Robbing ONGC To Pay…

Rs 1,000 crore

What is it? The cash reserves of Oil and Natural Gas Corp.(ONGC) as on March 31.

Why is it important? It has declined by a massive 90% from Rs 13,000 crore a year ago, after the company was asked to buy the government’s 51.11% stake in state-refiner HPCL for Rs 36,915 crore earlier this year and a record dividend payout of Rs 8,470 crore in 2017-18. The government has been tapping state-run companies to get its fiscal deficit math right and the cash depletion of ONGC comes at a time when it has been asked to increase investments to help cut down India’s crude imports.

Tell me more:India’s biggest energy explorer ONGC, however, has a good credit rating due to the government’s backing and easy access to the domestic banking system.


What is it? The number of airports that are operational under the government’s ‘regional connectivity scheme’, which is almost half of the 31 airports that were targeted to be operational by the end of 2017.

Why is it important? This indicates that the scheme which aims to build new airports in small towns and upgrade existing facilities is moving at a slow pace. This could affect the government’s goal of making an additional 100 million passengers fly in the next five years. India is the world’s fastest growing aviation market and, recently, smaller towns under the scheme have started contributing to the overall passenger traffic growth.

Tell me more:Some of the reasons for the delay in the progress of the scheme include states having insufficient funds to buy basic equipment and the longer-than-anticipated duration in building air traffic control or setting up terminal buildings.


What is it? The number of months since news broke of jeweler Nirav Modi defrauding Punjab National Bank of Rs 12,600 in loans.

Why is it important? On Monday, an official of India’s top investigative agency said it had asked Interpol to help locate and arrest Modi. This follows a report in the Financial Times on Sunday that Modi was in the UK and seeking political asylum. Previously, there have been reports of Modi being in New York and Hong Kong.

Tell me more:If Modi is in the UK, he would be the second Indian fugitive businessman holed up in Britain after defaulting on loans worth thousands of crore to Indian banks.


What is it? The number of FIFA World Cup tournaments Brazil would have won, if Goldman Sachs Group’s prediction for the 2018 edition comes true.

Why is it important? The investment bank has used 200,000 statistical models, analysed data on individual players and recent team performance in addition to running 1 million simulations to come up with this prediction. However, its 2014 prediction, which had also bet on Brazil, saw the team lose in the semi-final. Danske Bank also says the winner is likely to be Brazil, while Commerzbank and Swiss Bank UBS give it to Germany.

Tell me more: Brazil is the most successful team in the history of FIFA World Cup having won the finals for a record five times, the last time being in 2002.

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In Ireland, A Win For Women


What is it? The number of constituencies in Ireland, out of 40, where the number of votes to legalise abortion in the country exceeded those against.

Why is it important? On Saturday, in a landmark referendum, the Irish voted—66.4% to 33.6%—to repeal the eighth amendment of its constitution that did not allow abortion since 1983 barring exceptional circumstances. In as many as 30 of the 40 constituencies, votes in favour exceeded 60% of the total votes polled.

Tell me more: The only constituency that didn’t vote in favour was Donegal, where the count was 48.1% in favour and 51.9% against.



What is it? The number of Lok Sabha seats for which bypolls will be held on Monday.

Why is it important? The electoral pitch is rising in the lead up to the next general elections, scheduled for 2019, and an emerging narrative is of the opposition coming together to take on the BJP. Of the four seats, the most-watched is Kairana in Uttar Pradesh, where three key regional parties— RLD, SP and BSP—are fielding a combined candidate against the BJP.

Tell me more: In addition, elections will also take place on Monday for 10 assembly constituencies across nine states.


Rs 35,000 crore

What is it? The amount that 36 companies are looking to raise via the initial public offering (IPO) route in the next few months.

Why is it important? This indicates the continued buoyancy in primary markets in 2018, after last year saw 36 main board IPOs raise Rs 67,147 crore, against 26 companies and 26,494 crore in 2016. Of the companies looking to take the IPO route, most plan to use the proceeds for business expansion and working capital.

Tell me more: Of the 36 companies in queue, 12 have received the market regulator’s approval. There have been 15 IPOs so far this year.


Rs 7,000 crore

What is it? The value of assets of diamond jeweller Nirav Modi the Enforcement Directorate (ED) seeks to immediately confiscate for which it will reportedly move a special court in Mumbai.

Why is it important? The ED plans to make this move, in what is perhaps the first instance, under the recently promulgated Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance 2018. The agency, which is empowered to enforce the new law, will seek an official declaration to categorise Modi as a ‘fugitive’ based on the first chargesheet filed by it last week in connection with the $2-billion Punjab National Bank scam involving the diamantaire and his associates.

Tell me more: The ordinance seeks to confiscate the properties of economic offenders who have fled India to avoid facing criminal prosecution. India has recently created a list of 91 people who it plans to prevent from leaving the country for their involvement with companies that have defaulted.



What is it? The number of times the Chennai Super Kings have won the IPL(Indian Premier League).

Why is it important? On Sunday, Chennai won their third title in the world’s richest T20 tournament, decimating the Sunrisers Hyderabad on a Shane Watson blitzkrieg. This brings them level with Mumbai Indians in terms of IPL titles, though Chennai missed the last two seasons less because of suspension.

Tell me more:So far, five teams have won the IPL in its 11-year history. The three teams yet to win are the Delhi Daredevils, Kings XI Punjab and Royal Challengers Bangalore.

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25-Year-Rule of the Left Has Ended In Tripura




What is it? The number of months since journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh was murdered outside her home in Bengaluru.

Why is it important? A Special Investigation Team probing her death has made its first arrest in the case: KT Naveen Kumar, for illegal possession of bullets. Kumar, who is said to be a member of a right-wing group called Hindu Yuva Sena, was arrested on February 18. However, he is reportedly among the weakest links in the case and it remains to be seen if his arrest can lead to the main plotter of Lankesh’s murder.

Tell me more: Investigations into the killings of other rationalists such as Narendra Dabholkar, MM Kalburgi and Govind Pansare, who were vocal critics of the Hindutva agenda, has made little or slow progress.



What is it? The aggregate number of seats BJP has won in three north-eastern states—Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya—out of 59 seats each.

Why is it important? It is set to be part of the government in all three states with the help of allies, consolidating its position in the north-eastern region, which may have a bearing on the 2019 General Elections. The 25-year-rule of the Left has ended in Tripura, reducing its presence to just one state, Kerala. The BJP is already a part of the governments of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.

Tell me more: The BJP won a clear majority in Tripura (35 of 59 seats) but will form the government with ally IPFT. In Nagaland, the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party along with BJP and other allies will form the government, while a five-party alliance (including BJP) led by the National People’s Party is set to come to power in Meghalaya.



What is it? The number of entities, including key accused Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, in the Rs 12,700-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case that the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has barred from selling their assets.

Why is it important? This is in addition to the reported probe carried out by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office involving 110 companies, including listed ones, and around 10 limited liability partnership firms linked to Modi and Choksi. The Central Bureau of Investigation has arrested 14 people so far in this case. On Saturday, the agency for the first time said Modi had bribed at least one PNB official.

Tell me more: Non-bailable warrants were issued against both the accused by a special court on Saturday.



What is it? The latest world ranking of Shubhankar Sharma, the 21-year-old Indian golfer.

Why is it important? This is Sharma’s highest-ever world ranking and he’s also currently the highest-ranked Indian golfer. He has gained nine spots in a week in which he led for three rounds of the $10 million WGC-Mexico Championship, before crumbling in the fourth round. Still, Sharma finished the tournament with a score of 10 under par (the winner, Phil Mickelson, was at 16 under) and pocketed $270,000.

Tell me more: Sharma, who turned professional at the age of 16 years, finished 2017 with a ranking of 202. This season, he’s the only two-time winner on the European tour, and his latest showing in a star-studded field at the WGC has catapulted him into the spotlight.



What is it? German chancellor Angela Merkel has secured her fourth term in power after Germany’s Social Democratic party (SPD) voted on Sunday to form another “grand coalition” government with Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

Why is it important? For Germany, this brings to an end nearly six months of political uncertainty and wrangling, the longest the country has been without a government post-war. For Europe, Merkel’s return means Germany will continue to play a major role in how things evolve in the continent, and that vision will be shaped by a strong element of continuity championed by Merkel and French president Emmanuel Macron.

Tell me more: In the German elections held in September 2017, though CDU and SPD emerged as the two largest parties, they both lost ground. The big gainer was the right-wing Alternative for Germany.


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