What it is: Number of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) signed between India and Germany on Monday
Why is it important: A sign that things are getting better. Trade relations between India and the European Union (EU) have been cold since India cancelled a meeting with the latter’s trade negotiators to protest the ban of its 700 generic drugs for alleged manipulation of clinical trials. Now, Asia’s third largest economy and the world’s fourth largest economy have agreed to resume talks towards a free trade agreement between India and the EU. But, India still hopes the issue of the generic drugs is viewed “fairly and sensibly” by the EU.
Tell me more: Germany has agreed to provide $2.25 billion for developing a clean energy corridor and solar projects in India. Among the MoUs signed, the two countries have signed a deal where India would fast-track business proposals making it easier for German companies to operate in India. Germany was the 7th largest contributor to foreign direct investment in India in 2014-15 and bilateral trade between the two was nearly $18 billion in 2014.
What it is: The impact of China on other Asian countries. It’s estimated percentage point decline in the growth of other Asian countries if there is a 1 percentage point decline in Chinese growth, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Why is it important: This contrasts with the view that the Chinese economic slowdown is actually good for India. This counter-view suggests India is more likely to get affected by the Chinese market meltdown indirectly (due to its effect on global markets) rather than directly. The Indian government is trying to attract global investors to ‘Make in India’, sensing an opportunity as China tries to make a shift from a manufacturing/export-led economy to a consumer-driven one.
Tell me more: In a recent report, the World Bank said India is the “least vulnerable” among emerging economies even as the world goes through a period of volatility. Further, it added that as China eases into an “environment of lower growth”, India could “durably occupy the top spot among large emerging markets”. The Indian government said on Monday it is confident of the economic growth exceeding 7.5% in 2015-16.
What it is: Percentage of world population in exreme poverty by end of 2015 according to World Bank.
Why is it important: In 2012, it was 12.8%. The latest number shows both the progress and the distance to cover. United Nations wants to end extreme poverty by 2030.
Tell me more: Sub-Saharan Africa is the poorest with 35.2% of population in extreme poverty. For South Asia, it is 13.5%. “Reliable current poverty data is not available for the Middle East and North Africa because of conflict and fragility in key countries in the region,” World Bank said. The report places India’s poverty levels at 12.4% for 2012.
What it is: Tamil Nadu’s share in total number of detenus under preventive detention laws in 2014, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). The state had 1,892 of 3,237 detenus.
Why is it important: It’s off the charts. Such metrics often raise questions about excessive use of police force. Besides, nearly half (47%) of them are illiterates and 53% Dalits (not mutually exclusive).
Tell me more: Gujarat and Karnataka figured in the second and third slots with 594 and 204 detenus respectively. Interestingly, 11 states including Haryana, Kerala, Odisha and Punjab have recorded zero detenus in 2014.
Rs 2.5 lakh
What it is: The new tuition fee for graduate and post-graduate programmes at the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) per student a year proposed by the IIT Council.
Why is it important: If implemented, this would perhaps be the steepest hike of fees in the history of the IITs. Currently, students enrolled for the bachelors programme pay around Rs 90,000 a year. Also, this narrows the gap between IITs’ spend per student (Rs 3.5 lakh) and the fees students pay.
Tell me more: IITs, which meet 80% of their expenses through financial grants from the Indian government, waive 90% of the tuition fees for 22% of the students from the Scheduled Castes/Tribes and 25% of the students whose parents’ annual income is less than Rs 4.5 lakh per annum. In January 2013, the annual tuition fees at the IITs was increased by Rs 40,000 to Rs 90,000.
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