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Society & Human Development

Caste discrimination• In the wake of the IIT-Kanpur Senate’s vote to revoke the PhD thesis of Dalit teacher Subrahmanyam Saderla last month, 400 academics and activists from across the world have signed a statement of solidarity with him, accusing the institution of running a “vendetta” against the young assistant professor of aerospace engineering.
• Dr. Saderla accused four colleagues of caste-based discrimination and harassment, charges that were subsequently upheld by the institute’s own fact-finding commission, an inquiry by a retired judge of the Allahabad High Court, and the National Commission for Scheduled Castes.
Micronutrient deficiency• Rising carbon dioxide levels can accelerate zinc deficiency in crops and thus in human consumption, cautions a new study titled ‘Inadequate zinc intake in India: past, present and future’ by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
• Zinc deficiency has been rising in India and is concentrated in the southern and NE States with rice-dominated diets: Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Manipur and Meghalaya.
Lifestyle Diseases• With obesity posing a rising public health threat and 80% of adolescents “not sufficiently physically active”, WHO said it was time to outline best practices for children under five — a crucial period for lifestyle development.
• Accordingly, it has released its first-ever recommendations on physical activity for children (< 5). Some of them are:
• For infants under one, at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day, including prone position — or tummy time — for those not yet mobile.
• The guidelines include not exposing babies under 12 months to screens.
Women entry into religious places• Supreme Court has admitted for consideration a plea by a Muslim couple to lift the ban on Muslim women’s entry into all mosques across the country. They told the court that the ban was illegal, unconstitutional and a violation of their dignity.
• There is no such gender discrimination to offer worship in Mecca, the holy city. The faithful, both men and women, together circle the Kaaba.
• SC has asked whether a petition seeking right to equality can be filed against individuals and non-state actors like people who pray in and manage mosques because the fundamental right to equality under Article 14 of the Constitution was available only against the state.