Getting War Ready

Rs 15,000 crore

What is it? The size of a project reportedly finalised by the Indian Army under which a range of ammunition will be produced indigenously for critical weapons and tanks.

Why is it important? This is said to be India’s biggest initiative to indigenise ammunition, thereby tackling delays in imports and shortages in stockpiles. In a July 2017 report, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) report said the Army’s ammunition will not last for more than 10 days in a war and that the military does not have the minimum required stock of 55% of the 152 types of arms it uses for operational preparedness in case of a war.

Tell me more: The project, which would involve 11 private firms, would create an inventory for all major weapons that would prepare the Army to fight a 30-day war.

6

What is it? The number of exit polls of eight major ones that predict BJP to win the largest number of seats in Karnataka, ahead of the Congress.

Why is it important? However, of these, just one has predicted a simple majority for the BJP, while the rest indicate a hung assembly. If these hold true, then Janata Dal (Secular), whose leader said the party expects a possibility of forming the government, could emerge as kingmaker. However, exit polls have often gone wrong in the past; Karnataka’s exit polls carry risks such as hurried calculations in a single phase election, besides the methodology adopted by the agencies.

Tell me more:If BJP wins in Karnataka, it would be in power in 23 states and potentially boost the party’s prospects in the 2019 general elections. As for Congress, it would be able to retain one of the four states it is in power currently and check the BJP juggernaut.

40

What is it? The number of deaths due to severe storms reported in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh on Sunday. More thunderstorms, with wind speeds reaching 50-70 km, are predicted over the next two days.

Why is it important? The month of May has been brutal. On May 3, 124 deaths were reported due to thunderstorms in UP and Rajasthan. And, on May 10, another 11 people died in northern India, taking the tally to 135. The maximum number of deaths have been reported in UP: the state’s count was above 70 till Sunday, when 21 more people died.

Tell me more:In 2017, 2,057 people died due to natural disasters, according to a Ministry of Home Affairs annual report.

Rs 1,225 crore

What is it? Dena Bank’s net loss in the fourth quarter of 2017-18, compared with a net loss of Rs 575 crore in the same period a year ago.

Why is it important? The Reserve Bank of India has barred the bank from lending further and hiring personnel in view of its weakening financial health. On an annual basis, Dena Bank posted a net loss for the third year in a row and its gross non-performing assets (NPA) hit a high of 22.4% of gross advances in the quarter. The government is considering issuing provision shore-up certificates to banks to deal with increasing provisioning against bad loans.

Tell me more:On May 17, the finance ministry will reportedly meet 11 banks that are under the central bank’s prompt corrective action framework to check their progress on reforms and seek accountability for the capital provided to them.

100

What is it? The number of points that Manchester City finished with in the 2018 English Premier League.

Why is it important? Heading into the last league match of the season, City needed to beat Southampton to become the first club in the 20-team EPL to hit a century. They did so, but only in stoppage time. For the season, City finished with 100 out of a maximum 114 points.

Tell me more:In other significant outcomes from the final day, Liverpool qualified for the Champions League; Chelsea didn’t and is likely to sack its manager Antonio Conte. And Arsenal Wenger signed off from Arsenal with a win.

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New Battle Lines Are Drawn

 

77%

What is it?The percentage stake in Flipkartthat Walmart has agreed to buy for $16 billion.

Why is it important?This is the biggest e-commerce deal in the worldand Walmart’s biggest foreign investment. It would help the US retailer get access to India’s nascent e-commerce market, which is expected to grow to $200 billion in a decade. Walmart will also bring its US rivalry with Amazon to Indiaand new battlelines would be drawn between two of the world’s most deep-pocketed firms, in what is being seen as a game-changer for the Indian e-commerce market.

Tell me more:Of the $16 billion, $2 billion is the actual investment in the company, with the rest being used to buy out other stakeholders. Softbank has exited Flipkart, and the rest of the business will be held by co-founder Binny Bansal, China’s Tencent Holdings, Tiger Global Management and Microsoft.

 

4

What is it? The number of judges among the Supreme Court’s five senior-mostwho met on Wednesday to discuss the reiteration of Justice KM Joseph’s candidature for elevation to the apex court.

Why is it important? This is the first time the five judges—who make up the SC collegium that recommends SC judicial appointments to the Centre—met since May 2, when they discussed the Centre’s rejection of Justice Joseph’s candidature but deferreda decision on it. Justice Joseph’s appointment is one of the points of contention inside the SC, as well as between the SC and the Centre.

Tell me more: Justice J Chelameswar was on leave and was not present at the meeting. He is retiring on June 22 and he has declined an invite to a farewellfrom the SC Bar Association.

 

 

$4.6 billion

What is it? The amount Bharti Airtel is reportedly looking to pare from its net borrowings over the next three years.

Why is it important? The telecom firm plans to do this by listing its African unit and potentially sell partial stake in its tower business, in a move that would likely help it protect its investment grade rating. Bharti’s net debt increased 45% to $14.6 billion over four years as it invested in spectrum and infrastructure, and protected its market share, after Reliance Jio initiated a pricing war.

Tell me more: The Sunil Mittal-backed firm reported a net profit of Rs 83 crore in the January to March quarter, a 78% drop on a year-on-year basis. This was its eighth consecutive drop in quarterly net profit.

 

205

What is it? The number of companies whose shares will be delisted by the Bombay Stock Exchange beginning May 11.

Why is it important? The move comes in the backdrop of a government clamp down on shell companies. There are three lists: 188 companies that have remained suspended for above six months, 14 companies whose status on the Ministry of Company Affairs website shows “under liquidation/liquidated” and 3 companies delisted by the National Stock Exchange.

Tell me more: Promoters of these 188 companies have to repurchase shares from public shareholders as per the fair value determined by a BSE-appointed independent valuer.

 

105

What is it? The number of goals scored by Manchester City in 37 matches in the 2017-18 English Premier League season.

Why is it important? On Wednesday, champions Manchester City beat Brighton 3-1. In the process, they went past the single-season record of goals scored in a 20-team EPL format introduced in 1995-96: 103 goals by Chelsea in 2009-10.

Tell me more: Manchester City yesterday also broke the record for the most points in a single season. They now have 97 points, two more than Chelsea in 2004-05. They will be looking to hit 100 pointsin their last game on Sunday against Southampton, which is placed 17th.

 

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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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RIP Sridevi

The legendary actress, Sridevi, may have gone from our lives, but she will live in our hearts forever.

300

What is it? The approximate number of films in which Indian actress Sridevi has featured. She died of a cardiac arrest in Dubai, according to her family. She was 54.

Why is it important? Referred to as India’s first female superstar, Sridevi was among the handful of actors who enjoyed a mass appeal across major regional film industries in India, and was one of the few female actors who could deliver hits without dependence on male actors. Sridevi began her film career at the age of four in a Tamil movie and went on to deliver hits such as Pathinaru Vayathinile and Moondram Pirai in Tamil, and Chandni and Mr India in Hindi. Her rise to the top was also remarkable for happening without any backing or connections in the movie industry.

Tell me more: Sridevi is survived by husband Boney Kapoor, a film producer, and two daughters. The debut film of her elder daughter, Jhanvi Kapoor, is due in July 2018.

 

59

What is it? The number of Rajya Sabha seats from 16 states that are due for retirement, in addition to a casual vacancy that will arise due to the resignation of a member from Kerala. The elections to these seats will be held on March 23.

Why is it important? This is likely to significantly alter the composition of nearly a fourth of Rajya Sabha. BJP, which overtook Congress in August 2017 to become the largest political party in the Rajya Sabha, is likely to gain as it is in power in three top states where seats will fall vacant, including 10 from Uttar Pradesh and six each from Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. However, the party reportedly does not have ‘big names’ from UP to fill the seats and it might take a while for it to have a clear majority in the Upper House.

Tell me more: The issue of notification of the polls will happen on March 5, while the last date for filing nominations will be March 12. The counting will take place on the same day as the polling.

 

$65.3 billion

What is it? The gain in net worth of Berkshire Hathaway, the Warren Buffett-controlled holding company, during 2017, the results for which were announced on Saturday.

Why is it important? Of this, $29 billion was, in Buffett’s words, “delivered to us in December when Congress rewrote the US Tax Code”, the two main provisions of which were the lowering of the corporate tax rate in the US from 35% to 21% and the deemed repatriation of past earnings on overseas subsidiaries. For Berkshire, the greater cash in hand increases the imperative for further acquisitions, though Buffett insisted it would not make buys for the sake of making buys.

Tell me more: Among Berkshire’s common stock investments, which had a market value of $170 billion as on December 31, 2017, Wells Fargo held the number one spot ($29.2 billion) followed by Apple ($28.2 billion) and Bank of America ($20.6 billion).

 

Rs 389.85 crore

What is it? The value of the alleged bank loan fraud by a Delhi-based diamond jewellery exporter, according to a complaint filed by the Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Why is it important? This is the third big banking fraud that has surfaced in the last few days, raising serious questions about processes, risk controls and auditing at Indian banks. The loans taken by Dwarka Das Seth International Pvt Ltd, owned by Sabhya Seth, reportedly turned sour in 2014 but OBC approached the investigating agency only last August and the CBI took over six months to file a case against the accused. The Delhi-based jeweller apparently followed the same modus operandi as jewellery designer Nirav Modi, who has been accused of defrauding Punjab National Bank (PNB) to the tune of Rs 11,400 crore.

Tell me more: The Supreme Court directed the government to set up a three-member committee of experts within two months to scrutinize the regulatory regime for audit firms, in the wake of the PNB case. The committee is expected to submit its report to the apex court in three months.

 

1

What is it? The number of titles won by Manchester City under manager Pep Guardiola, who is now in his second year at the club. On Sunday, Manchester City won its maiden title under Guardiola, beating Arsenal 3-0 in the Carabao Cup final.

Why is it important? This win is being heralded as the beginning of a triumphant era for Manchester City. This season, the club is in line for a treble: besides the Carabao Cup, they are a near lock for the Premier League title, leading by 13 points with 11 matches to go, and have one foot in the quarter-finals of the premier competition in Europe.

Tell me more: Guardiola is one of the most decorated coaches of this era, winning big in his last two assignments in Bayern Munich (7 titles in three seasons) and Barcelona (14 titles in four seasons). He was drafted by Manchester City with a larger plan of long-term, global dominance in mind.

 

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