Fertilizers Can Cause Diabetes


Rs 83 crore

What is it? Bharti Airtel’s net profit in the January-March quarter of 2017-18, down 78% from Rs 373 crore in the same period a year ago.

Why is it important? This is the lowest net profit lowest net profit in 15 years reported by India’s biggest telecom firm by market share (over 25%) and comes amidst rising competition and a cut-throat tariff war initiated by Reliance Jio, besides a reduction in international termination rates. The firm’s return on capital employed declined to 4.7% in 2017-18, from 6.5% in the previous year.

Tell me more: Bharti Airtel’s consolidated revenues for the full year were Rs 83,688 crore, a decline of 9.8% from the previous fiscal. Its net profit was Rs 1,099 crore, a decline of 71.1% from a year ago.



What is it? The number of Maoists killed within 72 hours in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district since Sunday. The toll increased to 37 after 15 more bodies were discovered from the Indravati river on Tuesday.

Why is it important? This makes it the most successful anti-Maoist operation by Maharashtra’s security forces in nearly four decades. Gadchiroli is among the worst-affected by Maoist insurgency and the latest encounters are said to have effectively wiped out the Maoist organisation in the district. Other Maoist-affected states such as Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh have been put on a high alert.

Tell me more: A total of 514 people have been killed in Left-Wing extremist violence in Maharashtra between 2005 and 2018, of which 165 are civilians, 146 from the security forces and 203 insurgents.



What is it? The number of people whose urine samples were tested for a government-funded research that examines the link between the use of synthetic fertilisers and their effect on farmers.

Why is it important? Indian government scientists found a close link between toxic heavy metals used in fertilisers and the prevalence of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases in farmers. The prevalence of pre-diabetes, diabetes and atherosclerosis was found to be 43.4%, 16.2% and 10.3%, respectively, in a village in Tamil Nadu, where 82.5% of the study population was engaged in farming.

Tell me more: According to a 2011 study conducted in 28 districts in 12 states, about a fifth of respondents had experienced negative side effects such as weakness, fever, dizziness and blurred vision, after handling pesticides.



What is it? The lowest target in this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL), set by the Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Why is it important? The Mumbai Indians failed to surpass it, despite facing a depleted Hyderabad attack. Mumbai capitulated for just 87, marking only the third time in IPL history that all 20 wickets have fallen in a match. This result left reigning champions Mumbai languishing near the bottom of the table, with just one win from five matches, and Hyderabad third.

Tell me more: Hyderabad lost another top signing yesterday, with fast bowler Billy Stanlake ruled out due to a finger injury.


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Disorder, Disorder!


Last week, Indians saw something that will go down in the pages of judicial history. Four Supreme Court judges addressed a press conference about their rift with the Chief Justice of India, while breaking the judicial protocol. Though, the act undermined the veracity of India’s apex court, it also left several questions unanswered than it answered.


What is it? The size of the delegation from the Bar Council of India, led by its chairman Manan Kumar Mishra, meeting Supreme Court judges.

Why is it important? In an unprecedented move, four senior-most Supreme Court judges alleged that Chief Justice Dipak Misra was not following established rules to allocate cases among judges. They added this was adversely affecting the judicial delivery system. After meeting with one of the four aggrieved judges, Mishra said it was an internal matter and that a solution would be found in 2-3 days.

Tell me more: At an emergency meeting convened on Saturday, the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) passed a resolution to “express grave concern” over the differences the four senior-most judges have with the Chief Justice. The SCBA President handed a copy of the resolution to Misra, who said he will look into it. Separately, four retired judges have written an open letter to Misra saying they agree with the issues raised by the four working judges and that the issue needs to be resolved within the judiciary.



What is it? The number of days for which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in India, beginning Sunday.

Why is it important? This is his first visit to the country and also the first trip by an Israeli leader to India in 15 years. Netanyahu is accompanied by the largest-ever business delegation (130) to travel with an Israeli leader where executives from companies in defence, cyber and agriculture sectors seek to pursue deals with India. The visit is also seen as a means to deepen diplomatic ties. Though India has been known to vote against Israel in the United Nations, the former has increasingly abstained in issues relating to the Middle Eastern nation in the last two years.

Tell me more: Bilateral trade between the two countries has increased to $4.16 billion in 2016, from $200 million in 1992 when they established diplomatic ties.



What is it? The minimum number of years for which the World Bank would correct and recalculate national rankings of business competitiveness in the annual report titled ‘Doing Business’, according to its chief economist Paul Romer.

Why is it important? This raises questions about the authenticity of the rankings. Romer made a personal apology to Chile, whose rankings have dipped from 34 to 57 in the last three years. This review could impact India, whose rankings have jumped to 100 in 2018 from 140 in the previous year, the biggest improvement among all countries. After assuming power in 2014, the Narendra Modi-government had set a target of breaking into the top 50 in these rankings.

Tell me more: Romer said the World Bank had changed the methodology of calculating the ranks of countries repeatedly in ways that were unfair and misleading.



What is it? The number of players who have set their base price in the Indian Premier League (IPL) auctions, to be held on January 27 and 28, at the maximum of Rs 2 crore.

Why is it important? As the eight IPL franchises look to rebuild, with the IPL completing 10 years and all players barring 18 going into the selection pool, the Rs 2 crore set is where the top players and the team mainstays reside. It comprises 13 Indian and 23 overseas players, and franchises are expected to vie for their services, stretching their budgets. After completing their permissible player retentions, the eight teams have anywhere between Rs 47 crore and Rs 67.5 crore to complete their squads from 1,122 players who have registered for the auction.

Tell me more: So far, 18 players have been retained by the eight teams. Royal Challengers Bangalore spent the most on one player: Rs 17 crore to retain Virat Kohli, making him the most expensive player in IPL history.



What is it? The swap ratio set for the merger between Capital First and IDFC Bank, announced on Saturday. Shareholders of Capital First, a non-banking finance company, will receive 139 shares of IDFC Bank for every 10 shares held by them.

Why is it important? IDFC Bank is paying top money—on Friday, the market capitalisation of Capital First stood at Rs 8,266 crore and that of IDFC Bank at Rs 23,019 crore—to buy itself growth and scale, especially on the retail side. It had tried to do the same with the Shriram Group, but that deal fell through in October 2017.

Tell me more: Post merger, V Vaidyanathan, currently chairman and managing director of Capital First, will take over from Rajiv Lall as managing director and CEO of the combined entity. And Lall will step into the role of non-executive chairman of IDFC Bank.


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IPL teams are increasingly opting to chase

Never before in the Indian Premier League (IPL) have teams been more inclined to chase a total than set one. Of the 15 matches this year, the side winning the toss has bowled first 12 times (80%), which is comparable to last year’s 82%. It wasn’t always this way. In the IPL’s early years, the traditional pressure tactic of shorter formats of making opponents conscious of a chase held as much sway, if not more (Chart 1).




But in the past four years, when batsmen like A.B. de Villiers have expanded the arc of possibilities, teams prefer to know a target and fashion a chase. In 2016, teams batting second won 65% of matches. Even in 2017, though the median first-innings score in the IPL is the highest ever (171), teams batting second have won 67% of the matches (Chart 2).



The notable exception to this trend is the currently suspended Chennai, where M.S. Dhoni chased only 33% of the time he won the toss (Chart 3).






1. Data for 589 matches till 15 April 2017; it excludes 10 matches that were affected by weather and did not yield a result

2. IPL 2009 was held in South Africa; in IPL 2014, 20 of the 60 matches were played in the UAE (Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah)

3. Chennai and Rajasthan have been suspended from the IPL for 2016 and 2017; Kochi, Hyderabad I and Pune I are defunct

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News in Numbers, Jan 31, 2017: Merger on the airwaves

Rs 78,000 crore

What is it? The estimated combined revenue of a proposed merger of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular.

Why is it important? The all-share merger will create India’s largest telecom company, larger than the Rs-50,008-crore-earning Bharti Airtel. Debt on both the companies’ books and likely losses incurred from the tariff-reduction race started by Reliance Jio are being seen as triggers for the move. It looks like a much needed consolidation boost in the 22-circle Indian telecom market, as seen from the stock gains of Indian telecom operators yesterday ranging 8-10% with Idea gaining a record 26%.

Tell me more: The merged entry would still have to address, in many markets, the telecom regulator’s anti-monopoly restrictions of owning no more than 50% of spectrum in a band and 25% of available spectrum in a circle (or geographic market).


1 day

What is it? Number of days to go before the RBI-mandated daily ATM withdrawal limit of Rs 10,000 is removed, from February 1.

Why is it important? The first sign of reverting to pre-demonetisation days of cash management was made with RBI’s circular removing the ATM limit. Two weeks ago, RBI signalled its ease in handling cash by expanding the limit to Rs 10,000 from Rs 4,500. The Rs 24,000-weekly limit on savings-bank withdrawal, however, stays put, but restrictions on  current account, cash credit and overdraft accounts will be removed.

Tell me more: RBI mentions the savings-bank limit is under consideration for withdrawal in the “near future”. Banks can use their discretion to set their own operating limits at ATMs as was the practice before old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes were withdrawn.



What is it? The number of cases the Income Tax (IT) departmentregistered nationwide under the recently-enforced Benami Transactions Act.

Why is it important? Warnings in public advertisements by the IT department against depositing unaccounted old currency in someone else’s bank account anonymously are materialising now. The BenamiAct’s section 24 has been invoked for 87 notices, for attaching bank accounts with crores of rupees of such dubious deposits and an immovable property.

Tell me more: These cases, if proven true, would attract a heavy penalty and a rigorous jail-term of a maximum of seven years.



What is it? The number of new administrators appointed by the Supreme Court to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

Why is it important? The neutral committee headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), and the current Chairman of Banks Board Bureau, Vinod Rai, will pave the path to reform the embattled BCCI, richest sporting body in India and the most profitable cricket board in the world. The team, with a mix of financial acumen, social perspective and cricketing enthusiasm, is tasked with bringing in accounting rigour and good governance to a body mired in controversies, the latest being its earlier president and secretary sacked on January 3. It would also finalise the Indian Premier League’s 10th edition besides reporting on the Lodha panel recommendations to the court.

Tell me more: The other members are Vikram Limaye, managing director and CEO of IDBI Bank; former Indian women’s cricket captain Diana Edulji; and historian and writer Ramchandra Guha. Limaye will represent BCCI in an ICC meeting in February. The committee has no term limit.



What is it? The number of branches of the India Post Payments Bank(IPPB) to be set up by September, 2017.

Why is it important? The IPPB will locate these branches in postal district headquarters which would enable all the post office branches under those head offices to be served by the payments bank. With India Post’s envious branch network of no less than 155,000 post offices, expanding its reach should be one of IPPB’s easiest tasks.  It would let enabled post offices accept limited deposits at a maximum interest of 5.5% and offer payment services but not offer loans, unlike commercial banks.

Tell me more: The IPPB joins Airtel Payments Bank, offering 7.25% on savings, in a new financial services category, with more players to come.

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