Adhar_DSCN4539

Don’t Like Aadhaar? Don’t Say it.

 

Rs 15,935 crore

What is it? The total cost of proposals cleared by India’s Defence Acquisition Council to purchase assault rifles, sniper rifles, carbines and light machine guns on Tuesday.

Why is it important? This brings an end to a 11-year-wait by the armed forces, which had flagged the need for new guns. Indian soldiers have been using AK-47 and indigenous Indian Small Arms Systems rifles since 1988, and there has been an urgent need for arms upgradation, especially in border areas and for counter-insurgency operations. Having rejected a few indigenous weapons recently, India needs an overhaul of its defence planning and procurement system, with due consideration to local requirements and strategic interests.

Tell me more: The approvals include procurement of light machine guns through the fast-track procedure at an estimated cost of Rs 1,819 crore, while 740,000 assault rifles will be ‘Made in India’ under the categorisation of ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’ at an estimated cost of Rs 12,280 crore. Over 5,700 sniper rifles will be procured at a cost of Rs 982 crore.

 

8

What is it? The number of researchers, activists and journalists that news agency Reuters has interviewed who have complained of being harassed by government agencies or being slapped with criminal cases because of their critique of Aadhaar.

Why is it important? This raises questions about the right to dissent and free speech with respect to Aadhaar, the country’s national identity project that has seen various instances of data and security breach. Recently, the Unique Identification Authority of India filed a criminal case against Tribune newspaper for publishing an article that claimed that the details of the database were up for grabs for just Rs 500.

Tell me more: As of last year, over 1.11 billion Indians had an Aadhaar number, which covered 99% of the Indian adult population.

 

24.7%

What is it? Samsung’s market share in India’s smartphone market in 2017, according to International Data Corporation (IDC).

Why is it important? Samsung maintained its market leadership position when the entire year is taken into account. However, Samsung slipped to the second position in the last quarter of 2017, overtaken by China’s Xiaomi, which had a share of 26.8% compared to the former’s 24.2%. This report echoes the findings of other research firms such as Canalys and Counterpoint Research that said Xiaomi had ended Samsung’s dominance in the fourth quarter of 2017 to command the highest market share for the first time ever.

Tell me more: In the feature phone segment, Samsung had the highest market share of 20.5% in 2017, whereas in the last quarter of 2017, Reliance Jio pushed ahead of it to gain a share of 24.1% compared to the former’s 14.5%, according to IDC.

 

15 days

What is it? The number of additional days that Fortis Healthcare has sought to file its financial results for the second quarter and third quarter of 2017-18.

Why is it important? Yet another delay on this front turns the spotlight on financial dealings of the company with its promoters, Malvinder Singh and Shivinder Singh, who last week resigned from the board. Bloomberg last week also reported that Fortis could not declare its Q2 results within the stipulated 45-day period as its auditor refused to sign off on the results until about Rs 500 crore the promoters took out from the company without board approval was accounted for or returned.

Tell me more: In another filing with stock exchanges, Fortis said that credit rating agency ICRA had downgraded the rating of the company and four Fortis subsidiaries.

 

4-1

What is it? The results count in the ongoing one-day international bilateral series between India and South Africa.

Why is it important? Yesterday, in the fifth of the six-match series at Port Elizabeth, India beat South Africa to win the series—its first in South Africa in five attempts, dating back to 1992-93. Before this, South Africa had only lost two ODI series of five matches or more at home, both to Australia. With this series win and the manner of it, India has conquered another overseas bastion and also bolstered its credentials in the one-day sphere, be it at home or away.

Tell me more: India won yesterday’s match by 73 runs, anchored by a century by Rohit Sharma and six wickets by wristspinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal.

 

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Aadhaar: Not so unique

$23.35 billion

What is it? The estimate, on the higher end, of black money, or money illicitly taken out of the India in 2014.

Why is it important? Curbing black money, both its movement and creation, has been an integral part of the Modi-government’s propaganda. It was the reason initially furnished by the Prime Minister when introducing last year’s demonetisation, before switching to the cause of a cashless economy. In 2014, the year the government came to power, there was also an illicit fund inflow of $101 billion (on the higher side).

Tell me more: Illegal fund flows from developing countries totalled $1 trillion in 2014, according to the watchdog, Global Financial Integrity, which came out with the study.

 

135 million

What is it? The estimated number of Aadhaar card numbers leaked through four government portals.

Why is it important? While the parent data governing agency, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), has maintained the information remains secure, studies such as this expose the gross mishandling by government agencies with access to Aadhaar data, which is set to become sensitive, that fraudsters would be eager to misuse. The debate around Aadhaar’s information security has become more intense as the Union government attempts to link it mandatorilywith other key documents such as passports, Pan cards, flight and train tickets, with implications such as enabling financial transactions with just an Aadhaar proof. The Supreme Court is hearing a PIL against why it should not be linked to Pan cards. The reasons against linking Aadhaar mandatorily are many, some mentioned here and here.

Tell me more: The study by thinktank, Centre for Internet and Society, reveals Aadhaar details linked by the National Social Assistance Programme, National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, Chandranna Bima Scheme, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh, Daily Online Payment Reports of NREGA, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh stand exposed. It says the UIDAI is ignoring the swathes of data on public display.

 

14

What is it? The number of new warehouses e-commerce giant, Amazon, plans to add in India.

Why is it important? The Flipkart-competitor will be doubling its storage capacity with this move. A few days back, Amazon chief, Jeff Bezos, reiterated he would continue increasing India investments, having committed to spend $5 billion.

Tell me more: The new warehouses would serve tier II and III cities, as the company looks to complete the last mile in the hinterland.

 

>12,000

What is it? The average number of suicides by farmers each year since 2013.

Why is it important? The government informed the Supreme Court about the death toll. In 2015, this was 9.4% of all suicide victims as 8,007 farmer-cultivators and 4,595 agricultural labourers took their lives. Two years of drought still continue to haunt farmers, with protests as recent as in April.

Tell me more: The Centre was furnishing the details in a case on minimum support price for agricultural produce and the inefficacy of crop insurance.

52.5

What is it? The value of a privately-monitored manufacturing activity index for the month of April.

Why is it important? The Nikkei Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index by Markit stayed above 50, signifying expansion in the sector. It maintained the same level as in March with 52.5, making December’s contraction a distant memory. Growth in new orders led to the output increase.

Tell me more: It is in line with the government’s estimate of growth in output of eight core manufacturing sectors, released yesterday.

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News in Numbers, Feb 20, 2017: The cost of a Tirupathi Laddu

Rs 2,500 crore

What is it? The estimated cost of re-verification of existing mobile subscribers through Aadhaar-based electronic know-your-customer process.

Why is it important? The attempt to weed out fake or forged identities used to secure telecom connections, especially wireless ones, will be a costly one. In January, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) proposed the e-KYC for Aadhaar-based ratification of users, and suggested incentives to help it.

Tell me more: In a letter to the Telecom Department, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) estimates that not just the cost, but the process would also require resources to rope in about 1,000 million subscribers.

 

26

What is it? The number of army personnel that died in the first 50 days of 2017.

Why is it important? The unrest in Kashmir from summer last year continues this year, triggering more counter-insurgency measures that claimed six soldiers in 2017. The rest of the security forces were killed in avalanches in the valley, a result of global warming. These deadly 50 days follow a year with the highest death count of 82 among the J&K forces since 2008.

Tell me more: But the counter-insurgency operations led to the death of 22 militants, the highest since 2010.

 

-$1,020 million

What is it? The difference in income of terror group, Islamic State, between 2014 and 2016.

Why is it important? The effects of political moves against ISIS, such as Operation Tidal Wave II, reduction in cross-border smuggling in Turkish and Kurdish-controlled areas in Iraq etc. and military opposition to its expansion are starting to show. Unlike other terror groups, donors play a negligible part in ISIS’ finances. Its territories yield natural resources, and properties, businesses and people to pillage and tax, for its to extract revenue from. But a shrinking territorial grasp has hit its coffers too.

Tell me more: Its biggest source of money — looting, confiscations and fines — have declined from 52% of its income of $970-1,890 million in 2014 to 22% of its  $520-870 million income in 2016, according to a report by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence .

 

Rs 140 crore

What is it? The annual loss to Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam, the trust that manages the famous Tirumala temple in Andhra Pradesh, on account of laddus, an offering made to the deity of the temple, and sold at subsidised rates or given away free to the pilgrims.

Why is it important?  It costs Rs 32.50 to make a laddu and it’s sold for Rs 25 for the pilgrims in general, at Rs 10 for those who opt for free entry into the temple, and for free to those who walk up the hill. About 70 lakh people reach the temple every year by foot. About 4 crore to 5 crore people visit the temple annually.

 

Tell me more: TTD earns over Rs 2000 every year, primarily from hundi collection.

 

~ 50%

What is it? The share of coal in total exports of North Korea to China.

Why is it important? China has banned coal imports from North Korea following the country’s claim that it has successfully tested ballistic missiles recently. China also accounts for over two thirds of North Korea’s exports. The move is expected to cause a shock to the struggling North Korean economy under Kim Jong-un and aimed to increase pressure on the country to stop its nuclear programme.

Tell me more: North Korea tested a medium long range ballistic missile on February 12, which landed in the Sea of Japan. China has been reducing trade with North Korea partly due to local economic compulsions and partly because of international pressure to impose trade sanctions on the country.

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News in Numbers, Jan 11, 2017: Make hay while the sun shines…

2,250 MW

What is it? The solar power capacity commissioned by India between April and December 2016.

Why is it important? This is just 18.7% of the solar power target of 12,000 MW for 2016-17. This raises questions about India’s capability to increase its solar power target to 100,000 MW by 2022. Power Minister Piyush Goyal had said in April 2016 that it can achieve this target by the end of 2017 itself. Achieving this target is important for India, which has committed to source 40% of its electricity from non-fossil fuels under the 2015 Paris Agreement. The aim of the agreement is to limit the increase in the earth’s temperature to less than two degree celsius by 2100.

Tell me more: India’s cumulative solar energy capacity stands at 9,012.66 MW, as per the government data.

 

Rs 3,400 crore

What is it? The amount Tamil Nadu government has said it will spend for desilting reservoirs and channels and restoration of lakes, according to chief minister O Panneerselvam.

Why is it important? This is one of the measures announced by the government as it declared the state to be drought-hit. As many as 144 farmers have reportedly committed suicide between October and December 2016 and the northeast monsoon, which hits Tamil Nadu during this period, has been the worst in 2016 over the last 140 years. The northeast monsoon is responsible for the state’s main rainy season and accounts for nearly half (48%) of its rainfall.

Tell me more: Tamil Nadu has announced measures including conversion of crop loans to medium-term loans, increasing the number of days of work under the national rural employment guarantee scheme to 150 from 100 and allocation of funds to improve drinking water resources. The state will send a petition to the central government asking for drought relief.

 

16.05 million

What is it? The number of people who have reportedly enrolled for Aadhaar in December 2016.

Why is it important? This was the highest enrollment in a month for the 12-digit unique identity number in a month last year. This comes after the government decided to withdraw high-value currency notes from November 9 and the its subsequent push to encourage Aadhaar-enabled financial transactions in a bid to create a less-cash economy. The first week of January 2017 saw 3.63 million people enrolling for Aadhaar, which takes the total number of Aadhaar enrolments to 1.1 billion, covering about 98% of India’s adult population.

Tell me more: The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology is planning to coordinate with the Finance Ministry to draw up a plan to enable financial transactions using Aadhaar (and without the need for mobile phones) at places including petrol pumps and common service centres. Of the 112 crore bank accounts, 40 crore are already linked to Aadhaar.

 

1.2 million

What is it? The number of automobiles sold in the domestic market in December, 2016.

Why is it important? The decline is at a 16-year-low. Overall automobile sales fell by 18.6% year-on-year, not seen since December 2000’s drop of 21.8%. Automobile sales is a measure of consumer sentiments, especially their capacity for discretionary spends, and it has taken a beating after demonetisation as consumers still turn to cash for buying vehicles or restrict non-cash purchases because of negative sentiments.

Tell me more: Retail segments such as passenger cars and two-wheelers registered sharp drops at 8% and 22% respectively. Siam, the industry body releasing the data, says it is a temporary lull. Automobile sales had registered 23.7%, 20%, and 8% rise in August, September, and October, before sliding in November by 5.4%.

 

Rs 4,350 crore

What is it? The contract value won by ABB India to build a power transmission link for Power Grid Corporation of India, the national power grid operator.

Why is it important? This will be one of the longest systems in the world. The two-way link spanning 1,830-km will connect thermal and wind energy plants to high-consumption urban centres, from Chhattisgarh to Tamil Nadu. It will have a capacity of 6,000-megawatts, and once complete, supply electricity to 80 million people by 2019. The win saw ABB India’s stock rise 13% on Tuesday.

Tell me more: ABB India is tasked with installing an ultra-high-voltage 800-kilovolt system for the link. While ABB won the major chunk of the Rs 5,700-crore project, state-run Bharat Heavy Electricals won the remaining mandate.

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