Uttarakhand records presence of elephants in middle Himalayas for the first time
The latest survey of jumbos in Uttarakhand has revealed that contrary to popular belief, elephants, too, can climb mountains. Till now, it was believed that elephants are present in only the Terai and Bhabar zones in the foothills of the state. But the elephant population estimation done by the state forest department last week has come out with interesting findings that show the presence of tuskers even in the middle Himalayas — an area where their presence was hitherto not witnessed. This, experts say, indicates that elephants may have started shifting towards higher altitudes from the foothills and Terai regions largely in search of food and water as their traditional habitats get affected due to climate change and human intervention.
As per the survey conducted by the state forest department in 2015, the elephant population in Uttarakhand was estimated at 1797. In 2017, a survey conducted by the Union government had placed Uttarakhand at the sixth position nationally for its pachyderm population which was estimated at 1839 elephants. This year’s estimation, say state forest department officials, may see a further hike in jumbo numbers in the state.
Indian-American soil scientist wins 2020 World Food Prize
Indian-American soil scientist Dr. Rattan Lal has won the prestigious 2020 World Food Prize, which is considered to be equivalent to a Nobel Prize in the field of agriculture. The award recognized his contribution to increasing the global food supply by helping small farmers improve the health of the soil. The award also highlights the importance of managing & restoring soil health.
Dr.Rattan Lal was awarded for his role in developing and mainstreaming a soil-centric approach to increase food production that restores and conserves natural resources and mitigates climate change.
Dr. Rattan Lal has a career spanning more than five decades. He has promoted innovative soil-saving techniques benefiting the livelihoods of more than 500 million small farmers.
US: Joe Biden becomes Democratic presidential nominee
Former US Vice President Joe Biden, has formally become the Democratic presidential nominee to run for the White House against President Donald Trump in the elections in November this year.
Biden took his tally of pledged delegates over the halfway mark of 1,991 from a total of 3,979, becoming eligible to earn the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.
The veteran Democrat served as the 47th vice president of the United States from 2009 to 2017 during the presidency of Barack Obama.
Cabinet approved MoU between India and Bhutan on Cooperation in the areas of Environment
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and Bhutan. The agreement was signed to improve cooperation in the areas of the Environment.
MoU will enable and promote the closer and long-term cooperation between India and Bhutan in the field of environment protection and management of natural resources on the basis of equity, reciprocity, and mutual benefits.
Both the countries agreed mutually to set priorities in the following areas of the environment including Air, Waste, Chemical Management, Climate Change, any other areas jointly decided upon.
NPCI launches AI virtual assistant ‘PAi’
National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) has launched an artificial intelligence (AI) based chatbot, ‘PAi’.
The chatbot has been created to spread awareness around its products like FASTag, RuPay, UPI, AePS on a real time basis.
This is yet another NPCI’s initiative to improve digital financial inclusion in India.
The AI virtual assistant, PAi is available round the clock helping users with access to accurate information on NPCI products.
Customers can ask their queries in English and Hindi, via text or voice on the websites of NPCI, RuPay, and UPI Chalega.
PAi is developed by Bengaluru based startup CoRover Private Limited.
India, Denmark sign MoU for developing cooperation in power sector
India and Denmark have signed an MoU for developing cooperation in the power sector.
The MoU signed is to develop a strong, deep and long-term co-operation between two countries in the power sector on the basis of equality, reciprocity and mutual benefit.
It provides for collaboration in areas like offshore wind, long term energy planning, forecasting, flexibility in the grid, consolidation of grid codes to integrate and operate efficiently variable generation options, flexibility in the power purchase agreements and variability in renewable energy production.
Indian electricity market will benefit from this cooperation with Denmark.
Under the MoU, a Joint Working Group will also be established.
M Nethra declared as ‘Goodwill Ambassador for the Poor’ by UNADAP
In Tamil Nadu, 13-year old girl, M Nethra has been appointed as the ‘Goodwill Ambassador for the Poor’ by the United Nations Association for Development and Peace (UNADAP).
The UNADAP recognition brings to the girl the opportunity to address the upcoming Civil Society forums at the UN conferences in New York and Geneva.
The Dixon Scholarship has awarded Nethra a scholarship amount of Rs 1,00,000.
The 13-year old girl convinced her father C. Mohan to spend their savings of Rs 5 lakh and donate essential items to the poor during the lockdown.
The money had been saved for Nethra’s education and for her to pursue her goal of entering the civil service.
NHAI becomes first construction sector organisation to go Fully Digital
The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) under the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has announced that it has gone Fully Digital as it has launched a unique cloud-based and Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered Big Data Analytics platform ‘Data Lake and Project Management Software’.
NHAI’s entire project management workflow is transformed from manual to the online portal based.
Also, the complete project execution operations including ‘workflow with timelines’ and ‘alert mechanism’ have been configured.
Project documentation, contractual decisions, and approvals are processed through the portal only.
The Data Lake software, with advanced analytics, will forecast the delays, likely disputes, and will give advance alerts.
The system will facilitate in taking correct and timely decisions as the system is likely to predict the financial impacts of different alternatives based on the historical data and will reduce a lot of disputes.