Criminalizing Sex With Minor Wife


15.3 million

What is it? The number of girls married before the age of 18 years in India in the nine-year period to 2011, according to Census 2011.

Why is it important? In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that a man would be committing rape if he engages in sexual intercourse with his minor wife. The ruling is likely to act as a greater deterrent in preventing child marriages. This also ends the dichotomy brought about two different laws: the exception clause in Section 375, which defines rape, of the Indian Penal Code that says a man having sexual intercourse with his wife above 15 years of age is not guilty of rape, while the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act of 2012 says (aggressive) penetrative sexual assault on children below 18 years of age is rape.

Tell me more: This ruling came after the hearing of a petition by Independent Thought, a non-governmental organisation, which sought to criminalize sexual intercourse with minor wives.


$1.1 billion

What is it? The amount raised by India’s largest cab-hailing service Ola from China’s Tencent Holdings, Japan’s Softbank and new unidentified US-based investors.

Why is it important? This is the largest funding round in the company’s six-year-old existence and the first major investment since it raised $500 million in November 2015. The latest investment would help Ola expand its war chest to counter the world’s most valuable startup Uber, for whom India has become a focus market after exiting China and Russia in the past 15 months.

Tell me more: Ola added it was in advanced talks to raise another $1 billion, which would take the total investment raised in the current round to around $2 billion.



What is it? The year-on-year drop in combined net profit of 2,744 non-government, non-financial companies in the first quarter (April to June) of 2017-18, according to Reserve Bank of India.

Why is it important? This was the second-straight drop: in the January to March quarter, a near-similar set of 2,726 companies saw their net profit fall 6.9% on a year-on-year basis. This highlights the challenges facing corporate India. April to June was the quarter in which companies braced for a transition to a new tax regime that subsumed a host of taxes into a single tax, the goods and services tax (GST), from July 1. This is also the quarter in which GDP growth fell to 5.7%.

Tell me more: Several institutions have since pared India’s growth projections for the full year of 2017-18, including OECD and IMF.



What is it? The number of times IMF growth projections are wrong, according to Rathin Roy, director of National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) and member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM).

Why is it important? The World Bank, Roy added, was 65% wrong in its growth projections. Over the past month, institution after institution has pared India’s GDP growth estimate. The World Bank lowered its GDP estimate for 2017-18 to 7% (from 7.2%) and the IMF to 6.7% (from 7.2%) for 2017.

Tell me more: EAC-PM has been mandated to recommend ways to shore up the economy. At its first meeting yesterday, the five-member EAC-Pm rejected the idea of a fiscal stimulus, and instead listed 10 immediate policy priorities for the government.



What is it? Number of teams from the top 10 teams that have played the most matches in the football world cup to have qualified for the 2018 edition.

Why is it important? It illustrates the rising competiveness in the footballing landscape, as smaller nations making significant advances. The three that haven’t qualified are Italy, Netherlands and Sweden. Italy and Sweden can still advance as they are in the playoffs, which will take place in November, but Netherlands can’t.

Tell me more: Netherlands has appeared in 10 world cups and has been the runner-up thrice: in 1974, 1978 and 2010. The last time Netherlands missed the world cup was in 2002.


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Working Women Are Suffering In Silence




What is it? The percentage of women who experience sexual harassment in the US but don’t report it.

Why is it important? It highlights the systemic and societal odds that women have to overcome even in relatively progressive environments. On Tuesday, more women actors, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Angeline Jolie, came out and alleged sexual harassment by leading Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. In financial year 2016, data from the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission shows that 7,433 cases were resolved, of which 54.1% were listed under “no reasonable cause”.

Tell me more: In India too, a 2017 survey showed 70% of women did not report sexual harassment, fearing repercussions. Several regulations in recent years now require listed Indian companies to report data on sexual harassment at the workplace, and the numbers show an increase in the number of such cases.


$2.2 billion

What is it? The estimated sales by Indian e-commerce firms in the one-month festive season until Diwali, according to RedSeer Consulting.

Why is it important? This would amount to a 50% jump over the same period last year, indicating that e-commerce is a bright spot in a gloomy economy where growth slowed to 5.7% in the June quarter. It also shows the bunching of three big online sales events within a month—the last one begins October 14—has not led to shopper fatigue.

Tell me more: The first event in September earned e-tailers an estimated $1.5 billion, according to RedSeer Consulting, while the second one generated around $400 million in sales, as per industry estimates.



What is it? The estimated economic growth of India for 2017 by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), down from its previous projection of 7.2% in July.

Why is it important? The Washington-based lender attributed the downward revision to the government’s sudden move to withdraw high-value currency notes last November and the transition costs due to the rollout of the goods and services tax (GST) from July 1. However, it said that India’s several structural reforms, including GST, are expected to push up its growth rate to over 8% in the medium term.

Tell me more: IMF said the global economy was seeing an accelerating cyclical upswing, boosting Europe, China, Japan, US and emerging Asia. India, it added, should focus on simplifying and easing labour market regulations, and that land acquisition procedures are necessary for bettering the business climate.


48.3 million

What is it? The estimated number of obese Indians by 2025, according to the World Obesity Federation (WOF).

Why is it important? WOF estimates the medical costs of treating obesity-related diseases and conditions in India between 2017 and 2025 at $89 billion. However, it adds, by spending $13 billion on treating obesity now, its prevalence could be brought down to 3% from 5%, thereby reducing medical costs of its consequences in the future. According to a study published in medical journal The Lancet, India ranks fifth in terms of number of obese men (9.8 million) and third in terms of number of obese women (20 million). Another study says India has the second-highest number of obese children in the world.

Tell me more: The consequences of being overweight include cardiovascular diseases, mainly heart disease and stroke, type 2 diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders such as osteoarthritis and some types of cancers. These conditions are said to cause premature deaths and substantial disability.



What is it? The number of goals scored by Lionel Messi in a 3-1 win against Ecuador to help Argentina qualify for the 2018 football World Cup.

Why is it important? It completed a turnaround for Argentina, which was forever on the brink during this qualification campaign. And, it marked a poignant moment for Messi, who retired from Argentina colours in 2016, only to return soon after.

Tell me more: From South America, the four teams that have automatically qualified are Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Colombia. The fifth-placed team, Peru, will play a qualifier with New Zealand to decide its fate for 2018.


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PNB’s Garage Sale


Rs 656 crore

What is it? The amount raised by 58 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) between April and September this year via the initial public offering (IPO) route.

Why is it important? This is more than double the amount raised (Rs 295 crore) by 32 companies in the same period a year ago and has already reached about 80% of the total funds raised (Rs 811 crore) in all of 2016-17. Over 36 million SMEs, which contribute to about 45% of India’s exports, employ around 120 million. Greater financial access for SMEs could potentially improve employment figures, a challenge the government is currently facing.

Tell me more: SMEs, which have historically struggled to gain access to capital, have found a relatively easier, quicker and more transparent way to raise funds: the exclusive platforms of BSE and NSE.



What is it? The number of companies that would be penalised for violating corporate social responsibility (CSR) norms in 2014-15.

Why is it important? Such an action is likely to improve CSR compliance under the Companies Act, 2013, which mandates companies spend at least 2% of their three-year annual average net profit towards CSR initiatives. As on January 31, 2016, of the 10,475 companies that were to spend on such activities, 7,334 reported their CSR plans to the government. Of these, only 3,139 companies or 42.8% had spent some money on CSR: 74% of the combined Rs 11,883 crore they were supposed to spend.

Tell me more: CSR compliance has improved in the recent past. According to a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) survey, 1,270 BSE-listed companies spent 27% more in 2016-17 than the previous fiscal.


1.2 million barrels

What is it? The daily capacity of a refinery to be built by three Indian state-owned oil firms on the country’s west coast, which would make it the world’s largest crude refinery.

Why is it important? Saudi Aramco, which launched its Indian unit on Sunday, has expressed interest in buying a stake in this refinery. The Saudi Arabian company is looking to invest in refineries abroad to lock in demand for its crude and increase its market share ahead of its initial public offering next year, which could potentially be the world’s largest. This could also help it regain its position as India’s top supplier, after being leapfrogged by Iraq in the last few months.

Tell me more: India is looking to diversify its crude oil supply sources. This follows its import of crude from the US at $2 a barrel lesser than what Dubai offers.


$31.5 million

What is it? The theatre collections of Blade Runner 2049 in its opening weekend in the US.

Why is it important? It’s lower than expectations for this much-awaited sequel to the 1982 film and probably the most anticipated film of the year. Directed by Denis Villeneuve, and starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, the film was made on an estimated budget of $150 million. Its worldwide collections in the opening weekend was $81.7 million.

Tell me more: In terms of all-time opening-weekend collections in the US, this R-rated film slips in at a non-descript 454. This list is led by Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which released in about the same number as theatres as Blade Runner 2049 in December 2015, but raked in $247 million.


Rs 1,176 crore

What is it? The outstanding loan exposure of Punjab National Bank to loan accounts that have gone bad and whose assets it is planning to auction on November 8.

Why is it important? On November 8, PNB is planning action against 34 borrowers, including Hanung Toys and Textiles, Harbs India, United Foods and Harman Textiles. Banks are under scrutiny and pressure to resolve their non-performing assets (NPAs) problem by putting a closure to bad accounts.

Tell me more: As of August 31, PNB had 1,074 wilful defaulters with a combined loan outstanding of Rs 14,245 crore. Wilful borrowers are those who are defaulting on bank loans even though they or their promoters have the ability to repay, or they have siphoned off money, or put it some other use than was agreed on.



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Services Sector Expands



What is it? Nikkei’s India Services PMI Business Activity Index, a composite indicator of India’s services based on a survey by financial information and services company Markit, in September.

Why is it important? It has expanded for the first time in three months (a reading above 50 indicates growth and below that, contraction). The survey attributed the rise to a recovery from the contractions caused due to the confusion around the goods and services tax rules in addition to increased demand that led to new business growth. Services employment increased at the fastest pace in 75 months – it increased in two of the five sub-sectors, transport and storage, and consumer services.

Tell me more: Manufacturing activity expanded for the second consecutive month in September and improvements in both these sectors resulted in Nikkei India Composite PMI Output Index increasing to 51.1 in September from 49 in August.



What is it? The minimum number of directors a listed company should have, a report prepared by a Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)-appointed panel had recommended.

Why is it important? There are no regulations on how many directors a listed company should have. If this proposal is accepted along with other recommendations like independent directors should account for 50% of the board strength, and one independent director has to be a women will improve corporate governance.

Tell me more: The panel also recommended chairman of the board cannot be the managing director or CEO of the company, and chairman should be a non-executive. 20% of 4,887 listed companies have less than five directors, with Larsen & Toubro Ltd. having the highest number at 22.


Rs 2.64

What is it? The price quoted by two companies to supply one unit of wind power in an auction conducted by state-run Solar Energy Corp. of India.

Why is it important? The price quoted is cheaper than average cost of power (Rs3.2 per unit) generated by NTPC Ltd, India’s largest power utility, using mostly coal as input. ReNew Power Ventures Pvt. Ltd and Orange Sironj Wind Power Pvt. Ltd will supply 250 megawatts and 200 MW each at Rs 2.64 per unit.

Tell me more: India plans to install 60,000 MW of wind power projects by 2022.



What is it? The seventeenth edition of the under-17 foortball World Cup will start from today.

Why is it important? The Indian team will be participating in the football world cup for the first time, having qualified as a host nation. 24 teams will play in six Indian cities over the next 22 days. India, which is ranked 107 in men’s ranking, is hoping the event will help increase popularity of the sport.

Tell me more: Nigeria has won five times, and Brazil and USA have participated in 15 editions. The world cup is held once in two years.


Rs 655 crore

What is it? The price paid by Future Retail Ltd. to purchase HyperCity Retail Ltd.

Why is it important? The acquisition will help Future Retail add 19 stores in large metros, where Big Bazaar – the biggest brand of Future Retail Ltd – is already present. The deal will mean 7% addition in turnover for Future Retail, but HyperCity has reported a loss of Rs85 crore during last financial year.

Tell me more: Rs500 crore of the acquisition price will be through stock-swap (shareholders of HyperCity getting shares in Future Retail) and remaining, Rs155 crore, will be via cash. Future Retail’s share price has increased by 235% in last one year.



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