A Mastermind Is Caught


Ten years after the deadly Ahmedabad blasts that killed and injured several Indians, Delhi police has caught the man that masterminded those attacks – the co-founder of Indian Mujahideen, Abdul Subhan Qureshi.

Here’s more news in numbers today.



What is it? The increase in the net profit of Axis Bank, India’s third largest private sector lender, to Rs 726.4 crore in the October-December quarter, from Rs 579.6 crore in the corresponding quarter a year ago.

Why is it important? This is due to a decrease in provisions against bad loans, a sharp slowdown in bad loan additions and an increase in fee income. Axis Bank’s provisions and contingencies decreased by 26% to Rs 2,811 crore, while it added Rs 4,428 crore of bad loans, less than half the levels in the September quarter. Its fee income grew 24% to Rs 2,246 crore from a year earlier, of which retail contributed almost 50%.

Tell me more: Shares of Axis Bank rose 3.5% yesterday to close at Rs 612, their highest levels since September 2016.



What is it? The world’s projected GDP (gross domestic product) growth in 2018 and 2019, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Why is it important? The projections for both years have been revised upwards by 0.2 percentage points. If these hold true, the world economy would grow at its fastest pace since 2011. The IMF says the world economy is gathering speed, though the present economic upturn is the “reflection of confluence of factors that is unlikely to last long”. The US tax policy changes passed in December and enacted this year would account for about half the increase in global growth projections.

Tell me more: The primary reasons the upturn will taper off is that advanced economies are reaching the limits of their growth potential and the growth in the world’s two biggest economies, US and China, may slow down. The IMF retained India’s GDP projections for 2018 and 2019 at 7.4% and 7.8%, respectively.



What is it? The number of years since the 2008 Ahmedabad bombings, where 21 bomb blasts occurred in 70 minutes.

Why is it important? The Delhi police arrested Abdul Subhan Qureshi, the alleged mastermind of the blasts that hit Ahmedabad on July 26, 2008, which killed 56 people and injured over 200. He is the co-founder of Indian Mujahideen, which has been behind some of the most deadly bombings in India. Qureshi is wanted by the National Investigation Agency in connection with terror attacks in Delhi, Bengaluru and the 2006 local train bombings in Mumbai.

Tell me more: Qureshi was reportedly planning a revival of the Indian Mujahideen in states such as Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, where it had a stronghold earlier.


25 million

What is it? The number of items that Amazon will make available for delivery within two days under its priority programme Amazon Prime, as against 11 million earlier.

Why is it important? It signals a greater use of Prime as a lever by the e-commerce major, which is locked in a tough fight against Flipkart in India, to build customer stickiness while growing at a fast clip. Other forthcoming enhancements in Prime—which costs Rs 999 a year—include a wider video selection and a music service. Flipkart, too, is reportedly looking to revive its customer loyalty programme.

Tell me more: In India, Prime members reportedly account for 30% of Amazon revenues. In the US, Amazon had 90 million Prime subscribers, as of September 2017—a 100% growth in 27 months.



What is it? The singles ranking of Hyeon Chung of South Korea, who yesterday upset 12-time grand slam winner Novak Djokovic to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

Why is it important? Chung is the first South Korean to reach the quarter-finals in the singles of a grand slam. He thus completed an eight-player lineup whose average ranking is a high 29 and which has three rank outsiders in the form of Chung, Kyle Edmund of UK (world ranking 49) and Tennys Sandgren of US (world ranking 97).

Tell me more: Even as the younger brigade makes a charge, the draw is set up nicely for the two old guards, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who have been the two best men’s singles players in the past 12 months and who played an epic final last year.

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News in Numbers, Jan 25, 2017: Deep-pocketed rival rattles leader

Rs 503.7 crore

What is it? Bharti Airtel’s consolidated profit for the third quarter of fiscal 2017.

Why is it important? The lowest profit since the quarter ended December, 2012, shows the largest telecom player is far from being immune to market forces. The sector again has a competitor, Reliance Jio, with deep pockets dragging other players into a price war. Bharti Airtel, like its counterparts, has had to take deep cuts in its voice and data tariffs to counter its promotional run. Demonetisation-driven cash crunch also affected its prepaid customers while the devaluation of the Nigerian currency raised losses from its African operations.

Tell me more: Bharti Airtel’s average revenue per user fell close to 7% from the second quarter to Rs 123. Its consolidated revenue at Rs 23,364 crore, dipped year-on-year for the first time.


Rs 660.5 crore

What is it? The interest waiver for November and December, 2016, for farmers who have taken short-term loans from cooperative banks.

Why is it important? The government will be taking on an additional Rs 1,060.5 crore liability besides the FY17-budgeted Rs 15,000-crore for the Interest Subvention Scheme, to make amends for the demonetisation impact. It was ill-timed as farmers could neither encash their cheques from the recent sale of their Kharif crops nor buy resources for their next Rabi sowings, making it difficult to serve their loans. They had been given additional 60 days to repay crop loans but this waiver could be a much-needed breather. Those who have paid, would get their amounts refunded.

Tell me more: The National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (Nabard) has gotten the nod to facilitate cooperative banks. It will make short-term borrowings of Rs 20,000 crore at market rate to lend it to them at 4.5% interest rate so more loans can be disbursed.



What is it? The Grand Slam semi-finals Roger Federer would have played in, after his quarter-final win over Germany’s Mischa Zverev, at the Australian Open, on Tuesday .

Why is it important? Could signal a comeback for the Swiss great from last year, riddled with a knee injury. Unable to play since his withdrawal from the 2016 French Open, he had earlier never missed a Grand Slam since 1999. He goes up against fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka whom he has defeated 18 times of 21 matches they have played.

Tell me more: At Australian Open, Federer has appeared in 12 semi-finals, with the thirteenth cued.


$8.03 billion

What is it? The aid requested by the United Nations for 2017 to help Syrians, both refugees and within Syria.

Why is it important? The amount for Syria forms 31% of UN’s total humanitarian aid plea for 2017. Terming the Syrian people’s crisis as far from over, the UN asked for $4.63 billion for food, rent, education and healthcare of 4.7 million Syrian refugees and their 4.4 million hosts in five neighbouring countries: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. The remaining $3.4 billion would bring life-saving resources to 13.5 million Syrians still in the country.

Tell me more: Hosts are helping Syrian refugees with very few in camps. In Syria, 13 besieged areas have650,000 people cut off from aid.


Rs 7,832.98 crore

What is it? The income of political parties, both national and regional, from unknown sources between FY05 and FY15.

Why is it important? The amount comprising 69% of the total declared income of political parties in the 10 years, show the scope black money and illegitimate means of funding have in our democracy. The demonetisation move brought into sharp focus the need to monitor funds received by political parties with voices advocating a receipt-only approach. However, the Supreme Court turned down a plea earlier this month to make it mandatory for political parties to declare all sources of income, not just those from donors giving above Rs 20,000 as is the law.

Tell me more: The Delhi thinktank, Association for Democratic Reforms, studied IT returns with the Election Commission to arrive at the amount. National political parties were brought under the RTI Act in 2013 but are yet to comply.

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