- Nod to tunnel for all-weather connectivity to Yamunotri
- The Rs 1,384-crore tunnel project has been approved in Uttarakhand as part of the ‘Char Dham’ project to connect Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri and Gangotri. The tunnel will reduce the travel distance from Dharasu to Yamunotri by about 20 km and travel time by about an hour.
- The project will fall along NH-134 (old NH-94) in Uttarakhand. It will be built under Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Mode. This is funded under NH (O) Scheme of Road Transport and Highways Ministry.
- To be completed in four years the civil construction cost of the project is estimated at about Rs 1,120 crore, while the total project cost is approximately Rs 1,384 crore, inclusive of the cost towards land acquisition, rehabilitation, maintenance and the operation cost of the tunnel for four years.
- The proposed tunnel will provide all-weather connectivity to Yamunotri – one of the dhams on “Char Dham Yatra”. When completed it is expected to boost regional socio-economic development, trade and tourism within the country. Another highlight of the project is that it will save felling of trees which would have been necessitated in the road improvement of 25.6 km had the original alignment been pursued. The project will be implemented by the Ministry through National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited.
· International Mother Language Day is observed on 21 February
- UNESCO celebrated International Mother Language Day on 21 February.
- The 2018 theme is- “Linguistic diversity and multilingualism count for sustainable development”.
- It has been organized for nearly 20 years with the aim of preserving linguistic diversity and promoting mother tongue-based multilingual education.
· Google Launches Google Pay to Take On Apple Pay
- Google combined its two payment services, Google Wallet and Android Pay, into a new app called Google Pay.
- The platform includes features like the ability to pay at checkout counters with a smartphone or pay for public transportation.
· India International Textiles Expo Begins In Colombo
- A three –day India International Textiles Expo (IITExpo)of India began in Sri Lankan capital of Colombo.
- It is being organized by Powerloom Development & Export Promotion Council (PDEXCIL)with the support of Union Ministry of Textiles & Ministry of Commerce & Industry.
- The event was inaugurated by Sri Lankan minister of Special Assignments Dr. Sarath Amunugama. At the event, about 45 exhibitors from various textile clusters of India displayed a variety of fabrics, home textiles, traditional items etc. suitable for apparel, industrial, technical application and general consumers.
· India Successfully Conducts Night Trial Of Prithvi-II Missile
- India successfully conducted a night trial of its indigenously developed nuclear capable Prithvi-II missilewith a strike range of 350 km, from a test range in Odisha.
- The surface-to-surface missile was test-fired from a mobile launcher from launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur, Odisha.
- The perfect test launch came after the successful trial of the Agni-5 missile.
- EPFO cuts interest rate to 8.55% for 2017-18
- Retirement fund body Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has reduced interest rate on deposits to 8.55% for 2017-18 following a general decline in interest rates.
- The decision was taken by EPFO’s central board of trustees at its 220th board meeting, labour minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar said.
- EPFO had announced an interest rate of 8.65% for 2016-17 and 8.8% in 2015-16.
Gk bit – EPFO
- Employee’s Provident Fund (EPF)is a retirement benefit scheme that’s available to all salaried employees. This fund is maintained and overseen by the Employees Provident Fund Organisation of India (EPFO) and any company with over 20 employees is required by law to register with the EPFO.
- It’s a savings platform that helps employees save a fraction of their salary every month that can be used in the event that person is rendered unable to work, or upon retirement.
- When a person start working, him and his employer both contribute 12% of basic salary (plus dearness allowances, if any) into his EPF account. The entire 12% of your contribution goes into EPF account along with 3.67% (out of 12%) from the employer, while the balance 8.33% from the employer’s side is diverted to the EPS (Employee’s Pension Scheme) . It’s important to note that if basic pay is above Rs. 6,500 per month, then employer can only contribute 8.33% of 6,500 (i.e. Rs. 541) to EPS and the balance goes into EPF account.
- These funds are pooled together from many employees and invested by a trust. This generates an interest of 8% – 12%, which is decided by the government and the central board of trustees. The annual interest rate is available on the official EPF India website, and is currently at 8.55%.
· Avani, first Indian woman to fly a fighter aircraft solo
- Scripting history, Flying Officer Avani Chaturvedi has become the first Indian woman to fly a fighter aircraft solo.
- Three women pilots — Ms. Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh — had undergone strenuous training programme to fly fighter jets.
- They were commissioned as Flying Officers in July 2016, less than a year after the government decided to open the fighter stream for women.
· Over 40 Indian languages, dialects heading to extinction
- 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, officials said.
- According to a report of the Census Directorate, 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 less than 10,000 people. These are considered endangered and may be heading towards extinction, a Home Ministry official said. A list prepared by UNESCO has also mentioned about the 42 languages or dialects in India that are endangered and they may be heading towards extinction, the official said. 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 other languages in the endangered category are Manda, Parji and Pengo (Odisha), Koraga and Kuruba (Karnataka), Gadaba and Naiki (AP), Kota and Toda (Tamil Nadu), Mra and Na (Arunachal Pradesh), Tai Nora and Tai Rong (Assam), Bangani (Uttarakhand), Birhor (Jharkhand), Nihali (Maharashtra), Ruga (Meghalaya) and Toto (West Bengal).