News in Numbers, June 20, 2016: Early impact of Rajan’s exit, Karnataka cabinet reshuffle…

26,486.57 points

What is it? The level at which Sensex, the benchmark of the Bombay Stock Exchange, was trading at (9.16 am) today down 139.34 points or 0.52% lower from Friday’s close at 26,625.91 points.

Why is it important? The markets were expected to slump today, after RBI governor Raghuram Rajan announced that he would return to academia when his term expires in September. Rajan is credited for arresting the decline in the rupee among other things and his announcement influenced the currency to fall by 60 points to Rs 67.68 in early trade today. This only adds to worries about Britain’s exit from the European Union, which may result in capital flight from emerging markets such as India, and delayed monsoon in the country.

Tell me more: Under Rajan, the wholesale price inflation and consumer price inflation, which were as high as 10.5% and 7.05% in September 2013 when he took over, slowed down to 5.76% and 0.79% respectively.

 

700

What is it? The number of tablets the Statistics Ministry reportedly would use to conduct its Periodic Labour Force Survey.

Why is it important? This would be the first time ever that a government data collection exercise would be done using modern technology instead of the usual pen-paper method. This would improve accuracy of data collected and also, be faster – reducing the lag between the time data gathered and data disseminated.

Tell me more: The Periodic Labour Force Survey is conducted every three months and provides information on data points including Labour Force Participation Rate, Worker Population Ratio, Unemployment Rate and average earnings of self-employed, regular wage/salaried and casual workers.

 

Rs 20,000

What is it? The cap on coaching for competitive examinations for students belonging to the scheduled castes (SCs) and other backward classes (OBCs). This will now be done away with and the entire expenditure will be borne by the central government.

Why is it important? This would help students in these categories pursue higher education and employment. Right now, as a group, they lag behind the general population. The Census 2011 data shows that education levels are lower among SC groups across the states, compared to the non-SC population.

Tell me more: Under the revised guidelines, the central government would ask the states and the union territories to propose the names 5-10 coaching institutes with good record of past performance and from this, a final list would be made to provide coaching to the SC and OBC students.

 

14

What is it? The number of ministers Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah has fired reportedly for underperformance or involvement in controversies.

Why is it important? The move is an attempt to strengthen the Congress party ahead of the state elections in 2018. However, this is also likely to intensify infighting within the party. Karnataka is the only major state where the party is ruling, after being defeated in recently-concluded polls in Kerala and Assam.

Tell me more: The sacking of the 14 ministers led to protests by their supporters, resulting in violence and road blocks. They would be replaced by 13 newly-inducted members.

 

6/10

What is it? The number of people who share links on social media without reading the story.

Why is it important? Shows the role headline and summaries play. The age of social media, which comes with the advantages of having any information at one’s fingertips, has also resulted in propagating decontextualized, inaccurate, or even false information that in turn, could shape collective opinions and agendas.

Tell me more: The study was done by Columbia University and French National Institute. According to another recent study by Science Post, 70% of Facebook users only read the headline of science stories before commenting on it.

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