Important Facts for Prelims (July 11th, 2018) | 11 Jul 2018

Rajasthan signs MoU with Microsoft

Rajasthan became the first State to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Microsoft to provide digital training to 9,500 students of government colleges. It will also train 500 faculty members.

Google’s Launchpad Accelerator

  • Google launched its India-focused programme “Launchpad Accelerator” to mentor startups that use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).
  • Google will shortlist 8-10 start-ups that will go through three-month mentorship wherein they can avail support from Google in AI/ML, Cloud, Android, web, product strategy, and marketing. They will also get up to $100,000 of Google Cloud Credits.
  • The application criteria are:
    • The technology start-up should be based in India.
    • Start-ups should have seed funding.
    • They should focus on building a solution that addresses a real challenge for the country, and
    • They should use advanced technology like AI/ML to power the solution.
  • The initiative comes after the Google ran a pilot project in Bengaluru last year named “Solve for India”.
  • The Google accelerator team includes a network of investors, industry experts, and technical professionals who will train the startups.

Rajya Sabha Members Can Use All 22 Scheduled Languages

  • The members of Parliament in Rajya Sabha can now speak in any of 22 scheduled languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India from upcoming Monsoon Session.
  • The Rajya Sabha has added simultaneous interpretation facility in five more languages: Dogri, Kashmiri, Konkani, Santhali and Sindhi.
  • Of the 22 scheduled languages, Rajya Sabha already had Simultaneous Interpretation Service for 12 languages.
  • The interpreters of the Lok Sabha are being deployed for five languages: Bodo, Maithili, Manipuri, Marathi, and Nepali.
  • However, the members have to give notice of a reasonable period for the interpreter.

Eat Right Movement

  • Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) launched ‘The Eat Right Movement’ which aims to engage and enable citizens to improve their health and well-being by making the right food choices.
  • The programme is built on two broad pillars of ‘Eat Healthy’ and ‘Eat Safe’.
  • It aims to cut down salt/sugar and oil consumption by 30% in three years.

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)

  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has been established under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 which consolidates various acts & orders that have hitherto handled food related issues in various Ministries and Departments.
  • FSSAI has been created for laying down science-based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale, and import to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption.

Western Ghats: Best Tourist Spot

  • The Western Ghats bagged the fourth place in Lonely Planet’s “2018 Best in Asia” list, a collection of 10 of the best destinations to visit in Asia for the year.
  • Neelakurinji (Strobilanthes kunthiana), which has started blooming after 12 years in the famed hill station of Munnar (Kerala) has also found mention in the report.

Western Ghats

  • The Western Ghats are older than the Himalaya Mountains, running along the entire west coast of India along with Sri Lanka.
  • Western Ghats are known as Sahyadri in northern Maharashtra, Sahya Parvatam in Kerala and Nilagiri Malai in Tamil Nadu.
  • The Ghats traverse the States of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
  • A number of flagship species such as the Asian Elephant, Gaur, and Tiger are found in the region.
  • Endangered species such as the Lion-tailed Macaque, Nilgiri Tahr, and Nilgiri Langur are endemic to the region.
  • The Western Ghats also find mention in the Hottest Biodiversity Hotspots and UNESCO World Heritage site lists.
  • Highest peak: Anamudi peak (also the highest peak of peninsular India)
  • Important Passes:
    • Thal Ghat: links Nasik to Mumbai.
    • Bhor Ghat: links Mumbai to Pune.
    • Pal Ghat: connects Kerala to Tamil Nadu (link Kochi to Chennai).
    • Senkota pass: located between the Nagercoil and the Cardamom hills, links Thiruvanathpuram and Madurai.
  • The rivers that originate in the Western Ghats:
    • West Flowing: Periyar, Bharathappuzha, Netravati, Sharavathi, Mandovi etc.
    • East Flowing: Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri, etc.