Center’s Thrust To Education

$50 billion
What is it? The targeted size of bilateral trade between India and Indonesia by 2025. It was $18.13 billion in 2017.

Why is it important? In Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official visit to Indonesia, the two countries have signed 15 agreements in sectors including defence, science, health, railways and technology. They also pledged to step up defence and maritime cooperation and have planned to develop a strategic Indonesian naval port in the Indian Ocean. India is in a bind as Indonesia is seeking its support to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council though the former has consistently supported Maldives for this so far. The voting is scheduled for next week.

Tell me more: India also announced a 30-day free visa for Indonesian citizens to visit India.

Rs 550 crore

What is it? The amount the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) has ordered Reliance Communications (RCom) to pay Ericsson by the end of September.

Why is it important? This is a part of NCLAT’s Wednesday order after the debt-laden firm reached a settlement with the Swedish telecom gearmaker. The order has halted RCom’s 270-day insolvency process and also, allowed RCom’s lenders to complete the sale of the telcom firm’s wireless assets including airwaves and mobile masts to Reliance Jio Infocomm in a deal that is reportedly worth $3.8 billion.

Tell me more:Ericsson, which had signed a seven-year agreement in 2014 to manage and operate RCom’s nationwide telecom network, had filed an insolvency petition against the latter to claim around Rs 1,600 crore in dues.


What is it? The percentage of total funding the central government is looking to provide to states for key school schemes in the form of incentives and on the basis of performance.

Why is it important? This step is aimed at helping states improve their school education system and will depend on the measures taken by them including teaching-learning outcome and rationalisation in teacher deployment. Surveys by NGO Pratham and that by a state government point to low reading/understanding skills and the inability to solve math problems at the basic level by many children in both government and private schools.

Tell me more: The overall student-teacher ratio is 1:27 compared to the required 1:30 under the Right to Education Act. The Indian government will spend Rs 34,000 crore under the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan, which clubs key schemes.


What is it? The projected growth rate of the Indian economy in 2018, according to Moody’s FInancial Services, a ratings firm.

Why is it important? The current growth projection is lower than Moody’s earlier projection of 7.5% growth in 2018. Higher crude oil prices and tighter financial conditions are cited as reasons for downgrade in the growth rate. Between 1 April and 28 May this year, crude oil prices (Indian basket) have increased by $12.15 a barrel, or 19%.

Tell me more: For every $10/ barrel increase in crude oil price, India’s GDP growth is reduced by 0.15%, according to an earlier estimate by the Reserve Bank of India.

25 basis points 

What is it? The increase in retail fixed deposit rates for tenure between 1 and 2 years by India’s largest commercial bank, the State Bank of India (SBI).

Why is it important?The increase shows fading of demonetisation benefits, which brought in record deposits into the banking system from November 2016. Now with credit growing at a faster rate than increase in deposits, the state-run SBI has felt the need to increase the retail deposit rates for select tenures.

Tell me more: Increase in retail deposit rate is likely to increase the benchmark Marginal Cost of Funds based Lending Rate (MCLR), which the SBI will release on Friday. SBI had increased MCLR in March by 10-20 basis points (one basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point).

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BJP May Have AP Problem



What is it? The number of dollar billionaires who made it to the 32nd edition of the annual ranking of the world’s billionaires by Forbes magazine, released Tuesday night.

Why is it important? The combined net worth of these 2,208 people is $9.1 trillion, up 18% from a year ago. This comes at a time when inequality is increasing in the world: between 1980 and 2016, the top 1% of income earners—a set in which these billionaires will feature—captured 27% of growth, while only 12% went to the bottom 50%.

Tell me more: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world ($128 billion) and Mukesh Ambani is the richest in India ($39 billion).


$84.4 billion

What is it?  The value of bilateral trade between India and China in 2017.

Why is it important? This is the highest ever figure in a year for Indo-China trade, and is a growth of 18.7% over the $71.1 billion recorded in 2016. This comes in the backdrop of the two countries clashing over the Doklam issue and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which shows how economic relations can be a equaliser. India’s exports to China increased 39% to $16.3 billion, while India’s imports from China grew 14.6% to $68.1 billion.

Tell me more: However, the bilateral trade figure is short of the $100 billion target set by the two countries in 2012 for 2015.


404 days

What is it? The number of days after which Serena Williams, one of the most decorated tennis players of all-time, is returning to the women’s tour.

Why is it important? Williams is returning to top-flight tennis at the age of 36 years and about six months after giving birth. She is challenging templates of how sportswomen tend to be viewed on choices revolving around gender and age.

Tell me more: She was scheduled to play her first match at 8.30 am IST on March 8, International Women’s Day. Williams last played at the 2017 Australian Open, which she won and later discovered she did so while being eight weeks pregnant.



What is it? The number of MPs that Andhra Pradesh (AP) sends to the Lok Sabha.

Why is it important? Late on Wednesday night, the Telugu Desam Party, which currently rules AP and is also a partner to the BJP in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), said it was pulling out its two Central ministers. Its action came in the backdrop of finance minister Arun Jaitley ruling out awarding ‘special status’ to AP. At present, of the 25 MPs, 17 are from TDP and BJP, and this break-up poses an issue for BJP for the 2019 elections.

Tell me more: For centrally sponsored schemes, the Centre pays 90% of the funds required for ‘special status category states’, against the 60% norm.


Rs 34,800 crore

What is it? The upfront payment that Tata Steel has reportedly offered to make to banks, among other things, to buy a controlling stake in Bhushan Steel, which is currently in bankruptcy proceedings.

Why is it important? On Wednesday, in a filing with stock exchanges, Tata Steel said it had been “identified as the highest evaluated compliant resolution applicant”, or the frontrunner, to acquire Bhushan Steel. On Wednesday, in a broad market that was down 0.9%, the Tata Steel stock fell 2%.

Tell me more: If Tata Steel does bag Bhushan Steel, it would be Tata Steel’s first large acquisition since its challenging experience with Corus in 2007.

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