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Question and Answer


 Q. 73. Intra-SAARC group released operation plans 2025. State them
In an indication that India will not allow Pakistan to stall regional development envisaged under SAARC, a smaller group of six south-Asian nations have released an operation plan running through to 2025. Member countries of the South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka — SAARC less Pakistan and Afghanistan. The SASEC OP (operational plan) is the program's first comprehensive long-term plan to promote greater economic cooperation among members.
SASEC was established in 2001 to improve cross-border connectivity, boost trade among member countries, and strengthen regional economic cooperation. With Pakistan stalling progress under SAARC umbrella, SASEC could get a bigger push from New Delhi.
Over 200 potential transport, trade facilitation and energy projects worth $120 billion in investments for the next five years have been identified under the plan. Out of these 74 projects are in India with an estimated project cost of over $60 billion. Majority of these projects are located in North East or Eastern part of the country. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is the secretariat and lead financier of the SASEC program and to date has approved 40 projects worth almost $7.7 billion in transport, energy, trade facilitation, and information and communications technology.
 Q. 72. What was the recent Niti Aayog focus on sports?
India should identify and focus on priority sports as it aims to bag 50 medals at 2024 Olympics, NITI Aayog has proposed in the wake of the debacle at this year's competition, advocating a strategy followed by smaller nations such as Kenya and Jamaica.
In a 20-point action plan, the government's think tank has recommended that the country prioritise 10 sports and develop an outcome oriented action plan for each of them. "Each action plan should be reviewed after every four years and its outcomes assessed annually," the Aayog said in a report titled 'Let's Play'. The report has been put in public domain for stakeholder consultation and the Aayog hopes to finalise its recommendations in 45 days.
The efficacy of this strategy is evident from the fact that Kenya and Jamaica participated in only two sports but the two nations bagged as many as 100 and 78 medals respectively at the recent Olympics in Rio, Brazil. On the contrary India, the second most populous nation in the world, managed to win just two medals despite a large participation this year.
  i. In its comprehensive report, the Aayog recommended that the draft National Sports Development Bill, 2013 be implemented to promote ethical practices and improve transparency and accountability of sports bodies.
  ii. Outlining the need for extensive marketing of all priority sports, the Aayog said experiences of IPL in India have shown that investments in marketing and promotion of league tournaments have repeated benefits in terms of attracting sponsors, popularising the sport and increasing viewership.
  iii. It was recommended to allow private companies/PSUs to acquire naming rights i.e. buy rights to name a facility, event, sportsperson, beginning from the age of five, typically for a defined period of time in exchange of sponsoring related activities. Besides, it vouched for roping in private sector and greater funding made available by the government to create state-of-the art sports facilities. 

Outlining medium to long term action plans, the Aayog recommended that the government scout talent at the young age of five to 10 years through national level competitions for priority sports, citing the example of China and Germany.
 Q. 71. Indian cinema and Freedom Struggle.
Ans. Indian cinema played a crucial role in the freedom struggle. Many patriotic films, in Hindi and the regional languages, upheld it. A few film producers were even involved in the campaign. India’s staunch patriots as Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Vallabhai Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sarojini Naidu, S. Satyamurti and Rabindranath Tagore, opining that the cinema was useful for emancipation and political awakening, strongly supported it.
Some pre-Independence champions in the cinema industry:
Dwarkadas Naraindas Sampat – maker of the first political (silent) film, Bhakt Vidur (1921);
J B.H. Wadia, most politically involved film maker of Hindi cinema, who had become an INC volunteer since 1930 – made such films, centred on democracy, as Diler Daku (1931), Toofan Mail (1932), Lal-e-Yemen and Dilruba Daku (1933), Kala Gulab (1934) and Ekta (1942) ; he filmed the historic celebrations of India’s freedom as officially organised on the midnight of 14-15 August 1947;
R. Jyotiprasad Aggarwal – the pioneer of Assamese films, who was a political activist and freedom fighter, is renowned for his Jyotimati (1934) ;
Debaki Kumar Bose, a revolutionary turned film producer, who played the lead role in his political films ; he made Inquilab (Revolution) in 1935 ;
V. Shantaram (1901-1993) – who, in Marathi and Hindi cinema for over 60 years, though never in active politics, made attractive films on socio-economic issues [like Amar Jyoti (1936) and Shejari/Padosi (1941)], and on communal harmony ; he was famous for pioneering in India a colour film, Sairandhri (1933) ;
K. Subramanyam (1904-1971), Tamil film pioneer, whose contribution to liberation had no match in Indian cinema, crusaded against orthodoxy, as in his Balayogini (1936) and Bhakta Cheta (1940), while his Sevadasan (1938), on the status of women, and Tyaga Bhoomi (1939), with an easily indentifiable political flavour, in which the actor Sivan portrayed Sambhu Sastri as Tamil Nadu’s Gandhi, were even more radical.
Between 1936 and 1942, K. Subrahmanyam made some of the most socially significant Tamil films. His celebrated film ‘Thyagaboomi’ (1939) was important in several ways. It was banned by the British Government for propagating nationalist sentiment and promoting the Indian National Congress.
Sohrab Modi’s ‘Sikandar’ on Alexander’s invasion of India evoked passionate nationalist sentiments. Prabhat’s devotional, biographical film on the saint, ‘Eknath’ propagated the Gandhian ideals of abolishing ‘untouchables’.
 Q. 70. What is autophagy? Why is it useful? Why is it in news now?
The word autophagy originates from two Greek words meaning “self-eating”. It refers to the process in which cellular junk is captured and sealed in sack-like membranes, called autophagosomes. The sealed contents are transported to another structure called the lysosome. Autophagy allows the orderly degradation and recycling of cellular components. The process is crucial for preventing cancerous growths, warding off infection and, by maintaining a healthy metabolism, it helps protect against conditions like diabetes. The contents are degraded and recycled.  In the context of disease, autophagy has been seen as an adaptive response to stress. In the extreme case of starvation, the breakdown of cellular components promotes cellular survival by maintaining cellular energy levels. Contemporary autophagy research began  in 1990s with the identification of autophagy-related genes by yeast researchers. One of them, Japanese scientist Yoshinori Ohsumi, received the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discoveries on how cells break down and recycle their own components. By studying the process in yeast cells, Ohsumi identified the main genes involved in autophagy and showed how the proteins they code for come together to build the autophagosome membrane. He later showed that a similar cellular recycling process occurs in human cells - and that our cells would not survive without it.
 Q. 69. Microgrids are the answer for the plan goal of round-the-clock power for all by 2022. Explain.
Microgrid is a small standalone system connected to solar panels which can supply power to about 100 households. In this model, a customer registers with the microgrid owner with a monthly subscription, and the service provider provides him solar power for two lights, a fan and cell phone charging socket.
A customer would spend Rs 100. It is cheaper than kerosene and has been growing rapidly.

A microgrid costs under Rs 60,000 to set up and the project costs get recovered in three years -- including maintenance, upgrades and other overheads. Households save money each month which helps ensure payments. These micro-economics are sound, low-risk and sustainable and are attractive for investors.It has to prospects that every village in India will soon be electrified, thanks to the solar microgrid revolution.

With such clear economics, more companies are looking at the sector. "People in the industry clearly see the business opportunity here now as there are hundreds of villages with no electricity and it doesn't make economic sense for the government to put up a grid" Shaad said.

Firms say that while for the immediate term, lending from NABARD would help, to take this on a longer term, government support would be required in terms of giving service providers protection and status to function like a state electricity utility.

Micro grid holds the key to lighting and digitally connecting millions of lives. The Centre’s plan to supply electricity 24/7 to all parts of India in five years needs microgrids as a practical solution to provide electricity to off-grid and inaccessible areas.
 Q. 68. What is RAPID that Space Applications Centre (SAC), ISRO, Ahmedabad developed? How is it a technological advance in the context of India?
Space Applications Centre (SAC), ISRO, Ahmedabad has developed a weather data explorer application - Real Time Analysis of Products and Information Dissemination (RAPID) which is hosted in India Meteorological Department (IMD) website. This software acts as a gateway to Indian Weather Satellite Data providing quick interactive visualisation and 4-Dimensional analysis capabilities to various users like application scientists, forecasters, and the common man.
The INSAT series of satellites carrying Very High Resolution Radiometer (VHRR) have been providing data for generating cloud motion vectors, cloud top temperature, water vapour content, etc., facilitating rainfall estimation, weather forecasting, genesis of cyclones and their track prediction. These satellites have also carried Data Relay Transponders (DRT) to facilitate reception and dissemination of meteorological data from in-situ instruments located across vast and inaccessible areas. Currently, there are three meteorological satellites Kalpana-1, INSAT-3A and INSAT-3D in the geosynchronous orbit. Quick visualisation and analysis of data and products enable accurate weather assessments.
This innovative application introduces the concept of next generation weather data access and advanced visualisation capabilities. It provides access to the previous 7-day satellite data including images and geophysical parameters from Indian Satellites in near real time. More than 150 Products from Indian Weather Satellites are being hosted using this application. The scientific products which affect our daily lives like Fog, Rainfall, Snow, Temperature, etc., retrieved from INSAT-3D and Kalpana-1 are made available for the common man. It also provides animation of images based on start/end time. This feature is very useful in visualising the movement of severe weather events like cyclones.
RAPID also provides support for overlaying the ground observation data from Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) of ISRO and Global Telecommunication System (GTS). These AWS measures the parameters like Temperature, Rainfall, Sunshine, Wind Direction/ Speed and Humidity. The latest addition to RAPID is 'Nowcast Data', which provides the forecast for next 3 hours prediction of the convective cells development and possible areas of thunderstorm.
RAPID hosts data from Indian Geostationary Meteorological Satellite Missions in Geo-graphical Information System (GIS) environment in the country. RAPID is also acting as a hub for satellite data and scientific products and used for scientific studies and help students, researchers and organisations to understand the atmospheric phenomenon.
 Q. 67. The Health Ministry recently gave the Japanese encephalitis the ‘notifiable disease’ tag. Why?
It is a move towards better management of Japanese encephalitis (JE) cases across the country. JE is an important public health concern in the country accounting for substantial morbidity, mortality and disability. JE is caused by a mosquito-borne virus. Since the virus attacks the brain of the child, the chances of the child becoming mentally retarded are high.
By declaring JE as a notifiable disease healthcare providers will have to notify every JE case to the local authorities every week. In order to ensure early diagnosis and case management, reduce transmission, address the problems of emergency and spread of disease in newer geographical areas, it is essential to have complete information of all JE cases, and to that end notification of JE helps.
According to the notification, healthcare providers in every state shall notify every JE case to the local authorities ie. District health officer or Chief Medical Officer of the district concerned every week. The notification has been sent to the heads of state health departments of states and UTs. 
 Q. 66. Who were given the 2016 Nobel prize in Economics and why? How does their work acquire significance for inclusive economic growth?
2016 Nobel prize in economics has been awarded to UK-born Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmström of Finland for their work on contract theory, which has covered a range of issues from public-private partnerships to executive pay.

As it announced the prize, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences described the pair’s work as key to the understanding of the real-life contracts and institutions that hold together modern economies.

Their research was praised for shedding light on how contracts help people deal with conflicting interests in areas such as insurance and employment. They were also recognised for helping with the design of better contracts, “thereby shaping better institutions in society”.

The award is for the  work that had helped lay a foundation for designing policies and institutions in areas from bankruptcy legislation to political constitutions.

Society’s many contractual relationships include those between shareholders and top executive management, an insurance company and car owners, or a public authority and its suppliers. As such relationships typically entail conflicts of interest, contracts must be properly designed to ensure that the parties take mutually beneficial decisions.

“This year’s laureates have developed contract theory, a comprehensive framework for analysing many diverse issues in contractual design, like performance-based pay for top executives, deductibles and co-pays in insurance, and the privatisation of public-sector activities.”

Hart’s research work has included a damning assessment of America’s private prisons. He showed that the pressure to cut costs was too great, leading to an unacceptable drop in quality. At the core is the issue of “incomplete contracts” – the fact that contracts are not detailed enough to cover every small point.

Holmström is known for pioneering research into executive pay. His work on employment contracts has considered a range of professions from teaching to management and whether they should be paid fixed salaries or work on the basis of performance-related pay.

Their analysis of the contractual relationship between individuals has enhanced our understanding of the inner functioning of modern firms, corporations and organisations.
 Q. 65. What is "seafloor spreading"?
It  is a process that occurs at mid-ocean ridges, where new oceanic crust is formed through volcanic activity and then gradually moves away from the ridge. Seafloor spreading helps explain continental drift in the theory of plate tectonics. It  is a geologic process in which tectonic plates—large slabs of Earth's lithosphere—split apart from each other.
 Q. 64. Differentiate between the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) and Strategic Policy Group in terms of their composition and functions. What is the current agenda of NSAB?
The National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) is an integral part of the three-tier institutional structure dealing with national security issues with the National Security Council at its apex. The other important wing is the Strategic Policy group.  The NSAB normally meets at least once a month. Its principal function is to undertake long-term analysis of and provide perspectives on issues of national security. It reports to the National Security Council headed by the PM. The National Security Advisory Board consists of senior retired officials, civilian as well as military, academics and distinguished members of civil society drawn from and having expertise in Internal and External Security, Foreign Affairs, Defence, Science & Technology and Economic Affairs.

The NSAB  may also take up for study specific issues which the National Security Council may refer to it. Its policy recommendations and options are conveyed to the National Security Council for its consideration.

The National Security Council is the apex body, headed by the Prime Minister, with the National Security Adviser as its Secretary. The Strategic Policy Group is chaired by the Cabinet Secretary, consisting of serving senior officials responsible for policy-making and for follow up action in matters concerning national security. It includes the Chiefs of the Armed Forces, the Intelligence Bureau and the Research and Analysis Wing. Its main task is to make policy recommendations to the National Security Council.

The current agenda of the board include neighbourhood strategy, western neighbourhood, border management, maritime security, internal security, strategic industries and technology, strategic communications.
 Q. 63. What is MFN status under the WTO? Should India cancel it for Pakistan?
The Most Favoured Nation (MFN) treatment under the WTO means every member should all others normally for trade relations. Preferential terms are allowed but not negative discrimination. Exceptions to the general MFN rule on grounds of National Security, via Article XXI are permitted.  There are other exceptions as well, in Article XX of the GATT.  India in 1996 gave MFN status to Pakistan.
Pakistan, which is bound by WTO rules to extend the MFN status to India has not done so, using the provisions of Article XXI. India has not taken the issue to the WTO dispute settlement mechanism, partly because it is difficult to challenge Pakistan’s subjective assessment on security issues. Nor has New Delhi reconsidered withdrawing the 1996 decision. Article XXI ‘Security Exceptions’ of GATT states that:
“Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed…(a) to prevent any contracting party from taking any action which it considers necessary for the protection of its essential security interests…(b) taken in time of war or other emergency in international relations; or (c) to prevent any contracting party from taking any action in pursuance of its obligations under the United Nations Charter for the maintenance of international peace and security.”
The critical phrase – “which it considers necessary” – gives a member state nearly unfettered rights to invoke this provision at its own discretion, which is what Pakistan has used, to deny the MFN status to India.
When Pakistan has invoked a security exception to deny India an MFN status, New Delhi would be justified in reciprocating for the same reason and under the same provision; and Pakistan will have no case to take to the WTO. Furthermore, recent developments near the India-Pakistan border would constitute an emergency in New Delhi’s relations with Islamabad, which would justify the decision to withdraw the MFN status.
If India withdraws the MFN status to Pakistan, it hurts both (particularly India) though will be a strong political message to Pakistan, but more importantly, to domestic public opinion that the government means business in facing up to the security challenges from the western frontier.
Pakistan’s exports to India in 2015-16 was $441 million – 1.56 per cent of its total exports – and much of it was primary products. On the other hand, India’s exports through regular channels to Pakistan in 2015-16, despite the denial of MFN status, was $2.17 billion. Pakistan could retaliate by restricting imports of several items from India. Informal trade via third countries (due to high tariffs, Pakistan’s negative list, lack of infrastructure and political tensions) is more than double of it, much of its Indian exports.
 Q. 62. What is a startup ecosystem? How does the 2016 Startup policy of the Government create such a system?
A startup ecosystem is formed by people, startups in their various stages and various types of organizations in a location (physical or virtual), interacting as a system to create new startup companies and increase the productivity of the existing ones.. These organizations are universities, funding organizations, support organizations (like incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces etc.), research organizations, service provider organizations (like legal, financial services etc.) and large corporations. Different organizations  focus on specific parts of the ecosystem function and startups at their specific development stage.
1. Government policy
2. Ideas, inventions and research i.e. Intellectual property rights (IPR)
3. Entrepreneurship Education
4. Entrepreneurs
5. Start up team members
6. Angel investors
7. Startup mentors
8. Startup events 
(Startup Policy 2016 is given in Current  Events Notes coming up soon)
 Q. 61. Amendments to the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011 were made by the Union Government in October 2016. Why?
Currently, there are measures to control wholesalers and importers and not retailers. Retail prices are fixed by market forces, leaving very little room for the government to check undue spike in prices. The amendments to the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011, have a provision to fix retail price of any essential commodity. If retail sale price of any essential commodity is fixed and notified by the competent authority under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, the same shall apply. This rule will apply to essential commodities that are sold both in loose and packaged form in retail markets. Fixing retail prices of essential items will be done only in extra-ordinary situations when retail prices shoot up abnormally. Government can fix retail prices of essential commodities like pulses and sugar in extraordinary situations. This provision will help the government to take proactive steps in the interest of consumers.
 Q. 60. What is "Himansh"? Outline its research activities.
Himansh, the glaciological research facility of India is located in Spiti Valley, one of the most uninhabited parts of the country, Himansh is considered to be the highest point from where an Indian glacier research facility is functioning. The research lab, established by the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR), has automatic weather stations, ground penetrating radars, geodetic GPS systems and other sophisticated facilities to study glaciers and their discharge.

The facility will serve as the base for Terrestrial Laser Scanners and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to digitise glacier movements and snow cover variations, said a communication from the NACOR.

The researchers plan to undertake integrated studies using glaciological and glacio-hydrological methods to quantify the glacier stability in the region and to quantify the contribution from water melting from glacials to the river discharge in the Indus basin.
 Q. 59. Write a short note on Black and red ware culture.
It belongs to 9th century BC and associated with the post-Rigvedic Vedic civilization.

In some sites, BRW pottery is associated with Late Harappan pottery, and according to some scholars, the BRW may have directly influenced the Painted Grey Ware and Northern Black Polished Ware cultures. BRW pottery is unknown west of the Indus Valley.

Use of iron, although sparse at first, is relatively early, postdating the beginning of the Iron Age in Anatolia (Hittites) by only two or three centuries, and predating the European (Celts) Iron Age by another two to three hundred years. Recent findings in Northern India show Iron working since 1800 BC .It is succeeded by the Painted Grey Ware culture.
 Q. 58. Give a brief outline of Mahajanapadas.
The term "Janapada" literally means the foothold of a tribe. The fact that Janapada is derived from Jana points to an early stage of land-taking by the Jana tribe for a settled way of life. This process of first settlement on land had completed its final stage prior to the times of the Buddha and Pāṇini. The Pre-Buddhist north-west region of the Indian sub-continent was divided into several Janapadas demarcated from each other by boundaries. In Pāṇini's "Ashtadhyayi", Janapada stands for country and Janapadin for its citizenry. Each of these Janapadas was named after the Kshatriya tribe (or the Kshatriya Jana) who had settled therein. Buddhist and other texts only incidentally refer to sixteen great nations (Solasa Mahajanapadas) which were in existence before the time of the Buddha. 

A Mahājanapada  is one of the sixteen kingdoms or oligarchic republics that existed in the ancient India from the sixth centuries BC to fourth centuries BC. Two of them were most probably 'ganas' ie. republics, and others had forms of monarchy. Ancient Buddhist texts like the Anguttara Nikaya make frequent reference to sixteen great kingdoms and republics which had evolved and flourished in a belt stretching from Gandhara in the northwest to Anga in the eastern part of theIndian subcontinent and included parts of the trans-Vindhyan region prior to the rise of Buddhism in India.

The 6th century BC is often regarded as a major turning point in early Indian history. Archaeologically, this period corresponds in part to the Northern Black Polished Ware culture.
 Q. 57. What do you know of Northern Black Polished Ware culture? Comment on its age. How is it similar to Harappan cultures and how do they differ?
The Northern Black Polished Ware culture ( NBPW/NBP ) is an urban Iron Age culture of the Indian Subcontinent, lasting c. 700–200 BC, succeeding the Painted Grey Ware culture and Black and red ware culture. It developed beginning around 700 BC, or in the late Vedic period, and peaked from c. 500–300 BC, coinciding with the emergence of 16 great states or mahajanapadas in Northern India, and the subsequent rise of the Mauryan Empire. After recent excavations at Gotihwa in Nepal,  by radiocarbon datings it was found  that proto-NBPW is at least from 900 BC. Excavations in India at Ayodhya, Juafardih near Nalanda, and Kolhua near Vaisali, show even earlier radiocarbon datings around 1200 BC. Based on this,  the following chronology may be proposed : Proto-NBPW (1200–800 BC); Early NBPW (800–300 BC); and Late NBPW (300–100 BC).

A luxury style of burnished pottery used by elites, it is associated with the emergence of South Asia's first cities since the decline of the Indus Valley Civilization; this re-urbanization was accompanied by massive embankments and fortifications, significant population growth, increased social stratification, and wide-ranging trade networks.

Scholars have noted similarities between NBP and the much earlier Harappan cultures, among them the ivory dice and combs and a similar system of weights. Other similarities include the utilization of mud, baked bricks and stone in architecture, the construction of large units of public architecture, the systematic development of hydraulic features and a similar craft industry.There are also, however, important differences between these two cultures; for example, rice, millet and sorghum became more important in the NBP culture. The NBP culture may reflect the first state-level organization in the Indian Subcontinent.

Some sites where Northern Black Polished Ware have been found are Mahasthangarh, Chandraketugarh, Wari-Bateshwar,Bangarh and Mangalkot (all in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India).

Other NBPW sites, associated with the mahajanapadas, are Charsada (ancient Pushkalavati) and Taxila, in Pakistan; Delhi or ancient Indraprastha; Hastinapura, Mathura, Kampil/Kampilya, Ahichatra, Ayodhya, Sravasti, Kausambi, Varanasi all in Uttar Pradesh; Vaishali, Rajgir, Pataliputra, and Champa in Bihar; and Ujjain and Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh.
 Q. 56. Who won the Nobel prize for Physics in 2016? For what studies? How are they relevant to us? Write a note on "strange matter."
British-born scientists David Thouless, Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz were awarded 2016 Nobel Prize in physics  for studies on exotic matter that could result in improved materials for electronics or quantum computers.

They  discovered unexpected behaviours of solid materials and devised a mathematical framework to explain their properties.The academy cited the three for “theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter.” Topology is a branch of mathematics that describes properties of objects.

“This year’s Laureates opened the door on an unknown world where matter can assume strange states. They have used advanced mathematical methods to study unusual phases, or states, of matter, such as superconductors, superfluids or thin magnetic films.Thanks to their pioneering work, the hunt is now on for new and exotic phases of matter. Many people are hopeful of future applications in both materials science and electronics.” When matter is in extreme conditions, such as when it's very cold or flat, scientists start to see unusual behaviour from the atoms.
The academy said the laureates’ work in the 1970s and 1980s opened the door to a previously unknown world where matter takes unusual states or phases.Their discoveries have brought about breakthroughs in the theoretical understanding of matter’s mysteries.”

They focused on phenomena that arise in flat forms of matter - on surfaces or inside extremely thin layers that can be considered two-dimensional.This contrasts with the three dimensions (length, width and height) with which we usually describe reality.They  also studied matter that forms threads so thin they can be considered one-dimensional.
Nobel judges often award discoveries made decades ago to make sure they withstand the test of time.
Exotic/Strange Matter and its applications
Phase transitions occur when matter changes from one phase to another, such as when ice melts and becomes water.They described a type of phase transition in a thin layer of very cold matter. In the cold, vortices form as tight pairs, but at higher temperatures, as the phase transition occurs, they separate and "sail" off in different directions.One aspect of the work, known as the Quantum Hall effect, has led to a real-world application in metrology to give a precise definition of the Ohm in resistance. Scientists are exploring whether topological concepts could be used in "robust quantum devices which can do things that classical computers or classical circuit elements are unable to do".

Microsoft's Station Q project is taking just such an approach to the development of powerful quantum computers.In addition,  topological metals could be used in the manufacture of improved conductors or transistors. Physicists are working very hard in the labs to get new materials which have interesting properties of conducting electricity.

Today's advanced technology  relies on our ability to understand and control the properties of the materials involved.This has paved the way for designing new materials with novel properties and there is great hope that this will be important for many future technologies.Their work could result in improved materials for electronics and is already informing one approach to super-fast computing.Thus, The physicists' pioneering research could be used in the next generation of electronics and superconductors.
 Q. 55. Kishanganga
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in  2013, issued a judgment, on the construction of Kishanganga Hydro-electric Project (KHEP) by India, which restructures and modernises the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) between India and Pakistan.

The Kishanganga river, rising near Gurez, is a tributary of the Jhelum. Flowing through J&K it crosses the Line of Control to enter POK as the Neelum river before merging with the Jhelum near Muzaffarabad. Since 2009, a hydro-electric project is being constructed by India with a planned capacity of 330 MW by diverting the waters of the Kishanganga river through a 23-km-long tunnel. It is expected to be completed by 2016.

In  2010, Pakistan approached the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) for arbitration under IWT challenging  inter-tributary diversion.The PCA in  2013 issued a partial award stating that since the KHEP was a runThe PCA, however, decided that India should  maintain a minimum flow of water in the river .In its final award, the PCA unanimously decided on the question of minimum flow that was left unresolved by the partial award, a decision to be binding upon both countries and not open to appeal. The court decided that India shall release a minimum flow of 318 cusecs into the Kishanganga/Neelum river below the KHEP at all times.
 Q. 54. How does the response of China to the award of the Permanent Court of Arbitration on South China Sea contrast with that of India to the India-specific awards of the same tribunal recently?
In July 2016,  the tribunal of five judges at Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration issued an award in Republic of Philippines v. People’s Republic of China, a case filed in 2013 by Manila concerning maritime entitlements and the status of features in the South China Sea, among other issues.The Tribunal  ruled that China’s nine-dash line claim and accompanying claims to historic rights have no validity under international law. China rejected the award.

Beijing’s  response to the PCA ruling on South China Sea contrasts  with Indian acceptance of the PCA judgment on its maritime boundary dispute with Bangladesh. The PCA ruling of July 2014 had awarded nearly four-fifths of the disputed maritime waters to Bangladesh. India showed  its commitment to international  law by accepting the ruling, unlike China, a difference that will be appreciated by  other countries as India seeks its place at various global forums.

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