News in Numbers, Feb 15, 2017: Jailbird

3 years, 6 months

What is it? The time left in AIADMK General Secretary V K Sasikala’s sentence in the disproportionate assets case.

Why is it important? She was convicted by the Supreme Court yesterday, which upheld the trial court verdict and punishment over a later Madras High Court judgement. As Sasikala has to surrender soon to serve the remaining sentence, the knot over the state’s leadership may finally unravel with MLAs expected to return to the floor to cast their votes.

 

Tell me more: Sasikala and her two relatives will have to pay a fine of Rs 10 crore each, and she won’t be able contest elections for six more years after she returns from jail (having served for four years).

 

2.2 million

What is it? Number of people in India and China who died prematurely from long-term exposure to the potent air pollutant particulate matter, PM 2.5, in 2015.

Why is it important? The death count equals 52% of PM 2.5’s toll on the world in 2015. The annual average PM 2.5 level of 58 µg/m3 in China and 74 µg/m3 are extreme concentrations of the pollutant, when 50% of the global population is exposed to 35 µg/m3.

Tell me more: India also saw an increase of 67%, above the global average of 60%, in ozone-attributable deaths.

 

3%

What is it? Those who got sick from Ebola and infected 61% of the total stricken by the virus, called superspreaders.

Why is it important? The small count of superspreaders infecting scores of others, points to how transmission of the deadly Ebola virus could have been controlled. The West African epidemic which began in 2014, quickly got out of control, to claim over 11,300 lives and over 28,000 confirmed cases of infection. Africa’s communal burial rituals led to greater contact of healthy individuals with Ebola’s most dangerous carriers — dead bodies or the dying. Keeping these superspreaders away from others could have prevented two-thirds of the cases.

 

Tell me more: It was found once admitted, patients in hospitals and care centres did not transmit the virus.

 

Rs 111.57 crore

What is it? Tata Motor’s net profit in quarter ended 31, December 2016.

Why is it important? That’s down 96% from Rs 2,953 crore during the same quarter last year. While analysts anticipated a hit in profits, it was worse than expected. Commercial vehicles sales were down, and the margins of its UK subsidiary Jaguar Land Rover, a money spinnerfor Tata Motors, fell sharply.

Tell me more: Tata Motors sales dropped 2.2% to Rs 67,864.95 crore in the October-December quarter from Rs 69,398 crore during the same period last year.

 

Rs 136 crore

What is it? India’s investment in a second Hindustan Aeronautics production line to manufacture Tejas, indigenously developed light combat aircraft

Why is it important? Indian airforce is mostly dependent on import of foreign aircraft, and the additional production line will help HAL supply 16 LACs. It will replace Russian made  MiG-21 planes.

Tell me more: After a delay of over 33 years post approval, Tejas entered service last year. HAL has supplied only three of them so far, due to production constraints.

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News in Numbers, Feb 14, 2017: 😍 Indians 💖 Taxes

60,000

What is it? People who have responded online to Income Tax department’s request for e-verification and explanation of deposits after demonetisation.

Why is it important? As the IT department gears up to mine data gathered after demonetisation with sophisticated data analytics to unearth tax evaders, some from the first wave of online respondents have even agreed to pay tax arrears. The IT department has been trying hard to allay fears of undue persecution by first resorting to online queries for 1.8 million depositors, so that the honest taxpayer can explain deposits without bearing the brunt of an IT notice.

Tell me more: So far 200,000 people who had received the IT clarification request online have logged in. Before demonetisation, the IT department had sent 60,000 notices for large dubious non-Pan card transactions in September even as the – for tax compliance was going on.

 

5

What is it? Number of Grammy awards that British artist Adele won for her album ‘25’ in 2017.

Why is it important? In the world’s most prestigious music awards, the 28-year-old Adele became the first ever to win twice the top three coveted categories of album, record and song of the year, this time for her album and the ballad, “Hello”. She had won in 2012 for her album ‘21’. She also won Best Pop Solo Performance and Pop Vocal Album this year.

Tell me more: She beat Beyonce, who led with nine nominations for her influential album, ‘Lemonade’, on racism and feminism, but acknowledged the artist in her acceptance speech.

 

33,000 feet/10 km

What is it? The depth of the trenches in the Pacific Ocean where organisms were found with high levels of man-made pollutants, according to a report in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.

Why is it important? Man-made pollution has not spared even the deep sea. Shrimp-like tiny amphipods, Hirondellea gigas, were found in two of the ocean’s deepest trenches that were still 7,000-km apart, to contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), commonly used as electrical insulators and flame retardants.

 

Tell me more: Pollutants were found in every single sample, regardless of depth, regardless of species, according to the report’s lead author. He likened the contamination levels to that of Japan’s Suruga Bay, one of the most polluted northwest Pacific industrial zones. Given the sampled creatures are voracious scavengers feeding off any debris floating down to the depths, the concentration could be from contaminated fish remains and accumulation on sea-beds.

 

3.17%

What is it? Retail inflation in January 2017.

Why is it important? It is the lowest in the last five years, driven primarily by slowing of rise in food prices. Food inflation was 0.53% in January, compared to 1.37% in December. Core inflation (comprising of non-food, non-fuel items) however was the highest since October 2014, which likely prompted the Reserve Bank to maintain its benchmark interest rates in the recent monetary policy review.

Tell me more: Among the states, Jammu and Kashmir recorded the highest annual inflation for the month at 7.01%, followed by Delhi (6.32%) and Himachal Pradesh (5.92%).

 

2

What is it? The number of judges who will be delivering their judgement on the disproportionate wealth case against VK Sasikala, Tamil Nadu’s ruling party AIADMK’s general secretary.

Why is it important? A split verdict by the Supreme Court would extend the political tension in the state, even as fight the between O Panneerselvam the state’s chief minister and VK Sasikala who wants to occupy that chair intensifies. If the court rules against Sasikala, that is, if declines to uphold the earlier High Court acquittal of AIADMK chief, it would strengthen the hands of Panneerselvam, who by many accounts, has the support of voters, but not (at least, explicit) support of party MLAs.

Tell me more: The two judges P C Ghose and Amitava Roy are expected to deliver separate judgements on Tuesday. If there is a split verdict, the case will move to a third judge.

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The story of Tamil Nadu elections from the DMK’s perspective

The AIADMK went solo this time but the DMK gave 53 seats to its allies including the Congress, a few Muslim parties and a Dalit party. This is roughly a fourth of the total seats of 232. M Karunanidhi-led DMK won 50% of the seats it contested in, though its allies put up a poor show.


Party   Won   Contested   Winning %
AIADMK   133   232   57
DMK   90   180   50
Congress   8   40   20
Other DMK allies   1   13   8


The Congress won just 20% of the seats it was allotted while for the others, it was a paltry 8%. Even if the DMK allies had won 50% of the seats allocated to them, their alliance would have garnered 117 – just enough to stake claim to form the government (assuming, the wins were at the cost of AIADMK votes).

DMK has blamed it on money power influencing the results and it has also, threatened to move court if the Election Commission does not take action based on its complaints. However, going by the numbers, it looks like the DMK should have focused on what was within its control – to ensure the winnability of its allies.

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News in Numbers, May 6, 2016: New proposals for bank licenses, Tamil Nadu’s freebies…

10 years

What is it? The minimum number of years a resident individual should have worked in banking and finance to apply for a bank license in India, per Reserve Bank’s proposed guidelines.

Why is it important? An example of the balance the banking regulator seeks to achieve in its new set of proposals to encourage more players in the banking sector. It also proposes to issue bank licences throughout the year instead of issuing them periodically. These changes are expected to increase the reach of formal banking.

Tell me more: Large business houses are still excluded from applying for bank licenses but can hold up to 10% in banks and a financial holding structure is optional if the promoters are individuals or standalone entities and do not have other group entities. RBI will accept comments on these guidelines till June 30.

Rs 1-100 crore

What is it? The penalty for wrongful depiction of India’s map, which may include jail term of up to seven years, according to the draft ‘Geospatial Information Regulation Bill 2016’.

Why is it important? This is likely to prevent repeat of instances where social networking sites showed Indian territories (Kashmir in China and Jammu in Pakistan) as part of neighbouring countries. The draft bill makes it mandatory to get permission from a government authority before acquiring, disseminating, publishing or distributing India’s geographical data. This means firms such as Google would need to apply for licenses to run Google Maps and Google Earth in the country.

Tell me more: The bill proposes the setting up of an enforcement authority to ensure compliance of these rules.

Rs 96.7 crore

What is it? BSE Ltd’s consolidated net profit for 2015-16, a drop of Rs 155.5 crore from the previous year.

Why is it important? The drop in profits could affect its valuation as it readies itself for an initial public offering by the end of 2016 to reportedly raise Rs 700-800 crore. It would be India’s first equity exchange to get listed.

Tell me more: The board of directors of BSE approved the public listing on Thursday.

100

What is it? The number of units of free electricity promised by the J Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK in its manifesto released on Thursday.

Why is it important? It would exempt 78 lakh consumers from paying electricity bills, and comes at a time when the state’s power generation and distribution arm is reeling under debts of Rs 80,000 crore. Its power deficit was predicted to be 4.5% in 2015-16. It’s just one of the several freebies AIADMK and its rivals have promised ahead of the state elections.

Tell me more: AIADMK’s other promises include: 50% subsidy on scooters for working women, free Wi-Fi at public places and a Rs 50-crore Amma venture capital fund for first generation entrepreneurs. DMK, the other major political party in Tamil Nadu, has offered freebies ranging from tablets and laptops with 3G/4G connections, smartphones, rice and lower milk prices.

30 lakh

What is it? The number of students who could potentially appear for the second phase of nationwide common test for undergraduate medical and dental courses to be held on July 24 – some of whom might have taken the test already in phase 1, per Supreme Court’s request.

Why is it important? If accepted, this would help those who appeared for the first phase of the test on May 1, which was converted from being the All India Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental Entrance Test (AIPMT) to an all-India common entrance exam on April 28. The students may not have prepared seriously for AIPMT as it offered them only 15% seats allotted under the all-India quota and may have been banking on state entrance exams.

Tell me more: The court reiterated that private medical colleges and its associations cannot conduct any entrance exams for medical courses while there is some uncertainty if states can do the same.

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