What is it? The number of people killed after a severe dust storm followed by thunder showers hit parts of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan on the intervening night between Wednesday and Thursday.
Why is it important? Though dust storms are common in these parts of the country, destruction on this scale is unusual. Many people were killed while sleeping as bursts of lightning destroyed houses while falling trees and walls claimed some lives. The India Meteorological Department has warned that another dust storm may hit parts of the two states within the next 48 hours due to the formation of cyclonic circulation in the region.
Tell me more: Over 200 people were reported to have been injured as on Thursday evening in western and northern India.
What is it? India’s gold demand in the three months ended March 2018, down 12% from a year ago.
Why is it important? This is mainly because demand for jewellery fell to the second-lowest level in 10 years due to an increase in local prices. Gold futures were trading near their highest level in 20 months on the back of a depreciation of rupee, which hit the lowest level in nearly 14 months. The demand was also hit due to the last quarter having just 7 auspicious days for weddings compared with 22 a year ago.
Tell me more: The World Gold Council expects the full-year demand to be 700-800 tonnes, which is likely to be driven by normal monsoons in addition to the government’s measures that would boost rural incomes, which account for around two-thirds of India’s gold demand.
4 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft)
What is it? The quantity of water the Supreme Court asked Karnataka to release to Tamil Nadu on Thursday.
Why is it important? Though Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra warned Karnataka of consequences if it failed to comply with its order, its government said that it does not have enough water to meet its own needs and therefore, cannot release water to its neighbouring state. This comes even as the central government has delayed the framing of a draft Cauvery Management Scheme to implement the top court’s verdict on water sharing between four southern states.
What is it? The number of Indian pharmaceutical products, including all cancer drugs, exempted from import tariffs in China.
Why is it important? The move by the Chinese government will boost pharma exports from India, and could help reduce trade deficit between India and China. Pharma exports to China is negligible at $27 million in 2016-17. Even this has dropped from $72 million in 2012-13.
Tell me more: For every one dollar of exports, India imports $6.1 from China. This has resulted in widening trade deficit of $108 billion in 2016-17. India has been asking China to reduce tariffs and trade barriers to boost exports from India, and reduce this trade gap.
210 million tonnes
What is it? Domestic iron ore output in 2017-18, as compared to 192 million tonnes in the previous year.
Why is it important? This is the first time in seven years iron ore exports from India has crossed 200 million tonnes mark. Higher iron ore production could indicate economic recovery, as iron ore is used as a major input to produce steel. Higher iron ore prices, which has increased by 60% during last financial year, has also incentivised higher production.
Tell me more: Federation of Indian Mineral Industries had asked the government to remove export duty of 30% for iron ore with up to 62% ferrous content. The industry body claims domestic demand hasn’t matched up with production, and iron ore stocks are increasing.