Majuli declared largest river island in world by Guinness World Records
The Guinness World Records has officially designated Assam’s Majuli island as the largest river island in the world. It is situated in the Brahmaputra river, covering an area of 880 sqkm. Majuli toppled the previous record held by Brazil’s Marajo island.
- Majuli is formed by the Brahmaputra river system. It is surrounded by Subanisri River in the North, main Brahmaputra River on the South and kherkatia Suli, split channel of Brahmaputra River in northeast.
- The island has total 144 villages with a population of over 160,000 and a density of 300 individuals per square km. Majuli island is mostly inhabited by Mishing tribal people.
- Majuli island has a rich and diverse agricultural tradition. As many as 100 varieties of rice grown organically i.e. without pesticides or artificial fertilisers.
- It is the nerve centre of Assamese neo-Vaishnavite culture initiated by saint-reformer Srimanta Sankardeva in 15th century. The island had some 65 satras (monasteries adhering) to Vaishnavism. But large numbers of them were relocated to the mainland after being washed away.
- The main surviving satras include Garamurh, Dakhinpat, Kamalabari, Auniati and Bengenaati.
- Majuli island is a rich environmental hotspot harbouring. It is home of many rare and endangered avifauna species including migratory birds. Due to erosion of river-bank, the island has lost around one-third of its area in the last 30-40 years caused mainly due to frequent flooding of the river.
- In June 2016, Assam Government had officially declared the island as the district making it India’s first island district. The island has been nominated for the World Heritage Site status. It has been included in the tentative list by UNESCO.
Indian Railway launches Insurance scheme for e-ticket travellers
The Indian Railways has launched an insurance scheme upto Rs 10 lakhs for passengers travelling on e- ticket. The insurance scheme was launched by Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in New Delhi. For this scheme, Indian Railways has roped in Shriram General Insurance Company, ICICI Lombard and Royal Sundaram General Insurance for providing the insurance cover.
- Person booking a train ticket through the IRCTC website will be eligible for the optional travel insurance.
- To avail the facility, train passengers will have to pay 92 paisa as premium.
- The insurance cover will not be applicable to children upto 5 years of age and foreign citizens.
- This facility will be available only for confirmed and RAC ticket passengers. The scheme offers travellers or nominees a compensation of 10 lakh Rupees in the event of death or total disabilty, 7.5 lakh Rupees for partial disability.
- Besides it will pay upto 2 lakh Rupees for hospitalisation expenses and 10,000 rupees for transportation of mortal remains from the place of a train accident.
NASA Scientist for first time sequences DNA in Space
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for the first time has successfully sequenced DNA in space aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The genome sequencing was undertaken for the first time in microgravity as part of the Biomolecule Sequencer experiment performed by NASA astronaut Kate Rubins.
- The experiments were undertaken by using commercially available DNA sequencing device called MinION on samples of mouse, virus and bacteria DNA.
- The tests were set up for selected organisms whose DNA has already been completely sequenced in an attempt to make spaceflight conditions, primarily microgravity, the only variables that could account for differences in results. The technology demonstration experiments validated that the device is durable enough to withstand vibration during launch and can operate reliably in a microgravity environment.
India ranks 35th in World Bank’s 2016 Logistics Performance Index
India has been placed at the 35th rank in the World Bank’s 2016 Logistics Performance Index (LPI) among 160 countries. The index was recently released by World Bank in its report titled ‘Connecting to Complete 2016’. India has leapfrogged by 19 spots to 35th rank compared with 54th rank in 2014 LPI.
Here is a list of last four articles on Current Affairs and the Monthly Bullet on Current Affairs for SSC