News: Google has launched the India Digitization Fund through which it will invest Rs 75,000 crore into India over the next 5-7 years.
- Aim: To help accelerate the adoption of digital services in India.
- Mode of Investment: Google will invest the amount through a mix of equity investments, partnerships, and operational, infrastructure, and ecosystem investments.
- Components: The Investment will focus on four areas important to India’s digitization:
- Enabling affordable access and information to every Indian in their own language
- Building new services and products that are deeply relevant to India’s unique needs
- Empowering businesses as they continue on digital transformation.
- Leveraging technology in AI- Artificial Intelligence for social good in areas like education, health, and agriculture.
News: NITI Aayog has presented India’s second Voluntary National Review (VNR) at the United Nations High-level Political Forum(HLPF) on Sustainable Development,2020.
- Voluntary National Review(VNR): It is a comprehensive account of the adoption and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030 Agenda in India.
- Title of the report: Decade of Action: Taking SDGs from Global to Local.
- NITI Aayog has the mandate of overseeing the adoption and monitoring of SDGs at the national and sub-national level.
- United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development(HLPF): It was established in 2012 by the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development(Rio+20).
- Purpose: It is responsible for the organization’s policy on sustainable development.It adopts negotiated declarations, reviews commitment and the progress of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
- Meeting: It meets annually since 2016 under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council(ECOSOC).
News: Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister has released a book titled Tangams: An Ethnolinguistic Study Of The Critically Endangered Group of Arunachal Pradesh.
- Tangam community: They are lesser-known ethnolinguistic groups within the Adi tribe of Arunachal Pradesh.They are concentrated in only one village (Kugging) with only 253 reported speakers.
- Tangam Language: As per the UNESCO World Atlas of Endangered Languages, Tangam — an oral language that belongs to the Tani group under the greater Tibeto-Burman language family is marked ‘critically endangered’.
Note: The languages of Arunachal Pradesh have been classified under the Sino-Tibetan language family and more specifically under the Tibeto-Burman and Tai group of languages such as Lolo-Burmish, Bodhic, Sal, Tani, Mishmi, Hruissh and Tai.
- UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger: It is a tool to monitor the status of endangered languages and the trends in linguistic diversity at the global level.
- The UNESCO has categorized languages on basis of endangerment as follows:
News: The world’s costliest fungus, Ophiocordyceps sinensis also known as Himalayan Viagra has entered the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s(IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
- Ophiocordyceps sinensis: It is a caterpillar fungus endemic to the Himalayan and Tibetan plateau and found in China, Bhutan, Nepal and India.
- In India, it is primarily found in Uttarakhand in the higher reaches of districts ke Pithoragarh and Chamoli.
- Other Names: It is locally known as Kira Jari (in India), Yartsagunbu (in Tibet) and Yarsagumba (in Nepal).
- Significance: It is used as a tonic and a therapeutic medicine in Tibet and China.In recent times, it has also been widely traded as an aphrodisiac.
- Conservation Status: It has been listed under the ‘vulnerable category’ as per IUCN Red List.
News: The recently discovered comet called C/2020 F3 also known as NEOWISE after the NASA telescope that discovered it will make its closest approach to the Earth on July 22.
|Comets||They are cosmic snowballs of frozen gases, rock and dust that orbit the Sun.They are thought to be remnants of the formation of the Solar System.|
|Asteroid||They are relatively small, inactive, rocky bodies orbiting the Sun.They are smaller than a planet but are larger than meteoroids.|
|Meteoroids||Sometimes one asteroid can smash into another.This can cause small pieces of the asteroid to break off.Those pieces are called meteoroids.Meteoroids can also come from comets|
|Meteors||If a meteoroid comes close enough to Earth and enters Earth’s atmosphere, it vaporizes and turns into a meteor: a streak of light in the sky.|
|Meteorites||Sometimes meteoroids don’t vaporize completely in the atmosphere. In fact, sometimes they survive their trip through Earth’s atmosphere and land on the Earth’s surface.When they land on Earth, they are called meteorites.|
- NEOWISE Telescope: The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) is a NASA infrared-wavelength astronomical space telescope active from 2009 to 2011.
- In 2013, the spacecraft was reactivated and was renamed as NEOWISE.It was assigned a new mission: to assist NASA’s efforts to identify and characterize the population of near-Earth objects(NEO).
News: The Expert Appraisal Committee of the Environment Ministry has recommended the grant of Environmental Clearance for the development of Satellite Town Ring Road(STRR).
- Satellite Town Ring Road(STRR): It is an economic corridor that encompasses two states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
- The project is part of Bharatmala Pariyojna and will be implemented by the National Highways Authority of India(NHAI).
- Bharatmala Pariyojna: It is an umbrella initiative under the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
- Aim: To subsume unfinished projects of National Highways Development Project(NHDP) launched in 1998 and also focus on new initiatives like development of roads for better connectivity.
- Implementation: National Highways Authority of India(NHAI) has been tasked with implementing the programme.
News: Iran government has decided to move ahead with the construction of a rail line from Chabahar port to Zahedan along the border with Afghanistan on its own as it cited delays from the Indian side in funding and starting the project.
- Chabahar Rail Line: It is a 628-kilometre railway line that connects Chabahar Port to Zahedan, along the border with Afghanistan.
- The project was to be carried out between Indian Railways Construction Ltd(IRCON) and the Iranian Railways as a part of a trilateral agreement signed in 2016 between Iran, India and Afghanistan.
- However, Iran has decided to proceed with the project without any assistance from India citing delay in funding and starting of the project.
- Chabahar Port: It is a seaport in Chabahar in South-Eastern Iran.Its location lies in the Gulf of Oman and it serves as Iran’s only oceanic port.
- Significance for India: It is intended to provide an alternative route for trade between India and Afghanistan and is also considered as a gateway for trade with central Asian nations.