News in Numbers, Jan 5, 2017: What’s in your drink?


What is it? The number of impurities that a nanotechnology-based ‘dip-strip’ developed by a group of Indian researchers can detect in milk.

Why is it important? The test, which can be performed by anybody, is more affordable (mass production cost of each strip would be nearly 25 paise) and less time-consuming, and said to be a better alternative to the other tests such as infrared-based and chromatographic methods. Last year, the Supreme Court pulled up the food regulator for not taking enough action to prevent adulteration in milk and said that the government must revisit the Food Safety and Standards Act to revise the punishment so that it can act as a better deterrent.

Tell me more: A nationwide survey conducted by the food regulator in 2011 revealed that over two-thirds of the samples were found to be nonconforming to the prescribed standards and it was alleged that in some states, up to 100% of the milk samples were adulterated. The technology that has been developed can detect impurities such as urea, detergent, maltodextrin, sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide.



What is it? The number of observers the Election Commission (EC) will deploy in five poll-bound states – Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Goa.

Why is it important? These observers, drawn from the Income Tax (IT) department of the Indian Revenue Service or IRS (200), the Central Excise and Customs Department of the IRS (150) and other central services, are to check the use of black money and other illegal inducements during the polls. The tax authorities have also been asked to strengthen their Air Intelligence Units to check the flow of illegal cash and other items. The Financial Intelligence Unit has also been directed to inform the EC and the IT department of any suspicious deposits of cash in these states.

Tell me more: The EC announced the campaign election expenses limit per candidate for the five states on Wednesday – Rs 20 lakh Goa and Manipur and Rs 28 lakh in Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. Elections in Uttar Pradesh will be held in seven phases between February 11 and March 8, Punjab and Goa will go for polls on February 4, Uttarakhand on February 15 and Manipur in two phases on March 4 and March 8.


Rs 14.97 lakh crore

What is it? The amount the banks have reportedly received in high-value currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 as of December 30, the last day for depositing the banned notes.

Why is it important? This is nearly 97% of the total value of money (Rs 15.44 lakh crore) withdrawn from November 9, raising questions about the usefulness of the exercise of demonetisation. One of the major criticisms of the government’s move to withdraw these high-value currency notes has been that it would not help fight the black money battle. This could also mean that people have found ways to channel their money into the banking system though the Income Tax department has been conducting a nationwide drive against black money hoarders. Some have argued that money coming into the system is not a bad thing, because it’s now accounted for.

Tell me more: As of January 1, the department had reportedly detected undisclosed income of Rs 4,663 crore and seized Rs 562 crore (this included Rs 110 crore in new notes). This was a result of 556 surveys, 253 searches and 289 cases of seizures besides issuing 5,062 notices to entities for tax evasion and hawala-like dealings.



What is it? The number of one day international (ODI) matches cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni has captained, of which he won 110 – a win percentage of 59.57%.

Why is it important? On Wednesday, the skipper announced his decision to step down as the ODI and T20 captain of the Indian cricket team, a move that took many by surprise. He has captained India in 72 T20 matches, winning 41 of these. Popularly known as ‘Captain Cool’, he holds the record for most matches (331 across all formats) as captain of an international side and is the only captain to have won International Cricket Council trophies – ODI World Cup, World Twenty20 and Champions Trophy.

Tell me more: The 35-year-old batsman-wicketkeeper, who hails from Ranchi in Jharkhand, had made a similar shocking announcement to quit Test captaincy in 2014 midway through a tour of Australia. Test captain Virat Kohli is highly likely to be named to lead the Indian cricket team in other formats as well.



What is it? The number of human organs including the most recent discovery – mesentery, which has existed in the digestive system for centuries.

Why is it important? Although its function is not clear yet, with further research, it could help in the understanding and treatment of abdominal and digestive diseases. The findings say that it is also unclear if mesentery should be viewed as part of the intestinal, vascular (circulatory system), endocrine (collection of glands that produce hormones to control certain functions), cardiovascular or immunological systems because it has important roles in all of them.

Tell me more: The new organ, a fold of the peritoneum that connects the intestine to the abdomen, was earlier thought to be made up of separate parts. The discovery that mesentery is a single structure was made by Irish researcher J Calvin Coffey in 2012 and along with his team, he studied the part to prove that it should be classified as an organ.


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