Repo so low

25

What is it? The number of basis points by which the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has cut the repo rate, the rate at which the central bank lends money to the commercial banks, to 6% on Wednesday. One basis point is equal to one hundredth of one percent.

Why is it important? The repo rate is the lowest since November 2010 and follows a downward trend in food prices that pushed consumer inflation in June to a more than five-year low of 1.54%. This could boost the economy, which clocked a growth of 6.1% in the January-March 2017 quarter, the slowest in two years. The repo rate cut is also likely to result in lower lending rates.

Tell me more: The RBI has also become the first central bank in Asia to cut rates this year. Four members of the monetary policy committee voted for a policy rate reduction of 25 basis points, one for reduction of 50 basis points and one for maintaining the same rates.

 

5.3%

What is it? The percentage of protein Indians may lose from a standard diet by 2050, according to a study.

Why is it important? This would likely put 53 million people at new risk of protein deficiency and would be due to the increase in carbon dioxide levels as projected causing a decline in the nutritional value of rice, wheat and other staple crops. The study, the first to quantify this risk, estimates that roughly 150 million people in 18 countries are likely to be at risk of protein deficiency due to increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. According to a survey by market research firm IMRB, 73% of Indian diets are protein deficient. The recommended dietary allowance for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

Tell me more: Under elevated carbon dioxide concentrations, the protein content in crops such as rice, wheat, barley and potatoes decreased by 7.6%, 7.8%, 14.1% and 6.4% respectively.

 

Rs 250 crore

What is it? The estimated collective loss of revenue of 87 tea estates in Darjeeling since mid-June, according to the Darjeeling Tea Association.

Why is it important? Due to the indefinite strike announced by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) on June 15, around 75,000 tea workers in Darjeeling are likely to lose at least Rs 10,000-15,000 in wages. The auction volume of Darjeeling tea is running thin and there could be just one more auction of the tea variety this year. Due to reduced supplies, the average price shot up by 27.5% in the last auction to Rs 458.38 per kg over the last year and only 20,000 kg were sold compared to 130,000 kg a year ago.

Tell me more: The GJM is on an indefinite strike to demand a separate Gorkhaland state to be carved out of West Bengal.

 

60

What is it? The number of premises linked to Karnataka energy minister D K Shivakumar searched by the Income Tax department until Wednesday.

Why is it important? The Rajya Sabha (RS) was adjourned four times yesterday over these IT raids, with the Election Commission (EC) seeking a report from the Finance Ministry in two days. The raids spanned New Delhi, Chennai and Bengaluru, including the resort housing 42 Gujarat Congress MLAs.

Tell me more: The Congress approached the EC alleging the raids were BJP’s vendetta against Shivakumar, as he is overseeing the Gujarat MLAs in Bengaluru. The fiasco is due to the upcoming voting to elect Rajya Sabha members from Gujarat. Tax department claimed it recovered Rs 10 crore in cash.

 

Rs 17,576 crore

What is it? The value of illegally mined iron ore and manganese in Odisha since 2000 the Supreme Court has ordered miners to refund the state.

Why is it important? This would be a windfall revenue for the Odisha state government. Mining companies which continued to mine without or in excess of environment clearance since 2000-2001 will be penalised 100% of the illegally mined extracts. The estimate was made by the SC-appointed Central Empowered Committee which found 215.5 million-tonne ore extracted.

Tell me more: This could increase to Rs 25,000 crore if Forest Conservation violations are taken into account. The court ordered companies such as Tata Steel, Essel Mining, Sail, to pay the penalty.

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Darjeeling: More force to keep calm

1,400

What is it? The number of paramilitary personnel deployed in Darjeeling by the Centre.

Why is it important? They will help the West Bengal government in tackling the protests in the town. The protests, triggered by the West Bengal government’s decision to make Bengali compulsory in schools across the state, soon flared up into the longstanding demand for a separate state, spearheaded by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.

Tell me more: The unrest has resulted in violence in the last few days. Protesters clashed with police and torched an outpost.

$6 billion

What is it? The amount Reliance Industries (RIL) and BP will invest in three projects, including  the development of deepwater gas fieldsand other areas downstream areas in India.

Why is it important? India’s energy use is expected to skyrocket with energy consumption set to more than double by 2040 to 1,908 mn-tonne. Oil companies are moving now to be ready for the demand. Both private companies such as RIL and BP and state-owned companies such as IOC, BPCL and HPCL are investing in increasing capacity.

Tell me more: BP, the British petroleum company, intends to set up fuel stations along with RIL.

 

$13.84 billion

What is it? India’s trade deficit, difference between the value of total exports and imports, in May, 2017.

Why is it important? The gap has been widening for the third straight month, and is the highest in two and a half years. Gold imports of nearly $5 billion widened the deficit.

Tell me more: Gold import had fallen right after demonetisation and its impact on trade deficit seen in January and February, 2017.

 

146

What is it? The number of districts identified as having total fertility rate (TFR) of more than three children born per woman.

Why is it important? These districts, 145 of which were identified in 2016, are in the high TFR states — Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Assam — that make up 44% of the country’s population. The government has devised an initiative, Mission Parivar Vikas, to impart awareness and intensive family planning services in these places to control population growth.

Tell me more: High TFR in these districts also lead to unsafe conditions for mother and child, accounting for 25-30% of maternal deaths and 50% of infant deaths, as reported.

 

104

What is it? The tiger count in the national park of Kaziranga and Burachapori in Assam.

Why is it important? It shows an increase of 21 tigers since 2014. Last year and the start of 2017 seem to have been ominous for India’s tiger population, and this is a ray of good news. While 99 wild tigers died in 2016, 21 Royal Bengal tigers died in Jan-Mar this year.

Tell me more: The last official census was of 2,226 tigers in the wild, though widely contested by wildlife experts.

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