Getting War Ready

Rs 15,000 crore

What is it? The size of a project reportedly finalised by the Indian Army under which a range of ammunition will be produced indigenously for critical weapons and tanks.

Why is it important? This is said to be India’s biggest initiative to indigenise ammunition, thereby tackling delays in imports and shortages in stockpiles. In a July 2017 report, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) report said the Army’s ammunition will not last for more than 10 days in a war and that the military does not have the minimum required stock of 55% of the 152 types of arms it uses for operational preparedness in case of a war.

Tell me more: The project, which would involve 11 private firms, would create an inventory for all major weapons that would prepare the Army to fight a 30-day war.

6

What is it? The number of exit polls of eight major ones that predict BJP to win the largest number of seats in Karnataka, ahead of the Congress.

Why is it important? However, of these, just one has predicted a simple majority for the BJP, while the rest indicate a hung assembly. If these hold true, then Janata Dal (Secular), whose leader said the party expects a possibility of forming the government, could emerge as kingmaker. However, exit polls have often gone wrong in the past; Karnataka’s exit polls carry risks such as hurried calculations in a single phase election, besides the methodology adopted by the agencies.

Tell me more:If BJP wins in Karnataka, it would be in power in 23 states and potentially boost the party’s prospects in the 2019 general elections. As for Congress, it would be able to retain one of the four states it is in power currently and check the BJP juggernaut.

40

What is it? The number of deaths due to severe storms reported in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh on Sunday. More thunderstorms, with wind speeds reaching 50-70 km, are predicted over the next two days.

Why is it important? The month of May has been brutal. On May 3, 124 deaths were reported due to thunderstorms in UP and Rajasthan. And, on May 10, another 11 people died in northern India, taking the tally to 135. The maximum number of deaths have been reported in UP: the state’s count was above 70 till Sunday, when 21 more people died.

Tell me more:In 2017, 2,057 people died due to natural disasters, according to a Ministry of Home Affairs annual report.

Rs 1,225 crore

What is it? Dena Bank’s net loss in the fourth quarter of 2017-18, compared with a net loss of Rs 575 crore in the same period a year ago.

Why is it important? The Reserve Bank of India has barred the bank from lending further and hiring personnel in view of its weakening financial health. On an annual basis, Dena Bank posted a net loss for the third year in a row and its gross non-performing assets (NPA) hit a high of 22.4% of gross advances in the quarter. The government is considering issuing provision shore-up certificates to banks to deal with increasing provisioning against bad loans.

Tell me more:On May 17, the finance ministry will reportedly meet 11 banks that are under the central bank’s prompt corrective action framework to check their progress on reforms and seek accountability for the capital provided to them.

100

What is it? The number of points that Manchester City finished with in the 2018 English Premier League.

Why is it important? Heading into the last league match of the season, City needed to beat Southampton to become the first club in the 20-team EPL to hit a century. They did so, but only in stoppage time. For the season, City finished with 100 out of a maximum 114 points.

Tell me more:In other significant outcomes from the final day, Liverpool qualified for the Champions League; Chelsea didn’t and is likely to sack its manager Antonio Conte. And Arsenal Wenger signed off from Arsenal with a win.

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Videocon in defaulters club

Rs 520 crore

What is it? Amount of loan given to Videocon that Dena Bank has classified as a non-performing asset.

Why is it important? Videocon owes more than Rs 22,000 crore to domestic financial institutions, and an equivalent amount to international banks. The diversified conglomerate has asked Dena bank to extend tenure of the loan. This move by Dena bank has eroded market capitalisation of Videocon by a third in last two days of trading.

Tell me more: Bad debts is Rs7.7 trillion problem for Indian banks, and the last Economic Survey says 57 out of the top 100 stressed debtors would require debt reductions of 75% or more.

 

129

What is it? The number of non-performing government officers forced to seek early retirement after a review.

Why is it important? Periodical review of performance and weeding out of non-performers is expected to improve productivity of government officers. This dismissal of Group A and B officers follows January’s compulsory retirement for two IPS officers on the same grounds. But 2017 is not the first year when the government has meted out punishments to bureaucrats for under-performance.

Tell me more: The officers were picked after a review of the records of 24,000 Group A and 42,251 Group B officers. Reviews of 34,451 Group A and over 42,000 Group B officers are imminent.

 

Zero

What is it? The number of members in the National Commission for Minorities (NCM), after the last member retired in March 9 this year.

Why is it important? NCM has served as a forum of appeal for minorities and the delay in appointing the chairperson, vice chairperson and seven members have rendered this statutory body non-functional.

Tell me more: Delhi High Court, on May 20th, has asked the central government to reply why appointments haven’t been made to NCM.

 

33%

What is it? A proposal under consideration by Law Commission to limit the incarceration of undertrials to one-third of the maximum punishment for offences that attract up to seven years of imprisonment.

Why is it important? If accepted, it will bring relief to undertrials who are unable to execute bail conditions or afford lawyers because of their poor economic conditions. There are 2.82 lakh prisoners who are undertrials. At present, undertrials are eligible to get released only after serving half the term of the maximum punishment.

Tell me more: For offences that attract imprisonment more than seven years, undertrials to be released after serving half the time.

 

24

What is it? The number of people killed when their bus, full of pilgrims on the Char Dham route, fell into a gorge in Uttarakhand.

Why is it important? This adds to the death toll of pilgrims in this season of the Char Dham pilgrimage in the Himalayas and foothills, whose routes opened in April. While 13 died of a natural calamity — a massive landslide — last week, many others have died of preventable causes. Since April, 16 have died from cardiac arrest, reportedly due to the lack of medical aid. Yesterday’s accident could have been avoided with adequate road safety measures in a route that turns busy in these months.

Tell me more: Officials have now been asked to identify dangerous areas on the pilgrimage routes to set up speed monitors, warnings and crash barriers.

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