News & Editorial Analysis 15 December 2022
SC gives Centre three months to form Tamil Nadu-Karnataka water disputes tribunal (Society : GS l) Page 3
The Supreme Court gave the Centre three months to constitute an Inter-state River Water Disputes Tribunal to resolve the dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka over constructions in Pennaiyar river.
Tamil Nadu had filled an original suit in 2018 against Karnataka’s work on check dams and diversions’ structures in the river maintaining that The flowing water of an Inter-State river was a national asset, and no single state can claim exclusive ownership of it.
Tamil Nadu argued that a 1892 agreement over the river water was “valid and binding” on the party States.
Karnataka should not suo motu proceed to construct check dams which would amount to infringement of the rights of the people of Tamil Nadu.
Energy conundrum : Solar power is important for India, but it will not serve every energy need (Environment: GS lll) Page6
At the core of India’s energy transformation is its bet on solar power as India has promised to source nearly half of its energy from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030 and source at least 60% of its renewable energy from solar power.
But India faces significant headwind in this quest.
A key central policy to source solar power is facilitating the establishment of large solar parks for which the Centre announced the ‘Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects’.
Notwithstanding its claims on international podium that it is on track to meeting renewable energy targets, it is no secret that India is lagging behind.
By the end of 2022, India had committed to having in place 1,75,000 MW of renewable energy capacity, with 1,00,000 MW from solar power. However, only 61,000 MW of such power capacity has actually been installed.
While India should continue to expand its economy on the back of renewable energy, the Government must take a hard look at whether renewable power, solar, wind or nuclear, meets standards of economic viability and environmental sustainability.
Solar power may be a valuable tool in India’s energy transformation story, but it cannot be the panacea for every need.
How gene therapy could cure cancer? ( S&T: GS lll) Page 8
NEWS – Scientists in the United Kingdom testing a new form of cancer therapy, reported success in a teenaged girl, Alyssia, with a form of cancer called T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
What marked Alyssia’s treatment?
Alyssia tried several of the standard treatments including chemotherapy and radiation but with limited success. She then enrolled in a trial where she received experimental gene therapy that relied on a new technique called ‘base editing’.
What is ‘base editing?’
In the last two decades, the world of biomedical engineering has been enthused by a technique that allows genes to be altered and errors fixed. The most popular technique has been the CRISPR-cas9 system.
The CRISPR-cas9 system, consists of an enzyme that acts like molecular scissors. It can be made to cut a piece of DNA at a precise location and a guide RNA can be used to insert a changed genetic code at the sites of incision.
This kind of base editing is reportedly more effective at treating blood disorders which are caused by so called single point mutations, or when a change in a single base pair can cause terminal disease.
How did baseediting work for Alyssia’s therapy?
The objective of the therapy in the case of T-cell leukaemia was to fix her immune system in a way that it stops making cancerous T-cells.
How effective was the treatment?
Three months after the treatment, her cancer seemed to resurface but the most recent investigations suggest no signs of it.
It has been 1.5 years since she was first diagnosed with the disease and whether the treatment has reliably and entirely fixed her immune system remains to be established.
The Hindu Editorial Analysis
The Assam government recently informed the Assembly that as of January 31, more than 1.44 lakh illegal aliens had been discovered in the state, in accordance with the 1985 Assam Accord.
All told, 30,000 of them had been returned to their own nation.
The terms “adi basinda,” “khilonjia,” and “Axomiya janagan,” which refer to Assamese people, have not yet been defined but are included in the Accord, claims the administration.
The Assam Accord, which was signed in 1985 by the Center and the Assam government, included both the All Assam Student Union (AASU) and the All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad, which had led the Assam Movement against immigration from Bangladesh from 1979 to 1985.
To implement the various stipulations of the Assam Accord, the “Implementation of Assam Accord Department” was created in 1986.
On March 24, 1971, the Accord was declared to be over. On that date, anyone entering Assam before midnight would be regarded as an Indian citizen; anyone arriving after midnight would be regarded as a foreigner.
Using the same cut-off, the National Register of Citizens was updated (NRC).
In order to protect, maintain, and strengthen the Assamese people’s cultural, social, and linguistic identity and history, the Assam Accord’s Clause 6 promises “constitutional, legislative, and administrative safeguards.” However, the statement does not provide a detailed definition of the “Assamese people.”
Since many people thought the 1971 cutoff was insufficient, Clause 6 is essential.
The Assam Movement designated 1951 to be the exclusion year.
Many said that because the cut-off date for the rest of India is 1948, the Assam Accord will confer citizenship to a group of migrants who would otherwise be categorised as foreigners.
Clause 6 was therefore seen as a protection clause that would preserve certain rights for Assamese citizens while excluding particular groups from those who were granted citizenship based on the 1971 cut off date.
Why is the definition so challenging to comprehend?
Assam’s population has changed as a result of decades of migration.
During the colonial era, a large number of immigrants had already settled in this area. The issue was whether the term “Assamese” might exclude someone who, for instance, might have lived in Assam for 100 years with their family, notwithstanding the possibility that they might not be native speakers of an indigenous language like Assamese, Bodo, or Karbi.
There is no agreed-upon definition for the contested names “Axomiya” and “Assamese.” Axomiya individuals are thought to be those whose ancestors resided in Assam prior to Assam’s incorporation into British India in 1826.
Others think that “Axomiya” refers to anyone who permanently resided in Assam prior to 1951, the year the first NRC was established.
Some people believe that everyone who speaks Assamese (or any other native language) is an Axomiya.
People from the Barak Valley, where Bengali is a first language, want to include Bengali-speaking Assamese in the category of “Assamese,” which encompasses a wider range of people.
The following terms are still without definitions
Khilonjia: In common speech, “khilonjia” refers to all indigenous communities. The question is who would be considered an indigenous person. Although one school of thought holds that the term should cover various communities whose history in Assam dates back before the annexation with British India, others disagree with this reasoning due to the people who would be excluded.
Basinda Adi The tribes that have lived in Assam for ages are considered to be its “original inhabitants.” Even this term has not been agreed upon, however some Assamese people want this to encompass indigenous groups that the British colonial authorities settle.
The Indian Express Editorial Analysis
NUCLEAR FUSION AND FISSION
The process through which a significant amount of energy is produced when a large number of tiny nuclei combine into a single massive nucleus is known as nuclear fusion.
The opposite of this process is fission, which causes the splitting of heavy isotopes.
The Sun’s energy-producing mechanism, fusion, can be utilised to create an endless supply of sustainable energy.
The sun’s enormous gravity and intense pressure are the perfect environment for fusion to occur.
Plasma is the state of matter where fusion processes take place. Positive ions and free-moving electrons make up the hot, charged gas known as plasma, which differs from solids, liquids, and other gases due to its special features. When an atom is heated to a high temperature, the electrons in its nucleus are torn away, creating plasma or an ionised state of matter. Plasma is known as the fourth state of matter.
What benefits does nuclear fusion offer?
Plenty of vigor Controlled nuclear fission and chemical processes like burning coal, oil, or gas provide almost four million times as much energy as controlled atom fusion (at equal mass).
The base load energy required to power cities and commercial structures may be producible by fusion.
Sustainability: Fusion reactor fuel is widely accessible and practically limitless. While tritium will be created during the fusion process as fusion neutrons interact with lithium, deuterium may be recovered from all types of water.
CO2 Fusion does not result in the atmospheric release of carbon dioxide or other dangerous greenhouse gases. Helium, a safe gas, is one of its main by-products.
The high activity, long-lived nuclear waste produced by radioactive fusion reactors does not exist.
The risk of proliferation is reduced because fusion does not require fissile elements like uranium and plutonium (Radioactive tritium is neither a fissile nor a fissionable material).
There is no chance of a meltdown because it is tough enough to maintain the precise conditions needed for fusion. In the event of an error, the plasma rapidly cools and the reaction is terminated.
What other international initiatives exist in nuclear fusion energy?
Assembly of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) In order to demonstrate that fusion may be a sizable, carbon-free source of energy; it plans to construct the largest tokamak in the entire globe. China, the European Union, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia, and the United States are among the nations represented on ITER.
Chinese scientists developed the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST), which mimics the sun’s nuclear fusion process.
The splitting of a nucleus into two pieces is known as fission.
Millions of uranium nuclei can be found inside each uranium fuel pellet.
A tremendous amount of energy is produced when these nuclei separate.
Although kinetic energy predominates, some of this energy is derived via radiation.
This energy is used in a reactor to produce heat, which creates steam, which ultimately turns into electricity.
Why is fusion more effective at producing energy than fission?
There are several reasons why fusion is superior to fission. In order to begin, fission requires more fuel than fusion.
Another fuel for fusion is deuterium, an abundant form of hydrogen found in nature.
On the other side, the fission fuel (thorium, plutonium, or uranium) is very expensive and very difficult to obtain.
Nuclear fusion, unlike nuclear fission, produces just helium atoms as a byproduct, which mankind may use in a variety of ways. Nuclear fusion does not produce radioactive waste.
Unlike nuclear fission, which can trigger uncontrollable chain reactions, nuclear fusion virtually eliminates the possibility of a meltdown.
Why not switch to nuclear fusion then?
At least 100 million degrees Celsius, or six times the temperature of the sun’s core, must be reached before fusion can take place on Earth.
The gravity in the centre of the sun, a natural fusion reactor, causes it to produce an immense amount of pressure in order to compensate for its low temperature of 15 million degrees.
Although fusion reactors are being developed, the goal of using fusion to produce energy is defeated by the fact that they use a lot more energy than they produce.
Finding materials that can withstand the reaction can be challenging.
Once fusion has started, a sizable amount of more energy is needed to keep it going.
Today, we use a machine called the to carry out fusion reactions.
According to the official media, China’s “artificial sun” just established a record by operating at 120 million degrees Fahrenheit for 101 seconds. Chinese researchers created the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) tokamak to mimic the sun’s nuclear fusion process.
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