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Question and Answer


 Q. 79. Write a short note on the evolution from Look East to Act east of India's policy.
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi the new government of India has made its relations with East Asian neighbours a foreign policy priority at a time when the United States has engaged in a "pivot to Asia". It is called  Act East policy, following on from the Look East policy which was introduced during the government of Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao 25 years ago From the very beginning the Modi government made it clear that India would focus more and more on improving relation with ASEAN and other East Asian countries as per India's Look East Policy which was formulated during Narasimha Rao's government in 1992 for better economic engagement with its eastern neighbours. Modi government successfully turned it into a tool for forging strategic partnership and security cooperation with countries in that region in general and Vietnam and Japan in particular.  Thus, from economic relation essentially to security relation. Act east policy aims at stabilising the Asia pacific by actively cooperating with the regional powers (ASEAN and others). Its unspoken but underlying aim is to check China so that India's interests in the region are not threatened.
 Q. 78. Comment on the India and China counter-terror dialogue
India and China late in  September 2016 discussed ways to enhance security and cooperation to combat terror as officials from the two sides exchanged information on policies and legislation to deal with terrorism at the first high-level dialogue where they reached "important consensus".The two sides exchanged views on the international and regional security situation at the first meeting of the India- China High Level Dialogue on Counter-terrorism and Security held here.
The two countries  exchanged information on respective policies, systems and legislation to deal with terrorism, and further enhance their understanding on issues of major concerns to both sides, according to a press release issued by the Indian embassy here.
The two sides had in-depth discussions on enhancing cooperation in counter-terrorism and security and on measures to jointly deal with security threats The discussions were held on the “international and regional security situation”. The two sides also exchanged information on respective policies, systems and laws to deal with terrorism.
 Q. 77. What are HFCs? Do you think these chemicals are environment-friendly? State India’s stand on phasing out HFCs.
HFCs were introduced as ozone-friendly gases but they are greenhouse gases with high global warming potential. They are factory-made gases used in air conditioning and refrigeration. While HFCs are less abundant in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, they have 10,000 times the planet-warming potency. But carbon dioxide lingers in the atmosphere for centuries, while HFCs disintegrate after about 15 years.

Some countries like the US and several other developed countries have long been seeking to replace HFCs with alternative technologies, such as HFOs (hydrofluoroolefins) and want the matter to be discussed under the Montreal Protocol.

The international debate about Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)—the climate-damaging refrigerant gases— is: should they be treated as short lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) under Kyoto Protocol or be phased out Montreal Protocol. Since HFCs are not ozone-depleting, they have been kept out of the Montreal Protocol that currently deals with phasing out ozone depleting substances like hydro-chlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) and chlorofluorocarbons (CFC). HFCs, on the other hand, contribute to global warming and come under Kyoto Protocol.
India initially wanted them under climate talks as in these talks India enjoyed common but differentiated treatment and did not have to take emission targets. But there is international pressure on India to take targets though on a lesser scale than the developed countries. Thus, climate talks do not offer any special advantage for HFCs. PM Narendra Modi in an op-ed in the Washington Post, co-authored with US President Barack Obama back in September, had recognised the Montreal Protocol (MP) as the right forum for HFCs—but with reporting and accounting under the UNFCCC. This was depicted as an encouraging step towards changing stance of India on the issue.Previously, this had been a point of disagreement between India and the US since India opposed any action on HFCs under Montreal Protocol.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) expressed its view that the HFCs are a part of SLCPs but have higher global warming potential when compared to carbon dioxide. Even though HFCs only contribute to less than one per cent of global warming to date, their production, consumption and emissions are growing at a rate of 8 per cent every year.
 While these debates go on, the global climate agreement in Paris in December 2015 might lead to more clarity on the issue.
 Q. 76. What is the significance of Pratham- the cube satellite?
Designed to fit within a 30-cm cube, the 10kg Pratham satellite will measure total electron count in the ionosphere that can improve the accuracy of the Global Positioning System in India, and also predict tsunamis. Conceptualised in 2008, Pratham has been worked on by students across IIT-B engineering departments and spread over seven batches. The project cost Rs 1.5 crore.
All the signals that are sent by satellites towards earth interact with a layer of electrons (negatively charged particles) in the atmosphere. This interaction changes the behaviour of these signals, and introduces certain errors in the GPS readings, Pratham Knowing the TEC will help predict changes in GPS readings due to such interactions and make necessary corrections to improve GPS readings. In the case of a tsunami, the earthquake responsible for the tsunami often emits high intensity gravity waves that change the electron count drastically. So when someone tries to measure TEC, the readings will be high which can act as a warning for coastal areas for an impending tsunami.
 Q. 75. Differentiate between production sharing agreements and revenue sharing agreements in oil exploration. Why is the government shifting to the latter model? Do you agree with the decision of the government?
Production sharing agreements (PSA) are a common type of contract signed between a government and a resource extraction company (or group of companies) concerning how much of the resource (usually oil) extracted from the country each will receive. In production sharing agreements the country's government awards the execution of exploration and production activities to an oil company. The oil company bears the mineral and financial risk of the initiative and explores, develops and ultimately produces oil/gas from the field . When successful, the company is permitted to use the money from produced oil to recover capital and operational expenditures. The remaining money is shaped between the government and the company.

Production sharing agreements can be beneficial to governments of countries that lack the expertise and/or capital to develop their resources and wish to attract big domestic and foreign companies to do so. They can be very profitable agreements for the oil companies involved as well. A section of experts favour the production sharing model for deep sea exploration because guarantees for the recovery of all sunk costs are important to attract oil majors with proprietary technology. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) had criticised PSA which prevails in India on grounds that it encourages companies to inflate (gold plate) capital expenditure and  reduce and delay the government’s share.

A panel headed by former Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council Chairman C Rangarajan had in 2013 suggested moving to a revenue-sharing regime that requires companies to state upfront the quantum of oil or gas they will share with the government from the first day of production.In the new regime, the companies will have to indicate the quantity of oil and gas they will share with the government at different stages of production as well as at different rates. That is, not wait till the end.
In March 2016, the policy of RSC was adopted across all hydrocarbons under Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP).
 Q. 74. India launches eight satellites into two orbits recently. What do you know of them?
India recently achieved another space milestone when it successfully launched multiple satellites from one rocket into two different orbits. In the longest mission for the polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV C-35) that lifted off from Sriharikota carrying eight satellites -- three from India, including the weather satellite SCATSAT-1, three from Algeria, and one each from Canada and the US. The PSLV has launched 39 remote-sensing satellites for Isro, including the Mars mission of 2013-14.
The 371-kg SCATSAT-1, will study oceans and help in weather forecasting, including cyclone detection. Two of the Indian satellites are student-made. Pratham, a 10-kg satellite developed by students of Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay, will study the electron count in space which will help improve the accuracy of the Global Positioning System in India, and also predict tsunamis. The 5.25-kg PISAT made by students of Bengaluru’s PES University will take pictures of earth.
 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.

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