Coal India Loses Decades-Old Monopoly



    What is it? The number of years within which a Tribunal to be set up is expected to settle the Mahanadi Water Dispute. The Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved the proposal for adjudication of this dispute.

    Why is it important? This comes less than a month after the Supreme Court had directed the central government to set up a  tribunal to resolve this dispute. Odisha had moved the court in December 2016, seeking an order for Chhattisgarh to stop the construction activities of its projects on the upstream of Mahanadi. The latterdid not want the setting up of a tribunal and pointed to the 1983 agreement between Odisha and Madhya Pradesh (Chhattisgarh was a part of it until 2000) to settle the matter.

    Tell me more: According to the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956, the tribunal would consist of a Chairman and two members nominated by the Chief Justice of India from among the judges of the top court or high court. In addition, two water resources experts will advise the tribunal.


    Rs 1.11 trillion

    What is it? The total amount outstanding of loans taken by wilful defaulters (with loans of over Rs 25 lakh) in which lawsuits have been filed, as of September 30, 2017.

    Why is it important? This figure stood at Rs 28,416.93 crore four years ago. At that time, nationalised banks accounted for nearly a third of the total amount outstanding in the accounts of wilful defaulters, which leaped to 58.7% at the end of September last year. The case of Punjab National Bank (PNB), which is in the eye of a storm over its alleged defrauding by billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi to the tune of Rs 11,400 crore, has raised questions about systemic risks and audit processes at Indian banks, especially with respect to state-lenders.

    Tell me more: The compounded annual growth rate of the total amount outstanding in wilful defaulter accounts with PNB is 95.13% between September of 2013 and 2017. The equivalent numbers of nationalised and private banks are 62.92% and 25.67% respectively.



    What is it? The maximum margins four hospitals in the Delhi-National Capital Region have made on drugs, consumables (such as surgical masks and hand gloves) and medical devices (include disposable syringes with or without needles and catheters), according to an analysis by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA).

    Why is it important? The report by the drug pricing authority highlights the practices of these hospitals including them prescribing and dispensing drugs that do not come under the price control regime, exorbitant profit margins made by them in the non-scheduled devices used in three cases (syringes, cannula and catheters) are exorbitant and that the costs of diagnostic services in hospitals were higher than those charged by private centres.

    Tell me more: One example of the excessive profiteering by hospital is: a three-way stop cock (bi-valve) purchased by the hospital for Rs 5.77 was sold at Rs 106, giving the hospital a profit of 1,737%. The report concluded that the major beneficiaries of profits in the cases analysed because of inflated MRPs (maximum retail price) were hospitals rather than the manufacturers of drugs and devices.


    45 years

    What is it? The numbers of years where the state-run Coal India Ltd has monopoly status on commercial production of coal. The union cabinet on Tuesday decided to allow private players to commercially produce coal.

    Why is it important? This is expected to increase competition, resulting in higher output and better prices for end users. Thermal power plants could have better fuel availability and less inventory carrying cost. India imported 191 million tonnes of coal for the year ended March 2017.

    Tell me more: The coal mines will be auctioned based on ‘ascending forward auction’, where the winner will be determined based on the price per tonne of coal. At present, only end users are allowed to mine coal mines for captive use.



    What is it? The projected growth rate for software export revenues for financial year 2018-19 by Nasscom, an industry lobby group.

    Why is it important? The information technology sector, which is the biggest exporter, will maintain current growth rate. This will add between $9 billion and $ 11 billion export revenues in 2018-19, and companies are expected to hire 100,000 people to meet the growth.

    Tell me more: Domestic software market is expected to grow at a faster rate at 10-12%. The market size ($28 billion) is only a fifth of software export revenues ($135 billion) projected for next financial year.


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