Here is the digest of important newspaper articles and quiz!
Declining languages of India
In an independent study conducted by Bhasha Research Centre, an NGO, under the leadership of Sahitya Akademi award-winning writer Dr. G.N. Devy, there are around 800 languages and dialects across India. The language count includes all those in currency, irrespective of the number of users.
Census of India surveys found close to 1,600 languages in use in 1961, 108 in 1971 and 122 in 2011. Those spoken by less than 10,000 people were excluded after 1961. Nearly 300 languages have gone extinct in the country since the time of independence.
According to UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation there are 197 endangered languages in India, with 42 classified as Critically Endangered. Included in the list is Nihali, traced to the pre-Aryan and pre-Munda period.
Why should languages be conserved? – Conserving languages represent cultural and economical capital. Nations that neglected indigenous languages suffered extinction of aboriginal culture. Languages are a collection of memories, helping to cultivate a science that would help future generations.
What is the Nihali language? – It is a language spoken by 500 villagers on the Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh border, the language is on the verge of extinction as speakers are migrating to find work, and merging with other communities.
What is an endangered language? – An endangered language is a language that is at a risk of falling out of use, generally because it has few surviving speakers. If it loses all of its native speakers, it becomes an extinct language. UNESCO defines four levels of language endangerment between “safe” (not endangered) and “extinct”: Vulnerable,Definitely endangered, Severely endangered,Critically endangered.
Around 191 languages of India that are classified as vulnerable or endangered.
Nilgiri wood pigeon spotted
Birdwatchers have spotted the Nilgiri wood pigeon (Columba elphinstonii)in the Arippa Ammayambalam Pacha reserve forest area bordering Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram. It is an endemic and threatened bird species of the Western Ghats, was sighted at Arippa after a gap of 27 years.The last sighting was in 1989.
Where is the nilgiri wood pigeon found? – The Nilgiri wood pigeon (Columba elphinstonii) is large pigeon found in the moist deciduous forests and sholas of the Western Ghats in southwestern India.
Columba elphinstonii is endemic to the hill-ranges of the Western Ghats, south-west India, occurring from north-west Maharashtra south, through Karnataka and Goa, to southern Kerala and western Tamil Nadu. It was once considered common and widespread, but has undergone a major decline, which is thought to be continuing owing to on-going forest loss. Most recent records come from Kerala and Tamil Nadu, where it still appears to be locally common. It is classified as vulnerable by IUCN.
India at 105th position on Human Capital Index
Human Capital Index, which measures countries’ ability to nurture, develop and deploy talent for economic growth by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF) was released at its Annual Meeting of New Champions – also known as ‘Summer Davos’ summit.
India is ranked at 105th position out of the total 130 countries included in the index. WEF said the country had optimised only 57 per cent of its human capital endowment, placing it in the top of the bottom quartile of the index. Finland, Norway and Switzerland hold the top three positions, utilising around 85 per cent of their human capital. Japan leads when it comes to 55 year-olds and over.
What are the observations of the report? – The report said that the country’s educational attainment has improved markedly over the different age groups, its youth literacy rate is still only 90 per cent (103rd in the world), well behind the rates of other leading emerging markets. India also ranks poorly on labour force participation, due in part to one of the world’s largest employment gender gaps (121st).
India has got better rankings on quality of education system (39th), staff training (46th) and ease of finding skilled employees (45th) indicators. This suggests “a primary avenue for improvement for the country consists of expanding access to its numerous learning and employment opportunities.
Source: Business Standard
RBI releases Financial Stability Report
The Reserve Bank of India released the Financial Stability Report. The report reflects the overall assessment on the stability of India’s financial system and its resilience to risks emanating from global and domestic factors.
What is the outlook of NPAs? – The central bank foresees bad loans of the banking sector worsening. It sees the gross non-performing assets of the banks rising to as high as 9.3 percent in 2016-17 after hitting 7.6 percent in March 2016. If the macro scenarios deteriorate in the future, the GNPA ratio may further increase to 9.3 per cent by March 2017 under at severe stress scenario.
What is the outlook on growth? – Indian economy stands out in terms of growth among its peers, despite global uncertainties, banking sector issues. The country’s Indian financial system remains stable.
However, the report stressed on the need to bolster the gross fixed capital formation (or investment) while maintaining robust trends in consumption to sustain higher levels of growth.
What is the outlook on oil price? – The report said that India should be alert to the risks of commodity price cycle reversals and the economy’s preparedness to readjust.
The FSR also has caution about the downside of prolonged low oil prices. This may result in reduction in private transfers and remittances.
What is the outlook on corporate sector? – Indian companies’ leverage situation has improved in 2015-16 and the overall risks in the corporate sector have also moderated during the year.
The proportion of debt of highly leveraged companies (those from the leveraged lot having a debt-to-equity ratio of over 3) came down to 19 percent from 23 percent, FSR said.
Though the overall risks are are moderating in the corporate sector, the risks on account of low demand and liquidity pressures continue, the report has pointed out.
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