What is it? The estimated number of Indians, the largest community, living in Qatar.
Why is it important? Some of them will benefit from a draft law passed by the Qatar cabinet that would grant permanent residency to foreigners. This is the first such action among Gulf Arab Monarchies, which are strict about guarding their nationals’ privileges and curbing expatriates’ access to public services and property rights, though they have depended on their labour for decades to run their economies.
Tell me more: Foreigners can receive permanent resident status if they get married to a Qatari, have “performed great services to the state” or “have special competencies”. The expatriates would get the same privileges as Qataris in terms of education and healthcare and will have the right to own real estate as per the country’s laws and run certain commercial activities without a local partner.
What is it? The number of international offices Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm and corporate service provider, operates currently.
Why is it important? Earlier, the law firm had 45 international offices and it has had to shut down most of its operations in foreign countries due to a slump in its business. This follows the revelation of 11.5 million files from its database that showed records of wealthy people had used offshore companies to stash their assets in April 2016 — the biggest leak in history. In the same year, at least 150 inquiries or investigations were launched in around 70 countries to probe the possibilities of money laundering or tax evasion. After the leak, the firm has denied any wrongdoing.
Tell me more: The Panama Papers included some big names such as former British Prime Minister David Cameron, Hong Kong’s film star Jackie Chan, a $2 billion-trail leading to Russian President Vladimir Putin, former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Shariff and Argentina’s football player Lionel Messi.
What is it? The increase in the share prices of Cognizant in the last seven months or so, since Elliott Management Corp, an activist investment firm, that advised the company to focus on sustainable shareholder returns.
Why is it important? The IT firm, which said in February that it would cooperate with Elliott Management, seems to be showing signs of having benefitted Cognizant’s shareholders. The increase in share prices of Cognizant during the last seven months or so is much higher than the 8% return that its competitors such as Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Infosys have managed in the same period.
Tell me more: Cognizant’s revenues increased by 8.9% year-on-year in the June quarter compared to 5.2% and 6% growth rates clocked by TCS and Infosys respectively in the same period.
What is it? The percentage of schools with electricity in the country.
Why is it important? Over one-third of India’s schools go without electricity, according to Unified District Information System for Education (2015-16). Populous states such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and most of the northeastern states fare lower than the national average of electrified schools, as revealed by a Rajya Sabha reply.
Tell me more: The Ministry of Human Resource Development claims 187,248 elementary schools and 12,930 secondary schools have internal electrification as of March, 2017, under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan programmes.
What is it? The number of families who would need to be rehabilitated once the gates of the Sardar Sarovar Dam gates are finally closed.
Why is it important? Over two decades have passed and the families are still waiting to be properly resettled after their homes were flooded when the dam was built. The Gujarat government was allowed to shut the gates of the dam in June this year by the Centre.
Tell me more: Activist Medha Patkar of the Narmada Bachao Andolan is on a fast, for eight days now, to demand rehabilitation. Development projects have displaced no less than 21.3 million people in India in over 50 years till 2007, with dams accounting for 16.4 million of them.