Everything about Autism

Headline : AIIMS doctors develop application to help in timely diagnosis of autism 

Details : 

The News

  • In the backdrop of the World Autism Awareness Day, doctors at AIIMS have developed a mobile app for early diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders.
  • World Autism Awareness Day is observed on April 2 every year.

About the App

  • The app developed is called PedNeuroAiimsDiagnostics.
  • It is a questionnaire-based app which has 2 sections of questionnaire
  1. Section A has questions to assess the social interaction and communication skills
  2. Section B has questions to analyse the response given to questions in section A.
  • Based on the response to the questionnaire the app analyses if the child has any of the Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Accordingly the following cases are considered to be suffering with ASD
  • A child who cannot babble or point or gesture by 12 months
  • Couldn’t say single word by 16 months
  • Couldn’t say any two-word spontaneous phrases by 24 months
  • Loss of language or social skills at any age.
  • The App is easy to use with even a paediatrician can assess the test results.
  • The app is very sensitive in that detects 98% of cases.
  • It is also very specific in that it predicts specifically which of the ASD in 92% of the cases.


In focus: Autism Spectrum Disorders

About ASD

  • Autism is a developmental disorder associated with the neurological condition of the child.
  • It shows signs in the first 3 years of child development.
  • Autism is a brain malfunction mainly associated with impairments in 3 main areas
  • Communication skills
  • Social interactions 
  • Repetitive and restricted activities
  • Autism mainly occurs due to abnormalities in brain structure and function which can occur due to varied reasons.
  • As a result Autism is grouped under a spectrum of disorders called Autism Spectrum Disorders.



Common behavior pattern

  • In general autistic individual s have different ways of ‘sensing’ their world
  • Lack of emotional connection
  • Lack of eye contact while communicating
  • Not reacting or inconsistently reacting when their name is called out
  • Hypersensitivity to noise
  • Lost in own thoughts
  • Hitting or biting themselves
  • Lack of non-verbal communication
  • Inability to follow objects visually
  • Inability to make friends
  • Repetitive body movements
  • Repeating their own sentences


  • There is no single cause for Autism.
  • Different children suffering from Autism are due to different causes.
  • Some commonly identified factors include
  • Gene mutations: No single gene is associated with Autism.
  • Environmental stresses
  • Parental age at the time of conception
  • Maternal illnesses during pregnancy
  • Mother who is a victim of drug and alcohol abuse
  • Oxygen deprivation to the child’s brain etc
  • However it should be noted that there is no conclusive direct correlation with any of the factors above listed.



  • Since no two individual suffer from Autism due to same cause, different conditions are grouped under ASD.
  • It can vary between mild learning and social disability, to more complex emotional and physical disabilities.

Asperger’s syndrome

  • Mild form of Autism
  • Obsessive interest in a particular object or subject

Pervasive developmental disorder

  • This is more severe than Asperger’s syndrome
  • No two people suffering from the disease will exhibit the same symptoms
  • Common symptoms include
  • Poor social interaction
  • Impaired language skills


Autistic disorder

  • Most severe form of ASD.
  • Multiple impairments
  • Mental retardation and seizures

Note: Rett syndrome and Childhood disintegrative disorder are rare ASDs

Section : social issues

Who are the Dhangars of Maharashtra, and why do they want ST status?

Headline : Who are the Dhangars of Maharashtra, and why do they want ST status?

Details :

Why in news?

  • Recently, Maharashtra has announced extension of all social welfare schemes available to Scheduled Tribes to the Dhangar community of the state.


Who are the Dhangars?

  • The Dhangars are shepherd community, living mostly in Western Maharashtra and Marathwada.
  • They constitute about 9% of Maharashtra’s population.
  • They are currently on Maharashtra’s list of Vimukta Jati and Nomadic Tribes (VJNT), but have been demanding Scheduled Tribe (ST) status for the past several decades.


Why are they demanding ST status?

  • As claimed by Dhangar community, their community is the same as “Dhangad” which has been given Scheduled Tribe status elsewhere in the country.
  • Because of some typological error their community name has been recorded as “Dhangar” in Maharashtra, instead of Dhangads, denying them the benefits available to the ST “Dhangads”.



  • Dhangars community has been demanding Scheduled Tribe status in the country from decades.
  • In 2015, the Maharashtra government asked the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) to establish whether the Dhangars of Maharashtra were the same as the Dhangads elsewhere in the country, and also to create a safeguard against any legal challenge in moving the Dhangars from the VJNT list to the ST list.
  • In November, 2018, the government received the TISS report, and started taking action on it.
  • Recently, the Maharashtra government handed over the Tata Institute of Social Sciences’ report on Dhangar reservation to state Advocate General (AG) for advice and further action.
  • However, till the AG’s recommendation comes in, all schemes of the Tribal Welfare Department will be made applicable to Dhangars with separate financial provisions.



  • All other ST communities are strongly opposed to any attempt at dilution of their quota by the inclusion of a large community like the Dhangars.
  • They demand overall increase in ST quota for the inclusion of the Dhangar community.
Section : Social Issues

Everything about HAJ Policy

About Haj

  • Haj is one of the most complex organizational tasks undertaken by Government of India outside its borders.
  • It is a five day religious congregation and a virtually a year-long managerial exercise.
  • Indian Haj pilgrims who constitute one of the largest national group perform Haj through two streams:
  1. The Haj Committee of India (HCOI)
  2. Registered Private Tour Operators (PTOs)
  • HCOI established under the Haj Committee Act 2002 is responsible for making the arrangements for pilgrims performing Haj through them. All arrangements for the HCoI pilgrims in Saudi Arabia are coordinated by the Consulate General of India, Jeddah.
  • The Haj quota for India is fixed by the Saudi Arabian Government.

New Haj Policy

  • The 2018 Haj pilgrimage will be in line with the new Haj policy.
  • The committee for the New Haj policy was headed by former Parliamentary Affairs Secretary Afzal Amanullah and it submitted its recommendations to Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
  • Women Haj pilgrims are required to be accompanied by a mehram – a male relative who she cannot marry, such as father, brother or son. However, the rule may not be insisted upon if they are over 45 but do not have a male mehram, and their “school of thought permits” them to do so, the committee said.

Its other major recommendations include:

  • The Saudi Arabian government should be consulted regarding the possibility of Haj travel by ship, which would be cheaper than air travel.
  • The quota for mehram travellers may be increased from 200 to 500.
  • The special quota for pilgrims from Jammu and Kashmir may be increased from 1,500 to 2,000.
  • A “robust portal” to be developed for the processing of applications for private tour operators.
  • The quota for pilgrims travelling under the ambit of Haj Committee and those through private tour operators be allocated at 70:30.

Everything about Ramkrishna Mission

Ramakrishna Mission

• It is an embodiment of the synthesis of ancient Indian and modern western cultures.

• Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (1836-86) was the founder of this socio-religious movement.

• Formally, the Mission was founded in May 1897 by Paramahamsa’s disciple, Narendranath Dutta, who was later on known as Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902).

Objectives of the Mission

• To bring into existence a band of monks dedicated to a life of renunciation and practical spirituality, from among whom teachers and workers would be sent out to spread the universal message of Vedanta, as illustrated in the life of Ramakrishna.

• In conjunction with lay disciples, to carry on preaching, philanthropic and charitable works, looking upon all men, women and children, irrespective of caste, creed or colour, as veritable manifestations of the Divine.

• Paramahamsa himself founded the Ramakrishna Math with his young monastic disciples as a nucleus to fulfill the first objective.

• The second objective was taken up by Swami Vivekananda after Ramakrishna’s death. Vivekananda carried the message of Ramakrishna all over India.

Belur Math

• The headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission are at Belur, near Kolkata.

• This centre was established in 1898 by Swami Vivekananda.

• The Math is a religious trust dedicated to the nursing of the inner spiritual life of the members of the monastery.

• The Mission is a charitable society dedicated to the expression of inner spiritual life in outward collective action in the service of men.

• The Belur Math is the headquarters of both the Math and the Mission.

Religious and social reforms

• The Mission has given top priority to the idea of social service, both in terms of philanthropic work and upliftment of religious and spiritual life.

• It has been successful in propagating the universal principle of Vedanta and giving a true picture of India to the western world.

• The Mission has opened many schools and dispensaries, and helped the victims of natural calamities.

What are the various forms in which gender based violence manifests. Discuss the causes that lead to it. Do you agree that it remains biggest impediment to the advancement of women in India?

● Introduce with what gender violence is
● Talk about various forms of violence – preferably under different categories
● Talk about the causes – can break it into various categories.
● Discuss aspects of women development that get affected by gender violence
● Conclude by summarizing and giving brief suggestions to end gender violence.

Gender based violence is primarily used to refer to acts of violence committed against women.
A result of unequal distribution of power in society between women and men, it gets
manifested throughout the entire lifecycle of the women- right from the womb of the mother till death.

Takes place in many forms:
Gender based violence takes place in many forms, including physical violence – through assault, domestic violence, honour killings; sexual violence – groping, workplace harassment, sexual assault; verbal violence – through use of abusive and filthy language; social violence – like humiliating a woman or her family in public; emotional violence– by depriving women of love , care , concern; financial violence – by depriving basic financial means.

Various causes of gender based violence includes:
Socio-Cultural factors:
● The patriarchal notions of ownership over women’s bodies, sexuality, labor,
reproductive rights, mobility and level of autonomy encourage violence against women.
● Dogmatic religious beliefs with deep-rooted ideas of male superiority are also used to
legitimize control over women.
Economic factors:
● Poverty, lack of education and livelihood opportunities, and inadequate access to basic
services like shelter, food, water can increase exposure to gender violence, including
forced prostitution or survival sex.
Legal-Administrative factors:
● Inadequate legal framework, State’s inability to enforce laws, unequal access to justice,
gender bias in legal institutions and mechanisms, slow justice system result in culture of
impunity for violence and abuse .
Individual factors:
● Threat/fear of stigma, isolation and social exclusion and exposure to further violence at
the hands of the perpetrator, the community or the authorities, including arrest,
detention, ill-treatment and punishment force women to suffer silently.
Yes, gender violence is one of the biggest hurdles in women’s advancement due to following factors:
● It seriously affects all aspects of women’s health- physical, sexual and reproductive,
mental and behavioural health, thus prevents them from realizing their full potential.
● Violence and threat of violence affects women’s ability to participate actively, and as
equals, in many forms of social and political relationships.
● Workplace harassment and domestic violence has an impact on women’s participation
in workforce and their economic empowerment.
● Sexual harassment limits the educational opportunities and achievements of girls.
Thus, half of our human capital will not be able to realize its true potential till gender violence is curbed in all its forms. The underlying causes must be addressed though adequate legal framework and its strict enforcement, building institutional capability, along with gender sensitization campaigns to change attitudes towards women.

Effects of Globalization on Indian Culture and Society

Effects of Globalization on Indian Culture

Globalisation has affected what we eat and the way we prepare food (Mcdonaldization), what we wear , purchase etc( Walmartization).

There is trend toward homogenization of culture with similar food habits, dressing pattern, music, news , TV programs, movies etc. However, there is also increasing tendency toward Glocalization of Culture.

Glocalization refers to mixing of Global with Local. Eg Foreign TV channels like Star, Sony , Cartoon Network use Indian languages.

Other Effects:-

1. Development of Hybrid Culture– Due to increase exposure to different cultures, there emerge a 3rd culture or hybrid culture. It accept the change and preserve the tradition in social and cultural life.

2. Language– Globalization give rise to increased use of English with people becoming more bilingual and multilingual than before. On the other hand, over emphasis on English leads to decline and even extinction of various language. Eg BO

3. Religion– Globalization leads to changes in the religion and practices. Now, secular aspect of religion like honesty, non violence, brotherhood are promoted. There is also increasing commodification of various religious practices with rise of sects and cults.

4. Festivals– There is general trend toward decline in ritual aspect of culture and growth of secular festivals. Eg Father’s day.

Effects of Globalization on Indian Society

1. Marriage– With Globalization, there is increasing trend toward civil marriage over ritual marriage, love marriage over arranged marriage. Inter caste and inter religious marriages are also increasing.

2. Family– Globalization has increased the pace of transformation of families from Joint families to either Nuclear families or Extended families. Due to declining Joint family system, Elderly population suffers from isolation, powerlessness and depression.

3. Education– Globalization catalyses the rate of literacy. It also increases investment in education and global education system. However there is more and more commercialization of education.