Places in News 2017

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Himansh, India’s remote, high-altitude station opens in Himalayas

A high altitude glaciological research station in Himalaya called Himansh (meaning a slice of ice) began functioning above 13,500 ft (4000 m) in a remote region in Spiti, Himachal Pradesh.

Researchers will use this station as a base for undertaking surveys that would digitize the glacier motion and snow cover variations with exceptional precision.

Key Facts

  • Himansh station will provide much needed fillip to the scientific research on Himalayan glaciers and its hydrological contribution.
  • The research lab has been established by the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) in Spiti Valley, one of the most uninhabited parts of the country
  • The station houses instruments to quantify glacier melting and its relation to changing climate.
  • Some of the instruments available at this research facility include automatic weather stations, ground penetrating radars, geodetic GPS systems and other sophisticated facilities.
  • It will also serve as the base for Terrestrial Laser Scanners (TLS) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for undertaking surveys.

Significance

  • The Himalayan region has the largest concentration of glaciers outside the polar caps. It is called the “Water Tower of Asia”.
  • It is source of 10 major river systems that provide irrigation, drinking water and power for over 700 million people (10% of world’s population) living in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
  • Thus, understanding behaviour of these Himalayan glaciers and their contribution to sustainable supply of water for mankind and agriculture is one of grand challenges of Indian scientific community.

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India’s first international arbitration centre inaugurated in Mumbai

The first International Arbitration Centre of India was inaugurated in Mumbai, Maharashtra to provide an arbitration platform for Indian business houses to negotiate commercial disputes.

The Mumbai Centre for International Arbitration (MCIA) was launched by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Key Facts

  • With this Maharashtra becomes first state in the country to clear policy for institutional arbitration.
  • It is also considered as a major step towards making Mumbai an International Financial Services Centre (IFSC)
  • The MCIA will be an independent, not-for-profit organization (NGO) governed by a council comprising eminent national and international legal luminaries.
  • It will provide world-class infrastructure for arbitration, 24×7 functionality and live transcription services recording during arbitration proceedings for transparency.
  • It will be in sync with the Make in India campaign and will provide a time bound and cost-effective facility to reinforce investor confidence.

Background

  • At present, in absence of an international arbitration centre in the country most of the business disputes involving Indian parties land in Singapore or London International Arbitration Centres.
  • Indian parties make up an estimated 30% of the arbitration cases handled by the Singapore and London Arbitration Centres.
  • The total outflow of funds to resolve such cases along with logistics and other related expenditure is around $5 billion. MCIA will significantly bring down this cost.

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Gurgaon officially renamed Gurugram

The Union Government has given its approval to change the name of Gurgaon to ‘Gurugram’. With this both the city as well as the district of Gurgaon would be known as Gurugram.

It was announced by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar after presiding over the first meeting of the State-level ‘Swarna Jayanti Celebrations Committee’ at Panchkula.

Key Facts

  • Gurugram is the mythological name derived from Guru Dronacharya, the master of archery in Mahabharata who groomed the Pandavas and Kauravas in war tactics.
  • It is said the village was given as ‘gurudakshina’ to Guru Dronacharya by the Pandavas and hence it came to be known as Guru-gram. However in course of time got distorted to Gurgaon.
  • Presently, Gurugram is the corporate hub of Haryana on outskirts of Delhi. It is known both nationally and globally as industrial, software, information technology and corporate hub.
  • The offices of several leading Indian companies and multinational corporations (MNCs) are located here.

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