Ballooning Assets Of BJP


    7.3 times

    What is it? The number of times the assets of BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) have increased in an 11-year period: from Rs 112 crore in 2004-05 to Rs 893 crore in 2015-16.

    Why is it important? Among the seven national parties, the BJP had the highest assets, as of March 2016. BJP’s big spike came in 2013-14, when its assets shot up 68% from its 2012-13 figure to Rs 780 crore, and the party came to power at the Centre two months later. Opacity in political funding, a large part of which has been in cash and anonymous, has been a contentious issue.

    Tell me more: A political party’s assets include fixed assets, loans and advances, fixed deposits and investments. As of March 2016, the total assets of the seven national parties were Rs 2,719 crore. The Congress held assets of Rs 759 crore and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Rs 559 crore.



    What is it? The share of respondents polled in India who felt “a system in which a strong leader can make decisions without interference from Parliament or the courts” can be a good way to govern their country, according to a Pew Research Center survey released on Monday.

    Why is it important? Among the 38 countries polled from February 16 to May 8, India had the maximum percentage of respondents who endorsed this view. India was followed by Indonesia (52%) and Philippines (50%). Despite the government stumbling on several fronts, opinion polls show Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal ratings to be high.

    Tell me more: In general, though, support for autocracy was low, especially in European countries. About 71% of respondents felt it would be a bad type of governance.


    Rs 5

    What is it? The per unit price of power fixed by the Congress-led Punjab government for industrial consumers, with effect from November 1.

    Why is it important? By setting power tariffs below what it has been charging industrial consumers so far—the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission had set the tariff range for 2016-17 from Rs 5.47 per unit to Rs 7.27 per unit—Punjab is trying to draw industrial investments to reclaim lost economic ground.

    Tell me more: In 2016-17, Punjab saw only 9 industrial projects being implemented. The total investment in these projects was Rs 716 crore, which ranked Punjab 13th among all states.


    $555 million

    What is it? The upper amount that state-owned airline Air India is planning to raise as a bridge loan to finance the purchase of three Boeing B777-300ER planes in early-2018.

    Why is it important? At a time when Air India is adding international destinations, additions like the B777-300ER, a wide-bodied plane that can seat 342 passengers, become important to it. At present, the airline has 119 aircraft. Of this, 44 are wide-bodied planes, including 12 B777-300ER.

    Tell me more: In 2016-17, Air India posted a loss of Rs 3,643 crore on revenues of Rs 22,146 crore, and it needs the government’s help to extend guarantees to secure the loan.



    What is it? Number of innings taken by South African batsman Hashim Amla to reach 26 ODI (one-day international) centuries in Sunday’s win over Bangladesh.

    Why is it important? It’s the least number of innings taken by a batsman to reach 26 hundreds, breaking the previous mark of 166 innings set by India’s Virat Kohli. Among active batsman, though Kohli and Amla have been breaking records in the ODI format, it is the 28-year-old Indian batter who tends to receive more of the attention. Amla, 34, is now ranked fifth all-time on ODI hundreds.

    Tell me more: Amla is also the fastest to six thousand-run milestones, from 2,000 runs to 7,000 runs, in the ODI format.


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      Justice Delayed, Justice Denied


        40 million

        What is it? The number of subscribers Bharti Airtel would acquire once it gets regulatory approvals to acquire the consumer mobile businesses of Tata Teleservices and Tata Teleservices Maharashtra. The two groups announced the merger of their businesses on Thursday.

        Why is it important? This is a major step towards further consolidation in the telecom sector, which is beset with many problems, including a cumulative debt of Rs 4,85,000 crore and Rs 3,00,000 crore dues in spectrum payment charges, an escalating pricing war in recent months, decreasing margins and the possibility of job losses.

        Tell me more: Earlier this year, Airtel announced its decision to acquire Telenor ASA’s India business while the merger of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular is expected to be completed by 2018.



        What is it? The number of years since the dentist couple, Rajesh Talwar and Nupur Talwar, have been in prison serving life imprisonment after being declared guilty by a CBI court of murdering their 13-year-old daughter Aarushi Talwar and domestic help Hemraj.

        Why is it important? A division bench of the Allahabad High Court yesterday acquitted Aarushi’s parents, saying it was giving them the benefit of doubt and that the CBI had been unable to prove their guilt. It accepted the Talwars’ argument that the case against them was based on circumstantial evidence. Their daughter was found with her throat slit in her bed in May 2008 and Hemraj was suspected to be the killer. However, he was found dead on the terrace of the Talwars’ residential building the next day. Investigators alleged the murder was an inside job as the apartment was not broken into and the victims were in the presence of the Talwars’ before being killed.

        Tell me more: The CBI said it would study the Thursday verdict before deciding if it would appeal against their acquittal or not.




        What is it? The pace at which India’s factory output, as shown by the Index of Industrial Production, grew on a year-on-year basis in August.

        Why is it important? This was the fastest pace in nine months, indicating that companies had increased production to meet festive season demand. This could be an early indication of a recovery in India’s economy, which slowed down to a three-year-low of 5.7% in the April-June quarter. The August IIP number follows two months of low growth figures owing to the uncertainties regarding the newly-implemented goods and services tax from July 1.

        Tell me more: In a separate set of data released by the government on Thursday, retail inflation, as represented by the Consumer Price Index, rose to 3.28% in September on a year-on-year basis—the same growth rate as registered in the previous month. This may not give the central bank much room to cut key interest rates.




        What is it? Number of days to go for the state elections in Himachal Pradesh. On Thursday, the Election Commission of India announced that elections in Himachal would be held on November 9.

        Why is it important? The ECI was also yesterday expected to announce the election dates for Gujarat, the other state going to polls, but it did not. This triggered off a political storm, with the Congress accusing the BJP of pressuring the EC to delay the announcement to suit its political ends. Once polls are announced, the model code of conduct kicks in, curtailing the administrative powers of an incumbent party.

        Tell me more: The EC normally holds elections together in states where incumbent governments are completing their five-year term within six months and poll dates are announced simultaneously. Results for both Himachal and Gujarat will be declared on December 18.


        Rs 500 crore

        What is it? The amount raised by PolicyBazaar, an online financial services portal, in its latest funding round, according to its chief executive Yashish Dahiya.

        Why is it important? This is the sixth funding round for PolicyBazaar, and the amount is the most it has raised. The company intends to invest in technology-led customer service initiatives, invest in its loans and credit cards business, and enter distribution of mutual funds, marking a widening of the online financial services space.

        Tell me more: Three new investors have come into the company in this funding round. According to Dahiya, the company broke even in 2016-17, on the back of an increase in revenues from Rs 109 crore in 2015-16 to Rs 220 crore.


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          Criminalizing Sex With Minor Wife


            15.3 million

            What is it? The number of girls married before the age of 18 years in India in the nine-year period to 2011, according to Census 2011.

            Why is it important? In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that a man would be committing rape if he engages in sexual intercourse with his minor wife. The ruling is likely to act as a greater deterrent in preventing child marriages. This also ends the dichotomy brought about two different laws: the exception clause in Section 375, which defines rape, of the Indian Penal Code that says a man having sexual intercourse with his wife above 15 years of age is not guilty of rape, while the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act of 2012 says (aggressive) penetrative sexual assault on children below 18 years of age is rape.

            Tell me more: This ruling came after the hearing of a petition by Independent Thought, a non-governmental organisation, which sought to criminalize sexual intercourse with minor wives.


            $1.1 billion

            What is it? The amount raised by India’s largest cab-hailing service Ola from China’s Tencent Holdings, Japan’s Softbank and new unidentified US-based investors.

            Why is it important? This is the largest funding round in the company’s six-year-old existence and the first major investment since it raised $500 million in November 2015. The latest investment would help Ola expand its war chest to counter the world’s most valuable startup Uber, for whom India has become a focus market after exiting China and Russia in the past 15 months.

            Tell me more: Ola added it was in advanced talks to raise another $1 billion, which would take the total investment raised in the current round to around $2 billion.



            What is it? The year-on-year drop in combined net profit of 2,744 non-government, non-financial companies in the first quarter (April to June) of 2017-18, according to Reserve Bank of India.

            Why is it important? This was the second-straight drop: in the January to March quarter, a near-similar set of 2,726 companies saw their net profit fall 6.9% on a year-on-year basis. This highlights the challenges facing corporate India. April to June was the quarter in which companies braced for a transition to a new tax regime that subsumed a host of taxes into a single tax, the goods and services tax (GST), from July 1. This is also the quarter in which GDP growth fell to 5.7%.

            Tell me more: Several institutions have since pared India’s growth projections for the full year of 2017-18, including OECD and IMF.



            What is it? The number of times IMF growth projections are wrong, according to Rathin Roy, director of National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) and member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM).

            Why is it important? The World Bank, Roy added, was 65% wrong in its growth projections. Over the past month, institution after institution has pared India’s GDP growth estimate. The World Bank lowered its GDP estimate for 2017-18 to 7% (from 7.2%) and the IMF to 6.7% (from 7.2%) for 2017.

            Tell me more: EAC-PM has been mandated to recommend ways to shore up the economy. At its first meeting yesterday, the five-member EAC-Pm rejected the idea of a fiscal stimulus, and instead listed 10 immediate policy priorities for the government.



            What is it? Number of teams from the top 10 teams that have played the most matches in the football world cup to have qualified for the 2018 edition.

            Why is it important? It illustrates the rising competiveness in the footballing landscape, as smaller nations making significant advances. The three that haven’t qualified are Italy, Netherlands and Sweden. Italy and Sweden can still advance as they are in the playoffs, which will take place in November, but Netherlands can’t.

            Tell me more: Netherlands has appeared in 10 world cups and has been the runner-up thrice: in 1974, 1978 and 2010. The last time Netherlands missed the world cup was in 2002.


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              Working Women Are Suffering In Silence




                What is it? The percentage of women who experience sexual harassment in the US but don’t report it.

                Why is it important? It highlights the systemic and societal odds that women have to overcome even in relatively progressive environments. On Tuesday, more women actors, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Angeline Jolie, came out and alleged sexual harassment by leading Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. In financial year 2016, data from the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission shows that 7,433 cases were resolved, of which 54.1% were listed under “no reasonable cause”.

                Tell me more: In India too, a 2017 survey showed 70% of women did not report sexual harassment, fearing repercussions. Several regulations in recent years now require listed Indian companies to report data on sexual harassment at the workplace, and the numbers show an increase in the number of such cases.


                $2.2 billion

                What is it? The estimated sales by Indian e-commerce firms in the one-month festive season until Diwali, according to RedSeer Consulting.

                Why is it important? This would amount to a 50% jump over the same period last year, indicating that e-commerce is a bright spot in a gloomy economy where growth slowed to 5.7% in the June quarter. It also shows the bunching of three big online sales events within a month—the last one begins October 14—has not led to shopper fatigue.

                Tell me more: The first event in September earned e-tailers an estimated $1.5 billion, according to RedSeer Consulting, while the second one generated around $400 million in sales, as per industry estimates.



                What is it? The estimated economic growth of India for 2017 by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), down from its previous projection of 7.2% in July.

                Why is it important? The Washington-based lender attributed the downward revision to the government’s sudden move to withdraw high-value currency notes last November and the transition costs due to the rollout of the goods and services tax (GST) from July 1. However, it said that India’s several structural reforms, including GST, are expected to push up its growth rate to over 8% in the medium term.

                Tell me more: IMF said the global economy was seeing an accelerating cyclical upswing, boosting Europe, China, Japan, US and emerging Asia. India, it added, should focus on simplifying and easing labour market regulations, and that land acquisition procedures are necessary for bettering the business climate.


                48.3 million

                What is it? The estimated number of obese Indians by 2025, according to the World Obesity Federation (WOF).

                Why is it important? WOF estimates the medical costs of treating obesity-related diseases and conditions in India between 2017 and 2025 at $89 billion. However, it adds, by spending $13 billion on treating obesity now, its prevalence could be brought down to 3% from 5%, thereby reducing medical costs of its consequences in the future. According to a study published in medical journal The Lancet, India ranks fifth in terms of number of obese men (9.8 million) and third in terms of number of obese women (20 million). Another study says India has the second-highest number of obese children in the world.

                Tell me more: The consequences of being overweight include cardiovascular diseases, mainly heart disease and stroke, type 2 diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders such as osteoarthritis and some types of cancers. These conditions are said to cause premature deaths and substantial disability.



                What is it? The number of goals scored by Lionel Messi in a 3-1 win against Ecuador to help Argentina qualify for the 2018 football World Cup.

                Why is it important? It completed a turnaround for Argentina, which was forever on the brink during this qualification campaign. And, it marked a poignant moment for Messi, who retired from Argentina colours in 2016, only to return soon after.

                Tell me more: From South America, the four teams that have automatically qualified are Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Colombia. The fifth-placed team, Peru, will play a qualifier with New Zealand to decide its fate for 2018.


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