News in Numbers, July 22, 2016: IT department cracks the whip, water in India’s reservoirs…

7 lakh

What is it? The number of letters Income Tax Department is to send seeking information on high value transactions where the permanent account numbers (PAN) were not disclosed.

Why is it important? Shows the government’s continued efforts in tracking down tax evaders and cracking its whip on the black money problem. In the last two years, the government has detected undisclosed income of Rs 43,829 crore, which is around 1.5% of the estimated black money in the country (according to a research firm).

Tell me more: In the letters, the parties are being sent a unique identification number which can be used to provide their PAN online without getting in touch with the tax authorities directly. They are being asked to confirm whether or not the transactions mentioned have been undertaken by them. The letters seek to get information about 14 lakh high-value transactions.

 

54.42 billion cubic metres

What is it? The water available in India’s 91 major reservoirs as of yesterday, according to Central Water Commission.

Why is it important? Though this is slightly less than the levels recorded at the same time last year, this is higher than the 10-year average of 52.05 billion cubic metres. The current data presents a picture of relief as nearly a month ago, water levels in the major reservoirs were less than half the present levels. Nearly 90% of India had received normal to excess rainfall between June and the first week of this month, which is likely to boost crop sowing prospects, after two successive years of drought.

Tell me more: As many as 35 reservoirs have water higher than last year’s levels while storage in 36 of them have water higher than the 10-year average levels.

 

70,807

What is it? The number of habitations in India that do not have safe drinking water.

Why is it important? Water in these areas are contaminated with fluoride, arsenic and heavy metals, which have adverse health effects and according to a 2013 report, 37.7 million Indians were estimated to be affected by water-borne diseases every year. Besides, there are 3 lakh rural habitations that have less than the prescribed norm of 40 litres per capita per day of safe drinking water, which is reportedly due to delay in the implementation of around 3,000 water schemes, some of which are 5-10 years old.

Tell me more: Rajasthan has the highest number of water-contaminated habitations (20,895) followed by Assam, Jharkhand and Bihar. The government has set a target of providing safe drinking water in 17 lakh habitations by 2022.

 

3

What is it? The number of months within which the government will act upon prosecution requests from private citizens, according to new rules being proposed by the Indian government.

Why is it important? If implemented, this would help improve accountability and speed by those in power – and this is the first time such rules are being proposed by the government. It says it has been receiving requests from private citizens seeking sanction for prosecuting IAS officers but those are without any proper proposal or supporting documents.

Tell me more: The government has sent a circular detailing the proposed guidelines to all states and central ministries seeking their comments. The proposed rules state that an officer would be given a chance to explain his side of the story or defend himself in case prima facie evidence is found against him by the state or central government. Upon the receipt of the complaint, it would be sent to the department where the officer is posted and a report would be sought by the Department of Personnel and Training. Upon receiving the report, the central government will dispose off the complaint within three months.

 

2,765

What is it? The number of people who have been made to plant saplings for traffic violations in Mahbubnagar district in Telangana in nearly three weeks.

Why is it important? The aim is to reduce the number of accidents in the district, which has 150 accident-prone zones, and to help the Telangana government’s initiative to increase its green cover to 33% of the state’s total geographical area from the current 24%. The plantation of saplings is over and above the fines and punishment the violators would face.

Tell me more: The police in Mahbubnagar district is aiming to plant a million saplings in police stations, residential quarters, office buildings and the district police office complex.

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