Agronomics

98%

What is it? This year’s southwest monsoon rainfall estimate as a percentage of the Long Period Average (LPA), India Meteorological Department’s long-term rainfall-tracking benchmark.

Why is it important? It’s up from the earlier estimates of 96% of the LPA (which is 89 cm for 1951-2000). In India, monsoons have a direct impact on agricultural GDP. Since 2014, the actual monsoon has been a lower percentage of LPA than forecast, though. In 2013, it was 106% of LPA compared to a forecast of 98%, while in 2016, it was 97% when it was predicted to be 106% of LPA.

Tell me more: The monsoon this year arrived early, hitting the Kerala coast in May itself, rather than in the first week of June.

 

86,119 tonne

What is it? The amount of buffalo meat (carabeef) exports in April.

Why is it important? It’s down 11.4% from April last year, according to Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority. A strike by abattoirs is taking a toll on exports, in which India has had a lead (over Brazil) since 2014 worldwide. According to the United States Department of Agriculture which considers carabeef as beef in its statistics, India exported 17,64,000 tonne of the meat in 2016.

Tell me more: The appreciation in the value of the rupee has also affected exports. Abattoirs have been on a strike since March in the leading exporting state, Uttar Pradesh, after the government went after illegal slaughterhouses.

 

500 million

What is it? The number of people the government wanted to train in new skills by 2022.

Why is it important? The Union government delinked the target, set by the UPA II government, on Tuesday from its efforts at skill development. Around 150 million were expected to be trained by the private sector under the National Skill Development Corporation and 350 million by the ministries of the central government. But now training would be demand-driven rather than to meet a target.

Tell me more: 19.2 million people have been trained under the scheme since 2014-15.

 

5

What is it? The number of people killed in farmers’ agitation in Mandsaur district in Madhya Pradesh.

Why is it important? A firing during the protests also left more than a dozen injured. The state government insists that the shots were not fired by police or the central reserve police force, but some other accounts have pointed to police firing. The agitation underlines the growing discontent among farmers in the state, and in fact across the country. Their demands include loan waiver and higher minimum support price for agri products

Tell me more: Earlier this year, farmers from Tamil Nadu had staged protests in Delhi for more than 40 days making similar demands on the back of water shortage in the state.

103

What is it? The number of consecutive quarters of economic growth in Australia.

Why is it important? Australia now matches Netherlands’ record in sustaining a recession-free quarterly growth, the longest among developed countries. This translates to 26 years without a recession, even as its peers faced a number of financial hits including dotcom crash and financial crisis in the last two decades. Australia hasn’t had a recession since 1991.

Tell me more: Australia’s GDP grew by 0.3% in January-March quarter, slower than United States and United Kingdom, both of which grew at about 2% in the quarter.

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News in numbers, Jan 26, 2016: India and France sign deals worth $15 bn, new voters added…

$ 15 billion

What is it? Deal value of 30 agreements signed between India and France in the last two days

Why is it important? Two major deals – $9 billion to purchase 36 Rafale fighter aircrafts and a shareholding agreement between Indian Railways and Alstom to produce 800 locomotives worth $ 3 billion locally – were taken forward and will help meet India’s priorities now. One to replace the ageing MiG fighter jets, and another to give boost to ‘Make in India’ program.

Tell me more: Financial details are yet to be agreed for the Rafale deal, where an Inter-governmental agreement has been signed. In Alstom deal, a shareholder agreement was inked.  French President François Hollande is on a three day visit to India, and will be the chief guest at India’s 67th Republic Day celebrations.

 

18 million

What is it? That’s the number of new voters added in the one year. With this, India now has 850 million electors.

Why is it important? Shows the success of the Election Commission to enthuse teenagers who become eligible to vote to enroll. Half of new voters enrolled are in the age bracket of 18-19 years, as compared to 10-15% in previous enrolment drive.

Tell me more: Census data shows 4.8 million people in age bracket of 18 to 19 years, but the enrollment numbers are double of that. The data doesn’t match, though Census is 2011 figures. Voter turnout in 2014 parliamentary elections was 66.4%, the highest ever.

+ 0.67 ° Celsius

What is it? Increase in annual mean temperature in 2015 in India, the third warmest year since 1901.

Why is it important? Twelve out of fifteen warmest years were recorded in last fifteen years, indicating a secular trend of increase in temperature. In particular, October – December last year, was the warmest since 1901.

Tell me more: World Meteorological Organization too declared 2015 as the hottest year on record, with temperature 1 degree celsius above pre-industrial era.

 

3.09 crore

What is it? The number of income tax returns filed electronically between April and December 2015.

Why is it important? That’s a jump of 27.3% from 2.43 crore during the same period last year, and close to 3.41 crore filed during the full financial year. (There are about 5.16 crore crore tax payers in India according to income tax department, based on returns filed and tax deducted at source). The jump underlines the advantages of digitising citizen to government interactions, and also the inefficiencies in physical movements of documents. There were complaints about the delays in receiving filings earlier.

Tell me more: Data provided by income tax department hit headlines recently after economist Thomas Piketty, best known for his study on inequality published in “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”, complained that there was “an extreme lack of transparency in information about income-tax data.”

1500 plus

What is it? The number of candidates vying for US presidency.

Why is it important? The final contest for White House often ends up between the Republican and Democratic nominees. (This time there could be a third, with Michael Bloomberg considering a presidential bid.) However, a large number of presidential hopefulsrepresenting a range of parties (American Independent Party, American Freedom Party, Constitution Party, Green Party, Libertarian Party, Objectivist Party and so on) or as independents throw in their hats too. In 2012, the number of presidential hopefuls was

Tell me more: While most of these candidates can be ignored, third party performances have had impact on elections – in 1996, businessman Ross Perot, competing as an independent won 18.6% of the popular vote.

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