News in Numbers, May 19, 2016: Worst quarterly loss by an Indian bank, solved IIT-JEE papers…

Rs 5,367 crore

What is it? Punjab National Bank’s (PNB) net loss in the fourth quarter of 2015-16, compared with a net profit of Rs 307 crore in same period last year.

Why is it important? This is the worst known quarterly loss posted by any bank in India and it is PNB’s first since it went public in 2002. This is a result of the central bank’s direction to banks to reclassify their stressed assets as non-performing assets and points to the extent to which banks have been refusing to acknowledge them as bad loans. The big question now is the price at which the government and the market would recapitalise these banks.

Tell me more: PNB’s gross bad loans increased by around 62.6% to Rs 55,818 crore from the previous quarter and its provisions almost increased three-fold from a year ago to Rs 10,485 crore in the last quarter.

 

$125.5 million

What is it? India’s exports – mostly pharmaceuticals – to Venezuela as of February 2016

Why is it important? Cash-strapped Venezuela cannot pay for these drugs, impacting Indian drug manufacturers. Indian government has now proposed an oil-for-drugs barter deal with the country.

Tell me more:  Socialist economic model and low oil prices has led to political and social crisis at Venezuela. Its inflation predicted to more than double to 720% in 2016. Dr Reddy’s Laboratories wrote off $65 million in the three months ended to March 2016, almost all of which is owed by Venezuela while Glenmark Pharmaceuticals is short of $45 million.

 

50

What is it? The number of years of solved question papers of joint entrance examinations (JEE) that the Indian government and the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) will jointly release soon.

Why is it important? IIT-JEE is considered to be one of the toughest engineering entrance examinations in the world and this move is aimed at making it easier for aspiring students and reduce their dependence on coaching institutes. For this, the government will also make the entrance exam easier by conforming to Standard XII syllabus, which now requires greater proficiency than school levels. Kota, which is known as the coaching capital of India, has seen at least six student suicides this year.

Tell me more: Students can access the exam papers through a soon-to-be launched portal and a mobile app and the content will be available in 13 regional languages. Academicians and IIT faculty members would also give video lectures, which would enable additional learning through the portal and app.

 

14.8 degree Celsius

What is it? The average global temperature in April, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Why is it important? Breaks yet another set of global temperature records – the hottest April since 1880 (from the time records are available), and the 12th straight month for which a monthly global temperature record has been broken (the longest such streak). Despite just being four months in 2016, there is a more than 99% likelihood of this year being the hottest year on record, indicating that the pace of global warming might be faster than originally thought to be.

Tell me more: If this is true, then 2016 would be the third consecutive year to set a new global heat record, which would also be another first. Global warming’s effects include ice melts, increase of ocean levels, ocean acidification affecting marine life, affect or wipe out some plant and animal species, and drastic weather events.

 

271/100,000

What is it? The age-adjusted incidence (AAR) of cancer among males in Aizawl district in Mizoram between 2012-14, according to the National Cancer Registry Programme.

Why is it important? This is the highest in India for males. Among females the incidence is the highest in Papumpare district, Arunachal Pradesh with an AAR of 249. In fact, cancer burden in the north-eastern states is among the highest in the world. Granular data like this would help the policy makers and the health specialists in devising intervention specific to a particular geography, thereby making it a more focussed-approach in dealing with cancer burden.

Tell me more: The cancer burden is estimated to be 14.5 lakh new cases of cancer in 2016 and 17.3 lakh new cases in 2020, with breast, lung and cervix as the leading types of the disease. The use of tobacco accounts for less than a third of all cancers in males and females.

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