Table of Contents
- A Beginner’s guide to the Large Hadron Collider
Facts for Prelims
- Cost Inflation Index (CII)
- REITs and InvITs Index
- Promissory estoppel
A Beginner’s Guide to the Large Hadron Collider
Engineers are preparing the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) for its third season of operations after upgrades to make it more sensitive and accurate. Data collection will resume from mid-May.
- The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world’s largest science experiment built by CERN.
- It is a collider that accelerates two beams of particles in opposite directions and collides them head-on.
- The particles used in the LHC are hadrons, making it the energy frontier of physics research.
- Engineers have upgraded the LHC for its third season of operations, making it more sensitive and accurate than before.
- Data collection is set to start again from mid-May.
How does the LHC work?
- Hadrons, such as protons, are accelerated by circulating them through a 27 km long circular pipe.
- The pipe contains 9,600 magnets that create two D-shaped magnetic fields.
- The magnetic fields switch direction rapidly, causing the protons to move in an anticlockwise direction and gain speed.
- The protons eventually move at 99.999999% of the speed of light.
Components to help the process:
- There are other components to focus the particles and keep them from hitting the pipe’s walls.
- A hadron is a subatomic particle made up of smaller particles, such as quarks and gluons.
What happens when the particles are smashed?
Collision Energy and Chaos
- Antiparallel beams of energised protons collide head on
- Energy at point of collision equals sum of energy carried by both beams
- Chaos occurs at moment of collision due to energy available
High Energy Density and Particle Creation
- LHC’s highest centre-of-mass collision energy achieved is 13.6 TeV
- Energy packed into volume of space size of a proton, making energy density very high
- Different subatomic particles coalesce under guidance of fundamental forces of nature
Particle Discovery and Detector Challenges
- Some particles created very rarely, requiring at least 10 million collisions to observe
- Some particles need a lot of right kind of energy to be created, as was challenge with discovering Higgs boson
- Some particles are extremely short-lived, requiring detectors to record them in similar timeframe or be alert to proxy effects
LHC Components and Particle Interactions
- LHC’s various components can be tweaked by scientists to study different particle interactions
- Parameters such as particle creation and energy density can be adjusted for specific experiments
- Allows for study of particle physics and fundamental forces of nature
What has the LHC found?
- LHC has nine detectors located over different points on beam pipe
- Detectors study particle interactions in different ways
LHC Data Analysis
- Detectors generate 30,000 TB of data worth storing every year
- Physicists analyse data with the help of computers to identify and analyse specific patterns
LHC Particle Acceleration
- LHC accelerates a beam of hadronic particles to specific specifications
- Scientists can choose to do different things with the beam, like energising and colliding lead ions with each other and protons with lead ions at the LHC
LHC Contributions to Particle Physics
- LHC has tested predictions of Standard Model of particle physics
- LHC has observed exotic particles like pentaquarks and tetraquarks and checked if properties are in line with theoretical expectations
- LHC has pieced together information about extreme natural conditions, like those that existed right after the Big Bang
What is the LHC’s future?
- The LHC has had successes but has not found ‘new physics’, which are particles or processes that can explain mysteries such as dark matter and why gravity is a weak force.
- The LHC has tested some theories that try to explain what the Standard Model can’t and found them short.
- Improving the LHC’s luminosity by 10x by 2027 through upgrades is one way forward.
- Another idea is to build a bigger version of the LHC to find ‘new physics’ at even higher energies, but this is controversial.
- CERN and China have unveiled plans for bigger machines, but physicists are divided on whether the billions of dollars they will cost can be used to build less-expensive experiments with guaranteed results.
- The debate is about whether to invest in speculative, expensive projects or less-expensive experiments with guaranteed results.
Cost Inflation Index (CII)
Recently, The Income Tax Department has notified the Cost Inflation Index for the current fiscal beginning April 2023.
- The Cost Inflation Index (CII) number for fiscal year 2023-24 is 348, according to the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).
- The CII is notified annually under the Income-tax Act, 1961 in the month of June since 2001.
- This year’s CII has been notified three months earlier compared to the previous fiscal year.
- Taxpayers will require the CII number while filing their income tax return (ITR) for Assessment Year (AY) 2024-25.
- CII helps taxpayers adjust the purchase price of an asset with inflation while calculating capital gains for tax purposes.
About Cost Inflation Index (CII):
- The Cost Inflation Index (CII) helps adjust the purchase price of assets based on inflation.
- It enables taxpayers to calculate the inflation-adjusted current price of an asset for capital gains tax purposes.
- CII is used to calculate capital gains tax on the sale or transfer of capital assets such as property, stocks, patents, etc.
- CII helps offset the impact of inflation, resulting in smaller earnings and lower tax liability.
- CII is used to calculate long-term capital gains from house property, land, and buildings for tax purposes.
Formula to calculate inflation-adjusted purchase price
- To calculate the inflation-adjusted purchase price of a long-term asset, use the formula: Inflation-adjusted price = (CII of sale year/CII of purchase year) * Actual price of the asset.
- The Cost Inflation Index (CII) is used in the above formula to adjust the purchase price of the asset for inflation.
Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT)
- The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) is a statutory authority operating under the Central Board of Revenue Act, 1963.
- CBDT officials, in their ex-officio capacity, function as a division of the Ministry of Finance and are responsible for matters related to direct tax collection and levy.
- The CBDT is a part of the Department of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance, Government of India, and provides critical inputs for policy and planning of direct taxes.
- The CBDT administers direct tax laws through the Income Tax Department and is India’s official Financial Action Task Force unit.
- The CBDT Chairman and Members are selected from the Indian Revenue Service (IRS), the top management of the Income Tax Department.
REITs and InvITs Index
Recently, NSE Indices Ltd, a subsidiary of the National Stock Exchange (NSE), launched India’s first-ever Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs) Index.
About REITs and InvITs Index:
- The Nifty Reits & InvITs index tracks the performance of publicly listed REITs and InvITs traded on the NSE.
- The base year for the index is 1 July 2019, and it will be reviewed and rebalanced quarterly.
- Securities are weighted based on their free-float market capitalization, with a cap of 33% for each security and a top-3 aggregate weight cap of 72%.
- Top constituents of the index include Embassy Office Parks REIT and Powergrid Infrastructure Investment.
- REITs are a way for multiple investors to pool their money and invest in real estate, but on a larger scale and with more regulations.
- When you invest in a REIT, you own a share of the property and receive a portion of the revenue after expenses are deducted.
- The fact that REIT units are traded on exchanges benefits developers by freeing up funds for future real estate projects and provides liquidity to investors.
- REITs also enjoy favourable tax treatment, including exemption from dividend distribution tax and relaxation of capital gains tax
- InvITs allow small investors to invest in infrastructure projects and earn returns.
- InvITs are similar to mutual funds or REITs, but designed specifically for infrastructure projects.
- SEBI (Infrastructure Investment Trusts) Regulations, 2014 provide for registration and regulation of InvITs in India.
- InvITs are established as a trust with four key elements: Trustee, Sponsor(s), Investment Manager, and Project Manage
Supreme Court rejected petitions that challenged the Delhi High Court’s decision to uphold the Agnipath scheme for recruitment to the armed forces. The petitioners included candidates who had been shortlisted in previous recruitment processes for the Army and Air Force.
- Advocate Prashant Bhushan appeared for some of the candidates who were shortlisted in the earlier recruitment process to Air Force.
- The recruitment process was cancelled when Agnipath scheme was notified.
- Bhushan argued that the government must complete the old process citing the doctrine of promissory estoppel
What was Bhushan’s argument?
- Bhushan stated that there was a written exam, physical test, and medical exam conducted under the old recruitment process, and a provisional selection list was published with ranks.
- He argued that appointment letters were postponed due to COVID-19, but recruitment rallies were conducted for the same posts.
- Bhushan added that the candidates had job offers from BSF and other paramilitary organizations but refused them as they were waiting for Air Force recruitment letters.
- He claimed that there was an issue of promissory estoppel and the government must be directed to complete the old process.
- Bhushan also mentioned that the recruitment rallies were conducted to address the demographic imbalance and recruit tribal people.
What is the doctrine of promissory estoppel?
- Promissory estoppel is a concept developed in contractual laws.
- A valid contract under law requires an agreement to be made with sufficient consideration. A claim of doctrine of promissory estoppel essentially prevents a “promisor” from backing out of an agreement on the grounds that there is no “consideration.”
- The doctrine is invoked in court by a plaintiff (the party moving court in a civil action) against the defendant to ensure execution of a contract or seek compensation for failure to perform the contract.
- In a 1981 decision in Chhaganlal Keshavalal Mehta v. Patel Narandas Haribhai, the SC lists out a checklist for when the doctrine can be applied.
- First, there must be a clear and unambiguous promise.
- Second, the plaintiff must have acted relying reasonably on that promise.
- Third, the plaintiff must have suffered a loss.
How does it relate to the Agnipath case?
- Bhushan argued that the candidates were promised recruitment and should be compensated for their loss as they refused other jobs based on this promise.
- The argument is based on the doctrine of promissory estoppel, which means that the government’s actions created a promise.
- The judges rejected the argument, stating that promissory estoppel is subject to public interest and does not apply to public employment matters.
- CJI DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha were part of the bench that dismissed the argument.