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Sugar? Yes Please!

India’s sugar output in last three months was better than the produce in the same period of the previous year. So much so, that sugar association (ISMA) is now estimating that output for the entire year may be at its highest since 2014-15.

 

$500 million

What is it? The size of the deal that India had placed with Israel’s state-owned defence contractor Rafael to buy Spike anti-tank guided missiles. It has now cancelled the order.

Why is it important? This is reportedly due to reservations on the part of the Israeli firm to fully transfer the technology as per the ‘Make in India’ provisions and the Indian defence ministry reportedly deciding to back state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation, which has said it will develop a world-class missile within four years. Till then, Pakistani foot soldiers are likely to have an advantage over India’s as they possess portable anti-tank missiles that can strike Indian bunkers and tanks at a distance of 3-4 km, while India’s equivalent missile tanks have a range of 2 km.

Tell me more: The order cancellation could be taken up for discussion during Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to India in a couple of weeks.

 

100

What is it? The number of people who were detained across Mumbai on Wednesday due to a bandh called by Dalit groups in Maharashtra.

Why is it important? Normal life was disrupted in India’s financial capital: schools and colleges remained shut, Internet services were down, and attendance was poor in offices. With protestors squatting on railway tracks, rail services were stalled, roads were blocked and shops shut. Although Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar called off the bandh on Wednesday evening, tension simmered in the state. A 16-year-old student was killed in a road-block agitation in Nanded.

Tell me more: The protests began on Monday after a 28-year-old man was killed when the Dalit community was celebrating the 200th anniversary of a battle won by a backward community called Mahars (who fought alongside the Britishers) to overthrow the upper caste Peshwas.

 

$0.9 billion

What is it? The expected consolidated free cash flow of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) in 2017-18, according to international brokerage firm CLSA.

Why is it important? If RIL meets the forecast, it would mean the end of a four-year run of negative cash flows, which is a measure of a company’s overall financial health and performance. This is likely to put India’s biggest firm by market capitalisation on a strong footing as projects worth $40 billion would begin to deliver as capital expenditure declines. Recently, RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani said the firm aims to be among the top 20 companies in the world.

Tell me more: The brokerage said the monetisation of refinery off-gas cracker and petcoke gasification plant would boost the operating income of RIL. In telecom, it expects the firm to monetise Reliance Jio Infocomm’s customers in addition to its industry-leading capacities.

 

2,700

What is it? The number of locomotives in India that will be installed with a GPS tracking device under the first phase of the Real-Time Train Information System (RTIS), a move that will enable passengers to track trains on a real-time basis.

Why is it important? This Indian Railways initiative, in collaboration with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), comes in the backdrop of piling complaints of train delays and accidents. The new GPS-enabled trains would replace the existing national train enquiry system (NTES), which has a train controller who updates the train status manually.

Tell me more: So far, trials on GPS-enabled locomotives have been done on six electric locomotives on the New Delhi-Guwahati and New Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani routes. The first phase is scheduled to be completed by December 2018.

 

26%

What is it? The year-on-year growth in India’s sugar production during the three-month period from October to December, according to industry association Indian Sugar Manufacturers Association (ISMA).

Why is it important? In these three months of 2017, production stood at 103.3 lakh tonnes, against 81.9 lakh tonnes in the corresponding period of 2016, mainly due to improved outputs from Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. This augurs well for the 2017-18 sugar year (October to September), which could register its highest production since 2014-15, when India produced 283 lakh tonnes. ISMA has estimated 2017-18 production at 251 lakh tonnes.

Tell me more: Earlier, the government had been considering removing stock limits on sugar  to curb the fall in prices resulting from a bumper harvest.

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