Cash, Liquor, Gold And Narcotics

Rs 120 crore

What is it?The total amount of cash, liquor and narcotics seized in Karnataka as on April 30, 2018, ahead of the state assembly elections on May 12.

Why is it important?Of the 22 state assembly polls held in India since the 2014 general elections (including the upcoming Karnataka polls), Karnataka is ranked third among states on number of such seizures. Increasingly, political parties look for candidateswith deep pockets, while voters support them despite their questionable history with the expectation that they might be able to deliver when the state doesn’t.

Tell me more:Karnataka might overtake Tamil Nadu (around Rs 130 crore seized in the 2016 elections) on total seizures. Uttar Pradesh tops the list, with a cumulative seizure of over Rs 190 crore.


$40.7 billion

What is it?The fair value of Warren Buffett-controlled Berkshire Hathaway of Apple shares, as of March 2018.

Why is it important?That makes Apple the largest holding in the $172 billion investment portfolio of Berkshire, rising above Wells Fargo. During the January to March quarter, Berkshire added about 75 million shares of Appleto the 170 million it already owned.

Tell me more:Even as Berkshire, known for investing in consumer-oriented businesses, bulked up on one of the rare tech stocks in its portfolio, Buffett admitted he made a wrong decision to not invest in Google and Amazon.


$1.5-2 billion

What is it? The estimated losses of Air Indiain 2018-19 and 2019-20 if its divestment does not take off, according to aviation consultancy Centre for Aviation (CAPA) India.

Why is it important?Making a case to make the terms of sale more attractive to investors, the consultancy predicts that failure to divest could result in Air India’s closure unless the government spends more taxpayers’ money. Major airlines such as Indigo, Jet Airways, Emirates and Qatar Airways have opted out of bidding for Air India. The Tata Group is also unlikely to participate.

Tell me more: The government will accept expression of interests from potential bidders until the end of the month. The government hasprovided equity support of Rs 26,545 crore, against a total of Rs 30,231 crore earmarked, under a 10-year, turnaround plan in 2012.



What is it?The number of months within which the system for taxpayers to file only one monthly return (as against three now) will be ready.

Why is it important?The GST (goods and services tax) Council approved a simpler tax return filing system on Friday, which would reduce the burden of compliance on taxpayers. There will be a unidirectional flow of invoicesto be uploaded by sellers, after which the input tax credit will be available to the buyer. The GST Council deferred its decisionson allowing an incentive for digital payments and imposing a cess on sugar.

Tell me more: The GST Council has also decided to convert GST Network into a government-owned entity, with the central government and states owning 50% stake each.



What is it?The scoreline in El Clasico, as the Spanish League match between Barcelona and Real Madrid is known, played on Sunday night.

Why is it important?A 10-man Barcelona side, playing at home, clung to a draw in a fast-paced and heated encounter. The draw meant Barcelona still remain unbeaten in the Spanish League, with three matches to play. Barcelona, already crowned champions for the season, is aiming to become the first side to stay unbeaten in the Spanish League since its expansion to a 20-team format.

Tell me more: Across seasons, this Barcelona side holds the Spanish League record for the longest unbeaten streak, which now stands at 42, four better than Real Sociedad in 1979-80.


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RIP Sridevi

The legendary actress, Sridevi, may have gone from our lives, but she will live in our hearts forever.


What is it? The approximate number of films in which Indian actress Sridevi has featured. She died of a cardiac arrest in Dubai, according to her family. She was 54.

Why is it important? Referred to as India’s first female superstar, Sridevi was among the handful of actors who enjoyed a mass appeal across major regional film industries in India, and was one of the few female actors who could deliver hits without dependence on male actors. Sridevi began her film career at the age of four in a Tamil movie and went on to deliver hits such as Pathinaru Vayathinile and Moondram Pirai in Tamil, and Chandni and Mr India in Hindi. Her rise to the top was also remarkable for happening without any backing or connections in the movie industry.

Tell me more: Sridevi is survived by husband Boney Kapoor, a film producer, and two daughters. The debut film of her elder daughter, Jhanvi Kapoor, is due in July 2018.



What is it? The number of Rajya Sabha seats from 16 states that are due for retirement, in addition to a casual vacancy that will arise due to the resignation of a member from Kerala. The elections to these seats will be held on March 23.

Why is it important? This is likely to significantly alter the composition of nearly a fourth of Rajya Sabha. BJP, which overtook Congress in August 2017 to become the largest political party in the Rajya Sabha, is likely to gain as it is in power in three top states where seats will fall vacant, including 10 from Uttar Pradesh and six each from Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. However, the party reportedly does not have ‘big names’ from UP to fill the seats and it might take a while for it to have a clear majority in the Upper House.

Tell me more: The issue of notification of the polls will happen on March 5, while the last date for filing nominations will be March 12. The counting will take place on the same day as the polling.


$65.3 billion

What is it? The gain in net worth of Berkshire Hathaway, the Warren Buffett-controlled holding company, during 2017, the results for which were announced on Saturday.

Why is it important? Of this, $29 billion was, in Buffett’s words, “delivered to us in December when Congress rewrote the US Tax Code”, the two main provisions of which were the lowering of the corporate tax rate in the US from 35% to 21% and the deemed repatriation of past earnings on overseas subsidiaries. For Berkshire, the greater cash in hand increases the imperative for further acquisitions, though Buffett insisted it would not make buys for the sake of making buys.

Tell me more: Among Berkshire’s common stock investments, which had a market value of $170 billion as on December 31, 2017, Wells Fargo held the number one spot ($29.2 billion) followed by Apple ($28.2 billion) and Bank of America ($20.6 billion).


Rs 389.85 crore

What is it? The value of the alleged bank loan fraud by a Delhi-based diamond jewellery exporter, according to a complaint filed by the Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Why is it important? This is the third big banking fraud that has surfaced in the last few days, raising serious questions about processes, risk controls and auditing at Indian banks. The loans taken by Dwarka Das Seth International Pvt Ltd, owned by Sabhya Seth, reportedly turned sour in 2014 but OBC approached the investigating agency only last August and the CBI took over six months to file a case against the accused. The Delhi-based jeweller apparently followed the same modus operandi as jewellery designer Nirav Modi, who has been accused of defrauding Punjab National Bank (PNB) to the tune of Rs 11,400 crore.

Tell me more: The Supreme Court directed the government to set up a three-member committee of experts within two months to scrutinize the regulatory regime for audit firms, in the wake of the PNB case. The committee is expected to submit its report to the apex court in three months.



What is it? The number of titles won by Manchester City under manager Pep Guardiola, who is now in his second year at the club. On Sunday, Manchester City won its maiden title under Guardiola, beating Arsenal 3-0 in the Carabao Cup final.

Why is it important? This win is being heralded as the beginning of a triumphant era for Manchester City. This season, the club is in line for a treble: besides the Carabao Cup, they are a near lock for the Premier League title, leading by 13 points with 11 matches to go, and have one foot in the quarter-finals of the premier competition in Europe.

Tell me more: Guardiola is one of the most decorated coaches of this era, winning big in his last two assignments in Bayern Munich (7 titles in three seasons) and Barcelona (14 titles in four seasons). He was drafted by Manchester City with a larger plan of long-term, global dominance in mind.


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What is it? The percentage of stake in Hindustan Petroleum (HPCL) that will be transferred to the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) by the central government.

Why is it important? This will create an integrated oil company bringing together India’s largest oil producer, ONGC with HPCL, third largest refiner and retailer. This was one of the announcements made by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the budget speech.

Tell me more: The transfer will have to be followed by an open offer for another 26% shares from the open market.


200 million

What is it? The number of wallet users (transacting users) with Paytm, a mobile wallet and payments operator.

Why is it important? The largest mobile wallet service by reach has reaped the benefits of the cash ban. Its subscriber base increased by 50 million post November 8th last year, when demonetisation was announced. By the end of November, Paytm, like its competitors, had increased their advertising spends, by 300%, to tap an audience looking for ways around the cash crunch.

Tell me more: Paytm’s immediate competitor, Freecharge, has had a rougher ride, with its parent Snapdeal struggling to raise funding for it. Its CEO quit last week.


120 million

What is it? The number of shares of Apple Inc. that Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway bought in 2017.

Why is it important? This makes Apple one of the largest holdings of the investment wizard’s company. Berkshire, fuelled by Buffet’s acumen, is often considered a bellwether of the US stock market. It took its total shares of the iPhone-maker to 133 million. At about $17 billion in value, the stock is now among the top six of Berkshire’s holdings worth $10 billion and above.

Tell me more: In a media interview, Buffet reasoned with “Apple strikes me as having quite a sticky product.”


Rs 2 trillion

What is it? Amount of central government procurement each year(excluding defence) proposed under the ‘Buy Indian’ policy.

Why is it important? The policy, if implemented, will boost local manufacturing through price preference, and relaxation in turnover and experience conditions. It might increase cost of buying goods for central government, but has potential to create local jobs given the size of purchase.

Tell me more: The proposed policy will not violate international trade rules. WTO permits governments to have sourcing preference if it’s for own consumption.



What is it? The number of airports managed by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) that are profitable. AAI manages 125 airports in India.

Why is it important? Shows that traffic is not adequate to support the cost incurred, and AAI was not able to monetize non-aero revenues like the ones managed by the private sector in Delhi and Mumbai.

Tell me more: There was no traffic in 30 of the loss making airports managed by AAI.

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What is it? The increase in wholesale price inflation (WPI) in April against -0.85% in March.

Why is it important? It increased after 17 months of deceleration. Retail inflation also went up to 5.39% in April from 4.83% in March, bringing back worries about its persistence. This could dampen hopes of interest rate cuts by Reserve Bank in June.

Tell me more: The WPI’s increase was mainly due to an increase in prices of food and manufactured items. Wholesale food prices rose 4.23% on a year-on-year basis due to a sharp increase in the prices of pulses and potato. Prices of manufactured items rose 0.71% last month year-on-year.



What is it? The minimum share of apprentices profitable public sector units must have as a percentage of their total workforce with the maximum being 10%.

Why is it important? This will help Indian government’s Skills India programme (launched last year), which has a target of skilling 40.2 crore workers by 2022. India, which has the world’s largest youth population, is estimated to require 120 million more workers by 2022 and their skilling is imperative for economic growth.

Tell me more: The estimated share of India’s workforce that undergoes formal training (2.3%) compares very poorly with that in other countries – 68% in the UK, 75% in Germany, 52% in the US, 80% in Japan and 96% in South Korea.


9.81 million

What is it? The number of shares investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has in Apple (as of March 31) valued at $1.07 billion.

Why is it important? This is Berkshire Hathaway’s second investment in a technology company – after IBM. Buffett buys companies with strong cash flows, decent dividends and a good management – and had avoided investments in high-growth tech firms because their future is harder to predict. His investment in Apple is an indication that the iPhone maker is transitioning/has moved from being a high-growth star to a low-growth but stable company.

Tell me more: Apple’s shares rose 3.7% to $93.88 on Monday after Berkshire’s announcement. The value of Berkshire Hathaway’s holding in the firm has dropped to $921 million since March 31.



What is it? The number of retail branches Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) will shut down in India.

Why is it important? With this, RBS will wind up all its banking operations in India – as part of its global restructuring plans to reduce its presence from 38 countries to 13. Around 400650 employees are set to lose their jobs. The UK bank, which sold off its offshore loan book in India to UAE-based National Bank of Abu Dhabi and private banking business to Sanctum Wealth Management, failed to find any buyers for the rest of its India assets.

Tell me more: The bank will retain its back-office operations, which supports its global businesses and employs over 10,000 people.



What is it? The percentage of children who attended a government primary school in 2014, down from 72.6% in 2007-08, according to an analysis by data journalism platform, IndiaSpend based on an NSSO survey.

Why is it important? Indicates an increasing preference for private schools and underlines the concerns about quality of education in government schools. Despite this and the fact that India has spent nearly Rs 5.9 lakh crore on primary education in the last 10 years, there has been a decline in learning outcomes, according to NGO Pratham’s 2014 report.

Tell me more: The data also confirms a popular perception that a higher percentage of children in urban areas prefer private schools over the government ones. Less than a third of children attended government primary schools in urban areas compared to 72.3% in rural areas in 2014.

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