Tendulkar’s Poor Show



What is it? The attendance record of Sachin Tendulkar in the Rajya Sabha. The attendance record of the iconic cricketer, whose six-year term ends this month, compares poorly with the national average of 78%.

Why is it important? On Sunday, Tendulkar said he would donate his entire salary and allowances as a Rajya Sabha MP—amounting to about Rs 90 lakh—to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund. His attendance record, however, takes some sheen of this gesture. Lately, the poor attendance record of public figures like Tendulkar and actor Rekha has made them the face of the debate over the roles and responsibilities of nominated members.

Tell me more: During his six years, Tendulkar asked 22 questions (against the national average of 331) and did not participate in a single debate (against the national average of 77.4).



What is it? The number of months it usually takes the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to decide whether it should close a preliminary enquiry initiated by it or if it should file an FIR (first information report).

Why is it important? The investigating agency has filed a preliminary enquiry into the dealings between ICICI Bank MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar’s husband Deepak Kochhar, Videocon Group and some others to see if there has been any wrongdoing in lending practices. An investigative report last week alleged that Videocon secured loans from a consortium of banks, including ICICI Bank, after which its group chairman Venugopal Dhoot invested in a firm owned by Deepak Kochhar, which has raised several questions of propriety.

Tell me more: Currently, Chanda Kochhar has not been included in the preliminary enquiry, but her name may be added at a later stage.



What is it? The number of people, including two teachers and a coaching centre owner, who the Delhi Police arrested on Sunday for their alleged involvement in the leak of Class XII Economics paper.

Why is it important? This is the first set of arrests in the case made after interrogating over 60 people including 53 students, seven teachers and a school principal. To prevent such leaks that put undue pressure on students, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has decided to bring in a new measure, which is asking examination centres print the question papers, starting Monday.

Tell me more: The re-test for Class XII Economics paper will be held on April 25 and the Class X Mathematics re-test would be conducted in July, if necessary.



What is it? The number of faculty and non-faculty positions filled out of a total of 24,486 sanctioned posts (as on January 1, 2018) in six AIIMS-like institutions.

Why is it important? With this kind of shortage, most of these institutions have been admitting MBBS students since 2012. This raises questions about the quality of education in these institutions. Moreover, with private medical education being expensive and regional imbalances in access to inexpensive and reliable healthcare services, there is a pressing need for affordable and quality education in government medical colleges.

Tell me more: The projected funding demand for the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana, under which the six AIIMS-like institutions have come into being, is Rs 8,398 crore, of which only Rs 3,825 crore has been allocated.



What is it? The number of years after which English football club Tottenham Hotspur beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Why is it important? At one level, Tottenham’s win on Sunday was the burying of past ghosts. At another level, Tottenham’s win over its closest rival boosted its prospects for a top-four finish in the English Premier League, and automatic qualification for next year’s Champions League. With five wins in their last five matches, Tottenham is now fourth: it leads Chelsea by eight points, with seven matches left.

Tell me more: Chelsea’s defeat left the reigning EPL champions down in fifth place, in serious danger of missing out on European football next year and seeing a managerial change.


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News in Numbers, Mar 23, 2017: Doctors 🚑 down tools

Rs 2 crore

What is it? The annual retainer fee of grade A cricketers, which the BCCI doubled from last year.

Why is it important? Following the performance in the last few test matches against Australia, players such as Ravindra Jadeja and Cheteshwar Pujara will also be eligible for this remuneration as they have been upgraded to grade A.

Tell me more: Grade B cricketers will receive Rs 1 crore and grade C Rs 50 lakh, annually. The pay-hike follows October’s doubling of match fees to Rs 15 lakh a match.



What is it? Number of vacant Indian Administrative Services posts.

Why is it important? These posts, crucial for the bureaucracy and administrative machinery of the country, remain vacant despite being authorised to be filled. Indian Forest Services and Indian Police Services also have 560 and 908 posts vacant, which are otherwise sanctioned to be filled up. The numbers have come down from 2012, when IAS had over 1,700 vacancies and IPS over 1,200.

Tell me more: The government says recruiting has been stepped up for IAS in the last four years, while for IFS recruiting was increased in the 2015 examinations and for IPS in the 2009 examination.



What is it? The number of terror-related accounts on Twitter, which the micro-blogging site suspended since August, 2015.

Why is it important? This is the result of the social media platform’s increased efforts to curtail terror propaganda and terror recruitment handles. It is working with organisations such as People against Violent Extremism and the Lumen database to sieve accounts promoting violent terrorism.

Tell me more: In 2016, Twitter had blocked accounts related to Islamic State, the extremist group, for example. No less than 376,890 accounts were suspended in July-December, 2016, for promoting terrorism.


Rs 7,719.65 crores

What is it? The amount India gave as aid to foreign countries in 2015-16.

Why is it important? It is more than what the country received as aid from multi-lateral organisations/foreign countries, making India a net donor. It is a key element of foreign policy — especially with respect to its neighbours. Most of the aid went to neighbouring countries — primarily Bhutan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, in that order.

Tell me more: Global Fund and European Union are the top two providers of aid to India. Global Fund aims to fight diseases such as AIDS and tuberculosis, and had earlier tied up with Tata Trusts to launch an India Health Fund.



What is it? The number of government hospitals in Delhi, whose resident doctors plan to go on strike today.

Why is it important? It is a sign that the protests by resident doctors in Maharashtra — in its fourth day — is spreading outside the state, and could garner more support from doctors in other states. The doctors are demanding a safer workplace. A doctor was assaulted by a patient’s relatives recently at Dhule. Fifty-three doctors were attacked in last last two years, according to a report.

Tell me more: Bombay High Court had directed the protesting doctors to return to duty. It has had no impact yet. Meanwhile at AIIMS, Delhi, resident doctors said they will work with helmets on as a sign of protest and to highlight the issue.

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News in numbers, Jan 15, 2016: Punjab’s opioid problem, expected average pay increase in 2016


500 kg

What is it? Amount of gold mobilised under the Gold Monetisation Scheme, which aims to convert the yellow metal lying idle in households into the banking system.


Why is it important? Indicates increased acceptance for the scheme, which received poor response in the first month after the launch in November last year where only 500 grams worth of gold was deposited.  


Tell me more: At 500 kg or half tonne, it is a small fraction of estimated total stock of 20,000 tonnes of gold held by individuals and institutions in India, and around 1,000 tonnes of annual import.



What is it? Number of tourists visiting India who have availed the e-tourist visa in calendar 2015, as compared to 39,046 in 2014.     


Why is it important? Though the growth is high, the number of tourists availing e-tourist visa is only 5.5% of around 8 million tourists who visited India last year. The overall tourist arrivals increased by 4.4%, even as the world’s second largest population attracts less than 1% of world’s tourist arrivals.   


Tell me more: Tourists from 114 countries can get tourist visas online, without visiting the Indian consulates, under the e-Tourist visa scheme.  


Rs 7,500 crore


What is it? Estimated value of opioids consumed in Punjab each year. The state now has 2.3 lakh (or 0.84% of state’s population) opioid dependent people. This number does not include money spent by opioid users who are not dependent on drugs.  


Why is it important? The extent of socio-economic problem is revealed by the fact that three-fourths of the opioid dependent users are in the age group of 18 to 35 years, 54% are married and 56% of them live in rural areas.   


Tell me more: Total number of opioid users like heroin is estimated at 8.6 lakh, though the main aim of the study done by AIIMS, Delhi and Society for Promotion of Youth and Masses was to estimate drug dependency.


Rs 100,000 crore


What is it? Amount of housing loans disbursed by ICICI Bank, which became the first private sector bank to cross this milestone.  


Why is it important? With corporate lending slowing down, banks are looking at mortgage lending to boost their disbursals. For ICICI, home loans account for 25% of its total lending and 50% of its retail loans.      


Tell me more: Total market size is estimated at Rs 7 lakh crore, with state-run State Bank of India and HDFC having around Rs 1.7 lakh crore disbursements each. HDFC is a non-banking finance company, focussing on home loan finances.  



What is it? Average increase in base pay expected in 2016, which is same as last year.


Why is it important? Expected salary increase can be seen as a proxy of how companies perceive prospects for their sector this year. Life sciences, information technology and chemical industries firms expecting more than 11% pay increase. Salary forecasts are lower for the consumer, auto and services sectors.


Tell me more: Nearly half of 691 firms surveyed plan to increase headcount.

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News in numbers, Nov 25, 2015: Drought-hit Indian states, advance pricing agreements…


What is it? Number of states that have declared drought so far. Telangana is the latest to to so with parts of the state in drought because of successive monsoon deficits. Ten districts covering 231 sub-districts are declared as drought affected.

Why is it important? Distress in agriculture will affect rural demand and has potential to fuel inflation in a few items like oilseeds because of lower output.

Tell me more: Rural India has 90.2 million agricultural households, and 63% of them depend on agriculture as main source of income.

Rs 3,310 crore

What is it? Amount paid by Idea Cellular, India’s third largest mobile operator, to buy airwaves in two circles from Videocon Telecommunications.

Why is it important? This is the first trading after government allowed telecom companies to sell the spectrum they hold. The price paid by Idea is nearly twice of what Videocon valued it in March 2015, and it will help Idea offer 4G services in Gujarat and Western Uttar Pradesh.

Tell me more: With Reliance Industries planning to launch its 4G services next fiscal, existing players are sprucing their high-speed offering. Airtel, the market leader, is launching 4G services in 296 cities and towns.     


What is it? The number of advance pricing agreements (APA) signed by Indian tax authorities with multinational companies. An APA covers future intercompany transactions belonging to the same group (let’s say, Accenture India provides service to Accenture UK) but located in different countries. It would specify the profit margins on top of cost, so that tax can be levied.    

Why is it important? APA helps in reducing tax disputes especially in cases of related party transactions as there is certainty on how tax authorities will treat the transaction. In fiscal 2015, tax authorities disputed more than 50% of international related party transactions involving upward revision of taxable income of Rs 46,465 crore.    

Tell me more: Ever since APA was introduced in August 2012, Finance Ministry has received 329 applications till December 2014 and it had now signed 31 APAs.

Rs 2,265 crore

What is it? Amount paid by Japan-based Nippon Life Insurance Co to raise its stake in Reliance Life Insurance from 26% to 49%, the maximum allowed now.

Why is it important? This is the first deal in the life insurance segment after government increased foreign investment limit to 49% this year. Cash from sale could help Anil Ambani-controlled Reliance Capital to invest in other businesses or reduce debt.

Tell me more: On Monday, UK-based Bupa Plc acquired additional 23% in the medical insurance joint venture, Max Bupa Health Insurance Co Ltd, for Rs 191 crore, valuing the company at Rs 830 crore.

Rs 5,828 crore

What is it? The value of construction contract bagged by state-run National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) to build 3,000 flats for the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi.

Why is it important? Apart from providing residential accommodation for doctors and nurses working in India’s apex hospital, the project also entails selling 10% of area so as to make it commercially viable.

Tell me more: Already NBCC is redeveloping 86 acres of government land just across the road from AIIMS. Even here residential accommodation is mixed with commercial space.

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