The Federal Front



What is it? The number of days within which the committee constituted by the Election Commission is expected to submit a report on the alleged date leak of the Karnataka election schedule.

Why is it important? A few minutes before the official announcement of the Karnataka state election schedule, BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya tweeted the poll dates (though he got the counting day wrong), which raises questions about the credibility of the EC. It is reportedly likely to seek a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Intelligence Bureau.

Tell me more: In a letter to the Commission, Malviya said he got the information from Times Now and attached screen grabs of the channel and screenshots of his tweets to prove his point. He also said the person in charge of Congress social media in Karnataka had tweeted out the dates at the same time as him.



What is it? The number of districts Kerala announced as drought-hit on Tuesday.

Why is it important? It is among the first few states to declare drought in 2018 ahead of the summer season that threatens to dry up taps in major Indian cities, which is a topical problem but fast developing into a long-term one. Like Cape Town, the first major city globally to count to ‘Day Zero’, major Indian cities are likely to follow suit, with depleting groundwater that is over-exploited, erratic rainfall and climatic changes, increasing population and no long-term water management measures.

Tell me more: According to a report, groundwater is the most over-exploited in Punjab, Rajasthan and Delhi.



What is it? The number of years ahead of which efforts have gathered pace to build a federal front to take on the BJP in the 17th Lok Sabha elections in 2019.

Why is it important? West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee met leaders of a string of political parties, including the NCP, TDP, TRS, SP, RJD and BJD, on Tuesday to unite opposition parties to put up an organised fight next year. Banerjee said the format of Mayawati-Akhilesh Yadav combine, which defeated BJP in the recent UP by-polls, could be replicated in other states.

Tell me more: The Trinamool Congress chief reportedly favours a federal front sans Congress, as some of the parties may not join the alliance if the national party is a part of it.



What is it? The number of shares of Manipal Health Enterprises that shareholders of Fortis Healthcare will receive for every 100 shares held by them.

Why is it important? Late last night, the board of Fortis announced that the sale of its hospital assets to Manipal Health Enterprises and TPG Capital, effectively meaning the smaller entity buying the larger one. It also potentially brings to close a turbulent, decade-long chapter for Fortis under a promoter group whose debt and legal issues resulted in their shareholding being pared from above 80% to below 1%, and under whom the hospital chain grew but the stock didn’t.

Tell me more: As of December 2017, Fortis had 34 hospitals and Manipal 11. For the nine-month period to December 2017, Fortis earned revenues of Rs 3,727 crore and Manipal 1,503 crore.



What is it? The number of Australian players sent back yesterday from South Africa for their role in the ball-tampering fiasco, ahead of the fourth and final test, which starts in Johannesburg on Friday.

Why is it important? The three cricketers are captain for the tour Steven Smith, vice-captain David Warner and opening batsman Cameron Bancroft, and no immediate action was taken against coach Darren Lehmann. This was the first of the measures by Cricket Australia, and it is expected to announce more punishments in the days to come.

Tell me more: Tim Paine was appointed the 46th captain of Australia in test cricket. The 33-year-old has played just 12 tests.


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The “Un-hackable” Aadhaar



1.2 billion

What is it? The number of Indians with Aadhaar, a unique 12-digit biometric identification number.

Why is it important? The world’s biggest database has reportedly been hit by another major security lapse, where a data leak on a system by state-run utility Indane could allow the download of private information of Aadhaar holders, including their name, and details about the services they are connected to such as their bank details. In a presentation to the Supreme Court on Thursday, the UIDAI chief had said that it would take over 13 billion years for a supercomputer to hack into Aadhaar data.

Tell me more: The UIDAI, which runs the Aadhaar programme, has refuted the story and is considering legal action against ZDNet, which carried the report.


$10.7 billion

What is it? The amount of money that Uber has spent for $37 billion of gross bookings—amount paid by riders—since it was founded nine years ago.

Why is it important? That volume of capital burn by the ride-hailing company, brought on by bruising battles for market dominance in different parts of the world, has been a concern. It might now be calling truce on one of those battles: by selling its Southeast Asia business to rival Grab for a 25-30% share. This would be Uber’s third major market exit, after China and Russia.

Tell me more: According to CB Insights, Uber was last valued at $68 billion, and Singapore-based GrabTaxi at $6 billion.


What is it? The number of tests for which Australian cricket captain Steven Smith has been banned for ball tampering, along with being docked 100% of his match fee.

Why is it important? He will not play the fourth and final test in the ongoing series against South Africa, which Australia trail 2-1 after capitulating yesterday in the third test. Further, from several indications, Smith could face greater punishment from the cricket administrators in Australia, where even the country’s prime minister has weighed in on a shameful episode of cheating orchestrated by the team’s leadership.

Tell me more: With over 6,000 runs and 23 hundreds, the 28-year-old Smith is one of Australia’s most prolific test batsman. Among those who have played over 50 tests, his career average of 61.87 is the second best, after Sir Donald Bradman.



What is it? The number of Shatabdi trains in which fares could be slashed, with the objective of increasing occupancy.

Why is it important? This follows a pilot conducted by the Indian Railways on two routes last year, where it dropped fares on the low occupancy stretches. In one section, earnings and passenger bookings increased by 17% and 63%, respectively. The Indian Railways has been criticised for its flexi-fare scheme, introduced for its premium trains such as Duronto and Shatabdi, where the general view is that it led to a spike in fares.

Tell me more: The Shatabdi trains, on an average, is the only set to make profits, with the Delhi-Bhopal Shatabdi being the most profitable.


10 million

What is it? The number of jobs the Indian telecom sector is expected to create over the next five years.

Why is it important? The debt-laden sector is under tremendous stress and is expected to fire 50,000 people this year, higher than the count of 40,000 last year, mainly due to the price war triggered by Reliance Jio’s entry. Emerging technologies such as machine-to-machine communications, and telecom manufacturing, infrastructure and services firms are expected to up the demand for employment in the next few years.

Tell me more: Currently, there are 4 million people employed in the sector. Between September 2016 and September 2017, market leader Bharti Airtel reduced its headcount in India by 9.3%.


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