Mission: Eliminate Tuberculosis



What is it? The number of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel killed after Maoists blew up their mine-protected vehicle at Sukma in Chhattisgarh on Tuesday.

Why is it important? This is reportedly a revenge attack after a joint operation by the police of Telangana and Chhattisgarh resulted in the deaths of 10 suspected Maoists on March 2. Over 1,900 security personnel have been killed in Maoist violence between 2005 and 2018 (up to March 11).

Tell me more: In March and April last year, Maoists had killed 12 and 25 CRPF men in ambush attacks, which are counted among the biggest in the last few years.



What is it? The number of leaders of opposition parties that UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi had invited for dinner at her residence on Tuesday.

Why is it important? This comes at a time when Congress has been losing a string of elections, the latest being in the northeast region (Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland). The meet is likely to be an attempt at stitching an alliance to defeat the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) led by BJP, which now covers 71% of India’s population in 20 states, in the 2019 General Elections.

Tell me more: Those who have not been invited include the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, Biju Janata Dal and Telugu Desam Party, which pulled out its ministers in the central government but continues to be part of the NDA alliance.



What is it? The percent by which the Indian government has cut Monsanto’s royalties on Tuesday.

Why is it important? This could trigger another row similar to the one in 2016 when the government had cut royalties that local firms pay Monsanto for its genetically (Bt) modified seeds by 70% and the latter had threatened to quit India. Monsanto says its royalties currently account for less than 0.5% of the cultivation cost, which would be further reduced due to the latest order.

Tell me more: The government also reduced the prices of GM cotton seeds by 7.5% to Rs 740 for a packet of 450 gms to help farmers whose crops have been affected by pest infestations.


Rs5,000 crore

What is it? The amount of pension liabilities under-reported by the Indian Railways during 2016-17.

Why is it important? This artificially boosted the operating ratio – the percentage of working expenses to traffic earnings – to 96.5%, as compared to 99.54%. Had the true amount of pension liabilities were accounted, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India – the national auditor- said the pension fund would show a negative balance, with no surplus available to service debt fund.

Tell me more: Operating ratio is an indicator of operational efficiency. A lower ratio is needed to generate surplus to buy new assets or have adequate funds for safety operations. At 99.5%, the operating ratio is the lowest since 2000-01.



What is it? The year by which India is planning to eliminate Tuberculosis (TB), five years ahead of the global target.

Why is it important? India has the highest number of TB infection and TB death rates. 28 million new cases were detected in 2016, with 400,000 deaths arising out of TB infection. The number of TB deaths is 2.6 times the number of people killed from road accidents. Advancing of target would save that many lives each year.

Tell me more: The World Health Organisation’s ‘End TB Strategy’ aims to reduce TB deaths and new cases by 80% and 90% respectively by 2030. TB is one of the top 10 causes of deaths, and 1.7 million people died worldwide in 2016.


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News in Numbers, Aug 19, 2016: SBI board approves merger, Sindhu aims for the gold…


What is it? The number of jobs technology companies in the US have shed so far this year, according to an outplacement agency.

Why is it important? Automation is replacing jobs, and analysts say that this trend is likely to continue. Hardware engineers are the most hit with firms such as Cisco making the shift to more profitable software-oriented services. Cisco laid off 5,500 employees recently and it may affect its research and development centre in India.

Tell me more: Other companies that are likely to lay off employees are IBM Corp, Oracle Corp, Dell Inc and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, according to analysts. A Global Equities Research analyst said the tech industry is likely to shed 370,000 jobs this year.


Rs 37 lakh crore

What is it? The balance sheet size of State Bank of India (SBI) and its five associate banks post merger. This proposal was cleared by its board on Thursday.

Why is it important? The announcement was made in May and this is the first step in what is believed to lead to a major consolidation phase in the banking sector after many years. This, despite the fact that bank unions have been opposing the move and have gone on strikes in the recent past.

Tell me more: The SBI has announced swap ratios (acquiring company offers its shares in exchange for the target company’s shares) for three of its associate banks (State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Mysore and State Bank of Travancore), in addition to that for Bharatiya Mahila Bank. It is yet to announce the swap ratios for State Bank of Hyderabad and State Bank of Patiala.


1.6 million

What is it? The number of pellets fired by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) between July 8 and August 11 to control violent mobs in Kashmir, as per its admission to the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Thursday.

Why is it important? The use of pellet guns, which caused eye injuries (including loss of vision) to many, has come under sharp criticism by human rights organisations and political parties. After Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s announcement in July that the government would form an expert panel to consider other non-lethal alternatives for crowd control measures, the court had said this meant that pellet guns are not non-lethal weapons and this is enough reason to discontinue its usage.

Tell me more: The protests erupted after separatist militant, also the head of a terrorist group called Hijb-ul Mujahideen, Burhan Wani was killed in July. The CRPF told the court that pellet guns were introduced in 2010 as an accepted form of riot control and if these are withdrawn, then it would have no option but to open fire with rifles in extreme situations, which could be fatal.



What is it? The gap between the actual number of toilets built under the Swachh Bharat Mission and the official numbers as put up by the sanitation ministry in Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, as per a field survey report of select districts.

Why is it important? Such a mismatch raises concerns about the real progress of the programme. India has set a target to eliminate open defecation by 2019. In some states such as Jharkhand, Gujarat, Karnataka and Rajasthan, the gaps between the actual numbers and those reported to the central government are 19%, 23%, 27% and 28% respectively. The field survey numbers for Sikkim, which became the first to achieve the open defecation free status, are the only ones that match with those with the ministry of sanitation.

Tell me more: Retired civil and defence services officers and non-government institutions with rural development experience are empanelled by the rural development ministry as individual and institutional National Level Monitors. These monitors covered 24.22 lakh random households in some districts across states.



What is it? The duration of the semi-final match between Indian shuttler PV Sindhu and World Number 6 Nozomi Okuhara from Japan on Thursday. Sindhu smashed her way into the finals.

Why is it important? With her Thursday’s win, Sindhu has assured India of at least a silver medal – the second one after Sakshi Malik won a bronze in the 58 kg women’s freestyle wrestling category on Wednesday, and the fifth Indian female athlete to get a medal overall. All eyes are on the 21-year-old athlete from Hyderabad who would face World Number 1 Carolina Marin from Spain this evening and if Sindhu defeats Marin, she would be the second Indian sportsperson to win the gold after ace shooter’s Abhinav Bindra’s victory at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Tell me more: This was Sindhu’s debut at the Olympics. She trains under Pullela Gopichand at his academy in Hyderabad.

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News in Numbers, July 18, 2016: Kashmir valley tense, 3 Indian sites on UNESCO heritage list…


What is it? The number of Indian sites that got selected to be part of UNESCO’s World Heritage list.

Why is it important? This is the first time any country has got three sites in this list in a single session of UNESCO’s committee meeting. Not only does this tag help promote global recognition and tourism but also helps in increased protection of cultural and natural places for future generations to enjoy. Now, India has a total of 35 sites on the list, of which 27 are cultural, seven are natural and one is in the ‘mixed’ category.

Tell me more: The three sites chosen from India include Chandigarh’s Capitol Complex, Sikkim’s Khangchendzonga National Park and Nalanda University in Bihar.



What is it? The number of additional Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel rushed to Kashmir valley.

Why is it important? This is in addition to 2,800 troops of the CRPF sent to the region to tackle violence that erupted after the killing of Burhan Wani, a terrorist based in the valley, last week. The situation remains tense after 41 people were killed and over 2,000 were injured in the clashes that broke out between protesters of Wani’s killing and the security forces. There have been raids and clampdown on printing and distribution of newspapers to prevent flaring of further violence.

Tell me more: Mobile phone and internet services have been disabled in many parts of the state and schools and colleges that were to reopen tomorrow after the summer holidays have got a week’s extension.



What is it? The number of polluting units and industries that the Telangana industries department wants to shift out of Hyderabad city limits by December 2017.

Why is it important? Though different governments have tried to shift the factories outside the city limits for the last 15 years, they haven’t been successful due to opposition from the businesses. If successful, other state governments could follow suit to de-congest the major cities that face similar problem. Among five metros including New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, Hyderabad’s air quality index was the worst at 10 pm last night, as per the US Embassy and Consulates’ air quality monitor.

Tell me more: The government will hold consultations with industries and manufacturing units for the shifting out and housing them in industry-wise clusters and has agreed in principle, to provide certain concessions to them including tax rebates and easy land conversion.


Rs 20,000

What is it? The maximum compensation air passengers in India will be eligible for, in case of cancellation of a flight or denying them boarding, effective from August 1.

Why is it important? This is five times the maximum compensation air travellers are allowed in such cases, and is likely to force airlines to improve their on time performance and have a re-look at their overbooking strategies. As many as 1,873 people were denied boarding in the month of May, besides 7,165 cancellations and 87,323 delays, for which airlines gave a total compensation of Rs 192.4 lakhs.

Tell me more: For denied boarding, the compensation is up to Rs 20,000 while for cancelling or delaying a flight by over two hours would make travellers eligible for up to Rs 10,000. The compensation varies depending on factors such as the number of hours of delay or cancellation and alternate flight arrangements.



What is it? The percentage of people who claimed to be allopathic doctors in 2001 but did not have any medical qualifications, according to a recent World Health Organization (WHO) report.

Why is it important? Highlights the extent of quackery in India and the need for stronger rules to tackle this, besides taking measures to increase the number of medical seats. The country is already battling low density of health workers. The doctor-patient ratio is less than 1:1000 – the recommended limit by the WHO – by the Indian government’s own admission.

Tell me more: The rural areas are worse off where just 18.8% of the allopathic doctors had a medical qualification. Overall, less than a fourth (23.3%) of all health workers had medical qualifications as per the 2001 Census.

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