Facts Corner-Part-106

Scheduled languages

  • The Eighth Schedule to the Indian Constitution was originally having a list of 14 languages, but now it has a total of 22 languages : Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkari, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu. 
  • 4 new languages: Bodo, Maithili, Dogri, and Santali were added via the 92nd Constitutional amendment 2003, to the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution. 
  • According to the Article 348 of Indian Constitution, language to be used in the Supreme Court and in high courts and for bills acts etc will be in in the English language until parliament by law provides otherwise. 
  • Article 351 says that it shall be the duty of the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language, to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India and to secure its enrichment by assimilating without interfering with its genius, the forms, style and expressions used in Hindustani and in the other languages of India specified in the Eighth Schedule, and by drawing, wherever necessary or desirable, for its vocabulary, primarily on Sanskrit and secondarily on other languages. 

Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention:

  • It will be launched at the 150th anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi. It will be a first-of-its-kind International Sanitation Convention.
  • Ministers from over 70 countries will be invited and taken on a ‘Gandhi Trail’ in Gujarat.
  • The government will use the occasion to “showcase its performance” and “success story” in the Swachh Bharat programme in the past four years, which was launched on October 2, 2014, and have a face-to-face dialogue with the world leaders to share their experiences on sanitation programmes.

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)

  • India has joined the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) as the 69th shareholder, paving the way for more joint investment with Indian companies across the EBRD’s regions.
  • The EBRD’s board of governors, which represents all existing shareholders, voted unanimously in favour of the country’s application in March 2018.
  • The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is an international financial institution that supports projects in over 30 countries, from eastern Europe to central Asia and the southern and eastern Mediterranean. Investing primarily in private sector clients whose needs cannot be fully met by the market, the EBRD promotes entrepreneurship and fosters transition towards open and democratic market economies.

 Institutions of Eminence (IoE)

Institutions having coveted status will get following benefits: 

1) The “coveted status” will enable selected universities to be free from regulations of the AICTE, UGC, or the Higher Education Commission of India (UGC). 
2) Institutions will be able to admit 30% foreign students with no restrictions on fees charged from them and can hire foreign faculty up to 25% of the total faculty. 
3) Listed institutions will be able to enter into academic collaborations with the top 500 global universities without UGC approval. 
4) These Institutions will have full flexibility in evolving curricula and syllabi. 
5) 10 public institutions out of total 20 (10 Public + 10 Private) will get assistance of up to 1000 crore rupees over five years. 

An empowered committee headed by former Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami has recommended these institutions. Institutions not listed in this list of 6, can apply again till the committee finalises 10 public and 10 private institutions. 

IISc was ranked first in the all-India NIRF rankings of the Centre in 2018, this list of Institutions of Eminence (IoE), is not a replica of all-India NIRF rankings. IIT Madras, ranked second could by NIRF could not place a place in the list yet.

Marshall Islands

  • It is a country in the central Pacific Ocean.
  • It consists of some of the easternmost islands of Micronesia.
  • The Marshalls are composed of more than 1,200 islands and islets in two parallel chains of coral atolls—the Ratak, or Sunrise, to the east and the Ralik, or Sunset, to the west.
  • Majuro atoll is the nominal capital of the republic.

Workshop on Greenhouse Gas Inventories in Asia (WGIA)

  • WGIA is an initiative of Government of Japan.
  • It is to improve the quality of Greenhouse Gas Inventories of Asian countries by building capacities through training and exchange of experience.
  • Members of WGIA – 15 countries including Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
  • India is hosting WGIA for the first time.
  • Workshop has been organized by the Ministry of Environment, Government of Japan and is being hosted by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in New Delhi.
  • GHG inventory experts from member countries participated along with representatives from UNFCCC, IPCC, FAO and other specialized agencies.

Melanin Biopigment

  • Goa University has recently reported the discovery of a new pigment from local wild mushrooms.
  • The mushrooms contain new suphur-rich melanin biopigment of immense bioindustrial, biomedical (anti-cancer, anti-tumour) and biotechnological potential.
  • It may be the world’s first sulphur-rich edible melanin.
  • A Ph.D student, who is a national scholar under Department of Science & Technology INSPIRE Project, cracked the problem in three years, which had eluded scientific community from 40 countries for the past 100 years.

Lonely Planet

  • Western Ghats, India placed in 4th place in a collection of 10 of the best destinations to visit in the continent for the year. It is considered a Bible by travellers worldwide.
  • Top destinations:
    • Busan, South Korea.
    • Ancient cities and jewelled architecture of Uzbekistan.
    • Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
    • Western Ghats, India.

Global Housing Construction Technology Challenge

  • The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs is set to launch the Global Housing Construction Technology Challenge as part of the technology sub-mission of PMAY-U.
  • The challenge aims to provide more dynamism to the scheme.
  • It will invite ideas from across the globe for alternative technologies that go beyond the brick-and-mortar building model used widely in Indian construction.
  • The four parameters in the global challenge would be time, cost, quality, and sustainability. The technology will have to be better than the existing ones on all these four fronts.
  • It will be tested in geographically different urban areas across the country with varying terrains such as say hilly, plain, or earthquake-prone.
  • The winning technologies would be used to build mass houses, in a tie-up with the states, for the economically weaker sections and low-income groups under the affordable housing project vertical of PMAY-U.

Under Water Museum

  • Bolivia is going to build an underwater museum in its sacred Lake Titicaca.
  • It is in partnership with Belgium and UNESCO would contribute $2 million to the project.    
  • Titicaca is located between the border of Bolivia and Peru with an area of 8,500 sq.km.
  • It will be both a tourist complex and a centre for archaeological geological and biological research which will make it the only one in the world.

Mudumalai Tiger Reserve

  • Mudumalai Tiger Reserve is a critical part of the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve.
  • The reserve, comprising the wildlife sanctuary and the national park, was declared a core tiger habitat in 2007.
  • It extends over a core area of 321 sq.km and buffer area of 367 sq.km.
  • Union Ministry of Environment has recently issued notification declaring 438 sq.km of area around the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve as an ecosensitive zone.
  • The notification followed a Supreme Court order calling for an eco-sensitive zone around all national parks
  • The declaration of an eco-sensitive zone would place restrictions on polluting industries but it would not stop agriculture activities in the area.

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