When is criminal charge < corruption?

Rs 350-400 crore

What is it? The amount for which Axis Bank is reportedly set to buy digital payments platform Freecharge from Snapdeal.

Why is it important? With this deal, the private lender would get a digital payments brand under its umbrella as well as access to superior technology that traditional companies find difficult to build when compared to startups. For Snapdeal, this would help provide it with some much-needed cash and also, free up space to better negotiate its sale to its larger rival, Flipkart.

Tell me more: Others such as Paytm (One97 Communications) and Amazon had also reportedly bid to buy Freecharge.



What is it? The number of MLAs facing serious criminal charges in the proposed alliance between Janata Dal United (JDU) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Bihar.

Why is it important? Ruling alliance can change but the underlying nature of people forming part of the government doesn’t change much. Nearly one in four MLAs in the Bihar assembly have a serious criminal charge against them. All the four major parties – JDU, BJP, Congress and Rashtriya Janata Dal – have between 36% and 43% of their MLAs facing serious criminal charges.

Tell me more: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar submitted his resignation last evening, citing differences with RJD over corruption charges against Tejashwi Yadav, deputy chief minister. Hours later, BJP announced support to Nitish to form the next government.



What is it? The number of security personnel deaths due to Left-wing extremist violence in the first half of 2017, according to information submitted by the government to the Parliament on Wednesday.

Why is it important? This is the highest in the last three years and has also surpassed the number of security personnel killed (65) in the entire 2016. This number also exceeds the number of security personnel killed in Jammu and Kashmir in up to June this year (38) and also, those killed by insurgents in the north eastern parts of the country (9) and in the hinterland (0).

Tell me more: As many as 70 Maoists were killed in the first half of 2017 compared to 222 in 2016 and 89 in 2015. The number of left-wing extremism incidents until June this year was 478 compared to 1,048 in 2016.



What is it? The number of Army personnel whose life sentence was suspended by the Armed Forces Tribunal.

Why is it important? This order overturns the first punishment for Army personnel for human rights abuse in the Kashmir valley. The earlier conviction, by an Army court martial came in 2015, following the fake encounter of three Kashmiri youth in 2010 in Macchil.

Tell me more: The Jammu & Kashmir police had cracked the case, leading to the initial convictions. The five were acquitted based on a broken chain of evidence argument.



What is it? The number of farmer suicides in 2016, according to agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh in the Rajya Sabha.

Why is it important? The official database with the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) on farmer suicides is yet to be updated with 2016 information. But the minister’s numbers indicate a fall in such suicides, and the lowest in 21 years. In 2015, there were 12,602 suicidal deaths among agriculturists, both farmers and labourers, hence, a 9% drop in 2016.

Tell me more: The year 2016 and the ongoing 2017 have been rife with farmer protests and suicides, dictating the national discourse. Farm loan waivers and debates around it have increased in 2017. The long speech on Wednesday saw the Opposition in RS walk out on the minister, miffed at the mention of farmer suicides.

Read More

News in Numbers, Mar 28, 2017: Aadhaar, again 🔒

0.60 degree-C

What is it? The rise in India’s mean temperature over the last 110 years.

Why is it important? India’s climate is not immune to global warming that has increased land and ocean surface temperatures by 0.85 degree-Celsius. On India’s plate was extreme weather events such as heat waves which rose in the last 30 years.

Tell me more: Pointing to this increase in a Rajya Sabha reply, the ministry of state for environment, forest and climate change, said it would focus on afforestation and renewable energy to combat the ill effects of global warming.


6,604 km

What is it? The length of National Highways constructed in FY17, till end of February.

Why is it important? In 11 months of this fiscal, the government has been able to achieve only 44% of its target for FY17 of 15,000 km of National Highways construction.

Tell me more: Unlike previous years, when anywhere between 76% and 99% of funds allocated for National Highways were used, this year, only 62% were utilised, albeit with a higher absolute value than the last three years.



What is it? The number of people Flipkart intends to hire this year.

Why is it important? The largest e-commerce company in India made the announcement on the heels of a $1-billion round of funding. The move could be seen as Flipkart turning a page after last year’s fiasco of delayed joining dates at IIT campuses. The news will also provide a ray of hope in the tech sector which has seen a spate of job cuts in 2017.

Tell me more: Flipkart’s hiring plans are 20-30% higher than last year’s and is a departure from its recent practice of depending on temporary staff to manage peak seasonal demand.


4.19 lakh

What is it? The number of prisoners in India’s 1401 jails, according to National Crime Records Bureau data.

Why is it important? India’s home ministry has now directed the state governments and director general of prisons to get all prisoners registered for Aadhaar, India’s biometric identification and authentication programme. Biometric authentication could help manage some prison activities better – including parole, transport and appearance before the court. It could eventually help in post-release rehabilitation of prisoners, a much neglected issue in India.

Tell me more: Home ministry has also directed that visitors be identified by Aadhaar.


$130 billion

What is it? The value of merged US chemical giants Dow and DuPont.

Why is it important? European Commission approved their merger on Monday. The companies had to agree to heavy concessions including sale of large parts of DuPont’s pesticide business to address EC’s concerns about competition and innovation. Post merger, it will be split to three firms focussing on agriculture, materials and specialty products.

Tell me more: This is one of the three big mergers in the sector that were awaiting EC’s go ahead. The other two are Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto and ChemChina’s $43 billion bid for Syngenta.

Read More