What is it? The voter turnout in the 2018 Tripura elections held on Sunday.
Why is it important? Although the Election Commission was yet to declare a final figure, the expectation was that this would be one of the lowest turnouts in the electoral history of this north-eastern state since 1977. The turnout was 92% in 2013 and 91% in 2008. Analysts say a lower turnout is a favourable outcome for CPM and a not-so-favourable outcome for BJP, which has run a high-pitched and high-profile campaign for change and is looking to unseat Manik Sarkar
Tell me more: The CPM has ruled the state for the last 25 years, with chief minister Manik Sarkar leading for 20 years of those.
What is it? The amount of Cauvery water Karnataka has to release to Tamil Nadu every year for the next 15 years, according to a Supreme Court judgment on Friday.
Why is it important? This brings an end to a decades-old dispute between the two states that has sometimes turned violent. Karnataka received a higher share than earlier owing to the series of droughts it has faced in recent times, in addition to providing drinking water to Bengaluru, which is recognised as India’s original technological hub. Karnataka’s capital city features in the list of 11 global cities that are most likely to run out of water after Cape Town, compiled by the BBC, owing to new property developments and losing half of its drinking water to waste. Of the additional share of water awarded to Karnataka, 4.75 tmcft has been specifically allotted to Bengaluru.
Tell me more: As per the ruling, Karnataka will now get 14.75 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) more than that awarded by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal in 2007. That will bring its total to 284.75 tmcft, while Tamil Nadu would receive 404.25 tmcft as against 419 tmcft, in addition to being allowed to draw 10 tmcft of groundwater. The share of Kerala and Puducherry has been retained at 30 tmcft and 7 tmcft, respectively.
What is it? The estimated hit Indian banks could take from loans and corporate guarantees given to diamond companies in transactions related to the alleged fraud at Punjab National Bank (PNB), according to the tax department’s preliminary investigation.
Why is it important? This highlights the need to tighten monitoring norms and their effective implementation, especially with respect to state-run lenders, which are already reeling under soured loans, necessitating additional recapitalisation. Banks have given loans and guarantees worth $2.74 billion to firms related to Nirav Modi, the main accused in the alleged PNB fraud, and his uncle Mehul Choksi. In addition, the tax department noted that several firms that Modi and Choksi were involved in had listed people with limited means as majority partners.
Tell me more: Among banks that have given credit to the uncle-nephew duo are Union Bank of India ($300 million) and Axis Bank, which said it had sold all its exposure related to the fraud. The Central Bureau of Investigation has detained three people, including two PNB employees and an “authorised signatory” of the firms related to Modi.
Rs 17,59,443 crore
What is it? The expected completion cost of 1,283 infrastructure projects compared with the original cost of Rs 15,58,352 crore, according to a government report for October 2017.
Why is it important? This highlights the need to address the major reasons for delay in completion of projects in the infrastructure sector, which is seen as a major driver of economic growth. India’s growth could touch a four-year-low in 2017-18, though it is expected to pick up next fiscal to regain the tag of the fastest-growing country among major economies. Some of the factors responsible for cost overruns include delay in land acquisition, forest clearance, supply of equipment, funding constraints, legal cases, Maoist attacks, and law and order.
Tell me more: Of the 1,283 projects, 12 have been completed, 34 have been initiated this month due to government monitoring, 13 are ahead of schedule, 317 are as per schedule, 302 are delayed, 349 are showing cost overruns, and 105 have reported both cost and time overruns.
What is it? The number of gold medals that Norway, which has a population of 5.2 million, had won at the ongoing Winter Olympics in South Korea till Sunday.
Why is it important? Norway leapfrogged Germany to lead the medals standings by gold medal count, and it’s on pace to better its tally of 11 golds in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. In Sochi, Russia, which then had a population of 143 million, matched Norway in gold medals but was placed higher because of a higher total medal count (29 to 26)
Tell me more: As of Sunday, Norway had a total medal count of 26, followed by Germany (18). Besides making news for its impressive medal returns, some Norwegian athletes were also winning with their sartorial choices.