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The Widening Gender Gap

 

Supreme Court asked Center to set up special courts to try accused MPs and MLAs. Some Indian pharma companies are being sued by US, Swedish Ikea is coming close to set up shop in India.

 

1,581

What is it? The number of MPs and MLAs facing criminal cases, according to a study by the Association for Democratic Reforms.

Why is it important? At present, a criminal case does not debar a person from contesting elections, and cases usually take years to be decided. In order to crack this conundrum, the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Central government to come up by December 13 with a scheme to set up special courts to try criminal cases involving ‘political persons’. It also sought details on these 1,581 cases.

Tell me more: About 34% of current Lok Sabha MPs have criminal charges filed against them, and this is the highest in the last three Lok Sabhas.

 

7

What is it? The number of Indian pharmaceutical companies named in an expanded complaint in an ongoing US anti-trust investigation, brought on by 46 American states, centered around price fixing in generic drugs.

Why is it important? The US is a key market for Indian generic drug companies, and an adverse ruling can impact this flow, besides levying fines of a punitive nature.

Tell me more: In the expanded complaint, the states allege a number of specific illegal agreements among defendants to fix prices and allocate customers for a number of generic drugs, and that these form part of a broader industry code of conduct.

 

Rs 842 crore

What is it? The amount paid by Ikea to the Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda) for 9.82 acres of land in Sector 47 of Gurugram, according to a Huda release yesterday.

Why is it important? This is the fourth such land purchase in India by the Swedish furniture and home accessories company, after Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Mumbai. Its first store is expected to open in Hyderabad next year.

Tell me more: Ikea plans to set up about 25 stores in the country over the next 10 years at an investment of about Rs 12,500 crore, one of the large foreign direct investments in single-brand retail in India.

 

10

What is it? The number of places that India has lost in the 2017 edition of the Global Gender Gap Report released by the World Economic Forum yesterday. India was ranked 108 out of 144 countries.

Why is it important? The report benchmarks countries on their progress towards gender parity in four areas: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment. India was ranked 15 in political empowerment of women, but was near the bottom in the other three areas.

Tell me more: Going by current trends, the report adds, the overall global gender gap will be closed in 100 years, compared to 83 years last year, with the most challenging areas being economic and health.

 

3

What is it? The number of points that Atletico Madrid have after four games in the UEFA Champions League group stage. Yesterday, the Spanish football club played a 1-1 draw with unfancied Azerbaijani side Qarabag.

Why is it important? That leaves Atletico third in their group, after Roma (8 points) and Chelsea (7 points), and on the brink of elimination at the group stage itself. The Diego Simeone-managed club has been of the most successful in Champions League in the last four years, including being runner-up twice.

Tell me more: In order to qualify, Atletico need to beat Roma and Chelsea, and hope Qarabag can steal some points of other teams.

 

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An agenda for Smriti Irani: Five issues that need immediate attention

This piece originally appeared on Livemint.com

 

In the backdrop of a scathing critique of her performance and style of functioning by University Grants Commission (UGC) member M.M. Ansari, minister of human resource development Smriti Irani has promised that the government will consult a wide cross-section of society when it begins work on a new education policy next year. Here are five pressing issues in the Indian education system the government needs to tackle.

Stem the school dropout rate

More children are joining school, but are dropping out at every stage. Just 20.8% of boys and 17.9% of girls go on to pursue higher education. This figure is lower for children belonging to scheduled castes (13.5%) and even lower for those from scheduled tribes (11.2%).

 

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Lift teaching standards

Many schoolchildren are lagging behind in basic reading and arithmetic, their education compromised by the lack of good teachers, paucity of funds and inadequate infrastructure. Several metrics that measure the quality of education are dropping further. For instance, the percentage of Class III children in government schools who can subtract has fallen from 33% in 2010 to 19% in 2013.

 

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Level the gender gap

The gap between the literacy rates of males and females is still high. That difference was 18.3 percentage points in 1951 and rose to 26.6 percentage points in 1981. In 2011, it was 16.3 percentage points—a marginal improvement on 1951.

 

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Draw more students into higher education

As shown by gross enrolment figures earlier, only about 20% of youth pursue higher education. The drop from graduate to postgraduate is also steep: only 13.8% of those taking up some form of undergraduate course study further.

 

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Make them more employable

A trained labour force is a prerequisite for India to achieve higher growth rates and also to generate higher incomes for workers. But colleges churn out unemployable candidates, making hiring an expensive process (due to increase in training costs) for companies, who also have to deal with a paucity of talent.

 

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