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Retribution for the south, accolade for the north

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Retribution for the south, accolade for the north

 

 

Why in the News?

The South Indian states face the risk of reduced political representation due to its lower population size compared to the northern states, amid the recent passing of Women Reservation bill, 2023 in the Parliament.

Delimitation and political representation:

  1. Article 81 of the Constitution: The Lok Sabha constituencies in the country should be equal by the size of population.
    1. 42nd Amendment Act 1976: The no. of Lok Sabha constituencies for States was determined based on 1971 census and frozen for the next 25 years.
    2. 84th Amendment Act: the freeze on no. of constituencies for each State was further prolonged until the first Census after 2026.
  2. The population growth rates difference between the northern and southern states:
    1. The proportion of the population of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh increased from 44% to 48.2%, between 1971 and 2011.
    2. During the same period, the proportion of population of the five southern States declined from 24.9% to 21.1%.
  3. If the size of Lok Sabha constituencies be enforced based on population projections of 2023, the five southern States will lose 23 seats, while the northern States will gain 37.
  4. The freeze on distribution of seats among States has to be continued.
    1. Southern states have achieved population control due to combined efforts of social changes brought in by the leaders along with implementation of family planning programmes.
    2. reducing the proportional representation of southern States shall be not only a disincentive for these States but also an incentive for others for inaction towards population control and social change as public policy.

Role of population in fiscal transfers:

  1. The Finance Commission constituted to recommend horizontal distribution of the Union government’s tax revenue among the States, provides larger weightage for Population and per capita income of a State.
  2. Population of a State is a measure of demand for public expenditure.
    1. The Eighth Finance Commission (1984-89), stipulated to use only the 1971 population in the distribution instead of the 1981 population, which continued till the Thirteenth Finance Commission (2010-15).
    2. The Fourteenth Finance Commission considered 1971 population, along with demographic changes since 1971, which immensely rewarded the southern States for controlling the population.
    3. However, the use of 2011 population in the distribution formula of the Fifteenth Finance Commission led to loss of advantage of gaining financial rewards for population control by the southern States.
  3. The per capita income of a State is as the ability to raise its own revenue. 
    1. A higher per capita income (PCI) of a State shall lead to lower share in the Union tax revenue.
    2. Lower PCI of a State may be due to higher population for a given Gross State Domestic Product, which suggests that higher the current population of a State, the higher its share in the Union tax revenue. 
    3. The combined share of the 5 southern States in the Union government’s tax revenue declined from 21.1% to 15.8%. while the combined share of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh increased from 51.5% to 53.2% from 2000-05 to 2021-26.

An Accounting System for Carbon

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An Accounting System for Carbon

 

Climate ‘polycrisis’:

  1. It was a term made popular by Adam Tooze.
  2. It refers to the interconnected and compounding crises related to climate change that are affecting the planet not only in few sectors but across several sectors and domains.
  3. It encompasses all dimensions of impacts of climate change such as physical, social, economic, and political.
  4. The impact of climate change can be witnessed in different sectors such as energy, infrastructure, health, migration and food production.
  5. Therefore, adoption of a holistic approach imbibing diverse perspectives and priorities of different stakeholders and ensuring resilience, equity, and justice becomes important.
  6. Main issue of Climate polycrisis is tweaking one corner of the climate challenge leads to unexpected consequences elsewhere.

Developing a ‘carbon infrastructure’ for accounting carbon:

  1. A ‘carbon infrastructure’ can
    1. creates opportunities for a flourishing future carbon regime
    2. the flows of carbon can be taken into account in the formulation of policy at every level: household, panchayat, district, State and country.
  2. Measurement as the first step
    1. A measurement system has to be put into place which is capable of measuring carbon emissions from individual citizens to the nation as a whole, including all that is in the flow.
    2. Such a measurement system shall help to build an accounting system for balancing our carbon emissions.
  3. National carbon accounting (NCA) system:
    1. Carbon accounting can be used by companies to keep track of the carbon they are producing, removing, storing and offsetting.
    2. Akin to financial balance sheets with their sources and applications, a carbon accounting system can be developed.
    3. Such a system will bring the entire nation, starting from individuals and households, under one carbon accounting framework. 
    4. This can truly internalise carbon reduction goals of the country and the world.
    5. Existing carbon accounting methodologies for tracking carbon balance sheets at the corporate level such as those championed by Karthik Ramanna at Oxford can act as an ideal model.
    6. The system shall mandate businesses and individuals to declare/report their carbon inflows and outflows, making the circulation of carbon visible.
    7. As both an evolutionary and a revolutionary generalisation of these ideas, other goods and services can be ‘financed’ using carbon surpluses, especially if there is convertibility between the carbon accounts and the rupee accounts.
    8. The ability to set targets, make predictions, about future emission reductions and track the progress against the set goals becomes more meaningful.
  4. A national carbon budget:
    1. It can help to re-imagine the entire economy, including new technologies and new forms of collective action.
    2. Along with the goal of increasing economic GDP in money terms, a parallel goal of a reducing carbon GDP can be achieved.

The NCA can help in bringing transparency about the carbon footprint of human activities, create new livelihoods and new forms of organising its economy and society, alignment between development and ecological sustainability, besides helping India to meet its commitment to becoming net zero by 2070. Thus, NCA is a polysolution to a polycrisis.

 

Chemistry Nobel Prize 2023

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Chemistry Nobel Prize 2023

 

 

Why in the News?

The 2023 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to Moungi G. Bawendi, Louis E. Brus and Alexei I. Ekimov “for the discovery and synthesis of quantum dots” and have been lauded as pioneers in the exploration of the nanoworld.

Work of the Awardees:

  1. In 1980s, Louis Brus and Alexei Ekimov succeeded independently creating quantum dots, which are nanoparticles so tiny that quantum effects determine their characteristics.
  2. In 1993, laureate Moungi Bawendi revolutionised the methods for manufacturing quantum dots, making their quality extremely high – a vital prerequisite for their use in today’s nanotechnology.

Quantum dots:

  1. Usually, every element exhibits specific properties which will be same regardless of its size. This form one of the fundamental facts of chemistry.
  • For instance, a piece of pure gold, whether it is a large 100-gram piece or a small 10 milligram one, has exactly the same properties.
  1. However, very small particles, in the nanoscale range (1 to 100 billionth of a metre) behave slightly differently from larger particles of the same element. 
  2. Alexei Ekimov was the first to notice this deviant behaviour in Copper Chloride nanoparticles around 1980, and manufacture these nanoparticles to show this change in behaviour.
  3. Louis Brus, an American scientist working independently, discovered similar behaviour in Cadmium Sulphide nanoparticles.
  4. The deviant behaviour of small nanoparticles arises because of the emergence of quantum effects.
  5. The quantum theory explains that, usually, electrons move around in a large empty space, relatively, outside the nucleus of the atom but when the size of the particles is reduced drastically, electrons in the atoms find themselves increasingly squeezed giving rise to the strange quantum effects.
  6. Such strange effects and special properties were found in nanoparticles and hence were called quantum dots.

The discoveries:

  1. When nanoparticles interact with light, the colour of any material depends on the wavelengths of the light spectrum absorbed or reflected by the material.
  2. This led to the conclusion that number of electrons, the properties of the material were also being dictated by its size.

 

 

 

 

Applications: