Different Sections of Society

Youth and Adolescents:

Positive Impacts:

  • Access to diverse information and educational resources.
  • Platforms for self-expression, creativity, and building communities.
  • Opportunities for networking, collaboration, and skill development.

Negative Impacts:

  • Increased exposure to cyberbullying, harassment, and online predators.
  • Risk of addiction and negative effects on mental health due to excessive use.
  • Pressure to conform to unrealistic standards of beauty and lifestyle portrayed on social media.

Positive Impacts:

  • Enhanced connectivity with friends, family, and professional networks.
  • Platforms for staying informed about current events, trends, and opportunities.
  • Opportunities for entrepreneurship, marketing, and career advancement.

Negative Impacts:

  • Time-wasting and productivity loss due to excessive scrolling and distraction.
  • Privacy concerns and risks of identity theft, fraud, and data breaches.
  • Impact on interpersonal relationships and communication skills.

Positive Impacts:

  • Access to social networks and communities for staying connected with family and friends.
  • Opportunities for lifelong learning, hobbies, and sharing experiences.
  • Platforms for advocacy, support, and raising awareness about issues affecting older adults.

Negative Impacts:

  • Digital divide and challenges in learning to use new technologies.
  • Vulnerability to online scams, misinformation, and exploitation.
  • Potential for social isolation if not actively engaged in online communities.
Marginalized Communities:

Positive Impacts:

  • Platforms for amplifying voices, sharing experiences, and advocating for social justice.
  • Access to support networks, resources, and opportunities for empowerment.
  • Ability to challenge stereotypes, combat discrimination, and foster solidarity.

Negative Impacts:

  • Increased exposure to online hate speech, discrimination, and harassment.
  • Amplification of inequalities due to disparities in access to technology and digital literacy.
  • Potential for surveillance, censorship, and suppression of dissenting voices in authoritarian regimes.

Enhancing the Utility and Credibility of Social Media

Algorithm Transparency

  • Mandating platforms to disclose and clarify their algorithms’ operations to mitigate biases and enhance content visibility.

Transparency Reports

  • Requiring platforms to release regular transparency reports on content moderation, data practices, and adherence to regulatory standards to foster accountability.

Digital Literacy Education

  • Implementing comprehensive digital literacy programs to empower users in recognizing and addressing misinformation and online harassment.

Advanced AI Tools

  • Developing sophisticated AI solutions for content moderation to promptly identify and eliminate harmful content while safeguarding freedom of expression.

Technological Investments

  • Investing in technologies like end-to-end encryption and data anonymization to reinforce user privacy and security.

Ethical Design Practices

  • Promoting ethical design principles that prioritize user well-being, mental health, and meaningful engagement rather than solely focusing on user engagement metrics.

Incentivizing Informative Content

  • Introducing mechanisms to reward users who create informative, educational, or community-oriented content.
  • Highlighting initiatives such as India’s National Creators Award 2024 as significant strides in this endeavor.

-Source: Times of India


Recently, Microsoft unveiled the latest version of its ‘lightweight’ AI model – the Phi-3-Mini.


GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Phi-3-mini
  2. How Phi-3-mini Differs from Large Language Models

About Phi-3-mini


  • Believed to be the first of three small models slated for release by Microsoft.


  • Outperforms models of similar size and larger counterparts across various benchmarks, including language, reasoning, coding, and mathematics.

Key Features

  • First model in its class to support a context window of up to 128K tokens with minimal impact on quality.
  • Available as a 3.8B language model on AI development platforms like Microsoft Azure AI Studio, Hugging Face, and Ollama.
  • Offered in two variants: one with 4K content-length and another with 128K tokens.

How Phi-3-mini Differs from Large Language Models

Phi-3-mini as a Small Language Model (SLM)

  • SLMs are streamlined versions of large language models (LLMs), offering cost-effective development and operation.
  • Better suited for resource-constrained environments, including on-device and offline inference scenarios, and ideal for applications where fast response times are critical, such as chatbots or virtual assistants.

Customization and Efficiency

  • SLMs can be tailored for specific tasks, achieving accuracy and efficiency.
  • Typically undergo targeted training, requiring less computing power and energy compared to LLMs.

Inference Speed and Latency

  • Compact size enables quicker processing, making them suitable for applications requiring rapid responses.
  • Lower cost appeals to smaller organizations and research groups.

-Source: Indian Express


Recently, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) comprising primarily Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease has been on the rise globally.


GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Understanding Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  2. Challenges in India

Understanding Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)


  • IBD encompasses chronic inflammatory conditions affecting the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
Types of IBD
  • Crohn’s Disease: Can impact any part of the digestive tract, characterized by patchy inflammation often affecting deeper layers of the bowel wall.
  • Ulcerative Colitis: Limited to the inner lining (mucosa) of the large intestine (colon) and rectum, with continuous inflammation potentially affecting the entire colon in severe cases.


  • The precise cause of IBD remains elusive, but it is believed to involve a complex interplay of genetic, immune system, and environmental factors.


  • Common symptoms include abdominal pain and cramping, bloody diarrhea, urgent need for bowel movement, weight loss, and fatigue.


  • While no cure exists for IBD, treatment strategies focus on symptom management and inducing remission.
  • Treatment modalities may include medications, dietary adjustments, and surgical interventions.

Challenges in India

Increasing Incidence

  • The incidence of IBD in India has nearly doubled from 1990 to 2019, emphasizing the need for early detection to improve treatment outcomes.

Diagnostic Challenges

  • Diagnosing IBD in India presents unique hurdles, particularly in differentiating between Crohn’s Disease and intestinal tuberculosis due to overlapping clinical symptoms.

Contributing Factors

  • Lifestyle changes, including the adoption of a Westernized diet, are believed to contribute to the escalating prevalence of IBD in India.

-Source: The Hindu


A drunk driving case against a 40-year-old man was dismissed after his lawyer explained that he suffers from auto-brewery syndrome.


Facts for Prelims

Understanding Auto-Brewery Syndrome (ABS)

Also Known As

  • Referred to as gut fermentation syndrome.


  • A condition wherein the body converts sugary and starchy foods into alcohol, leading to symptoms akin to



  • Ethanol production occurs through endogenous fermentation by fungi or bacteria in the gastrointestinal (GI) system, oral cavity, or urinary system.
  • Yeasts and fungi metabolize sugars and starches, producing ethanol and carbon dioxide as byproducts.


  • Include experiencing drunkenness without consuming alcohol or becoming heavily intoxicated with minimal alcohol intake.
  • Other symptoms may encompass dizziness, headache, and dehydration, among others.

Risk Factors

  • Individuals with diabetes, obesity, and Crohn’s disease are predisposed to ABS.
  • However, it can also affect otherwise healthy individuals.


  • Medical advice often recommends avoiding high-carbohydrate and sugary foods for individuals with ABS to mitigate symptoms and ethanol production.

-Source: Hindustan Times

May 2024