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The Jio Effect

 

7.2% 

What is it? The rate at which the Indian economy grew in the third quarter of 2017-18.

Why is it important? India has regained its status as the world’s fastest-growing economy, indicating that it has likely left behind the effects of the November 2016 demonetisation and the July 2017 shift to the goods and services tax system. By comparison, China’s economy grew 6.8% in the last three months of 2017. This could boost the BJP’s prospects in the 2019 general elections as it steps up investments to prop up economic growth.

Tell me more: However, the government has projected full-year GDP growth at only 6.6%, down from 7.1% in 2016-17 and the slowest since Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed office in 2014, according to the second advance estimates by the Central Statistics Office.

 

1

What is it? The number of days for which Karti Chidambaram, son of former finance minister P Chidambaram, has been sent to police custody by a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Wednesday. He was arrested by a CBI team when he returned to Chennai from London earlier in the day.

Why is it important? Karti’s arrest comes after nine months of the CBI filing an FIR (first information report) against him for his involvement in the INX Media case. He is alleged to have received a payoff of up to Rs 10 lakh in this case, which pertains to alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to INX Media for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore. P Chidambaram was the finance minister then.

Tell me more: BJP leader and Rajya Sabha member Subramanian Swamy says all FIPB clearances given under Chidambaram’s tenure as finance minister are under scanner and that there are 25 such cases, which will ultimately lead to him. The Congress has termed this as “vendetta and vindictive politics” and a “classic diversionary tactic” to shift the spotlight from the Punjab National Bank-Nirav Modi case.

 

$7 billion

What is it? The amount Malaysian businessman T Ananda Krishnan-backed Aircel stands to reportedly lose after its failed foray in Indian telecom market. The company has filed for bankruptcy.

Why is it important? This is said to be his biggest loss on a soured investment. Krishnan’s net worth is $6.15 billion, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index, and he is the third richest man in Malaysia. At present, Maxis Communications, the holding company of some of Krishnan’s telecom ventures, is unlikely to recover any amount from the potential sale of Aircel’s assets, though this situation could change at a later point of time.

Tell me more: Airtel, in which Maxis Communications owns 74%, cited intense competition due to the entry of a “new player” (referring to Reliance Jio), legal and regulatory challenges, mounting debts and increased losses for its decision.

 

2

What is it? The number of assembly seats from Madhya Pradesh for which by-polls were held following the death of sitting MLAs and the results for which were declared yesterday, with the Congress retaining both seats.

Why is it important? Even though the Congress has only retained the two seats of Mungaoli and Kolaras, it comes as a shot in the arm for the party in a state that has seen 15 years of BJP rule and which is due to vote later this year. In February, the BJP had faced defeat in three bypolls in Rajasthan, which is also due to vote this year.

Tell me more: The Congress coasted in Kolaras, but Mungaoli was a close fight. Results were also declared yesterday for the Bejipur seat in Odisha, which was won by the ruling Biju Janata Dal, with the BJP and Congress finishing second and third, respectively.

 

199

What is it? The number of goals scored by Argentinian Sergio Aguero for Manchester City in his seven seasons at the English club.

Why is it important? On Thursday, Manchester City visit Arsenal for a high-profile clash in the English Premier League (EPL), which comes just four days after a 3-0 romp in the Carabao Cup final, which included a goal by Aguero. For Arsenal, time is running out to salvage something from this season to match the expectations that follow a club of its stature. For City, which has opened daylight to its rivals, it’s more about cementing its hold at the top, staying in shape for a treble, and records like Aguero’s 200th.

Tell me more: In November 2017, Aguero became the top goal scorer of all-time for Manchester City, passing Eric Brook’s 177 goals. Among all players in the EPL, with 143 goals, he’s ranked 12th among all players and third among foreign players.

 

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News in Numbers, Mar 13, 2017: Overruns ⚠

287

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.

 

4:1

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.

 

15%

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.

 

350

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.

 

57%

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.

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News in Numbers, Nov 1, 2016: Getting to the pulse of the problem…

120

What is it? The number of days a new variety of arhar dal (red gram or pigeon pea) – Pusa Arhar 16 – takes to mature. The dwarf pigeon pea has been created by scientists at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute.

Why is it important? This is less than the 160-270 days that other varieties (in use) take to mature without any loss in yield (20 quintals/hectare) and uses less water. Arhar dal is among the most widely consumed pulses in the country. The rates of pulses, a price-sensitive commodity, shot up to Rs 200 per kg last year and such a variety with a less maturity time could help plug the supply-demand gap in India. The government is hoping to release the variety for cultivation by January next year.

Tell me more: Domestic production of pulses declined to 16.5 million tonnes in 2015-16 due to two straight years of drought, falling from a high of 19.25 million tonnes in 2013-14. The government is targeting to increase pulses production to 24 million tonnes by 2020-21.

 

8

What is it? The number of terror suspects from the banned Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) who were killed in an encounter, according to Madhya Pradesh police officials.

Why is it important? These activists had killed a prison guard and escaped from the Central Jail in Bhopal, police officials said. However, there have been serious questions raised about the authenticity of the event after unverified videos of the shooting between the state police and the fugitives where the former are seen shooting at inert bodies (as opposed to the official version that the activists were killed in ‘retaliatory’ firing) while another one purportedly shows five of the suspects waving, which could mean that they were trying to turn themselves in.

Tell me more: SIMI is an Islamic terrorist organisation which aims to convert India into an Islamic nation and was set up in 1977 in Uttar Pradesh. The organisation is believed to have been responsible for the bomb blasts in commuter trains in Mumbai in 2006 and another in Gujarat in 2008.

 

40.2 lakh

What is it? The number of differently-abled people in the age group of 5-19 years who were attending educational institutions, according to new Census 2011 data released on Monday.

Why is it important? This is an improvement of 11% (in terms of attendance among the differently-abled population) since 2011 though it is still about 10% behind the enrolment numbers of the general population. Those with ‘any other disability’ had the highest share of people attending educational institutions (71.2%) followed by those with visual disability (68%) and hearing difficulty (67%). Those suffering from a mental illness had the lowest percentage of people attending classes.

Tell me more: There are about 65.7 lakh differently-abled people in the 5-19 age group in India of which 61.2% are attending educational institutions, 12.1% who had attended one earlier while 26.7% who had never attended any. There is a significant difference between the share of differently-abled boys attending educational institutions and that of girls: 56.7% compared to 43.3%.

 

Rs 4.48 lakh crore

What is it? India’s fiscal deficit (difference between government’s revenue and expenditure) in the first six months of 2016-17.

Why is it important? This is 83.9% of its total Budget estimate of Rs 5.34 lakh crore for 2016-17 compared to 68.1% of the budget in the corresponding period. This is the highest in the first six months of a financial year since 1998-99 mainly due to an increase in public spending and higher salaries. Government spending is important to boost economic growth even as the private sector remains cautious about investing in key sectors such as infrastructure due to high interest rates and debt levels.

Tell me more: Revenue inflows from disinvestment, black money scheme and the recently-concluded spectrum sale are likely to help the government achieve its fiscal deficit target of 3.5% of the gross domestic product.

€100 million (Rs 730 crore)

What is it? The reported remittances by Russian arms firms into accounts of companies controlled by arms dealer Sudhir Choudhrie, his family and close associates in 12 months, according to secret documents accessed by the Guardian and the BBC. British company Rolls-Royce has reportedly paid £10 million to firms linked to the businessman.

Why is it important? It is illegal to pay secret middlemen to win defence deals in India. This raises questions about the deals signed by India with Rolls Royce for procuring Hawk aircraft engines and its defence deals with Russia. The billionaire and former Delhi resident through his lawyers has told the BBC that he has not bribed government officials or acted as an illegal middleman in defence deals. Choudhrie has been investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate for any wrongdoing in the past.

Tell me more: Choudhrie’s name figures as one of the 23 “unscrupulous persons” on a list of “undesirable contact men” (compiled and disseminated by the CBI), whose authenticity has been challenged by him.

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News in Numbers – September 15, 2015

News In Numbers: September 15, 2015

 

6.36%  

The rate at which consumer prices of vegetables fell in August 2015 compared to the same period last year. This rate of decrease was higher in the urban areas than in the rural ones. However, compared to a month ago, vegetable prices went up by 8.5%. Pulses and related products saw the highest rate of increase in consumer prices among all the other product groups in August from a year ago while ‘sugar and confectionery’ saw the highest rate of decline in the same period. The wholesale prices of onions recorded the highest annual increase among all the major commodity groups at 65.29% in August 2015. Overall, wholesale inflation declined for the 10th straight month in August at 4.95% compared to 4.05% in July, aided by falling global commodity prices. Inflation based on the consumer price index fell to a nine-month low of 3.66% in August from 3.69% a month ago.

#1

Gujarat’s position in implementing reforms to facilitate the ease of doing business among all Indian states. An assessment of state implementation of business reforms sponsored by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion has considered 98 parameters for the ranking. And, Gujarat’s score is 71.14% (implementation status of each state has been converted to a percentage) followed by Andhra Pradesh (70.12%), Jharkhand (63.09%), Chhattisgarh (62.45%) and Madhya Pradesh (62%). North eastern states — Arunachal Pradesh (1.23%), Nagaland (3.41%) and Meghalaya (4.38%) — are at the bottom of the list. Interestingly, Punjab is the best state to startup followed by Andhra Pradesh. Globally, India ranks 142 among 189 countries in ease of doing business, according to a World Bank report.

 

 

Rs 5,000 crore

The amount taxi aggregator Ola will invest in its newly formed cab leasing business in the coming year. A wholly-owned subsidiary will run the leasing business headed by former LeasePlan India executive Rahul Maroli. In India’s first such programme, drivers would be able to lease a car for a minimal initial deposit of Rs 35,000 and monthly lease payments of about Rs 15,000 with an option to own the vehicle after three years. Ola plans to invest Rs 500 crore initially, after which it would raise funds “independently for this subsidiary”.Over 1,000 vehicles are already operating as part of a pilot programme in six cities including Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad. The company plans to add 10,000 cars under this model by December 2015. Ola, the third most valuable internet company, recently raised around $225 million led by Falcon Edge Capital and other existing investors.

 

2

The number of Indian institutes that have made it to top 200 universities in the world for the first time. The QS World University Rankings 2015 puts the Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in the 147th position while the Indian Institute of Delhi (IIT-Delhi) ranks 179. The world’s top university is Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) followed by Harvard University. MIT has a score of 100 while the IISc scored 62 and IIT-D 56.4. In terms of academic reputation, only IIT-Delhi figures in the top 200 while in terms of employee reputation, IIT-Bombay, IIT-Delhi and IIT-Madras find themselves in the top 200 slot. IISc, which also debuted in the QS Asian University Rankings this year, ranks 34 in this list while IIT-Delhi is in the 42nd position.

 

1.6%

The share of medical applications in 3D printing industry, according to the US government-funded National Center for Biotechnology Information. The 3D printing industry, which is a $700 million industry, is expected to grow into a $8.9 billion industry by 2024 with 21% projected to be spent on medical applications. Meanwhile, 3D printing was used for the first time in the world to help perform a surgery on a Spanish cancer patient. The 54-year-old man has successfully received a 3D printed titanium sternum and rib implant and has recovered well. He was suffering from a type of tumour that grows in and around the rib cage and required his breastbone and a part of his rib cage replaced. Also, the US Food and Drug Administration has approved the world’s first 3D printed pill recently.

 

 

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