The Lowest Wheat Output In Three Years

5 years

What is it? The jail term for former Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia after being found guilty in a corruption case.

Why is it important? Zia heads the main opposition party, which has bitter rivalry with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and there are fears violence might return to Bangladesh. Political demonstrations by Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party and her islamist allies in 2014 and 2015 left 200 people dead.

Tell me more: Human Rights Watch (HRW), a not-for-profit group, called for an end of arbitrary arrests of opposition party members who are protesting against the verdict. “The Bangladesh government’s claims to be open and democratic ring hollow as it cracks down on political dissent,” HRW said.


Rs136 crore

What is it? The amount of fine imposed against Google by India’s antitrust body for skewing search results in favour of its travel search engine.

Why is it important? This could provide level playing field for companies that operate in one area like travel against Google’s own offering (Google Flights). Competition Commission of India announced the decision on Thursday, with 4 members supporting the order and two writing a dissent note. 

Tell me more: European Union had imposed a record $2.7 billion fine against Google for similar practices – demoting rival’s and promoting its own product in search results – in June last year.


Rs250 crore

What is it? A company with turnover up to Rs250 crore is eligible to classified as medium-sized enterprise, as per new definition for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME).

Why is it important? It is likely to bring many enterprises under the definition of MSME. At present, enterprises self-declare whether they are a MSME based on investments made. For example, investments up to Rs 10 crore in manufacturing sector (Rs 5 crore in services sector) is considered a medium enterprise. Now the classification will be based on turnover, which can be cross-verified from the Goods and Services Tax filings.

Tell me more:  Enterprises with turnover up to Rs5 crore and between Rs5 and Rs75 crore  will be classified as micro and small enterprises.


Rs24,000 crore

What is it? The fair value of Bhushan Power and Steel Ltd as estimated by the resolution professional.

Why is it important? Bhushan Steel is one of the 12 large bad loans referred under India’s new bankruptcy code for faster resolution. The unlisted company owes Rs37,000 crore to lenders. India’s top two steel makers, Tata Steel and JSW Steel, have submitted their bids to buy Bhushan Steel. The bid amount was not known.

Tell me more: The bids will be evaluated by lenders and the amount of loss incurred by banks will be closely watched to see how the new bankruptcy code is working.


92 million tonnes

What is it? Estimated wheat output for the year 2017-18.

Why is it important?  It will be lowest wheat output in three years, if estimate matches actual output, and it could it increase imports by 40%. Inconsistent and low rainfall, combined with a lower acreage under wheat, down to 30.1 hectares from 30.8 million hectares are reasons for low output.

Tell me more: India is second largest wheat producer after China, but the Asia’s third largest economy has been a wheat importing nation, importing wheat ever year since 1960.


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Google’s trust issues

2.42 billion Euro

What is it? The fine imposed by European antitrust authorities on Google for having used its dominant search engine to direct traffic to its shopping comparison service.

Why is it important? Order will benefit non-Google price comparison service providers who lost out because of Google’s practice of promoting its own service ahead of generic search results. The fine amount is the largest imposed by any antitrust body.

Tell me more: European Commission found traffic to Google’s own shopping service increased manifold (45% in the United Kingdom), whereas rival websites have witnessed sudden drop in traffic (85% in the United Kingdom).


Rs 2,199 crore

What is it? The title sponsorship fee for five years of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the league T20 cricketing tournament. BBK Electronics-owned Vivo won the bid.

Why is it important? The Chinese phone brand retained its sponsorship rights with the bid, which it won after PepsiCo withdrew in 2015 following corruption charges in IPL. The earlier Vivo contract was for Rs 200 crore for two years. The current one marks a 340% average yearly jump, while BCCI says it is a 554% jump over the previous contract.

Tell me more: Vivo beat sister company, Oppo whose bid was worth Rs 1,432 crore.


2 billion

What is it? The number of monthly active users on Facebook, the largest social networking site, which it reached late on Tuesday night.

Why is it important? The number of users, who have logged onto Facebook or its Messenger app at least once in the last one month, is more than the population of any country and even more than that of six continents, except Asia.

Tell me more: Facebook’s new users are growing at 17%, fast for a 13-year-old Internet company and 66% of its monthly users return daily, up from 55% when it had touched 1 billion users.


What is it? The maximum holding of any non-promoter investor can have in Reliance Industries (RIL), after the company gets shareholders’ approval on July 21.

Why is it important? RIL will have to take this step in order to meet the central bank’s terms and conditions before starting its payments bank. It owns 70% stake in the new venture, with State Bank of India holding 30%. The central bank’s prior permission is needed if non-promoters increase equity stake beyond 5%.

Tell me more: RIL plans to amend its Articles of Association at the annual general meeting. The state insurer, Life Insurance Corporation of India holds 8.31% in RIL.



What is it? The number of government departments to be completely computerised in the next few days.

Why is it important? With 100% digitisation, these departments will turn into e-offices with electronic record-keeping, doing away with unwieldy physical records and obsolete papers. The government’s efforts at digitising records have already resulted in 462,000 e-files, compared to last year’s 8,000.

Tell me more: The cumbersome processes of affidavits and attestation have been done away with in 58 central ministries/departments and 33 states and union territories.

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A House for Mr Biswas

30 basis points


What is it? The cut in home loan rates by some banks, especially for affordable housing.

Why is it important? The cuts by Housing Development Finance Corp (HDFC), ICICI Bank, and LIC Housing Finance, follow that by State Bank of India (SBI). The rate cut is for loans upto Rs 30 lakh, which is applicable for low-cost and affordable housing. The rates look to capitalise on the government’s thrust on affordable housing projects as in seen in this year’s budget measures.

Tell me more: Earlier this year, there were wider cuts in home loan rates, with a host of banks passing on the reduced cost of funds.

Rs 18,000 crore


What is it? The amount India’s Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) will invest in FY18 in stocks.

Why is it important? The news will boost the stock markets further, even as they rally on monsoon forecast and easing inflation. In FY16, the EPFO had invested 5% of its annual incremental corpus in the markets, and in FY17, 10%. This year it is going to be 15%.

Tell me more: Some of the equity-traded funds it has invested in so far are SBI mutual fund ETFs and UTI mutual fund ETFs.

Rs 34,000 crore


What is it? The amount in taxes evaded by companies, according to a fresh list drawn up by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

Why is it important? This is a follow-up investigation of January’s unearthing of 32,000 entities (companies/directors) which used stock price manipulation to avail of the long-term capital gains tax benefit, committing tax fraud. This time Sebi has 11,000 such cases, of penny-stock manipulation, on its hands. It has given the list to the Income Tax department.

Tell me more: The bogus beneficiaries involve inactive or penny stock companies, listed on the bourses. After a series of preferential share allotment, stock splits, share price manipulation, bonus issues and inflated capital base, the beneficiaries exit at jacked-up prices for their one year of LTCG. But cash settlements between such companies and false claimants are likely to scuttle legal persecution.



What is it? The number of confidential files pilfered by an Uber engineer from his former employer Waymo

Why is it important? This is yet another instance of Uber getting into the wrong side of the law. Earlier this year Uber was caught using a secret programme to avoid being caught by government in cities where Uber was operating without full legal clearance. In the latest case, according to a ruling made public, an Uber engineer stole documents pertaining to the Lidar technology from its former employer, the Google-owned Waymo.

Tell me more: The federal judge had ruled that all the files be returned to Waymo and Uber’s work related to lidar be opened to Waymo’s lawyers. Lidar is a laser based sensor that improves self driving cars’ vision significantly.



What is it? The percentage by which card transaction volume came down in April 2017 from a month earlier.

Why is it important? It’s an indication that cash transactions are picking up in the country, contrary to the expectations that demonetisation has given an irreversible push to digital transactions.

Tell me more: IMPS (Immediate Payments System), cards, prepaid instruments and mobile banking – all came down by both volume and value in April 2017, from March 2017.

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Spying apps 👂


What is it? The number of CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) commandos to be deployed in the Sukma district of Chhattisgarh.

Why is it important? The commandos will be from the highly trained CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) division and will focus on neutralising the Naxals in the region. In the last two months, 37 CPRF personnel were killed by Naxals/Maoists in and around Sukma district.

Tell me more: About 20-25 CoBRA companies – each comprising 100 commandos – are expected to be moved to this region from their current locations in West Bengal, Bihar, Telangana and Madhya Pradesh



What is it? The number of IMAX theatres in the US which played the Tollywood blockbuster “Baahubali 2: The Conclusion”.

Why is it important? The super hero film had the third biggest opening in the US after “Hero” (2004) and “Fearless” (2006), both starring Jet Li. In the US, the film grossed $10.3 million in the opening weekend of April 28.

Tell me more: Globally, the film has grossed over Rs 1000 crore, the first Indian film to break that barrier.


What is it? The number of students who appeared for NEET – National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for medical and dental degree courses – on Sunday.

Why is it important? The measures enforced by Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to check cheating during the entrance test were seen as excessive and raked up protests in some parts of the country. West Bengal called for a retest claiming Bengali papers were tougher than English question papers.

Tell me more: Earlier CBSE used to conduct tests for only 15% of the seats, and the rest were administered by respective state governments. The system changed last year, when CBSE took over the full responsibility. The change was then opposed by many state governments including Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Gujarat.


What is it? The compound annual growth rate of print publications circulation in India over the last 10 years according Audit Bureau of Circulation.

Why is it important? The growth outpaced India’s population growth during this period and came at a time when print is dying in most developed countries. The growth was primarily driven by regional language publications. Hindi (8.76%), Telugu (8.28%) and Kannada (6.40%) were the top three languages by circulation growth.

Tell me more:  English publications grew at a CAGR of 2.87% in the last 10 years.


What is it? The number of Android apps in Google Play store that can covertly track  users via ultrasonic signals from nearby devices.

Why is it important? Two years back the number of apps that had this technology was just five. The rise in the number of such apps underlines how user data gets sucked in by businesses without their consent. The tech can also be used to identify anonymous users of services such as Bitcoin and Tor.

Tell me more: These apps have been downloaded about 11 million times according to a study by researchers from the Braunschweig University of Technology.

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