News In Numbers: July 21
Rs 98,805 cr
India’s first bullet train between Mumbai to Ahmedabad is expected to cost Rs 98,805 crore, about 52% more than the initial estimated cost, according to a feasibility report prepared by a Japanese agency and presented to the Railways for consideration. The train is projected to run at 300 km per hour, reducing the travel time between the two cities to two hours, from the current seven hours, and have a fare of around Rs 2,800. The current fastest train in India, Bhopal Shatabdi Express, which connects New Delhi and Bhopal, reportedly clocks a peak speed of 155 km per hour.
The number of bills on the legislative agenda of the Indian Parliament, which reconvenes today for a period of 24 days. Seven of these bills are carryovers from the previous session, while nine are new introductions. Among the pending bills is the land acquisition legislation, which has become one of the political flashpoints between the government and the opposition. This and several other flashpoints—including the dealings of senior BJP leaders with disgraced cricket administrator Lalit Modi and the recruitment scandal in Madhya Pradesh—are expected to make this session a stormy one.
The number of incidents of communal violence is up 24% to 287 in the first five months of 2015, compared to the corresponding period of 2014. In the same period, the number of people who died due to such incidents increased by 65% to 43. The equivalent figures for 2014 had seen a reduction when compared with those recorded in 2013. Back in May, the Indian government had said the maximum number of communal incidents in 2014-15 (March not included) occurred in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has teamed up with Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner to launch a project to hunt for aliens. They intend to spend $100 million (about Rs 630 crore) in the next 10 years. Hawking has been positive about the existence of extraterrestrial life, saying humans must be cautious about interacting with it. NASA’s Kepler Spacecraft has discovered 1,028 planets outside of the solar system, which is more than half of all known exoplanets till now.
Rs 25,000 crore
The Maharashtra government plans to levy additional taxes to raise Rs 25,000 crore in the next five years to channelize them for water conservation and power projects. The state, which is reeling under an agrarian crisis, has embarked on a “zero suicide mission” (with reference to farmer suicides). Rejecting the loan waiver schemes, the state government is targeting bringing 215,000 hectares of additional land under irrigation in suicide-prone areas, besides providing new electricity connections to farmers, constructing wells and spending on crop insurance. Maharashtra recorded the highest number of farmer suicides in 2014.
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