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Center’s Thrust To Education

$50 billion
What is it? The targeted size of bilateral trade between India and Indonesia by 2025. It was $18.13 billion in 2017.

Why is it important? In Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official visit to Indonesia, the two countries have signed 15 agreements in sectors including defence, science, health, railways and technology. They also pledged to step up defence and maritime cooperation and have planned to develop a strategic Indonesian naval port in the Indian Ocean. India is in a bind as Indonesia is seeking its support to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council though the former has consistently supported Maldives for this so far. The voting is scheduled for next week.

Tell me more: India also announced a 30-day free visa for Indonesian citizens to visit India.

Rs 550 crore

What is it? The amount the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) has ordered Reliance Communications (RCom) to pay Ericsson by the end of September.

Why is it important? This is a part of NCLAT’s Wednesday order after the debt-laden firm reached a settlement with the Swedish telecom gearmaker. The order has halted RCom’s 270-day insolvency process and also, allowed RCom’s lenders to complete the sale of the telcom firm’s wireless assets including airwaves and mobile masts to Reliance Jio Infocomm in a deal that is reportedly worth $3.8 billion.

Tell me more:Ericsson, which had signed a seven-year agreement in 2014 to manage and operate RCom’s nationwide telecom network, had filed an insolvency petition against the latter to claim around Rs 1,600 crore in dues.

15-20%

What is it? The percentage of total funding the central government is looking to provide to states for key school schemes in the form of incentives and on the basis of performance.

Why is it important? This step is aimed at helping states improve their school education system and will depend on the measures taken by them including teaching-learning outcome and rationalisation in teacher deployment. Surveys by NGO Pratham and that by a state government point to low reading/understanding skills and the inability to solve math problems at the basic level by many children in both government and private schools.

Tell me more: The overall student-teacher ratio is 1:27 compared to the required 1:30 under the Right to Education Act. The Indian government will spend Rs 34,000 crore under the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan, which clubs key schemes.

7.3%

What is it? The projected growth rate of the Indian economy in 2018, according to Moody’s FInancial Services, a ratings firm.

Why is it important? The current growth projection is lower than Moody’s earlier projection of 7.5% growth in 2018. Higher crude oil prices and tighter financial conditions are cited as reasons for downgrade in the growth rate. Between 1 April and 28 May this year, crude oil prices (Indian basket) have increased by $12.15 a barrel, or 19%.

Tell me more: For every $10/ barrel increase in crude oil price, India’s GDP growth is reduced by 0.15%, according to an earlier estimate by the Reserve Bank of India.

25 basis points 

What is it? The increase in retail fixed deposit rates for tenure between 1 and 2 years by India’s largest commercial bank, the State Bank of India (SBI).

Why is it important?The increase shows fading of demonetisation benefits, which brought in record deposits into the banking system from November 2016. Now with credit growing at a faster rate than increase in deposits, the state-run SBI has felt the need to increase the retail deposit rates for select tenures.

Tell me more: Increase in retail deposit rate is likely to increase the benchmark Marginal Cost of Funds based Lending Rate (MCLR), which the SBI will release on Friday. SBI had increased MCLR in March by 10-20 basis points (one basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point).

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Of bad loans and insolvency

7.2%

 

What is it? The projected growth rate of the Indian economy in current financial year 2017-18, according to International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Why is it important? This represents reversal in growth slowdown following demonetisation introduced in November- December last year. World’s sixth largest economy grew at 8% in 2015-16, before slowing down to 7.1% in 2016-17. IMF has attributed growth revival to revision in national income accounting and government spending.

Tell me more: Global economy is expected to grow at 3.5% this year, as compared to 3.2% in 2016.

 

 

1.24%

 

What is it? The gross non-performing assets of HDFC Bank, India’s largest private sector bank in market capitalisation, for the three months ended June 2017.

Why is it important? This is the highest in seven years, and bad loans increased by 23% in one quarter. And 60% of the increase was from farm loans portfolio. Slew of farm loan waivers announced by state governments like Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra is likely to impact farm loan repayment, and increase bad loans for banks.

Tell me more: Banks have disclosed weakening of microfinance asset quality following demonetisation during January- March 2017. HDFC Bank says microfinance loans have not deteriorated further.

 

 

56

 

What is it? The number of applications filed by debtors to declare insolvency.

Why is it important? This is more than a third of cases approved by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 in the last one year. It also shows companies are seeing insolvency proceedings as a chance to reset their business in a time bound manner.

Tell me more: Under the new bankruptcy code, cases have to be resolved within 6 months, with an extension for another 3 months. Alternatively, NCLT appoints an interim administrator who will try to sell the assets of the company to a new owner within 18 months.

 

 

770 mm

 

What is it? Rainfall received at Mount Abu, a hill station in Rajasthan, in 24 hours.

Why is it important? This is the highest ever rainfall received by Mount Abu ever since rainfall data was collected. Extreme rainfall events like these in a desert state is attributed to increase in temperature and its impact on monsoon.

Tell me more: Mumbai received 944 mm of rainfall in July 26, 2005 that killed 1,094 people. In 2015, Chennai and two adjoining districts received 1,049 mm of rainfall.

 

 

24

 

What is it? The number of protected monuments that have disappeared due to encroachment.

Why is it important? Shows laxity in protecting the historical monuments. Archaeological Survey of India is empowered to issue show cause notice to encroachers, and can also direct district authorities to remove encroachments.

Tell me more: 11 out of 24 lost monuments were from Uttar Pradesh. Government has spent Rs 301.7 crore in protecting monuments in 2016-17.

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News in numbers, Dec 1, 2015: India’s Q2 GDP growth, pending patent applications…

 

7.4%

 

What is it? Rate at which the Indian economy grew in the July-September quarter of 2015-16.

 

Why is it important? It was 7% in the April-June quarter. It is buoyed by a 9.3% growth in manufacturing and a 6.7% increase in electricity in the September quarter. This provides a boost to the Indian government, which is trying to revive stalled projects, attract foreign investments to bring back momentum to economic recovery. Some believe the GDP numbers may prompt the Reserve Bank of India to maintain key interest rates in its fifth bimonthly monetary policy on Tuesday.

 

Tell me more: Despite a 15% drop in monsoon rains, farm output grew at 2.2% in the second quarter of 2015-16 compared to 1.9% growth in the previous quarter.

 

2.5 lakh

 

What is it? Number of patent applications pending due to shortage of manpower, according to Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Parliament on Monday.

 

Why is it important? As it is, India scores poorly on patents. The number of patents granted per million population (under the Patent Cooperation Treaty) is 1.5 for India compared to China’s 11.7, USA’s 149.8 and South Korea’s 201.5. The backlog is likely to shrink. The government is in the process of filling 459 vacant posts of examiners of patents and designs and has created 263 contractual posts to fill in for the same.

 

Tell me more: The Patent Cooperation Treaty provides a unified patent filing process and helps applicants in seeking protection internationally for their inventions.

 

6.67%

 

What is it? Share of higher educational institutions in India that have women in leadership positions, according to a report.

 

Why is it important? Shows that India has a long way to go in terms of gender parity. This percentage number compares poorly with the equivalent numbers for Australia (21%), US (18%) and the UK (17%).

 

Tell me more: Across all the seven All India Institutes of Medical Sciences, 31 National Institutes of Technology and six Indian Institutes of Science Education & Research, only the NIT-Puducherry has a woman director. The report, prepared by management consulting firm EduShine Advisory Group looked at all higher educational institutions including central, state, deemed varsities, and institutes of national importance.

 

5

 

What is it? Number of currencies that will be in the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) basket of reserve currencies, with the inclusion of China’s Yuan on October 1, 2016.

 

Why is it important? This means the yuan would be more widely used in international transactions and with this, it may become cheaper for China to borrow money and it may help stabilise its currency. Analysts say this could also mean that the global economy would be much more exposed to the Chinese economy. The other reserve currencies in the basket are the US dollar, the euro, the yen and the pound.

 

Tell me more: The last change to the basket of reserve currencies was made in 2000 when the euro replaced the German mark and the franc.

 

$200 million

 

What is it? Reported deal size of online classifieds platform Quikr acquiring real estate portal CommonFloor.com, though neither of the two have confirmed the development.

 

Why is it important? Once confirmed, this would be the first large consolidation deal in the online property selling space. With this deal, Quikr would be able to strengthen its newly launched vertical, QuikrHomes, an online real estate portal.

 
Tell me more: This November, Quikr announced that it had acquired Indian Realty Exchange, a real estate agent aggregator, for an undisclosed amount.

 

 

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News in Numbers – September 3, 2015

News In Numbers: September 3, 2015

 

5

The number of persons sent to jail by a Delhi court on Wednesday, the first conviction in a 2010 Commonwealth Games scam case. Four are officials from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), each of whom received four years, while the fifth person, the managing director of a private firm, got six years. They have been convicted for their involvement in a street-lighting scam, which resulted in a loss of Rs 1.4 crore to the exchequer. Of the 10 ongoing corruption cases that relates to the Games, one is against former Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi and nine others for alleged irregularities in awarding a contract to a Swiss company, causing a loss of Rs 95.6 crore to the exchequer. Last January, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) closed nine of the 19 FIRs (first information reports) filed for lack of evidence.

 

Rs 25,000 crore

The estimated loss to the Indian economy due to a one-day strike by 10 central trade unions on Wednesday, according to industry bodies CII and Assocham. However, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley dismissed the strike as something that “had a marginal or an inconsequential impact”, saying that most people were not even aware. The trade unions claimed that over 15 crore organised sector workers participated in the strike, and media reports suggest banking and transportation services were hit in parts of the country. Workers from 23 public sector banks, 12 private banks, 52 regional rural banks and over 13,000 cooperative banks went on strike on Wednesday.

 

422

The number of trees estimated per person on earth, according to a group of researchers led by ecologist Thomas Crowther. The researchers have combined two methods – satellite imagery and ground-based counting – to arrive at an estimate of 3.04 trillion trees on earth. This is 7.6 times the previous estimate of 400 billion trees, which was arrived at by primarily using the second method. With an estimate of 15 billion trees being cut down every year, the number of trees has declined by 46% since humans began cultivation about 12,000 years ago. According to the World Wildlife Fund, about 36 football fields worth of trees are lost every minute across the world.

 

0.1%

According to gross-value added (GVA, which is essentially GDP minus taxes plus subsidies) data, inflation was 0.1% in the Indian economy in the first quarter of 2015-16. In the fourth quarter of 2014-15, this number was in negative territory, indicating the economy was in deflation. Except for agriculture, industry and services are in deflation. On Wednesday, chief economic advisor (CEA) Arvind Subramanian warned the Indian economy “appears to be in or close to deflation territory” but maintained that it would grow at around 8% in 2015-16. The CEA has said in the past that policymakers should also look at the Wholesale Price Index, which is in the negative, besides the Consumer Price Index. The Reserve Bank of India kept key interest rates unchanged in August citing inflationary concerns.

 

75,000

The number of Indians in the age bracket of 15 to 34 years who were killed in road accidents in 2014, of which 82% were men. The victims in this age group accounted for 53.8% of the road accidents recorded last year and those in the 35-64 age bracket accounted for 35.7%. Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra account for nearly one-third of total road fatalities last year. About 1.2 million Indians were killed in car accidents in the last 10 years or so, an average of one every minute. According to a World Health Organization report, India has the highest absolute number of recorded road deaths, followed by China.

 

 

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