Daily Prelims Notes 5 October 2022
- October 5, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
5 October 2022
Table Of Contents
- Chola Dynasty
- Election Commission asks parties to explain how they plan to finance poll promises
- New R&D norms to fast-track research on genome-edited crops
- Making abortion rights more inclusive
- Even when ‘asleep’ for 70 years, Sun’s ‘clock’ kept ticking: study
- Nobel Prize in Physics: Breakthroughs in quantum tech
- Study tracks new source for radio emissions from black hole core
About Chola Dynasty
- The Cholas (8th-12th century AD) are remembered as one of the longest ruling dynasties in the southern regions of India.
- The reign of the Cholas began in the 9th century when they defeated the Pallavas to come into power. This rule stretched over for over five long centuries until the 13th century.
- The medieval period was the era of absolute power and development for the Cholas. This is when kings like Aditya I and Parantaka
- From here Rajaraj Chola and Rajendra Chola further expanded the kingdom into the Tamil region.
- Later Kulothunga Chola took over Kalinga to establish a strong rule.This magnificence lasted until the arrival of the Pandyas in the early 13th century.
- Vijayalaya: The Chola Empire was founded by Vijayalaya. He took over the Tanjore kingdom in the 8th century and led to the rise of the mighty Cholas by defeating the Pallavas.
- Aditya I: Aditya I succeeded Vijayalaya to become the ruler of the empire. He defeated king Aparajita and the empire gained massive power under his reign.
- He conquered the Pandya Kings along with the Vadumbas and established control over the Pallavas’ power in the region.
- RajarajaChola : Most famous and mighty king of medieval chola dynasty. He consolidated the chola power in the southern India. He built the Tanjore Big Temple dedicated to lord Shiva.
- Rajendra Chola: He succeeded the mighty Rajaraja Chola. Rajendra I was the first to venture to the banks of Ganges. He was popularly called the Victor of the Ganges.
- This period is referred to as the golden age of the Cholas. After his rule, the kingdom witnessed a widespread downfall.
Administration And Governance:
- During the governance by the Cholas, the entire southern region was brought under the umbrella of a single governing force. The Cholas ruled in a sustained Monarchy.
- The massive kingdom was divided into provinces which were known as mandalams.
- Separate governors were held in charge for each mandalam.
- These were further divided into districts called nadus which consisted of tehsils.
- The system of rule was such that each village acted as a self-governing unit during the era of the Cholas.
- The Cholas were ardent patrons of art, poetry, literature and drama, the administration was seen investing in the construction of several temples and complexes with sculptures and paintings.
- The king remained the central authority who would make the major decisions and carry out the governance.
- Chola architecture (871-1173 AD) was the epitome of the Dravida style of temple architecture.
- They produced some of the most grandeur temples in medieval India.
- Chola temples like Brihadeshwara temple, Rajarajeshwara temple, GangaikondaCholapuram temple took Dravidian architecture to newer heights. Temple architecture continued to flourish even after Cholas.
- An important piece of Chola sculpture was the sculpture of Nataraja in the Tandava dance posture.
- Though the earliest known Nataraja sculpture, which has been excavated at Ravanaphadi cave at Aihole, was made during the early Chalukya rule, the sculpture reached its peak under the Cholas.
- The later phase of Chola art, in the 13th century, is illustrated by the sculpture showing Bhudevi, or the earth goddess as the younger consort of Vishnu. She stands in a gracefully flexed attitude on a lotus base holding a lily in her right hand, while the left arm hangs along her side.
- Chola bronze images are considered amongst the finest in the world.
Context : The Election Commission of India wrote to parties proposing that they spell out ways and means of raising additional resources to finance the promises, and the impact it would have on the fiscal sustainability of the state or the Central government.
- The EC, in its letter to all recognised national and state parties, has prescribed a standardised disclosure proforma for them to declare quantification of the physical coverage of the schemes promised, financial implications of the promise and availability of the financial resources.
- The parties will have to detail how they propose to raise the additional resources to finance the scheme or schemes if voted to power – like whether they plan an increase in tax and non-tax revenues, rationalise expenditure, go for additional borrowings or do it in any other manner.
- In addition to the above, the impact on the fiscal sustainability also has to be specified by the political parties.
- To make these steps mandatory, the EC plans to propose an amendment to the relevant clauses in the Model Code of Conduct(MCC).
- As per SC directive, EC has already framed guidelines in 2015 and 2019 under MCC to regulate and standardize the electoral manifestoes published by the political parties.
About Model Code of Conduct
- The MCC is a set of guidelines issued by the Election Commission (EC) to regulate political parties and candidates prior to elections. Basically, the code spells out the do’s and don’ts for elections.
- This is in keeping with Article 324 of the Constitution, which mandates EC to conduct free and fair elections to the Parliament and State Legislatures.
- It is not statutory but Political Parties, Candidates and Polling Agents are expected to observe the norms, on matters ranging from the content of election manifestos, speeches and processions, to general conduct etc.
- The code comes into force on the announcement of the poll schedule and remains operational till the process is concluded.
- The EC has devised several mechanisms to take note of the violation of the code, which include joint task forces of enforcement agencies and flying squads.
- Though MCC does not have any statutory backing, but the Code has come to acquire teeth in the past decade because of its strict enforcement by the EC.
- Certain provisions of the MCC may be enforced through invoking corresponding provisions in other statutes such as the Indian Penal Code, 1860, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, and Representation of the People Act, 1951.
- In 2013, the Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, recommended making the model code of conduct legally binding. It recommended that the MCC be made a part of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
- The EC argues against making it legally binding. According to it, elections must be completed within a relatively short time or close to 45 days, and judicial proceedings typically take longer, therefore it is not feasible to make it enforceable by law.
Subject : Science & technology
Context :The department of biotechnology (DBT) on Tuesday issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) for research and development (R&D) on certain types of genome edited plants, which is expected to accelerate crop yields and agricultural productivity.
- Earlier, the environment ministry, in a notification in March 2022, had exempted site directed nuclease (SDN) 1 and 2 genomes from rules 7-11 of the Environment Protection Act.
- Thus avoiding a long process for approval of genetically modified (GM) crops through the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC).
- The GEAC evaluates research into GM plants and recommends, or disapproves, their release into farmer fields.
- The final call, however, is taken by the Environment Ministeras well as States where such plants could be cultivated.
- Expert committee constituted by DBT has issued the SOPs in line with the notification, provide for a regulatory road map and requirement for R&D to meet the threshold for exemptions of genome edited plants under the SDN1 OR SDN 2 categories.
- Genome editing enables modification of plants’ owned genes, without insertion of external genes, as with GM crops.
- Genome-edited varieties possess no foreign DNA and are indistinguishable from crops developed through conventional plant-breeding methods, or using naturally occurring mutations.
Approaches to Genome Editing:
- Several approaches to genome editing have been developed. A well-known one is called CRISPR-Cas9.
- CRISPR-Cas9 is short for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic repeats and CRISPR-associated protein 9.
- This tool has opened up various possibilities in plant breeding. Using this tool, agricultural scientists can now edit the genome to insert specific traits in the gene sequence.
- Depending on the nature of the edit that is carried out, the process is divided into three categories — SDN 1, SDN 2 and SDN 3.
- Site Directed Nuclease (SDN) 1 introduces changes in the host genome’s DNA through small insertions/deletions without introduction of foreign genetic material.
- In SDN 2, the edit involves using a small DNA template to generate specific changes. Both these processes do not involve alien genetic material and the end result is indistinguishable from conventionally bred crop varieties.
- The SDN3 process involves larger DNA elements or full-length genes of foreign origin which makes it similar to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) development.
Difference between Gene Editing and Genetic Modification
- To create genetically modified crops and animals, scientists will typically remove the preferred gene from one organism and randomly introduce it into another organism.
- A well-known genetically modified type of crop is Bt corn and cotton, where a bacterial gene was introduced that produces insecticidal toxins into the part of the plant where the insect eats, causing death to the insect.
- In simple terms, gene editing is a small, controlled tweak to a living organism’s existing DNA versus the introduction of a new, foreign gene.
- It is nearly impossible to detect whether an organism’s DNA has been edited or not because the changes are indistinguishable from naturally occurring mutations.
Subject :Human Rights
Context :Supreme Court says abortion rights not limited to ‘cis-gender women’.
- The Supreme Court said it was unconstitutional to distinguish between married and unmarried women while allowing abortion when the foetus is between 20-24 weeks.
- Going a step further, the court said the term ‘woman’ in the judgment included persons other than cisgender women.
- The SC verdict is a step in the direction of officially recognising that it is not just cisgender women who can give birth – transgender and genderqueer people also give birth.
What is cisgender?
- The term cisgender is used to define people whose gender identity and expression match the identity assigned to them at birth.
- When a child is born, it is assigned a gender identity based on its physical characteristics.
- Many believe that gender is a social construct, and growing up, the child may or may not confirm to the birth identity.
- For transgender people, their sense of gender identity does not match the one assigned to them at birth.
- Thus, a cisgender woman is a person who was assigned female at birth and continues to identify as a woman.
- On the other hand, a child assigned female at birth can feel it identifies more authentically as a man as it grows up.
Subject : Science and Technology
- In 1645, the Sun — by then a 4.5-billion-year-old star — entered into slumber and nearly stopped producing sunspots.
- As the Sun continued to remain in this somber phase for the next 70 years, famously known as the solar grand minimum, the overall solar activity remained below normal.
- Aiming to dig deeper and understand the Sun’s behaviour during these seven decades, a group of scientists at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Kolkata, has performed one of the longest computer simulations of historical solar activity spanning 10,000 years.
- The group has now discovered that even during the Sun’s extreme inactive period between 1645 and 1715, also known as the Maunder minimum, the giant star and its dynamo mechanism never stopped functioning.
- The Sun is constantly burning hydrogen to produce helium, and this is known as nuclear fusion.
- As a giant hot gas ball located at the centre of our Solar System, it is the Sun’s energy that supports life on Earth; its gravity keeps planets and stars intact.
- Any changes on the solar surface or its periphery, even by a minor measure, can affect the Earth’s atmosphere and space weather.
- Powerful solar storms and solar flares are potentially harmful to Earth’s satellite-based operations, functioning of power grids and navigational networks.
- The constant churning of electrically charged particles known as plasma in the Sun’s interior produces the Sun’s magnetic field through a process known as the solar dynamo mechanism.
- In turn, this produces the 11-year-long solar cycle.
- Once every 11 years, the Sun’s magnetic north and south poles reverse their polarity.
- During every such cycle, the solar activity waxes and wanes and so does the appearance of sunspots (regions of super-strong magnetic fields on the Sun appearing as dark spots).
- During grand minima years, the magnetic field production in the Sun’s convective zone weakens due to turbulent fluctuations reducing the Sun’s ability to produce sunspots.
- But absence or fewer sunspots did not mean that the 11-year solar cycle completely switched off.
- Their research found that the Sun’s internal solar cycle “clock” kept ticking.
- Their findings link this clock with the meridional circulation – a large-scale river-like flow of plasma inside the Sun.
- This circulation acts like a timekeeper and still keeps a weak cycle going inside the Sun during quiet (minima) phases.
- While there is limited historical observational data on the Sun from the past, the researchers at the Centre of Excellence in Space Sciences, India, (CESSI), IISER, Kolkata, used computational models to understand how this star has behaved over 10,000-years-long timescales.
Subject: Science and Technology
- The Nobel Prize committee decided to honour three scientists — Alain Aspect of France, John Clauser of the US, and Anton Zeilinger of Austria.
- Their experiments have conclusively established that the ‘entanglement’ phenomenon observed in quantum particles was real, not a result of any ‘hidden’ or unknown forces and that it could be utilised to make transformative technological advances in computing, hack-free communications, and science fiction-like concept of ‘teleportation’.
Background of Quantum theory–
- By the start of the 20th century, a few scientists observed that the behaviour of tiny sub-atomic particles like protons or electrons was not consistent with the classical Newtonian laws of physics.
- Over the next 30 years, they together strung the Quantum Theory, which described the seemingly bizarre behaviour of sub-atomic particles with remarkable accuracy.
- But Quantum Theory went completely against everyday experiences.
- It allowed a particle to exist simultaneously at multiple locations, a phenomenon known as superposition.
- The chance of finding the particle at any given place was dictated by probabilistic calculations, and once it was found, or observed, at one location, it ceased to exist at all other places.
- Entanglement was another of several weird properties exhibited by these tiny particles.
- Two particles, having ‘interacted’ with each other at some stage, were found to have got ‘entangled’ in a way that the behaviour of one produced an instantaneous reaction in the other even if the two were no longer connected in any way and were separated by very large distances.
- Einstein, in particular, was extremely uncomfortable with this.
- His Special Theory of Relativity prohibited any signal from travelling faster than the speed of light.
- The seemingly instantaneous communication due to entanglement had the danger of further unravelling the foundations of physics.
- Einstein proposed that there was something missing, and that Quantum Theory was not yet complete.
- Experimentalists, in the meanwhile, were discovering that almost every prediction made by Quantum Theory was being obeyed by the sub-atomic particles.
- The theory was remarkably accurate.
- The problem was that an experiment to test a phenomenon like entanglement did not appear feasible.
- John Bell in 1964, showed mathematically what was required to be done by experimentalists to establish the phenomenon of entanglement.
- The famous Bell’s inequality, if maintained in the results of the experiment, would mean that Einstein was right.
- If violated, it would prove the predictions of Quantum Theory.
Experiments of Clauser, Alain and Zeilinger–
- The 79-year-old Clauser was the first to set up an experiment to test entanglement.
- In 1972, his experiments produced results that were a clear violation of Bell’s inequality.
- But sceptics pointed to certain aspects of the experiment which could have influenced a favourable result.
- Alain Aspect is credited with vastly improving the set-up of Clauser and removing all the loopholes critics had found. Aspect’s experiments also produced results that violated Bell’s inequality.
- Anton Zeilinger, and his colleagues, in the meanwhile, had already started exploiting the entanglement property to open up new technological possibilities.
- Zeilinger demonstrated for the first time that it was possible to ‘teleport’ the quantum states of a particle to another location without the particle moving anywhere and without a medium.
- These experiments conducted by Clauser, Aspect and Zeilinger have decisively demonstrated that entanglement was real and in accordance with the Quantum Theory, and that it was not being driven by any hidden forces as suggested by Einstein and others.
Application of quantum theory–
- The entanglement property is now being utilised to build the next generation of computers, called quantum computers.
- It is being used to create secure communication algorithms that would be immune to hacking.
Subject: Science and Technology
- Black holes are the exotic objects that are powered by the accretion of matter from the surroundings at extremely high velocities.
- In reality, nothing, including light, can avoid the fatal attraction of a black hole due to its super strong gravity.
- Black holes of different masses can be found in the Universe, ranging from a few solar masses in Black Hole X-ray Binaries (BH-XRBs) to a few billion solar masses in Active Galactic Nuclei (AGNs).
- A fraction of these astrophysical objects emit powerful radio emission from the center.
- However, the origin of this core radio emission is still unclear.
- Several sources of core radio emissions have previously been proposed to power the jets in astrophysical sources like the rotational energy of black holes.
What the new study has found-
- A group of Indian astronomers has claimed to have found clues of possible sources for origin of radio emissions emerging from central regions of black holes.
- Though many previous studies have linked multiple sources for the emissions, this new study has found energy from the accretion disk to be powering the radio signals rather than the rotational energy from the spin of the black holes, as previously believed.
- The findings of this joint-study, conducted by researchers from Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences, Indian Institute of Astrophysics , IITs-Guwahati and Indore along with Xiamen University, China.