Cauvery Is Finally Split. Legally.



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.


177.5 tmcft

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.


$3 billion

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.


Read More

News in Numbers, Mar 13, 2017: Overruns ⚠


What is it? Number of infrastructure projects worth Rs 150 crore and above which saw a cost overrun of Rs 1.66 lakh-crore, out of a total 1,186 projects.

Why is it important? Over 24% of December, 2016’s high-value infrastructure projects suffered from cost overruns. Delays and cost overruns in infrastructure projects are often a source of budget crises for state and Union governments. They also erode the benefits initially expected from such projects. The projects with cost overrun will now be 11.39% costlier than originally estimated at Rs 14.6 lakh-crore.

Tell me more: Around 326 projects got delayed for various reasons, including land acquisition, funds constraints.



What is it? The tally of state election wins of BJP vs Congress.

Why is it important? After decisive victories in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, BJP since Sunday has staked claims to two other states —Manipur and Goa — which had no clear victors. The party rallied regional parties to support it and gathered the required numbers to form governments in these two states.

Tell me more: In Manipur, BJP presented a list of 32 MLAs (BJP won just 21), a lead of two, and in Goa, it has shown support of eight more MLAs besides the 13 seats it won.



What is it? The share of social bots of active Twitter accounts.

Why is it important? While Twitter comes under regular fire for being happy hunting grounds for trolls, research estimates at least 48 million accounts on the social network platform are bots. These automatic programmes/robots interacting with others on Twitter can have malicious applications too. It beats Twitter’s own estimates of 8.5% bot accounts.

Tell me more: Two US universities who conducted the research say 15% is a conservative estimate of Twitter’s total 319 million active monthly users. These can fake support for political/terrorist propaganda and even help in terrorist recruitment.



What is it? The number of archeological remains unearthed by researchers in Madhya Pradesh

Why is it important? They are claimed be 50,000 years old, and could potentially offer clues about the ancient history of human beings and other members of animal kingdom. In 2009, pieces of 42,000 year old ostrich eggs were discovered in the same site.

Tell me more: A team of researchers have been working on the excavation since the second week of February in Narmada valley at Mehtakhedi village of Khargone district.



What is it? The percentage of respondents of a survey who thought service charge was levied by the government.

Why is it important? It’s in fact levied by commercial establishments, and earlier this  year the government said that customers can opt not to pay for service charges in hotels and restaurants. Responses to other questions asked in the survey also indicated a lack of awareness about charges in bill, and underlined the low standards of consumer rights in India.

Tell me more: The survey was a part of a research paper, ‘Critique of service charges in hotels and restaurants’, by students of the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore.

Read More

News in numbers, Nov 4, 2015: Decline in prices of pulses, most top firms miss sales estimates…

Rs 20

What is it? Average decline in prices of pulses across India in the last few days, according to the central government representatives.

Why is it important? Rising price of dal has been a hot topic for weeks now. Last month, the prices of pulses (key ingredients in Indian cooking) went up to as much as Rs 187 per kg. Retail prices of toor dal and urad dal almost doubled in October from a year-ago period. The requirement of pulses in India is 22 million tonnes whereas the production was only up to 17 million tonne. Hoarding by some traders also impacted the rates upwards.

Tell me more: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said with the ongoing market arrivals of urad dal and arrival of the new crop of toor dal in early December, the prices are expected to go down further. The hoarded stock would soon be released into the retail market easing the supply situation further.



What is it? Types of affidavits abolished by the Delhi government on Tuesday. This refers to affidavits required for documents such as marriage certificates, income certificates, ration cards.

Why is it important? It simplifies government-citizen interactions, is lighter on people’s purse, and can potentially bring down corruption. All these documents now require just self-attestation, which means one need not look for MLAs and gazetted officers for affidavits. It remains to be seen how the government would deal with those who provide wrong information in their application forms.

Tell me more: Now, there would be only 40 types of affidavits required, half of which come under the purview of the central government.



What is it? Share of top Indian companies (of 161 analysed) that missed sales forecast in the July-September quarter.

Why is it important? This shows that India still has some distance to cover in terms of economic recovery. Of the 161 companies studied, 108 companies missed the estimates for sales. Two consecutive years of poor monsoon and winter rains damaging crops have stifled rural consumer demand, affecting sales of companies.

Tell me more: The earnings of all 13 companies in the consumer packaged industry did not meet consensus expectations.



What is it? Percentage of amount spent from budget allocated to the Ministry of Housing and Poverty Alleviation during April-September 2015.

Why is it important? Among all the ministries, this ministry, headed by Venkaiah Naidu, has spent the least in percentage terms. The Narendra Modi government has been trying to increase public expenditure in infrastructure projects to spur growth.

Tell me more: The ministry of civil aviation and ministry of drinking water and sanitation are the top two spenders while among the bottom spenders, ministry of labour and ministry of tourism follow Naidu’s ministry.  



What is it? Number of people holding directorship in more than 20 companies, according to data by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

Why is it important? It’s an indicator of the prevalence of shell companies. The Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money has observed that in many of the shell companies, the directors or shareholders are people of limited financial means such as drivers, cooks and other employees of people who intend to launder money. Holding directorship in more than 20 companies is against the provisions of Companies Act, 2013 as well as the erstwhile Companies Act, 1956.

Tell me more: As many as 345 addresses are shared by at least 20 companies. The SIT has asked the law enforcement and intelligence agencies to proactively detect shell companies.

Read More

News in Numbers – September 10, 2015

News In Numbers: September 10, 2015


Rs 50 lakh

The amount the National Stock Exchange (NSE) has been fined by the Mumbai High Court in a defamation case it had filed against financial news website Moneylife. The bourse filed a Rs 100 crore defamation suit against Moneylife following an article written by Sucheta Dalal alleging that NSE staffers were leaking sensitive information related to high-frequency trading, which helped a select set of investors to trade faster than their competitors. Despite repeated requests by Moneylife, NSE did not participate in the story. According to Hoot, a media watch website, there were 21 instances of defamation cases and legal notices being filed by politicians, business houses, lawyers, former judges and media houses to book publishers, advertisers, other media houses and journalists in 2014.


Share of revenue Infosys expects to earn by way of acquisitions of the total 2020 target revenue of $20 billion. The Bengaluru-based IT firm is working towards a 30% operating margin and $80,000 revenue per employee in another five years. In 2014-15, Infosys earned $8.7 billion in revenue. Quoting the way Accenture and Cognizant have acquired other companies, Vishal Sikka, managing director and chief executive of Infosys, said they need to do something similar without copying them. The company has made two acquisitions this year. Since the beginning of 2015, Accenture has acquired nine companies.


1.9 percentage points

The amount by which global corporate profits as a share of global GDP will fall by 2025, according to a new study by McKinsey, the consulting firm. According to McKinsey, the share of corporate profits as a share of world GDP was 9.8% in 2013. By 2025, this will fall to 7.9% due to a range of factors. Increased competition as firms in emerging markets continue to expand beyond their borders is one major reason.  Another reason, McKinsey says, is the fall in labour costs and interest rates observed over the last few decades is unlikely to continue.


According to a survey conducted by the Indian government, over a fifth of the toilets it has constructed are non-functional and effectively beyond use. The government has built 6 crore toilets. Chaudhary Birendra Singh, Union Rural development minister, said a change in mindset was needed to make people use toilets. The government is aiming to do away with open defecation under the Swachh Bharat mission by 2019. Over half a billion people in India – or 59% of the 1.1 billion people in the world — still defecate in the open, according to the World Health Organization.


The number of Indian railway stations Japan will help India redevelop by sending an official mission to “study the opportunities for industries”. Besides this, Japan has agreed to participate in Indian railways’ investment plan of $140 billion in the next five years and engage in technology cooperation for modernising and upgrading Indian railways. Japanese railways and companies would also assist India in its zero-accident mission. Indian railways posted a loss of Rs 30,000 crore in the passenger segment in 2014. Japan has announced a funding of $35 billion across various infrastructure projects over the next five years. is a search engine for public data

Read More