Bitcoin is now worth a half kilogram of gold. Indians have taken to trading in the cryptocurrency as 11 bitcoin trading platforms have cropped up in the country where about 30,000 members on average trade on any given day. Is it a bubble waiting to be burst or currency waiting to be recognised, is not known yet. What’s known is that it is not legally recognised in India and IT watchdog is hawk-eyeing every Bitcoin transaction on these exchanges.
Rs 14.1 lakh
What is it? The amount one has to pay to buy one unit of bitcoin from Bengaluru-based bitcoin firm Unocoin, including a fee and tax, according to the rate on Wednesday evening.
Why is it important? Bitcoin is not legally recognised in India. Income tax authorities are reportedly investigating transactions at bitcoin exchanges, including in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi and Gurgaon. It is not clear if these investigations are related to money laundering or tax evasion. Also, there is no clarity on the levy of taxes related to Bitcoin transactions in the country.
Tell me more: There are reportedly at least 11 Indian bitcoin trading platforms that claim to have about 30,000 members actively trading at a given point of time.
What is it? The percentage of world population that does not have full coverage of essential health services, according to a report by the World Health Organization and the World Bank.
Why is it important? This highlights the distance the human race needs to go in terms of achieving universal basic health coverage. It says about 100 million people are being pushed into extreme poverty (living on $1.9 or less) as they have to pay for healthcare and nearly 12% of the global population spends at least a tenth of their household budget on healthcare.
Tell me more: According to a study by medical journal Lancet, India ranks a poor 154 of 195 countries in access to healthcare. It also fares badly in terms of government spending on healthcare, parting with just 5% of its total expenditure compared to China’s 10.4%.
0.25 percentage point
What is it? The amount by which the US central bank has increased its key interest rate, in a move that was widely expected.
Why is it important? The US federal funds rate, which helps determine rates for mortgages, credit cards and other borrowing, will now hover in the range of 1.25% to 1.5%. This is the fifth time the Fed has lifted interest rates since the 2008 financial crisis. Policy makers plan to raise rates three more times in 2018, and then twice in 2019. Despite the current and planned increases, US interest rates remain at historically low levels.
Tell me more: Key US share indices hit all-time highs following the government reporting healthy macroeconomic numbers and news that it would be able to muster the numbers to push through a business-friendly tax package.
What is it? The increase in overall cost of solar projects following the introduction of the goods and services tax (GST), according to the All India Solar Industries Association (AISIA).
Why is it important? The AISIA general secretary, in letters to the revenue secretary and other government officials, has said that this would be detrimental in achieving the solar power capacity of 100 GW by 2022 under the National Solar Mission. The association says that solar power generating systems are being charged 5% tax, but equipment such as module mounting structures, transformers, cables and trackers are subjected to different rates under GST.
Tell me more: In a note this May, consulting firm Bridge to India had said that a 5% tax on solar panels, instead of 18% proposed earlier under GST, would translate to an increase of 4% in cost of solar power projects.
What is it? Number of double hundreds scored by Indian batsman Rohit Sharma in one-day internationals. His latest came on Wednesday, when Sharma carted Sri Lanka for 208 not out in 153 balls.
Why is it important? No other batsman has two double hundreds in ODIs, leave alone three. In all, five batsman have scored 200 or more in the 50-over format, including three Indians. The pace of evolution of batting in this format can be gauged from the fact that the first 200 was scored only in 2010. And since then, six more have been racked up.
Tell me more: Sharma’s knock on Wednesday was a tale of two innings. In his first 126 balls, he scored 116 runs. In the next 27 balls he faced, he smashed 92 runs, including 11 sixes and three fours. Such acceleration has been the feature of all his three efforts.