Cauvery Is Finally Split. Legally.



What is it? The voter turnout in the 2018 Tripura elections held on Sunday.

Why is it important? Although the Election Commission was yet to declare a final figure, the expectation was that this would be one of the lowest turnouts in the electoral history of this north-eastern state since 1977. The turnout was 92% in 2013 and 91% in 2008. Analysts say a lower turnout is a favourable outcome for CPM and a not-so-favourable outcome for BJP, which has run a high-pitched and high-profile campaign for change and is looking to unseat Manik Sarkar

Tell me more: The CPM has ruled the state for the last 25 years, with chief minister Manik Sarkar leading for 20 years of those.


177.5 tmcft

What is it? The amount of Cauvery water Karnataka has to release to Tamil Nadu every year for the next 15 years, according to a Supreme Court judgment on Friday.

Why is it important? This brings an end to a decades-old dispute between the two states that has sometimes turned violent. Karnataka received a higher share than earlier owing to the series of droughts it has faced in recent times, in addition to providing drinking water to Bengaluru, which is recognised as India’s original technological hub. Karnataka’s capital city features in the list of 11 global cities that are most likely to run out of water after Cape Town, compiled by the BBC, owing to new property developments and losing half of its drinking water to waste. Of the additional share of water awarded to Karnataka, 4.75 tmcft has been specifically allotted to Bengaluru.

Tell me more: As per the ruling, Karnataka will now get 14.75 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) more than that awarded by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal in 2007. That will bring its total to 284.75 tmcft, while Tamil Nadu would receive 404.25 tmcft as against 419 tmcft, in addition to being allowed to draw 10 tmcft of groundwater. The share of Kerala and Puducherry has been retained at 30 tmcft and 7 tmcft, respectively.


$3 billion

What is it? The estimated hit Indian banks could take from loans and corporate guarantees given to diamond companies in transactions related to the alleged fraud at Punjab National Bank (PNB), according to the tax department’s preliminary investigation.

Why is it important? This highlights the need to tighten monitoring norms and their effective implementation, especially with respect to state-run lenders, which are already reeling under soured loans, necessitating additional recapitalisation. Banks have given loans and guarantees worth $2.74 billion to firms related to Nirav Modi, the main accused in the alleged PNB fraud, and his uncle Mehul Choksi. In addition, the tax department noted that several firms that Modi and Choksi were involved in had listed people with limited means as majority partners.

Tell me more: Among banks that have given credit to the uncle-nephew duo are Union Bank of India ($300 million) and Axis Bank, which said it had sold all its exposure related to the fraud. The Central Bureau of Investigation has detained three people, including two PNB employees and an “authorised signatory” of the firms related to Modi.


Rs 17,59,443 crore

What is it? The expected completion cost of 1,283 infrastructure projects compared with the original cost of Rs 15,58,352 crore, according to a government report for October 2017.

Why is it important? This highlights the need to address the major reasons for delay in completion of projects in the infrastructure sector, which is seen as a major driver of economic growth. India’s growth could touch a four-year-low in 2017-18, though it is expected to pick up next fiscal to regain the tag of the fastest-growing country among major economies. Some of the factors responsible for cost overruns include delay in land acquisition, forest clearance, supply of equipment, funding constraints, legal cases, Maoist attacks, and law and order.

Tell me more: Of the 1,283 projects, 12 have been completed, 34 have been initiated this month due to government monitoring, 13 are ahead of schedule, 317 are as per schedule, 302 are delayed, 349 are showing cost overruns, and 105 have reported both cost and time overruns.



What is it? The number of gold medals that Norway, which has a population of 5.2 million, had won at the ongoing Winter Olympics in South Korea till Sunday.

Why is it important? Norway leapfrogged Germany to lead the medals standings by gold medal count, and it’s on pace to better its tally of 11 golds in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. In Sochi, Russia, which then had a population of 143 million, matched Norway in gold medals but was placed higher because of a higher total medal count (29 to 26)

Tell me more: As of Sunday, Norway had a total medal count of 26, followed by Germany (18). Besides making news for its impressive medal returns, some Norwegian athletes were also winning with their sartorial choices.


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News in Numbers, Sep 21: Infiltration bids foiled, sick units to be shut down…

6,000 cusecs

What is it? The quantity of water the Supreme Court has asked Karnataka to release to Tamil Nadu between September 21 and 27.

Why is it important? This is double of what the Cauvery Supervisory Committee had ordered Karnataka to release to its neighbouring state during the same period. Earlier, the apex court’s order to Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs (later, modified to 12,000 cusecs) a day until September 20 had triggered widespread protests in the state. Tamil Nadu has welcomed the latest order while Karnataka has said it cannot be implemented.

Tell me more: The Supreme Court has also directed the central government to constitute the Cauvery Water Management Board within four weeks. Karnataka is likely to be the first state to declare drought this year.



What is it? The number of terrorists reportedly killed on Tuesday as the Indian army foiled two infiltration bids made from across the border in Jammu and Kashmir’s Lachipura and Nowgam areas.

Why is it important? This comes two days after 18 Indian soldiers were killed in an attack by a suicide squad of militants when they attacked a camp in Uri. In Tuesday’s encounter, one Indian soldier lost his life. It was reported that gun battles between terrorists and the Indian security forces were on in Uri and Nowgam sectors last night.

Tell me more: Pakistan violated ceasefire and fired continuously for 20 minutes at Indian posts in Uri this morning, which is now believed to be a cover for the militants to cross over. A meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security has been scheduled for today.



What is it? The percentage of cigarette packs of different brands that flout 85%-display-rule mandated by the central government, according to a study.

Why is it important? This calls for stricter enforcement norms. When the government ordered cigarette companies to display pictorial and health text warnings covering 85% of the principal display area on both sides of the pack, the tobacco lobby protested saying this was practically not feasible. The move is believed to discourage smoking and tobacco consumption. Tobacco-related diseases are said to kill about 2,500 Indians a day and an estimated 5,500 youth and children initiate tobacco use per day.

Tell me more: The government had asked the companies to increase the graphic health warnings on the labels from 20% to 85% of the principal display area from April 1 this year. The study by Voluntary Health Association of India covered 786 cigarette packets from 24 different brands of four tobacco companies, 665 packets from seven companies making smokeless tobacco and 539 bidi packets in eight states.



What is it? The number of sick /loss-making public sector units the government plans to shut down, following the state think-tank Niti Aayog recommendations. Prime Minister’s office has given the go ahead. It awaits cabinet approval.

Why is it important? The move will improve state finances by cutting losses. In some cases, land used by these companies can be put to more productive use or leased out. National Jute Manufactures Corporation, Bharat Wagon and Engineering, Indian Oil-CREDA Biofuels and CREDA HPCL Biofuel are among the companies identified for shutting down. Niti Aayog identified 74 sick or loss making units for shutting down or sale.

Tell me more: The government also plans reduce its ownership to 51% in 22 PSUs per Niti Aayog recommendations. The sale, also pending cabinet approval, will help in reaching its disinvestment target of Rs 56,500 crore this financial year.


36.87 million

What is it? The number of barrels of crude that India plans to hold as emergency reserves.

Why is it important? India imports 80% of its oil needs, and this will cover about two weeks of demand. To this end, it plans to buy six million barrels from Iran, 4 million through BPCL and the remaining through Mangalore Refineries and Petrochemicals.

Tell me more: Iran’s oil exports to India hit a 15-year-high this year. The western Asian country exported 576,000 barrels a day to India in August.


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Get Smart Fast | Cauvery Dispute

Here’s a short video of protests this week in Karnataka over Cauvery water.

So, what’s going on?

The dispute relates to sharing of Cauvery river water among four southern states – Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Pondicherry. The river originates in Karnataka, and the state can regulate water flows to downstream states like Tamil Nadu.

The dispute has been there for more than a century. In 2007, the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal gave its final verdict determining how the water will be shared. This came 16 years after the tribunal was established and 570 days of sitting.


What did the order say?

The tribunal estimated quantum of water available for sharing as 740 thousand million cubic feet or TMC. (If you’re stumped by what these units are, don’t worry. We have a small note on what they mean). Then it determined how this water will be shared among the four states:

Tamil Nadu – 419 TMC
Karnataka – 270 TMC
Kerala – 30 TMC
Pondicherry – 7 TMC

Further it gave a month-wise release of water from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu, the two major states in the dispute.


If the order has clearly detailed how to share water, where is the problem?
The final order only defined ‘normal year’ when the total available water in the cauvery basin is 740 TMC. But there was no such estimate when the water availability falls due to poor monsoon. The verdict only states, “….in a distress year, the allocated shares shall be proportionately reduced among the states….”

Karnataka now claims it has very low level of water in the reservoir because of poor rains, and refused to release water.


Now Supreme Court asked Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of water for 10 days. How much is that?

Cusec is the short form for cubic foot per second or the flow of water per second. One cusec is 28.317 litres of water. TMC is thousand million cubic feet.

If 11,000 cusecs of water is released for a day, then the total quantum of water is 1 TMC. So for 15,000 cusec, it is equivalent to 1.36 TMC.

If 15,000 cusecs of water is released for next 10 days, the total quantum is 13.63 TMC of water. That’s equivalent to filling 1.55 lakh olympic size swimming pools.

In comparison, Tamil Nadu is entitled to 40 TMC of water in September as per final order of the tribunal.

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News in Numbers – September 7


Rs 249

What is it? The monthly price at which state-owned BSNL is offering unlimited usage broadband connection on a landline.

Why is it important? BSNL’s offer comes in the wake of Reliance Jio shaking up the Internet access segment, offering 4G wireless services free till December and subsequently at an effective cost of Rs 50 per GB. As of April, BSNL was number one in broadband in the landline segment (9.9 million subscribers) and number five in mobile broadband (10.6 million).

Tell me more: BSNL will offer a speed of 2Mbps for 1 GB of data and 1 Mbps subsequently. This offer is for six months, after which subscribers will move to a BSNL plan with less generous terms.


What is it? Number of additional teams that Gianni Infantino, president of the world soccer governing body, is pitching for in the 2026 FIFA World Cup—from the current 32 to 40.

Why is it important? More teams means greater viewer interest—and commercial value—in the event around the world. But it can also entail a format rejig, potentially translating into a longer tournament and even fewer matchups between top teams.

Tell me more: After staying constant at 16 for nearly five decades, the number of teams in the World Cup increased to 24 in 1982 and then to 32 in 1998.

15,000 cusecs 

What is it? The amount of water to be released by Karnataka per day for the next 10 days to Tamil Nadu, per Supreme Court order on Tuesday.

Why is it important? Violent protests erupted in Karnataka almost immediately after the Supreme Court delivered its verdict. This adversely impacted the inter-state movement of people as Tamil Nadu registered buses were stopped from crossing the border fearing safety of passengers and buses.

Tell me more: As per the final verdict of Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, Karnataka has to release 192 thousands million cubic feet of water to Tamil Nadu. It specified how much should be released each month. The problem arises when monsoon is deficit like this year so far. The tribunal only stated water share should be proportionately reduced, but did not spell out a formula.


What is it? The number of Karnataka-based schools that lost their CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) affiliation because they produced fake minority certificates to circumvent Right to Education Act provisions.

Why is it important? RTE Act stipulates that 25% of the seats be reserved for economically backward and disadvantaged sections of the society. While it highlights CBSE’s tough stance, the incident also reflects the extent to which educational institutions flout rules. It comes a day after an UNESCO report warned that India will be late by 50 years in achieving its education goals.

Tell me more: The six schools – five based in Bangalore and one in Mysore – belong to National Public Schools group.

$65 billion

What is it? German pharma and crop chemical giant Bayer’s bid for agro-biotech major Monsanto

Why is it important? If it goes through, it will be the biggest ever corporate takeover in cash. The deal would also reflect the consolidation taking place in farm supplies sector. Bloomberg points out  China National Chemical Corp agreed to buy Swiss seed company Syngenta, and  DuPont and Dow Chemical plan a crop-science unit post merger. Monsanto tried buying Syngenta earlier, and was in talks with BASF, world’s largest chemical producer to buy its agro chemicals unit.

Tell me more: Bayer offered to pay $122 a share in May, increased it to $125/share in July. Now it stands at $127.50/share (i.e $65 billion overall) and some analysts expect it to go even higher.

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