Britain now has a minister for loneliness. UK government’s decision reflects the growing concern of loneliness among its citizens, over 9 million of them, according to a survey. The new minister with the help of Office of National Statistics will identify how to measure loneliness and also methods to deal with it. May be its time that we look close to home as well.
What is it? The percentage amount by which the Indian government has cut its additional borrowing requirement, from Rs 50,000 crore to Rs 20,000 crore, for the current fiscal, the finance ministry said on Wednesday.
Why is it important? Markets cheered the news that the government may be able to contain fiscal slippage in 2017-18. The government’s December announcement that it plans to borrow an additional Rs 50,000 crore prompted analysts to expect the fiscal deficit to breach its target of 3.2% of GDP (gross domestic product) and reach 3.5%. Fiscal slippage concerns arose after revenue collections from GST (goods and services tax) was lower than expected, one of the main reasons for the government’s additional borrowing.
Tell me more: After the additional borrowing decision last month, the total government borrowings for the current year were pegged at Rs 6.3 lakh crore and yesterday’s announcement brought it down to Rs 6 lakh crore.
What is it? The ratio of people who feel lonely in the United Kingdom.
Why is it important? In an interesting development, Britain has appointed Sports Minister Tracey Crouch to also take on the role of tackling loneliness among its citizens, in a bid to take forward the work started by murdered lawmaker Jo Cox. Loneliness is increasingly becoming a growing concern across the world, so much so that it is also seen having a huge impact on people’s health. According to the Campaign to End Loneliness, over half the people in the UK over 75 live alone and two-fifths of all older people say television is their main company.
Tell me more: According to a 2017 study by the Agewell Foundation, 43 out of 100 elderly people in India are victims of psychological problems that arise out of loneliness and other relationship issues.
Rs 10,000 crore
What is it? The total cost of a project that aims to interlink the major dams in Marathwada region, as per a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Maharashtra government with Israeli firm Mekorot Development and Enterprise, ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Mumbai today.
Why is it important? Marathwada, one of the regions worst affected by drought in the state, is battling another episode of water scarcity, where 41% of its villages have reported ‘paisewari’ (meaning: the value of the actual yield after harvest in relation to the value of crops grown) below 50 paise. Different factors of agrarian crisis led to 970 farmers ending their lives in 2017.
Tell me more: Mekorot will offer its expertise in development of technologies that plug the loss of water due to evaporation and lopsided distribution of water due to inconsistent rainfall or irregular distribution of rainfall in the catchment areas of dams.
What is it? Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara became only the 23rd batsman in the history of test cricket, and the first Indian, to be run out in both innings of a test match.
Why is it important? Pujara’s dubious distinction was part of a fragile Indian batting performance that yesterday wilted to South African debutant Lungi Ngidi, and lost the second test match to South Africa by 135 runs. With this win, South Africa holds an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match test series against India. And India’s quest for its first series win in South Africa is now at 26 years and seven test series, and counting.
Tell me more: In the list of 23 batsmen who have been run out in both innings, two Australians have suffered this ignominy twice: Mark Taylor and Ian Healy.
What is it? The number of engineers at ride-hailing firm Grab’s research centre in Bengaluru, which opened in March 2017. Most of them were working on GrabPay, the company’s payments platform.
Why is it important? On Wednesday, Grab announced it had acquired iKaaz, a Bengaluru-based digital payments startup, though it did not disclose the deal value. The iKaaz team will join Grab’s research centre. iKaaz, founded in 2012, has several products, including a cloud-based platform for online sellers, point-of-sale hardware for retail merchants and a mobile wallet solution.
Tell me more: While Grab does not offer ride-hailing services in India, it operates in several Southeast Asian markets, including Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. It was last valued at $6 billion.