Daily Current Affairs : 3rd August 2023

Daily current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Special provisions under Article 371C 
  2. Temporary Provision under Article 370
  3. Room Temperature Superconductors
  4. Facts for Prelims

1 . Special Provisions under Article 371 C

Context: Additional Central security forces have been rushed to the Bishnupur-Churachandpur district boundary in Manipur amid a call by a tribal body for the mass burial of 35 Kuki-Zo community members who were killed since May 3 in the ongoing ethnic violence in the State.

Special Provisions under Article 371C

  • Part XXI- Part XXI of the Constitution of India is a compilation of laws pertaining to the constitution of India as a country and the union of states that it is made of. This part of the constitution consists of Articles on Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions
  • The hill areas of Manipur are protected by special provisions under Article 371C of the Constitution.
  • Article 371C, Special provision with respect to the state of Manipur:
    • (1) Notwithstanding anything in this constitution, the President may, by order made with respect to the State of Manipur, provide for the constitution and functions of a committee of the Legislative Assembly of the State consisting of members of that Assembly elected from the Hills Areas of that State, for the modifications to be made in the rules of business of the Government and in the rules of procedure of the Legislative Assembly of the State and for any special responsibility of the Governor in order to secure the proper functioning of such committee. 
    • (2) The Governor shall annually, or whenever so required by the President, make a report to the President regarding the administration of the Hill Areas in the State of Manipur and the executive power of the Union shall extend to the giving of directions to the State as to the administration of the said areas. 
  • Hill Areas” means such areas as the President may, by order, declare to be Hill areas. 
  • The Article 371C provides special scheduled status for such Hill Areas with such powers that such tribal legislatures of the scheduled areas are to safeguard and constitutionally of their own interest of determination.

Hill area committee of the Manipur

  • It is a constitutional body setup under section 371C of the constitution of India.
  • Composition– The Hill areas Committee comprises of all M. L. As elected from the hill areas of the State as its members. The members then elect Chairman and Vice Chairman and other functionaries through nomination/consensus.
  • Power – Hill Area Committee of the Manipur Legislative Assembly to provide legislative protection to the interest of the hill areas.
  • The Hill Areas Committee (HAC) of Manipur Legislative Assembly is empowered to monitor legislation and administration for the hill areas.
  • Functions– This is the highest body in the State at the legislative level to oversee the planning, implementation and monitoring of all development activities in the hill areas of the State.  

2 . Temporary Provisions Under Article 370

Context: The Supreme court began hearing the constitutional challenge to the 2019 abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

Article 370 of the constitution

  • Article 370 is in Part XXI of the Constitution, titled “Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions”.
  • Article 370 is titled “Temporary provisions with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir”.
  • Article 370 explains as “ Notwithstanding anything in the foregoing provisions of this article, the President may, by public notification, declare that this article shall cease to be operative or shall be operative only with such exceptions and modifications and from such date as he may specify: Provided that the recommendation of the Constituent Assembly of the State referred to in Clause (2) shall be necessary before the President issues such a notification.”
  • While the Constitution of India came into force in 1950, the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir came into being only in 1951. Yet, Article 370(3) makes a reference to the “Constituent Assembly of the State”.
  • Clause (3) of Article 370 provided that any change to the relationship between the State of Jammu and Kashmir and the Indian Union could only be brought about on the recommendation of the Constituent Assembly.
  • The Constitution of J&K was adopted on November 17, 1956, and came into effect on January 26, 1957. After this, the Constituent Assembly ceased to exist. Once the Constituent Assembly created the Constitution for the State, and then ceased to exist after its tenure from 1951-1957, the Article became a permanent feature of the Constitution. Parliament could not have abrogated Article 370 after 1957 because it could not have sought the recommendation of the Constituent Assembly once it ceased to exist.

3 . Room Temperature Superconductors

Context: Two South Korean researchers posted two related papers on the internet, not yet peer-reviewed, claiming that a lead-based compound they had developed had shown superconducting properties at room temperature, under normal pressure conditions.

Room temperature Superconductivity

  • Superconductivity is a phenomenon that, so far, has been possible only at extremely low temperatures, in the range of 100°C below zero. The search for a material that exhibits superconductivity at room temperature, or at least manageable low temperatures, has been going on for decades, without success. If the claimed discovery were confirmed, it could be one of the biggest breakthroughs in physics in this century so far.

What is superconductivity?

  • It is a state in which a material shows absolutely zero electrical resistance. While resistance is a property that restricts the flow of electricity, superconductivity allows unhindered flow.
  • Electricity is essentially the movement of free electrons in a conducting material like copper. While the movement of electrons is in one particular direction, it is random and haphazard. They frequently collide with one another, and with other particles in the material, thus offering resistance to the flow of current. In the process, a lot of electrical energy is lost as heat. Resistance is a measurable quantity, which varies with the material.
  • In a superconducting state, however, the material offers no resistance at all. All the electrons align themselves in a particular direction, and move without any obstruction in a “coherent” manner. Because of zero resistance, superconducting materials can save huge amounts of energy, and be used to make highly efficient electrical appliances.
  • The Superconductors are already being used, but their use is limited because of the extreme conditions that have to be created.

Extremely low temperatures: What current superconductors look like?

  • As of now, superconductivity can be achieved only at very low temperatures, more than 250 degree Celsius below zero, very close to absolute zero which is – 273 degree Celsius.
  • The first material to have been discovered to show super conductive properties was Mercury, which becomes a superconductor at close to 270 degree Celsius below zero. Most of the other materials commonly used as superconductors – Lead, Aluminum, Tin, Niobium, and several others – also become superconducting at comparable temperatures, called critical temperature.
  • In some cases, materials can exhibit superconductivity at slightly higher temperatures as well, but under increased pressure conditions. It is all about creating the right kind of conditions for the electrons in the material to move without resistance, and a variety of tweaks are experimented with depending upon the internal atomic structure of the material.
  • Even the materials that are classified as ‘high temperature’ superconductors, as of now, show superconductive properties only well below -150 degrees Celsius. There have been claims for superconductivity at much higher temperatures, in some cases, above zero degree Celsius as well, but these are either contested or require extreme pressure conditions.
  • What scientists look for?– Scientists are looking for a material that can display superconductivity at room temperature (usually considered to be between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius) and under normal pressure conditions. But room-temperature superconductivity does not necessarily have to be at room temperature. The term is commonly used to describe superconductive properties in conditions that are easy to create.  Any material that would display superconductivity in an easily obtainable condition would qualify as the superconducting solution that the world is searching for.

4 . Facts for Prelims

Vivad se Vishwas II scheme

  • The Vivad se Vishwas II (Contractual Disputes) scheme was announced in 2023-24 Budget for settlement of pending disputes related to government contracts. Under the scheme, contractors would be offered settlement amounts depending on the status of a dispute.
  • As per the scheme announced by the Department of Expenditure, in cases of disputes where court or arbitral order has been passed, the settlement amount would be 85 per cent or 65 per cent of the amount awarded by the court or the arbitral tribunal respectively.
  • The scheme would commence from July 15, 2023, and claims can be submitted by October 31, 2023.

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