Current Affairs 2017 – May

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Google’s Rajan Anandan Appointed Chairman of IAMAI

Google’s vice-president for South East Asia and India, Rajan Anandan has been appointed as the new chairman of Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). Rajan will succeed  FreeCharge’s co-founder and chief executive officer Kunal Shah.

The other new office bearers of the IAMAI will be MakeMyTrip chairman & Group CEO Deep Kalra who will be the vice-chairman. He succeeds Saavn co-founder and president Vinodh Bhat.  Facebook’s managing director (India & South Asia), Umang Bedi will be the new treasurer of IAMAI. Subho Ray will continue to be the president of IAMAI.

The tenure of the office bearers of the new council will be for two years.

Challenges

The new council has to work towards improving the internet connectivity especially in rural areas. It is estimated that in a population of 906 million, only 156 million are using the internet in rural areas. IAMAI has to take steps to reach to the potential 750 million users living in rural heartlands.

Another area which needs the focus of the committee is the promotion of local language content. The Indian languages accounts for only 0.1% of the content on the worldwide web. It is estimated that enabling Indian language content will help to achieve a growth of 39% in the current user base of India.

IAMAI

IAMAI is a not-for-profit industry body registered under the Societies Act, 1986. It was founded in 2004. Its aim is to improve and expand the value added services pertaining to mobiles and several online services. It is the only existing specialized body that represents the interests of online and mobile value added services

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PM Inaugurates Country’s Longest Bridge in Assam and Names it Bhupen Hazarika Bridge

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated India’s longest river bridge – the Dhola-Sadia Bridge in Assam. He has also renamed the bridge as Bhupen Hazarika Bridge. The construction of the bridge began in 2011. The cost of the project is about Rs 2056 crores.

Salient Features

Dhola-Sadia Bridge is a three lane bridge stretching 9.15 kilometre built over river Lohit, which is a tributary of the Brahmaputra river. The bridge was built by Navayuga Engineering Co. Ltd. The Dhola-Sadiya bridge is 3.55 km longer than the Bandra–Worli Sea Link in Mumbai which is the longest bridge in the country as of now.

The bridge will connect Sadia, which is 540 Km from Guwahati and Dhola, situated 300 Km from Itanagar. The bridge has been designed to withstand the weight of 60-tonne battle tanks. This will be the only bridge in the region that will be strong enough to withstand the travel of tanks to Tinsukia, a place from where Indian troops usually enter Arunachal.

Significance

Road connectivity between Dhola to Sadia will boost overall economic development of the areas north of Brahmaputra in upper Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The bridge fills a huge connectivity gap that existed in the north east region. Till now, the only means existed to cross this location was a ferry travel which was not possible during floods. The construction of the bridge will reduce the distance from Rupai on NH- 37 in Assam to Meka-Roing on NH-52 in Arunachal Pradesh by 165 Km. This reduction in travel time is expected to result in saving of petrol and diesel worth 10 lakh rupees per day. Travel time between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh will also get reduced by up to four hours.

The bridge will cater to the strategic requirements in border areas and will facilitate troop mobilization much more quickly in Arunachal Pradesh, the state which is claimed in its entirety by China.

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Fact Box: Cobra Lily

The rare cobra lilies scientifically known as Arisaema translucens has been rediscovered in the western Nilgiris by nature enthusiasts K.M. Prabhu Kumar and Tarun Chhabra after a gap of 84 years. One species of the lilies were found in Thia Shola while the other was spotted in the Pennant Valley forest area of the Nilgiris. It was last collected by E. Barnes in 1932 and described by C.E.C Fischer in 1933.

Salient features

The cobra lilies have a distinctive translucent spathe. The indigenous Toda tribals of Nilgiris are capable of predicting the early arrival of monsoon from the blooming of the cobra lily’s ‘translucens’. The Toda tribals have an embroidery motif called ‘podwarshk’ resembling the cobra lilies.

It is estimated that only a few hundred cobra lily plants are found in the wild that too in a very small area measuring less than 10 square kilometres in the Nilgiris. Of the lilies present in the Nilgiris, only two are endemic. These lilies are found in shola tree patches. Along with the disapperance of the Shola tree patches, the lilies too have disappeared in the past few decades.

The plant prized for its beauty around the world are at greater risk of extinction from the commercial trade in exotic plants.

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