The Tariff War Is On




What is it? The number of people who died in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan as protests against the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, turned violent on Monday.

Why is it important? Dalit organisations called for a Bharat Bandh on Monday after the Supreme Court on March 20 expressed concern over the misuse of this law, which aims to protect marginalised communities against discrimination and atrocities, and diluted some of its provisions. The Central government yesterday moved the Supreme Court seeking a review of the March 20 order.

Tell me more: The Central government has sent 800 anti-riot policemen to Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh to quell the violence. In 2016, 40,801 cases were recorded of crimes/atrocities by non-SC/STs against SC/STs.


$3 billion

What is it? The value of American exports to China, across 128 products, on which the latter placed additional tariffs beginning Monday. China is imposing a 15% tariff on 120 products and 25% on eight other products.

Why is it important? This is ostensibly a retaliatory response by China to the twin US trade moves in March: new duties on steel and aluminum imports, and initiating the process to target $50 billion of Chinese imports with tariffs. China had announced this hours after the $50 billion move by the Donald Trump administration, and it followed through yesterday, escalating the trade standoff that is brewing between the US and the rest of the world.

Tell me more: In 2017, the US received goods worth $505 billion from China, while sending goods worth $130 billion to China.



What is it? The revised fiscal deficit target as a percentage of GDP (gross domestic product) in 2017-18.

Why is it important? The government has expressed confidence that India’s fiscal deficit will be within target, mainly due to buoyant direct tax collections and a record disinvestment year that has seen the government raise over Rs 1,00,000 crore. It added the fiscal deficit target has been met without any major expenditure cuts and that there were natural savings as some departments could not spend all the money allocated to them by March 31.

Tell me more: In the Budget for 2018-19, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had revised the fiscal deficit target for 2017-18 to 3.5% of GDP, from 3.2%.


Rs 2.11 trillion

What is it? The recapitalisation plan announced by the Central government for public sector banks announced last October.

Why is it important? The government would reportedly not announce such a massive plan for state-run lenders again. This means banks need to find alternative sources of funding such as selling of non-core assets and merging with each other, in a move that signals a major consolidation in the public banking sector. The government is reportedly working on a plan to create 3-4 global-sized banks and reduce the number of state lenders to 12.

Tell me more: Stressed loans, which include non-performing assets and restructured loans, increased to Rs 9,50,000 crore at the end of the December quarter, from Rs 9,46,000 crore at the end of September.



What is it? The number of points by which German club Bayern Munich lead the Bundesliga, the top-flight German football league, with six games to play.

Why is it important? On Saturday, in spite of this seemingly insurmountable lead, Bayern put out their best side in a 6-0 drubbing of arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund. On Wednesday early morning India time, Bayern will meet Spain’s Sevilla in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and the German side will be looking to stamp their presence in a tournament where they have gone under the radar despite their imperious domestic form.

Tell me more: Although Bayern has won the Champions League twice since 1993, when the format was changed, the last time it won was in 2013.


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