Tendulkar’s Poor Show



What is it? The attendance record of Sachin Tendulkar in the Rajya Sabha. The attendance record of the iconic cricketer, whose six-year term ends this month, compares poorly with the national average of 78%.

Why is it important? On Sunday, Tendulkar said he would donate his entire salary and allowances as a Rajya Sabha MP—amounting to about Rs 90 lakh—to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund. His attendance record, however, takes some sheen of this gesture. Lately, the poor attendance record of public figures like Tendulkar and actor Rekha has made them the face of the debate over the roles and responsibilities of nominated members.

Tell me more: During his six years, Tendulkar asked 22 questions (against the national average of 331) and did not participate in a single debate (against the national average of 77.4).



What is it? The number of months it usually takes the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to decide whether it should close a preliminary enquiry initiated by it or if it should file an FIR (first information report).

Why is it important? The investigating agency has filed a preliminary enquiry into the dealings between ICICI Bank MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar’s husband Deepak Kochhar, Videocon Group and some others to see if there has been any wrongdoing in lending practices. An investigative report last week alleged that Videocon secured loans from a consortium of banks, including ICICI Bank, after which its group chairman Venugopal Dhoot invested in a firm owned by Deepak Kochhar, which has raised several questions of propriety.

Tell me more: Currently, Chanda Kochhar has not been included in the preliminary enquiry, but her name may be added at a later stage.



What is it? The number of people, including two teachers and a coaching centre owner, who the Delhi Police arrested on Sunday for their alleged involvement in the leak of Class XII Economics paper.

Why is it important? This is the first set of arrests in the case made after interrogating over 60 people including 53 students, seven teachers and a school principal. To prevent such leaks that put undue pressure on students, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has decided to bring in a new measure, which is asking examination centres print the question papers, starting Monday.

Tell me more: The re-test for Class XII Economics paper will be held on April 25 and the Class X Mathematics re-test would be conducted in July, if necessary.



What is it? The number of faculty and non-faculty positions filled out of a total of 24,486 sanctioned posts (as on January 1, 2018) in six AIIMS-like institutions.

Why is it important? With this kind of shortage, most of these institutions have been admitting MBBS students since 2012. This raises questions about the quality of education in these institutions. Moreover, with private medical education being expensive and regional imbalances in access to inexpensive and reliable healthcare services, there is a pressing need for affordable and quality education in government medical colleges.

Tell me more: The projected funding demand for the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana, under which the six AIIMS-like institutions have come into being, is Rs 8,398 crore, of which only Rs 3,825 crore has been allocated.



What is it? The number of years after which English football club Tottenham Hotspur beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Why is it important? At one level, Tottenham’s win on Sunday was the burying of past ghosts. At another level, Tottenham’s win over its closest rival boosted its prospects for a top-four finish in the English Premier League, and automatic qualification for next year’s Champions League. With five wins in their last five matches, Tottenham is now fourth: it leads Chelsea by eight points, with seven matches left.

Tell me more: Chelsea’s defeat left the reigning EPL champions down in fifth place, in serious danger of missing out on European football next year and seeing a managerial change.


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How Have NDA, UPA Governments Fared On Budget Projections?

This story was first published on Livemint.

When the finance minister Arun Jaitley presents the budget on 1 February, he will present three sets of numbers. The first is the budget estimates, which are projections for the coming year (FY2018-19).

The second is the revised estimates for the ongoing year that still has two months to run (FY2017-18), and indicate how close or how far the government was in meeting the projections it made in February last year. The third is the actual numbers for FY2016-17, which shows what the government delivered for the period that ended 10 months ago.

The tables below show how governments in the last 18 years fared on what they budgeted for and what they delivered in three key areas. Green is good and red is bad. Roughly, half the time governments miss key projections, at times by a long way, as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) did in its ­first term and the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) did in its second term.hil-kNCD--621x414@LiveMint

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What Are Governments Spending Their Budget Money On?

This story was first published on Livemint.

In 2015-16, on an average, 21% of the budgets of the centre and states was set aside for interest payments and pensions—‘bad spending’ that doesn’t yield any return. Chhattisgarh allocated a greater percentage of its budget to agriculture than any other state: two-and-a-half times that of Madhya Pradesh, from which it was carved out in 2000. Goa and Jammu & Kashmir spent close to one-fifth of their budgets on power.

The matrix below shows where the Union government and 31 state governments spent in 2015-16. It shows how a state’s spending on 15 key items broken across three categories compares with peers, with the gradation going from green (relatively better) to red (relatively worse).


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A Suitable Buyer


Air India has been bleeding money for quite some time. At the end of March’17, it had piled up debt of nearly Rs. 48,000 crore. Nontheless, it has found suiters in Tata Group and parent company of IndiGo. But, that’s not enough for the government. It wants to raise the stakes, so it may do away with the ‘foreign airlines can own 49% stake in an Indian airline but not Air India’ rule. More bidders, better pricing. Why would a buyer be interested in owning a debt laden company? You ask? Government is hiving off a part of Air India’s loan not linked to the aircraft, a 64% of its debt.

For more news in numbers, read on.



What is it? The number of seats the Left Alliance in Nepal had won as of Sunday evening in parliamentary elections, as per preliminary results.

Why is it important? With this, the CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist alliance is heading towards a majority, with Khadga Prasad Oli likely to be the country’s Prime Minister. This brings an end to the decade-old civil war in Nepal and completes its move to becoming a federal democracy. It remains to be seen if the Left Alliance’s landslide victory results in the waning of India’s influence on Nepal and China playing a dominant role in the landlocked nation.

Tell me more: The Left Alliance was leading in another 31 seats, while the incumbent Nepali Congress had won just 13 seats. The house of representatives consists of 275 members, of which 165 are to be elected directly under the first-past-the-post system and the rest through the proportional representation system.



What is it? The maximum stake that foreign airlines can own in an Indian airline, with the exception of Air India, in which investment from foreign airlines is banned.

Why is it important? The Indian government may reportedly do away with this exception for the disinvestment of state-run Air India, provided the foreign airlines has a joint venture with a local player. This could intensify competition among bidders interested in buying Air India and, perhaps, fetch the government a better price. The parent company of IndiGo is the only airline to have made a formal expression of interest, while the Tata Group has indicated its interest in doing the same.

Tell me more: Jayant Sinha, union minister of state for civil aviation, said on Friday that the process of privatisation of Air India has begun and that it would be finalised in 6-8 months.



What is it? Percentage of assets under management (AUMs) of Indian mutual funds in equity funds and balanced funds in November 2017.

Why is it important? This figure was 30% in November 2014. This increase in share of equity-oriented funds comes in the backdrop of consistently rising net inflows into Indian mutual funds, whose total AUMs have increased to an all-time high of Rs 21.8 trillion in November 2017, as against 16.9 trillion in October 2016. More encouragingly, it is individual investors who are driving growth, rather than institutional investors.

Tell me more: The two fund classes that have lost share during this period are both debt funds: income funds (down from 46% to 38%) and liquid funds (down from 21% to 19%).



What is it? The rate at which Amazon India’s gross sales volume increased in the July-September quarter from a year ago. Its gross sales by value grew 67% in the same period.

Why is it important? This is more than twice the estimated broader growth rate of the online retail market. It is another indication that Amazon India continues to keep pace with India’s homegrown e-commerce firm and marked leader, Flipkart. In a recent report on customer response and perception by RedSeer Consulting, both e-tailers were tied with a score of 92, similar to the corresponding quarter in the previous year, when they had both scored 95.

Tell me more: Amazon has committed $5 billion in India, of which it has spent over $2 billion, while Flipkart raised $2.4 billion from Japan’s SoftBank Group recently, giving it enough ammunition to battle against its cash-rich rival.



What is it? Number of consecutive wins recorded by Manchester City in the English Premier League. This is joint best with Arsenal’s run over two seasons in 2002.

Why is it important? On Sunday, leaders Manchester City visited cross-town rivals and second-placed Manchester United in a game with many sub-texts and dominated them in a 2-1 victory. In a weekend when four of the top six teams in the league dropped points, City extended their lead to 11 points. They next travel to Swansea, which is languishing second from the bottom.

Tell me more: The Manchester Derby ended with a fracas in the corridor outside City’s dressing room involving players and staff from the two teams.


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