Manning Assange’s extradition


What is it? The share of the 85,000 H1-B visas issued by the US each year that go to Indian companies.

Why is it important? The number (amounting to 14,450 visas) put out by the Information Technology Secretary Aruna Sundararajan aims to put into perspective the argument that Indian companies corner most of these visas, drawing criticism from the US administration.

Tell me more: Concerns over visa restrictions have turned the focus on local hirings by Indian companies. It has also highlighted how automation will be claiming jobs in the future. Some point out paring down of the IT workforce has been happening for sometime, but is only being noticed now after the visa hurdles.


Rs 30,000 crore

What is it? The value of social sector subsidies — like concessional fare to certain passenger profiles, discounts for certain categories of goods and uneconomic branch lines–the Indian Railways (IR) is looking to scrap.

Why is it important? The IR has been looking to improve its profitability, including turning to a more corporate form of functioning, on the Niti Aayog’s recommendation. Doing away with social sector subsidies would mean ministries offering those schemes/benefits would have to shoulder the cost.

Tell me more: The operating ratio of IR (amount spent to earn a unit of revenue) rose to 94.9% in FY17, against its stated benchmark of 80%. It also saw freight revenues, which account for three-fifths of its revenues, grow the slowest since 2010-11.



What is it? The number of documents, videos, diplomatic correspondence and military information that Chelsea Manning, who was freed from a US prison on Wednesday, had furnished WikiLeaks with.

Why is it important? Freed after seven years in prison, following a presidential pardon by previous US president Barack Obama, Manning’s freedom has become dovetailed with the future of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Earlier this year, Assange said he would let himself be extradited to the US if Manning was released.

Tell me more: Out of the 35,944 appeals placed before Obama, Manning’s was one of the 3.7% petitions that were granted clemency.



What is it? The number of jobs that automobile major Ford Motor is cutting in North America and Asia.

Why is it important? The count is around 10% of Ford’s managerial and non-production staff, and is geared to reduce costs by 10%. One of the oldest car companies is looking to shore up its financials and boost investor confidence as the auto market moves towards ride-sharing.

Tell me more: In 2016, Ford cut white-collar jobs in Europe, saving $200 million annually. This April, Ford saw its US sales fall 7.2% on a year-on-year basis, a trajectory that was also mirrored by General Motors, Toyota and Nissan.


7,000 MW

What is it? The addition to the installed capacity of nuclear power the Indian government cleared on Wednesday.

Why is it important? If this new capacity comes up, it will double the installed capacity of nuclear power in India. At present, nuclear power, which has been a contentious source of power, accounts for 2% of the installed capacity in power generation in India.

Tell me more: In 2016, there were 13 countries, led by France and Slovakia, that drew at least 25% of their energy from nuclear power.

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News in Numbers, Jan 18, 2017: Stirring the ready-to-cook pot

$25 million

What is it? The cost of 25% stake in a ready-to-cook food company, ID Fresh Foods, paid by Premji Invest, the investment firm of Wipro-owner Azim Premji.

Why is it important? With the increase in nuclear and double-income families, demand for ready-to-cook products is expected to grow faster and this has attracted investors wanting to tap this market. ID Fresh Foods had secured investment from Helion Ventures two years ago. Premji’s investment values it at $100 million. This would be Premji Invest’s fifteenth largest investment.

Tell me more: Premji Invest manages assets over $2 billion across 50 companies and has invested in companies such as Amagi Media Labs (over $500 million) and Lenskart ($115 million). ID Fresh Foods was started by IIM-Bangalore-alumnus PC Musthafa in 2006.


What is it? The number of Indian Police Service (IPS) officers compulsorily retired by the home ministry after a performance review.

Why is it important? It is a rare instance of performance-related rap for bureaucrats, the first removal in the last 10-15 years of IPS officers. The state cadres removed them for poor performance based on their service records, complaints and senior reviews.

Tell me more: Rule 16(3) of the All India Services (Death-cum-Retirement) Benefits Rules, 1958 provides for a service review, in consultation with the state government, of All India Services officers completing 15 and 25 years of service or attaining 50 years of age. Centre may also ask for such a review irrespective of the service years.
4 months

What is it? Remaining prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, after the rest of it was commuted by US President Barack Obama. Manning is a US army intelligence expert convicted of leaking America’s diplomatic and military activities in 2010.

Why is it important? The commutation marks a reversal of President Obama’s policy of actively pursuing criminal prosecution of people involved in leaking government secrets. With three days left in his presidency, Obama also pardoned 63 and commuted sentences of 208 prisoners, mostly drug offenders. Chelsea, who has spent seven years in jail, was originally serving a 35-year imprisonment.

Tell me more: Obama has granted clemency in only 3.7% of the total petitions received (35,944) till December 31, 2016. This compares favourably with George W.Bush who granted clemency only to 0.02% of applications in his eight-year tenure.

What is it? Number of railway stations that will be redeveloped and modernised by private companies at a cost of Rs 4,000 crore.

Why is it important? After announcing plans to redevelop 44 stations more than a year back, Indian Railways has roped in Bansal Construction to modernise Habibganj station near Bhopal. Work is expected to start from March this year. With the state-run monopoly not having resources to invest in modernisation of railway stations, the centre is roping in private players to redevelop the stations. In lieu, private players get to develop surplus land near the station on a lease of 45 years.

Tell me more: Railways have identified 332 stations for redevelopment and modernisation based on passenger earnings.

What is it? The number of village panchayats which will have free WiFi hotspots in three years.

Why is it important? It underlines the government’s efforts to speed up digitisation, especially with an eye on going cashless. Previously, the telecom secretary mentioned the target of making all gram panchayats WiFi-enabled. In December, Members of the Parliament were permitted to use their allocated funds to set up WiFi hotspots in villages and educational institutions.

Tell me more: Over Rs 400 crore would be spent in the first leg spanning three years in public-private partnerships.

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