The Federal Front



What is it? The number of days within which the committee constituted by the Election Commission is expected to submit a report on the alleged date leak of the Karnataka election schedule.

Why is it important? A few minutes before the official announcement of the Karnataka state election schedule, BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya tweeted the poll dates (though he got the counting day wrong), which raises questions about the credibility of the EC. It is reportedly likely to seek a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Intelligence Bureau.

Tell me more: In a letter to the Commission, Malviya said he got the information from Times Now and attached screen grabs of the channel and screenshots of his tweets to prove his point. He also said the person in charge of Congress social media in Karnataka had tweeted out the dates at the same time as him.



What is it? The number of districts Kerala announced as drought-hit on Tuesday.

Why is it important? It is among the first few states to declare drought in 2018 ahead of the summer season that threatens to dry up taps in major Indian cities, which is a topical problem but fast developing into a long-term one. Like Cape Town, the first major city globally to count to ‘Day Zero’, major Indian cities are likely to follow suit, with depleting groundwater that is over-exploited, erratic rainfall and climatic changes, increasing population and no long-term water management measures.

Tell me more: According to a report, groundwater is the most over-exploited in Punjab, Rajasthan and Delhi.



What is it? The number of years ahead of which efforts have gathered pace to build a federal front to take on the BJP in the 17th Lok Sabha elections in 2019.

Why is it important? West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee met leaders of a string of political parties, including the NCP, TDP, TRS, SP, RJD and BJD, on Tuesday to unite opposition parties to put up an organised fight next year. Banerjee said the format of Mayawati-Akhilesh Yadav combine, which defeated BJP in the recent UP by-polls, could be replicated in other states.

Tell me more: The Trinamool Congress chief reportedly favours a federal front sans Congress, as some of the parties may not join the alliance if the national party is a part of it.



What is it? The number of shares of Manipal Health Enterprises that shareholders of Fortis Healthcare will receive for every 100 shares held by them.

Why is it important? Late last night, the board of Fortis announced that the sale of its hospital assets to Manipal Health Enterprises and TPG Capital, effectively meaning the smaller entity buying the larger one. It also potentially brings to close a turbulent, decade-long chapter for Fortis under a promoter group whose debt and legal issues resulted in their shareholding being pared from above 80% to below 1%, and under whom the hospital chain grew but the stock didn’t.

Tell me more: As of December 2017, Fortis had 34 hospitals and Manipal 11. For the nine-month period to December 2017, Fortis earned revenues of Rs 3,727 crore and Manipal 1,503 crore.



What is it? The number of Australian players sent back yesterday from South Africa for their role in the ball-tampering fiasco, ahead of the fourth and final test, which starts in Johannesburg on Friday.

Why is it important? The three cricketers are captain for the tour Steven Smith, vice-captain David Warner and opening batsman Cameron Bancroft, and no immediate action was taken against coach Darren Lehmann. This was the first of the measures by Cricket Australia, and it is expected to announce more punishments in the days to come.

Tell me more: Tim Paine was appointed the 46th captain of Australia in test cricket. The 33-year-old has played just 12 tests.


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News in numbers, Oct 16, 2015: Exports in September, registered births and deaths…



What is it? The percent by which exports shrank in September 2015.   

Why is it important? It’s the sharpest fall since September 2009. India’s three major export commodities – petroleum products, engineering goods and gems & jewellery – have all shown sharp decline. Fall in crude prices can be attributed to drop in petroleum products export, but for others, it reflects poor global demand and increased competition from others. Imports too fell by 25%.     

Tell me more: Despite poor export numbers, the trade deficit shrunk by nearly $ 4 billion dollars in September 2015.  


What is it? The number of conditions Adani group has to fulfill while implementing the $12 billion Carmichael coal mine and rail project in Australia.

Why is it important? The move comes two months after the previous approval was set aside citing it hadn’t considered impact on two vulnerable animal species – the yakka skink and the ornamental snake. Among the conditions are the protection of 31,000 ha of habitat and return 730 megalitres of water every year for five years.

Tell me more: The impact of these conditions on total project cost will be watched closely and also where will Adani Group get the funding as ten international banks have withdrawn from the project.

Rs 557 crore

What is it? The amount laundered through eight banks using fake import invoices, and a part of Enforcement Directorate (ED) investigation into Bank of Baroda case. ED’s net has widened to include HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank.

Why is it important? Every import and export transactions are tracked by banks to ensure the genuineness, with returns filed with India’s central bank on periodical basis. This is cross checked with data from customs authorities The scam involving remittance of large amounts of money to overseas bank accounts with fake invoices with no real imports exposed the poor internal control process of these banks.  

Tell me more: Last week, ED said it had unearthed a similar scam involving a single branch of a state-run Bank of Baroda involving Rs 6,173 crore.


Rs 150 crore

What is it? The annual savings to railways from buying 50 MW of power through an open bidding process.

Why is it important? This is the first time Indian Railways has tried open bidding method. The price obtained – Rs 3.69 per unit – is much lower than its average cost of Rs 6.7 per unit when purchased from state power utilities. Indian Railways consumes around 4,000 MW of power annually, incurring a cost of Rs 12,000 crore. Savings could benefit the loss making state utility to invest in safety and capacity expansion.  

Tell me more: Another tender for purchase of 585 MW of power will be released soon.    



What is it? The percentage of births that were registered in 2013. It has improved marginally from 84.5% in 2012. The number of registered deaths is 70.9% as compared to 69.3% in 2012.

Why is it important? Reflects poor data quality that policy makers have to work with. Under domestic laws, it is compulsory to register all deaths and births so as to capture vital statistics like infant deaths, life expectancy, and how many received medical attention at the time of birth or death. The absence of complete registration hampers policy decisions as most often the poor states, where government intervention is required more, is where registration is also poor.

Tell me more: Gross natural addition to population – the difference between total births and total deaths – was 1.63 crore in 2013 as compared to 1.61 crore in 2012.

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News in Numbers – September 7, 2015

News In Numbers: September 7, 2015



The extent by which India’s gross domestic product (GDP) would expand if India were to have as many women workers as men workers, according to International Monetary Fund estimates. Speaking at the launch of W20, a gathering of women leaders from the world’s largest economies, including India, IMF chief Christine Lagarde said the equivalent numbers for US and Japan were just 5% and 9%, respectively. Though women account for 48.5% of India’s population, gender inequality exists in most dimensions. However, recently, India has managed to bring down gender parity in schools, where the girls-to-boy ratio in primary classes is 1.02 and 0.94 in secondary schools. Overall, India ranks a poor 127 in the United Nations Gender Inequality Index for 2013.



Percentage of respondents in a survey by industry body Ficci that are likely to plan capacity addition in manufacturing in the next six months. The current subdued investment in manufacturing is mainly attributed to delay in clearances, poor demand and high interest rates. The respondents were from 386 manufacturing units of all sizes. The survey also says that hiring will remain muted, with 79% of respondents not planning to add workers in the next three months. The number of jobs created in manufacturing declined by 4% in 2012-13, over 2011-12, according to Assocham Economic Research Bureau.  Although the growth of Indian manufacturing has been sluggish, it is the only country (besides Vietnam) that has showed expansion in August from the previous month among emerging market Asian economies.



The percentage increase in entry-level salaries of engineering graduates who will join TCS and Cognizant Technology next year. This is the first time IT companies have increased salaries of entry-level engineers in about seven years, which was stagnant at about Rs 3 lakh per year. Brokerage firm Kotak Institutional Equities estimates that this would impact the companies’ profit margins by 0.25 percentage points in 2016-17 and their earnings per share by 1-2%. IT industry grouping Nasscom estimates technology majors will hire only 30,000 people in 2015-16, 13% fewer than 2014-15. With IT companies looking at automation and other ways to reduce cost, the excess supply of engineering graduates is likely to remain a problem.


Rs 37.22 crore

The amount Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s overseas trips have cost the exchequer, between June 2014 and June 2015. Although Modi visited 20 countries, expenses related to 16 countries were provided to an RTI (Right to Information) application. About 40% of this amount was spent on two trips: Australia and the US. In his first year as Prime Minister, Modi allocated 14.5% of his tenure to visit 17 countries, while his predecessor Manmohan Singh spent 12.9% of his tenure to visit 12 countries in his first year. Of the total inflow of foreign investment in 2014-15, India received about 26.1% foreign direct investment from 12 countries visited by Modi in the same period. Indian companies invested over 53% of the total outflow of foreign investment in 2014-15 in these 12 countries.



The estimated number of leopards in India, according the first ever census of the country’s leopards. The census did not cover Gujarat, parts of Rajasthan, and eastern and northeastern parts. Leopards were counted using the same methods as those employed for estimating India’s tiger population: camera-trapping and gathering other evidence of their presence. Madhya Pradesh has the highest estimate of leopards (1,817), followed by Karnataka (1,129) and Maharashtra (905). The lead scientist of the tiger census, who presented the leopard figures last week, said there was no way of knowing whether their numbers have increased or decreased. A recent study by three wildlife scientists estimated a 70-80% decline in the leopard population in the last 100 years.



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Cricket World Cup 2015: An interactive storymap on all 14 teams

This piece originally appeared on Livemint.com


The Cricket World Cup has started in right earnest with some cracking games specially those involving the minnows.




How do the teams score on experience? What are their odds of winning? Which teams are in form? Who are the players tipped to shine? Get a quick lowdown on all 14 teams through this interactive storymap, made using StoryMapJS, an open-source tool from Knight Lab, Northwestern University.

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