News in Numbers, July 22, 2016: IT department cracks the whip, water in India’s reservoirs…

7 lakh

What is it? The number of letters Income Tax Department is to send seeking information on high value transactions where the permanent account numbers (PAN) were not disclosed.

Why is it important? Shows the government’s continued efforts in tracking down tax evaders and cracking its whip on the black money problem. In the last two years, the government has detected undisclosed income of Rs 43,829 crore, which is around 1.5% of the estimated black money in the country (according to a research firm).

Tell me more: In the letters, the parties are being sent a unique identification number which can be used to provide their PAN online without getting in touch with the tax authorities directly. They are being asked to confirm whether or not the transactions mentioned have been undertaken by them. The letters seek to get information about 14 lakh high-value transactions.

 

54.42 billion cubic metres

What is it? The water available in India’s 91 major reservoirs as of yesterday, according to Central Water Commission.

Why is it important? Though this is slightly less than the levels recorded at the same time last year, this is higher than the 10-year average of 52.05 billion cubic metres. The current data presents a picture of relief as nearly a month ago, water levels in the major reservoirs were less than half the present levels. Nearly 90% of India had received normal to excess rainfall between June and the first week of this month, which is likely to boost crop sowing prospects, after two successive years of drought.

Tell me more: As many as 35 reservoirs have water higher than last year’s levels while storage in 36 of them have water higher than the 10-year average levels.

 

70,807

What is it? The number of habitations in India that do not have safe drinking water.

Why is it important? Water in these areas are contaminated with fluoride, arsenic and heavy metals, which have adverse health effects and according to a 2013 report, 37.7 million Indians were estimated to be affected by water-borne diseases every year. Besides, there are 3 lakh rural habitations that have less than the prescribed norm of 40 litres per capita per day of safe drinking water, which is reportedly due to delay in the implementation of around 3,000 water schemes, some of which are 5-10 years old.

Tell me more: Rajasthan has the highest number of water-contaminated habitations (20,895) followed by Assam, Jharkhand and Bihar. The government has set a target of providing safe drinking water in 17 lakh habitations by 2022.

 

3

What is it? The number of months within which the government will act upon prosecution requests from private citizens, according to new rules being proposed by the Indian government.

Why is it important? If implemented, this would help improve accountability and speed by those in power – and this is the first time such rules are being proposed by the government. It says it has been receiving requests from private citizens seeking sanction for prosecuting IAS officers but those are without any proper proposal or supporting documents.

Tell me more: The government has sent a circular detailing the proposed guidelines to all states and central ministries seeking their comments. The proposed rules state that an officer would be given a chance to explain his side of the story or defend himself in case prima facie evidence is found against him by the state or central government. Upon the receipt of the complaint, it would be sent to the department where the officer is posted and a report would be sought by the Department of Personnel and Training. Upon receiving the report, the central government will dispose off the complaint within three months.

 

2,765

What is it? The number of people who have been made to plant saplings for traffic violations in Mahbubnagar district in Telangana in nearly three weeks.

Why is it important? The aim is to reduce the number of accidents in the district, which has 150 accident-prone zones, and to help the Telangana government’s initiative to increase its green cover to 33% of the state’s total geographical area from the current 24%. The plantation of saplings is over and above the fines and punishment the violators would face.

Tell me more: The police in Mahbubnagar district is aiming to plant a million saplings in police stations, residential quarters, office buildings and the district police office complex.

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News In Numbers – August 24

News In Numbers: August 24

 

58%

The percentage of water of the total live storage capacity currently held by the 91 main reservoirs in India. This is about 14% lower than the water stored by these reservoirs in the same period last year. Worse, this is also less than the last 10 years’ average storage of 98.7 billion cubic metres of water. Region-wise, only the northern (Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan) and the central (Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh) regions have more water than the last 10 years’ average storage. According to a Central Water Commission member, the reservoir storage has been directly impacted by less rainfall across India. With the country showing signs of slipping into a drought year, the weather department said 58% of India received normal rainfall, 29% deficient and 13% excess.

 

Rs 80 crore

The amount the newest bank in India, Bandhan Bank, garnered in deposits by opening 60,000 new accounts on its first day. Bandhan, which is the first microfinance institution to morph into a bank, began operations with 1.43 crore accounts, a Rs 10,500-crore loan book and 19,500 employees. The bank will have nearly 70% of its branches in rural areas to focus on the unbanked or under-banked rural poor. Bandhan had borrowed about Rs 9,000 crore from various banks when it was a microfinance institution and has sought “relaxation” from the Reserve Bank of India to repay these loans as banks are not allowed to borrow from each other.

 

$10.84 billion

The value of Uber Technologies’ projected global bookings in 2015, against $2.91 billion last year. For 2016, the taxi-hailing service has estimated doubling its 2015 figure: $26.1 billion. Uber operates in 50 countries and takes 20% of the booking revenue. In India, it is aggressively trying to catch up with homegrown Ola Cabs and recently raised around $75-100 million from a Tata Group private equity fund. The company plans to invest around $1 billion in the next 6-9 months in India to achieve its target of 1 million rides a day, from the current 200,000. Ola, which raised $400 million this April as well as an undisclosed amount from Tata Sons Chairman Emeritus Ratan Tata last month, clocks 750,000 rides a day and hopes to hit the one-million mark this month.

 

5 million

The number of jobs lost between 2004-05 and 2009-10, at a time when India’s economy grew at about 8% annually, according to a study by industry body Assocham. It says that though the number of people seeking employment grew at an annual rate of 2.23% between 2001 and 2011, growth in actual employment in this period was only 1.4%. India’s unemployment rate (measured as the number of people actively looking for a job as a percentage of the total labour force) decreased to 4.9% in 2013 from 5.2% in the previous year. Average unemployment rate in India was 7.32% between 1983 and 2013, peaking at 9.4% in 2009.

 

13.4%

The percentage of India’s disinvestment target for 2015-16 the government will achieve if it mops up the targeted Rs 9,302 crore from a 10% stake sale in Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), scheduled for today. With the IOC stake sale, the government would have garnered Rs 12,600 crore, the best ‘first half’ in the last seven financial years. This year, so far, the government has raised around Rs 3,300 crore by selling minority stakes in Power Finance Corporation, Rural Electrical Corporation and Dredging Corporation of India. India’s disinvestments are crucial for achieving its fiscal deficit targets; its target for 2015-16 is 3.9% of GDP. Although it managed to meet its fiscal deficit target in 2014-15, it has missed its disinvestment targets the last five financial years.

 

 

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