Milwaukee_Intermodal_Station_(2052216058)

A One-Stop Hub For Public Transport

Indians would soon be able to catch several modes of public transport to their destination from one single station, technically called Intermodal stations. These stations hold a promise of decongesting Indian cities, which often get clogged due to overwhelming number of private vehicles on the roads. In US, cities like Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Orlando have experienced benefits of intermodal stations firsthand. Closer home, it may do us some good, too.

 

15

What is it? The number of Indian cities in which intermodal railway stations are being planned. This would mean integration of various modes of transportation, including rail, bus, inland waterways, auto rickshaws, taxis and private vehicles.

Why is it important? This move aims to reduce congestion and vehicular pollution. It counts as benefits higher footfalls in intermodal stations (than disaggregated transport terminals), improved experience of passengers who are likely to spend less time and money to transit between terminals, and shared infrastructure resulting in lower investment and land requirements. The governments of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Kerala are making efforts to set up seamless transportation networks in some key hubs in their states.

Tell me more: The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has conducted pre-feasibility studies to set up intermodal stations in Nagpur and Varanasi as part of the pilot projects. The project will be implemented by a special purpose vehicle set up by the ministry of road transport and highways (through the NHAI), the ministry of railways and the respective state governments.

 

 

$38.8 billion

What is it? The market capitalisation on Monday of Delta Airlines, in which Warren Buffett-controlled Berkshire Hathaway owned 7.4% as of December 2017. Of the four airlines in which Berkshire holds a stake, Delta is the most valued.

Why is it important? On Monday, in an interview to CNBC, Buffett said “he wouldn’t rule out owning an entire airline” with the $116 billion Berkshire has in cash. Till 2016, Buffett never invested in an airline, seeing it as a capital-destructive business that often fell victim to competitive zeal. Powered by low oil prices, airlines are currently in the midst of a good profitable run.

Tell me more: Besides Delta, Berkshire holds stakes in Southwest Airlines (market capitalisation of $35 billion on Monday), American Airlines Group ($26.2 billion) and United Continental Holdings ($20.5 billion).

 

Rs 119 crore

What is it? The amount Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) had set aside as liabilities for the months of November and December, and offered to deposit in the Consumer Safeguard Fund, after it could not pass on the November GST (goods and services tax) rate cuts to its customers on its existing stocks.

Why is it important? The Directorate General of Safeguards has asked HUL to explain the math behind this sum, besides asking it to submit documents to show how it arrived at these figures for both the months. Other companies are also being tracked in similar cases. Last month, the government had served notices to Lifestyle India and Hardcastle Restaurants (which operates McDonald’s branded restaurants in west and south India), among others, for not passing on GST tax benefits to customers.

Tell me more: In November, the government had brought 178 items from the 28% tax bracket to 18%. The government said it had received 169 consumer complaints against suppliers or goods and services for not passing on the benefits of the reduced tax rates or input tax credit.

 

2

What is it? The number of days by which there has been a delay in the repatriation of the mortal remains of Indian actor Sridevi from Dubai to Mumbai. She died late on Saturday.

Why is it important? According to a tweet by Dubai Police on Monday evening, the actress died due to “drowning in her hotel apartment’s bathtub following loss of consciousness”, which is different from the earlier account of a cardiac arrest being the cause of her death. However, it is unclear what caused her to lose consciousness. The local police further added that it has transferred the case to the Dubai Public Prosecution to carry out regular legal procedures that are followed in such cases.

Tell me more: Various reports have raised questions about the circumstances surrounding the 54-year-old actor’s sudden death and the repatriation of Sridevi’s mortal remains is likely to happen today.

 

7

What is it? The number of days in a year, in a single city, over which a new format for Davis Cup—the pinnacle of men’s team tennis—is proposed to be played, beginning 2019. On Monday, investment group Kosmos signed a 25-year, $3 billion partnership with the International Tennis Federation, effectively signaling the end of this team competition as we know it.

Why is it important? At present, the Davis Cup world group unravels across four weekends in February, July, September and November. This format, which has existed since 1900, has progressively been criticised for scattered spectator attention, and the reluctance of top players to commit whole-heartedly. The new 18-team, starting in 2019, is structured like a world cup and aims to compress the tournament in a week.

Tell me more: Footballer Gerard Pique is the founder of Kosmos, and several top players have come out in support of the new format.

 

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