Daily Current Affairs - 19th Feb 2018

42 Indian languages stare at extinction

  • According to a report of the Census Directorate, more than 40 languages or dialects in India are considered to be endangered and are believed to be heading towards extinction as only a few thousand people speak them.
  • As there are 22 scheduled languages and 100 non-scheduled languages in the country, which are spoken by a large number of people — one lakh or more. However, there are 42 languages which are spoken by fewer than 10,000 people. These are considered endangered and may be heading towards extinction.
  • The languages or dialects which are considered endangered, include 11 from Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Great Andamanese, Jarawa, Lamongse, Luro, Muot, Onge, Pu, Sanenyo, Sentilese, Shompen and Takahanyilang), seven from Manipur (Aimol, Aka, Koiren, Lamgang, Langrong, Purum and Tarao) and four from Himachal Pradesh (Baghati, Handuri, Pangvali and Sirmaudi).
  • The Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore, has been working for the protection and preservation of endangered languages in the country, under a central scheme.

Digital payments start-up PhonePe expecting to overtake Paytm next month to become the largest mobile payments company in the country

  • Flipkart-owned digital payments start-up PhonePe said it is expecting to overtake Paytm next month to become the largest mobile payments company in the country. The Bengaluru-based firm said it is going to surpass Rs. 80,000 crore in total payment volume (TPV) annual run rate by March this year.
  • The company said it achieved total payment volume (TPV)annual run rate of Rs. 58,000 crore and processed 45 million transactions in January this year.
  • The firm had an edge over players such as Paytm, MobiKwik and Tez, as it is setting up an open payments ecosystem. As this would enable businesses of all sizes to build and deploy apps on its platform with a unified login and payments experience for customers.
  • PhonePe is live with 10,000 units of such PoS devices in Bengaluru. It is aiming to go live with one million PoS devices across 50 cities by the end of 2018.
  • The company has now got about 21 million active users. It is being accepted by more than 60,000 online and offline merchants including Cleartrip, PVR, Café Coffee Day and Apollo Pharmacy.
  • Co-founder and CEO of PhonePe: Sameer Nigam

ED searches 45 locations, seizes Rs. 20 cr. assets

  • The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is expanding its money laundering probe into the Rs. 11,500-crore Punjab National Bank scam and it carried out searches at 45 places across 11 States and seized more assets worth Rs. 20 crore, taking the overall value of seizures to nearly Rs. 5,700 crore.
  • The searches were carried at 10 locations in Bengaluru, seven in Delhi, five each in Mumbai and Kolkata, and four each in Hyderabad and Chandigarh. Several premises in Patna, Lucknow, Chennai and Guwahati were also searched during the day.
  • The Central Vigilance Commission may also hold a meeting with senior bank executives to determine the nature of lapses, owing to which the fraudulent transactions remained undetected for almost seven years.
  • ED chief Karnal Singh

Hyperloop to link Pune, Mumbai

  • The Virgin Group signed an ‘intent agreement’ with the State government of Maharashtra to build a hyperloop transportation system between Mumbai and Pune. The hyperloop is expected to reduce travel time between the cities to 20 minutes, from the present three hours. With easier access to airport gates, the loop will be able to ferry 15 crore passengers every year.
  • The hyperloop route will be a fully electric system that can travel at up to 1,000 kmph. The proposed project will begin after a six-month in-depth feasibility study to analyse and define route alignment, including environmental impact, economic and commercial viability, the regulatory framework and cost and funding model suggestions.
  • The first hyperloop route will link central Pune with Mumbai and the proposed Navi Mumbai international airport.
  • Virgin Group chairman Richard Branson

India beat South Africa by 28 runs in the first Twenty20 match at Johannesburg

  • India defeated South Africa by 28 runs in the first T20 Cricket match of the three-match series at the New Wanderers stadium in Johannesburg. Chasing a target of 204 runs, South Africa scored 175 for 9 in the in the stipulated 20 overs. Indian Pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s five-wicket haul helped India to restrict the hosts.
  • Earlier, put into bat, India posted a massive 203 runs for 5 in 20 overs as Shikhar Dhawan scored 72 in just 39 balls. Now, India lead the three-match series 1-0.

Indian Finance Minister to meet Saudi Minister of Trade & Investment to discuss bilateral issues of mutual interest

  • Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will meet Saudi Minister of Trade and Investment to discuss bilateral issues of mutual interest. Jaitley reached Saudi Arabia on a two-day visit to the country to co-chair the 12th India-Saudi Arabia Joint Commission Meeting in Riyadh.
  • Earlier Mr.Jaitley called on King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in Riyadh. During the meeting, they discussed bilateral relations and ways of developing and enhancing them in various fields.

National Conference on “Agriculture 2022- Doubling Farmers’ Income”

  • The Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare is organizing a National Conference under the title of “Agriculture 2022 – Doubling Farmers’ Income” on February 19-20 in New Delhi. The main aim of the conference is to build a consensus around appropriate recommendations that will help in shaping and sharpening the vision of the Government on Doubling Farmers’ Income by 2022 into actionable points.
  • As many as seven broad themes have been identified for the conference and some of these also have sub-themes. The participants comprising farmers, farmers’ associations, scientists, economists, academics, trade industry, professional associations, NGOs, policy makers and officers have been assigned to different themes and sub-themes, such that the issues are examined from multiple angles and comprehensive recommendations are made.
  • The select participants numbering about 300 have been invited from across the country with varied background, and are expected to bring to the table their domain experience and expertise.

Qatar Open Shotgun meet: Manavaditya wins silver

  • Manavaditya Singh Rathore has won a silver medal in the Qatar Open Shotgun meet in the junior men’s trap event. Manavaditya shot 118 to finish second on the podium behind Italy’s Angelo Scalzone, who shot 119. Germany’s Jeremy Schulz won the bronze medal with a score of 115.
  • Manavaditya Singh Rathore is the son of Sports Minister and Athens Olympics silver medallist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.
  • Manavaditya has earlier won bronze in the Asian Shooting Championships held in Almaty in 2013.

Saudi Arabia allows women to start business without male permission

  • Women in Saudi Arabia can now open their own businesses without the consent of a husband or male relative. The policy change, announced by the Saudi government also marks a major step away from the strict guardianship system that has ruled the country for decades.
  • Women can now launch their own businesses and benefit from governmental e-services without having to prove consent from a guardian.
  • Under the current Saudi Arabia's guardianship system, women are required to present proof of permission from a male guardian to do any government paperwork, travel or enrol in classes.
  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the powerful heir to the Saudi throne, has been leading the drive to expand the role of women in the workforce in recent months.

South Africa Women Beat India Women By 5 Wickets To Keep Series Alive

  • South Africa won the third Twenty20 International by five wickets to keep the five-match series alive.The Indian women, eyeing their maiden T20 series win in South Africa after winning the first two matches, collapsed to 133 in 17.5 overs. South Africa’s top-order came out firing and reached the target with one over to spare.

Sudan releases political prisoners from Khartoum jails

  • Sudanese authorities are releasing more than 80 political prisoners from jails in the capital Khartoum. Earlier, a Presidential adviser said that President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has ordered the release of more than 80 political detainees. All of them were arrested last month after protests about high prices and tough economic conditions that turned violent.
  • Sudan:
  • Capital: Khartoum
  • Currency: Sudanese pound

Twenty20 tri-series: England win but New Zealand reach final

  • England won the sixth T20 International tri-series by two runs against New Zealand but failed to qualify for the finals as they needed to win by at least 20 runs. Coming in to bat first, England posted 194 runs for the loss of seven wickets with the help of skipper Eoin Morgan's magnificent unbeaten knock of 80 runs. New Zealand scored 192 for four in 20 overs.
  • New Zealand will now meet Australia, who are already into the final having beaten England twice and New Zealand twice.

Virat Kohli first batsman ever to score 500 runs in bilateral ODI series

  • Virat Kohli became first batsmen ever to score 500 runs in a bilateral series. Kohli scored a total of 558 runs in the series, going past teammate Rohit Sharma for most runs in a bilateral competition. Rohit scored 491 against Australia in 2013-14.
  • Former Australia captain George Bailey is third in the list with 478 runs against India in 2013-14.

Wilful default sum rises 23% in Punjab National Bank

  • The Punjab National Bank has seen an almost 23% rise in the amount that wilful defaulters owe it, with loan outstanding of Rs. 25 lakh and above, in just more than eight months ended January this year. The defaulters, who had taken loans of more than Rs. 25 lakh, had a gross outstanding of Rs. 14,593.16 crore as on January 31, as per PNB data.
  • The bank first started giving out such data from June 2017, when the gross loan outstanding against the defaulters was Rs. 11,879.74 crore. This had grown over 22.8% in the eight months.
  • The rise came especially when the bank had been aggressive for over a year now in recovering bad loans.