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EU Fines Google. Again.

$5 billion

What is it?Fine imposed by European Union on Google for abusing its dominant position in Android operating system.

Why it’s important? European Commission said Google forced phone manufacturers to pre-install its search and Chrome apps in Android phones as a condition of using its app store Google Play. Android operating system has a market share of over 80%. This comes at a time when there are growing concerns about the big tech firms such as Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon.

Tell me more: Last year, EU fined Google $2.7 billion for abusing its position in search by favoring its own shopping sites against competitors. Earlier this year, India fined Google $21.17 million for a similar offence.

1.2 million tonnes

What is it?Likely Indian imports of pulses in 2018-19, according Indian Pulses and Grains Association.

Why is it important?If it falls to this level, it will be the lowest imports of pulses by India in the last two decades. It follows government’s decision to increase import taxes and impose quantity restrictions. Lower imports would raise the price of pulses, which would mean the government will have to pay out less as subsidies to farmers.

Tell me more: India is the largest importer of pulses and the move will adversely impact exporting countries such as Canada. In 2017-18, pulses imports fell by one million tonnes.

311 

What is it? The number of seats National Democratic Alliance has in Lok Sabha, 272 of them held by Bharatiya Janata Party.

Why is it important? With a clear majority, Narendra Modi government is set to clear the no-confidence motion, moved by the opposition and approved by the speaker on Wednesday. The exercise is expected to be used by the opposition to highlight its disappointment with government’s economic performance.

Tell me more: The Monsoon session of the parliament which started on Wednesday will have 18 sittings. The session is crucial for BJP, which has a handful of billsto pass before it faces elections next year.

22

What is it?The number of unarmed surveillance aircraft, MQ-9B Guardian, that India is in the process of buying from the United States.

Why is it important? Now, US has reportedly offered to sell armed version of Guardian, in a departure from its practice of selling armed drones only to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) countries. This will also be the first of its kind in South Asia.

Tell me more: India was in talks to buy 22 of MQ-9B Guardian from the US for $2 billion to watch over Indian Ocean.

4.7 to 7.3 percentage points

What is it?The temporary drop in the local GDPs of informal districts following demonetisationof 2016, according to a World Bank study.

Why is it important? The study, which used nightlight intensity to gauge economic activity said, “these shocks were temporary, so that their impact on the annual GDP of the affected localities was probably modest. But in the short-term the local impacts were sizeable.”

“The difference in local growth relative to a normal year was very small in urban districts, as well as in those with greater access to finance and with more prevalent regular wage employment,” the report said.

Tell me more: The impact of demonetisation on economic activity at the aggregate level was ‘small and short-lived’, the report said. “There is a dip in nightlight intensity, but it only lasts for about two months.”

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4 Accidents, 12 Hours, 7 Deaths, And One Institution

 

Four accidents in 12 hours, that translates to an accident every 3 hours. That’s Indian Railways for you these days. One year after demonetization, government is cracking down on ‘benami’ transactions significantly. India is seen bolstering its coastal security after the deadly 26/11 attack in Mumbai in 2008. And, in Nepal, after two decades, the war torn country has held elections in its last effort to move towards a federal democracy.

 

Rs 15.9 crore

What is it? The value of cash deposits made at a bank in Delhi after demonetisation was announced last November that has been declared to be ‘benami’ by a special court.

Why is it important? This is among the first five adjudication cases under the amended Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016 that came into effect from November 1, 2016. This is one of the measures taken by the government against black money. The income tax department recently said it had attached benami assets worth Rs 1,833 crore, and had made 541 attachments and issued 517 notices. Violations of the Act could lead to up to seven years of jail time and a monetary fine of up to 25% of the fair value of the benami property.

Tell me more: Both the depositor and the beneficial owner in this case remain untraceable.

 

1,000

What is it? The number of transponders to be provided by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) by March 2018 to track suspicious vessels and boats through satellite imagery.

Why is it important? This is to prevent a 26/11 kind of attack, when terrorists entered Mumbai through the Arabian Sea, killing 166 and injuring over 300 in 2008. An automatic identification system would monitor boats above 20 metres while satellite monitoring would handle those under 20 metres. As many as 46 coastal radars and 74 automatic ID systems have been installed to strengthen infrastructure to monitor suspicious sea activities. India is considering setting up a coastal security force.

Tell me more: Officials claim there is improved coordination between various agencies and the police to check preparedness to defend the seas, though there have been a few incidents that have breached India’s coastal security in the last few months.

 

18 years

What is it? The number of years after which Nepal held elections to its Parliament and provincial assemblies. The first phase of elections was held on Sunday, recording a 65% turnout, and the second phase will be on December 7.

Why is it important? These elections are being seen as the last step in Nepal’s transition to a federal democracy after the end of a decade-long civil war in 2006, the abolition of monarchy in 2008 and the scripting of a new Constitution in 2015.

Tell me more: Besides the people of Nepal, there is also interest among external actors in these elections, notably the country’s two neighbours, India and China.

 

4

What is it? The number of train accidents recorded in a 12-hour period between Thursday night and Friday morning.

Why is it important? This again brings to fore the urgent need to stepping up safety measures in Indian Railways. Two of these resulted in the deaths of seven people. In a recent report submitted to the Railway Ministry, the World Bank has found the current system of investigating accidents by the Commission of Railway Safety to be inadequate. It has also recommended that an independent rail safety regulator and investigator be setup to prevent accidents.

Tell me more: In the last five years, 60% of rail accidents have occurred due to mistakes by or negligence of railway staff, according to a study by government think-tank Niti Aayog.

 

10

What is it? The number of times that France has won the Davis Cup, following its 3-2 defeat of Belgium on Sunday for the 2017 title.

Why is it important? This win brings France level with Britain to be joint third in title wins. Only the United States (32) and Australia (28) have more titles in the premier team competition in men’s tennis since 1900.

Tell me more: So far, 22 nations have played the finals of the Davis Cup. US has the maximum number of appearances (61), followed by Australia (47). India has reached the finals thrice, but never won.

 

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‘Paradise’ Lost, Yet Again

 

Yet another cache of several million corporate records reveal where the rich and famous hide their money. A welfare fund meant for construction workers is allegedly being misused. Several companies struck-off by the Registrar played the system. Quite well. 

 

10%

What is it? The share of the Rs 29,000 crore fund meant for welfare of construction workers spent for the said purpose.

Why is it important? Much of the funds have been used to buy laptops and washing machines for construction workers, which the Supreme Court said were being frittered away. The top court was hearing a public interest litigation by an NGO that alleged that the statutory cess levied on real estate firms for the welfare of construction workers was being misused as there was no proper mechanism to identify beneficiaries. About 21.5 million workers were registered with various welfare boards, as of December 2015.

Tell me more: In response to these details given by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, the Supreme Court has asked the Union Labour Secretary to appear before it on November 10 to explain how the fund was being implemented.

 

66,000

What is it? Number of India-related records in the cache of 13.4 million corporate records in the Paradise Papers, which started making headlines yesterday.

Why is it important? The Paradise Papers is the fourth largest data leak of hidden and veiled, sometimes illegal, financial dealings of the rich and the powerful routed through tax havens. The Indian names featuring in the Paradise Papers leaks include electrical appliances firm Havells, corporate lobbyist Niira Radia and Dr Ashok Seth of Fortis Escort, among others.

Tell me more: The Paradise Papers comprise leaks from two offshore service providers, Bermuda’s Appleby and Singapore’s Asiaciti, and company registries of 19 tax havens.

 

Rs 17,000 crore

What is it? The amount deposited and withdrawn by 35,000 companies after demonetisation (announced on November 8), according to preliminary data collected by the government from 56 banks.

Why is it important? These companies, which together held 58,000 bank accounts, have been struck off the Registrar of Companies for suspect transactions. They have also been debarred from selling and transferring movable and immovable properties till their status is restored. The government, which has come under criticism for demonetisation, has said this exercise should be seen as a part of its drive against black money.

Tell me more: In all, 224,000 companies were struck off after demonetisation. And 309,000 directors were disqualified as their companies did not file financial statements and/or annual reports for three straight years between 2013-14 and 2015-16.

 

16

What is it? The number of years for which anti-corruption watchdog Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has sought details related to all frauds involving Rs 3 crore or more reported to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) by public sector banks.

Why is it important? The CVC intends to analyse the modus operandi followed by defrauders with the aim of making changes to prevent fraudulent cases, at a time when the Indian government is promoting the Digital India programme. The CVC plans to list the ways in which frauds are committed on a portal for bankers.

Tell me more: As many as 3,870 fraud cases involving Rs 17,750 crore were reported between April and December 2016. Around 450 employees were involved in these cases.

 

8

What is it? The number of points by which Manchester City lead the English Premier League title race.

Why is it important? The Pep Guardiola-led club increased its lead by three points after this weekend’s matches. City is off to its best start ever and is looking good to win its first title since the 2013-14 season.

Tell me more: Four of the top six teams in top-flight English club football squared off on Sunday. City beat Arsenal 3-1 at home and Chelsea beat Manchester United, which is currently second in the standings, 1-0.

 

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Scrapped Notes That Came Back

Rs 10,91,000 crore

What is it? The value of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes returned by the public during demonetisation that the Reserve Bank of India has since processed for numerical accuracy and authenticity.

Why is it important? In all, Rs 15,28,000 crore worth of notes were returned to the RBI following demonetisation. This means, nearly a year on, RBI has verified 71% of the value of returned notes, a pace for which it has been facing criticism.

Tell me more: November 8 will mark one year of demonetisation, and political parties are set to again raise the pitch over its merits and demerits.

 

5 months

What is it? Time taken in India to receive approvals to merge a 100% subsidiary with its parent, Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal said on Saturday.

Why is it important? Mittal was using this to make a case that this government was making doing business in India easier, but it needed to do more.

Tell me more: The World Bank is expected to release its Doing Business report on October 31, and India is projected to gain positions over its 2017 rank of 130 out of 190 countries.

 

Rs 58,000 crore

What is it? The amount the government can raise by trimming its stake in public sector banks to 52%, according to a report released by industry chamber Assocham yesterday.

Why is it important? Such stake sales can reduce the burden on government’s finances from the three-pronged Rs 211,000 crore plan to recapitalise public sector banks it announced last week.

Tell me more: There are 25 public sector banks where the direct holding of the Central/state Government, or other public sector banks, is 51% or more.

 

35

What is it? Number of balls that David Miller of South Africa took to score a century against Bangladesh yesterday.

Why is it important? This is the fastest century in international T20 cricket. Miller shaved off 10 balls from the record, previously held by countryman Richard Levi, and also nearly smashed six sixes in an over.

Tell me more: Across cricketing formats, this is the second-fastest international century, after AB de Villiers’ 31-ball master-class against the West Indies in a one-day match in 2015.

 

2

What is it? The number of companies managing mutual funds that could be listed by the first half of 2018, if all goes as planned for the HDFC Group.

Why is it important? On Saturday, HDFC chairman said they were planning a listing of the asset management business in 2018. A new-found acceptance from retail investors is spurring the business of mutual funds into a new trajectory, and some are looking to use the buoyancy in the market to list. For investors, a new sector is now available to invest.

Tell me more: Last week, the IPO of the company that runs Reliance Mutual Fund was over-subscribed 81 times.

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