What is it? The percentage of shares state-owned National Aluminium Co Ltd (Nalco) has agreed to buy back from the government.
Why is it important? This is to partly help the government raise funds to meet its fiscal deficit target of 3.5% of GDP for 2016-17 after having contained it at 3.9% of GDP in 2015-16. The price at which Nalco will buyback the shares is yet to be fixed and if it is done at market prices, it would cost the firm $450 million (less than Rs 3,000 crore).
Tell me more: It remains to be seen if this would affect Nalco’s expansion plans, which includes setting up of a $2-billion smelter facility in Iran. The company’s chairman has claimed otherwise.
< 40 crore
What is it? The number of unorganised workers who would be benefitted by government schemes including insurance and pension using Aadhaar and Jan Dhan accounts.
Why is it important? The near-universal coverage of Aadhaar (93% of adults have Aadhaar cards and 25 crore bank accounts linked) would enable the government to do away with its earlier plans of issuing social security smart cards to unorganised workers. This would help save the government an estimated Rs 15,000-Rs 20,000 crore on the smart cards’ project, besides cutting down on implementation time.
Tell me more: Unorganised workers, who account for nearly 90% of the total workforce in the country, face problems including inadequate legal protection in terms of job security, wage-related issues and poor access to formal credit.
What is it? The growth of the combined output of eight infrastructure sectors in March 2016 compared with a year-ago period.
Why is it important? This was the fastest growth in 16 months, mainly due to a sharp increase in fertiliser, cement, electricity and refinery products, indicating that the economy may be on the recovery path. However, the higher numbers could be because of the base effect as factory output contracted by 0.7% in March 2015.
Tell me more: Interestingly, Nikkei’s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, a composite indicator of India’s manufacturing activity based on a survey, declined to a four-month low – indicating trends in contrast to the factory output numbers.
What is it? The percentage of water left in 11 major dams in Marathwada region covering eight of the 36 districts in Maharashtra, compared to 10% a year ago.
Why is it important? The region is facing its fourth drought year in the last five years. With a month and a half for the monsoons to set in, only three dams have live water storage (water that can be used) while the rest are on dead storage levels (water that cannot be drained out by gravity but needs to be pumped out). Officials say they would manage with the available water.
Tell me more: Reduction in crop production by 70% over the last one year is not helping the situation. 370 farmers have reportedly committed suicide in the region in the last four months.
What is it? The number of earth-like planets an international team of scientists have discovered.
Why is it important? This is the best possible chance to find traces of life outside the solar system, scientists say, taking research one step further in finding potentially habitable planets. All the three planets may have regions with temperatures apt for sustaining liquid water and life, and the availability of technology and proximity of these planets makes the research all the more promising.
Tell me more: The three planets, which orbit a small star, are 39 light years away.