freedom-of-the-press-2048461_1280

Freedom Of Press

8.54%

What is it? The failure rate of iris scan used to authenticate Aadhaar number, according to the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).

Why is it important? The is higher than the failure rate of fingerprint scans (6%). Iris scan is considered as an additional option to fingerprint scan so as to ensure that people are not denied government benefits because of authentication failure. If both iris and fingerprint scans cannot be used, then Aadhaar number can be authenticated via the mobile phone, says UIDAI.

Tell me more: So far, UIDAI has handled 616 million and 10.8 million fingerprint scans, respectively.

 

Rs20,000

What is it? The proposed minimum wages for nurses working in private hospital in Kerala.

Why is it important? The Kerala High Court on Tuesday lifted an earlier order that restrained the Kerala government from issuing a notification that mandates Rs20,000 as minimum wage for nurses. Private hospitals have opposed the move saying the increase of 150% over the existing wages was illegal.

Tell me more: The Supreme Court, in January 2016, asked the centre to form a committee to look into the working conditions of nurses in private hospitals as it felt they ‘are not being treated fairly’ in terms of pay and working conditions.

 

Rs4,442 crore

What is it? The highest bid received by the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) on day 1 of e-auction to award the media rights for cricket matches played in India between 2018-23.

Why is it important? This is 15% higher than what BCCI received from Star TV (Rs3,851 crore) in 2012. A total of 102 matches will be played over the next five years, and per match bid works out to Rs43.5 crore as of now. The bidding will continue on Wednesday. Start India, Reliance Industries and Sony Pictures are the three bidders.

Tell me more: In comparison, Star India paid Rs 16,347 crore (or Rs54.5 crore per match) to bag media rights for the Indian Premier League.

 

136

What is it?  India’s rank in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index, out of 180 countries.

Why is it important? On Tuesday, at the prime minister’s direction, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting withdrew the order of suspending the accreditation of journalists who were found to be producing or propagating fake news, which it issued the previous day. The order drew criticism from journalists as they said it was an attempt by the government to curb the freedom of press.

Tell me more: The order drew criticism mainly because any journalist accused of creating/spreading fake news would get their accreditation taken away. The government did not provide any definition for fake news.

 

15,000

What is it? The number of flights delayed due to a system failure at Eurocontrol, which manages air traffic in 41 European countries.

Why is it important? Half a million passengers will be affected because of this system failure that delayed 50% of all flights from the European region on Tuesday. It is not known how this impact flights from India to European destinations.

Tell me more: Eurocontrol says safety was not compromised during this failure, and air traffic management system is back to ‘normal flow management operations’.

 

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Alibaba’s Singles’ Day Brings In Moolah

 

Alibaba raked in billions with its Singles’ day shopping festival, outdoing Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. SoftBank is padding Uber with more money. Air India is borrowing yet again while it sits on a mountain of debt. Industrial output bounced a little but is still lower than August’s. 

 

$10 billion

What is it? The amount that SoftBank Group could end up committing to ride-hailing service Uber, both in fresh funding and in buying out existing investors.

Why is it important? Uber yesterday announced it had entered into an agreement with a consortium led by SoftBank and Dragoneer on a potential investment. For Uber, which is in a state of flux on several fronts, it marks its association with the weightiest investor in the Internet economy. For SoftBank, it gives it a piece of the leader of the unicorn club and a pivotal seat in the ride-hailing sector.

Tell me more: SoftBank is also an investor in other ride-hailing companies, notably Didi in China, GrabTaxi in Singapore and Ola in India.

 

$25.3 billion

What is it? The sales generated by Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce firm, from its 11.11 Global Shopping Festival in 24 hours, which celebrates single people.

Why is it important? The ninth edition of the annual sale is its highest ever, up 42% from 2016, cementing its position as the world’s largest shopping event. It is almost twice the combined sales from Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the US in 2016. Seen another way, it is higher than the GDP of Cameroon. Some experts say the massive growth is due to retailers competing with each other to grab a pie of consumer spending in the growing Chinese economy.

Tell me more: The online extravaganza broke other records too. Alibaba surpassed last year’s sales figure in 13 hours. Chinese postal and courier companies handled at least 331 million packages, over 30% higher than those in the same day a year ago.

 

Rs 1,500 crore

What is it? The value of loan reportedly received by Air India from Bank of India to meet its working capital needs.

Why is it important? It highlights the financial situation of Air India, which has a total debt of Rs 52,000 crore and recently received an in-principle nod for disinvestment. However, according to a report, the new owners are likely to take over only the aircraft debt and not working capital loans, which would be transferred to a special purpose vehicle (to be managed by it) before the sale. Of the total debt, Rs 33,000 crore is on account of working capital loans.

Tell me more: The recent working capital loan comes nearly a month after the national carrier floated a tender seeking government-backed short-term loans for the mentioned amount.

 

3.8%

What is it? The rate at which India’s industrial output grew in September on a year-on-year basis.

Why is it important? While this was lower than the 4.3% recorded in August, it was significantly higher than the depths of June and July, two months that also contained the overhang of the transition to a new goods and services tax (GST).

Tell me more: Of the 23 industries, 11 registered growth, indicating that stability was gradually returning to the industrial sector after the disruptions caused by demonetization and GST.

 

Rs 25,000-30,000

What is it? The amount Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) reportedly spends on a cricketer for DNA testing.

Why is it important? This is to understand each player’s body needs to maintain a particular fat percentage, whose limit for a senior Indian player is 23%. This test is believed to help cricketers improve their speed in fat burning, endurance, recovery and muscle building by developing a customised and comprehensive fitness programme. However, researchers are divided on the usefulness of such tests to improve athletes’ performance: one study claims these are ‘virtually meaningless‘, while another says DNA-matched training programmes improve their performance by three times than the mismatched ones.

Tell me more: Earlier, Indian cricketers took Skinfold tests and DEXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) scans to measure body fat percentage.

 

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Google’s trust issues

2.42 billion Euro

What is it? The fine imposed by European antitrust authorities on Google for having used its dominant search engine to direct traffic to its shopping comparison service.

Why is it important? Order will benefit non-Google price comparison service providers who lost out because of Google’s practice of promoting its own service ahead of generic search results. The fine amount is the largest imposed by any antitrust body.

Tell me more: European Commission found traffic to Google’s own shopping service increased manifold (45% in the United Kingdom), whereas rival websites have witnessed sudden drop in traffic (85% in the United Kingdom).

 

Rs 2,199 crore

What is it? The title sponsorship fee for five years of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the league T20 cricketing tournament. BBK Electronics-owned Vivo won the bid.

Why is it important? The Chinese phone brand retained its sponsorship rights with the bid, which it won after PepsiCo withdrew in 2015 following corruption charges in IPL. The earlier Vivo contract was for Rs 200 crore for two years. The current one marks a 340% average yearly jump, while BCCI says it is a 554% jump over the previous contract.

Tell me more: Vivo beat sister company, Oppo whose bid was worth Rs 1,432 crore.

 

2 billion

What is it? The number of monthly active users on Facebook, the largest social networking site, which it reached late on Tuesday night.

Why is it important? The number of users, who have logged onto Facebook or its Messenger app at least once in the last one month, is more than the population of any country and even more than that of six continents, except Asia.

Tell me more: Facebook’s new users are growing at 17%, fast for a 13-year-old Internet company and 66% of its monthly users return daily, up from 55% when it had touched 1 billion users.

5%

What is it? The maximum holding of any non-promoter investor can have in Reliance Industries (RIL), after the company gets shareholders’ approval on July 21.

Why is it important? RIL will have to take this step in order to meet the central bank’s terms and conditions before starting its payments bank. It owns 70% stake in the new venture, with State Bank of India holding 30%. The central bank’s prior permission is needed if non-promoters increase equity stake beyond 5%.

Tell me more: RIL plans to amend its Articles of Association at the annual general meeting. The state insurer, Life Insurance Corporation of India holds 8.31% in RIL.

 

25

What is it? The number of government departments to be completely computerised in the next few days.

Why is it important? With 100% digitisation, these departments will turn into e-offices with electronic record-keeping, doing away with unwieldy physical records and obsolete papers. The government’s efforts at digitising records have already resulted in 462,000 e-files, compared to last year’s 8,000.

Tell me more: The cumbersome processes of affidavits and attestation have been done away with in 58 central ministries/departments and 33 states and union territories.

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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.

 

1,470

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.

 

636,248

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.

 

40

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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