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A New Hole In PNB’s Books

 

Rs 11,363 crore

What is it? The value of ‘fraudulent and unauthorised transactions’ that Punjab National Bank (PNB) has said it has detected in one of its branches in Mumbai, according to a regulatory filing on Wednesday.

Why is it important? This is more than double the amount the government would give the bank (Rs 5,473 crore) in bonds as part of its recapitalisation programme to support ailing public sector banks. Thus, it may render this aid useless, depending on how much of the funds transferred end up as a liability. PNB is battling similar cases, with the Central Bureau of Investigation having reportedly received two complaints from it against billionaire jewellery designer Nirav Modi and a jewellery firm about fraudulent transactions worth Rs 10,000 crore.

Tell me more: With regards to the Mumbai fraud, the transactions were carried out “for the benefit of a few select account holders with their apparent connivance”, and based on these, “other banks appeared to have advanced money to these customers abroad”. PNB has referred the case to law enforcement agencies.

 

$15-20

What is it? The cost of accessing a live video stream of child abuse compared to $50 about 5-6 years ago, according to a report by WePROTECT Global Alliance, an international movement to end sexual exploitation of children online.

Why is it important? The report attributes the increase in on-demand, live-streaming online child sexual abuse to high-speed Internet connectivity and the wider access to smartphones, which allow offenders to interact with children from anonymous locations through “rich media connections”. There has also been a surge in children sharing sexual images of themselves, resulting in paedophiles creating fake profiles to extort money from them. In addition, these images are used to get an entry into hidden paedophile rings hosted on the dark web.

Tell me more: A report by the Internet Watch Foundation analysed images depicting children aged 10 years or younger, whose share declined from 80% in 2014 to 53% in 2016. However, those of children aged between 11 and 15 years jumped from 18% to 45%.

 

$230 million

What is it? The amount the Indian government reportedly plans to spend to prevent crop residue burning by giving money to farmers in three states bordering Delhi: Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

Why is it important? This is far less than the total investment of $600 million recommended by Niti Aayog, a government policy advisory group, raising questions if this would be effective in reducing air pollution in and around Delhi. A fourth of Delhi’s air pollution has been attributed to crop residue burning. Farmers usually resort to burning crop residue as it is the cheapest and easiest option available at hand.

Tell me more: An estimated total of 23 million tonnes of biomass is burnt every season between mid-October and November 10 in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh.

 

22%

What is it? The percentage of business correspondents (BCs) interviewed by financial inclusion consultancy MicroSave who said that they faced fraud in 2017.

Why is it important? This is a manifold increase over the figure of 2% registered two years ago. As India aims to expand financial inclusion, BCs are a pivotal cog in that outreach, essentially handling the ‘last mile’, be it for traditional banks or the new-age payment banks. Such high levels of fraud could challenge the credibility of this distribution channel and, hence, adoption.

Tell me more: According to the MicroSave report released on Wednesday, titled State of the Agent Network, India 2017, the incidence of fraud is higher among high-performing agents—those who conduct a median of 40 or more transactions a day—compared to others (29% versus 18%).

 

17

What is it? The number of deaths reported in a high-school shooting incident in Parkland, Florida, on Wednesday, when a 19-year-old student Nikolaus Cruz, who had been expelled for unspecified disciplinary reasons, opened fire.

Why is it important? It rekindles the debate on gun control legislations in the US, the reforms of which have failed to make it past the US Congress even in the backdrop of gruesome mass-shooting incidents. According to gunviolence.org, so far in 2018, there have been 6,534 gun-related incidents in the US and these have caused 1,817 deaths.

Tell me more: In the last four years, 2017 was the worst, both in terms of number of gun-related incidents and gun-related deaths.

 

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