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EU Fines Google. Again.

$5 billion

What is it?Fine imposed by European Union on Google for abusing its dominant position in Android operating system.

Why it’s important? European Commission said Google forced phone manufacturers to pre-install its search and Chrome apps in Android phones as a condition of using its app store Google Play. Android operating system has a market share of over 80%. This comes at a time when there are growing concerns about the big tech firms such as Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon.

Tell me more: Last year, EU fined Google $2.7 billion for abusing its position in search by favoring its own shopping sites against competitors. Earlier this year, India fined Google $21.17 million for a similar offence.

1.2 million tonnes

What is it?Likely Indian imports of pulses in 2018-19, according Indian Pulses and Grains Association.

Why is it important?If it falls to this level, it will be the lowest imports of pulses by India in the last two decades. It follows government’s decision to increase import taxes and impose quantity restrictions. Lower imports would raise the price of pulses, which would mean the government will have to pay out less as subsidies to farmers.

Tell me more: India is the largest importer of pulses and the move will adversely impact exporting countries such as Canada. In 2017-18, pulses imports fell by one million tonnes.

311 

What is it? The number of seats National Democratic Alliance has in Lok Sabha, 272 of them held by Bharatiya Janata Party.

Why is it important? With a clear majority, Narendra Modi government is set to clear the no-confidence motion, moved by the opposition and approved by the speaker on Wednesday. The exercise is expected to be used by the opposition to highlight its disappointment with government’s economic performance.

Tell me more: The Monsoon session of the parliament which started on Wednesday will have 18 sittings. The session is crucial for BJP, which has a handful of billsto pass before it faces elections next year.

22

What is it?The number of unarmed surveillance aircraft, MQ-9B Guardian, that India is in the process of buying from the United States.

Why is it important? Now, US has reportedly offered to sell armed version of Guardian, in a departure from its practice of selling armed drones only to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) countries. This will also be the first of its kind in South Asia.

Tell me more: India was in talks to buy 22 of MQ-9B Guardian from the US for $2 billion to watch over Indian Ocean.

4.7 to 7.3 percentage points

What is it?The temporary drop in the local GDPs of informal districts following demonetisationof 2016, according to a World Bank study.

Why is it important? The study, which used nightlight intensity to gauge economic activity said, “these shocks were temporary, so that their impact on the annual GDP of the affected localities was probably modest. But in the short-term the local impacts were sizeable.”

“The difference in local growth relative to a normal year was very small in urban districts, as well as in those with greater access to finance and with more prevalent regular wage employment,” the report said.

Tell me more: The impact of demonetisation on economic activity at the aggregate level was ‘small and short-lived’, the report said. “There is a dip in nightlight intensity, but it only lasts for about two months.”

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News in Numbers, Nov 1, 2016: Getting to the pulse of the problem…

120

What is it? The number of days a new variety of arhar dal (red gram or pigeon pea) – Pusa Arhar 16 – takes to mature. The dwarf pigeon pea has been created by scientists at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute.

Why is it important? This is less than the 160-270 days that other varieties (in use) take to mature without any loss in yield (20 quintals/hectare) and uses less water. Arhar dal is among the most widely consumed pulses in the country. The rates of pulses, a price-sensitive commodity, shot up to Rs 200 per kg last year and such a variety with a less maturity time could help plug the supply-demand gap in India. The government is hoping to release the variety for cultivation by January next year.

Tell me more: Domestic production of pulses declined to 16.5 million tonnes in 2015-16 due to two straight years of drought, falling from a high of 19.25 million tonnes in 2013-14. The government is targeting to increase pulses production to 24 million tonnes by 2020-21.

 

8

What is it? The number of terror suspects from the banned Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) who were killed in an encounter, according to Madhya Pradesh police officials.

Why is it important? These activists had killed a prison guard and escaped from the Central Jail in Bhopal, police officials said. However, there have been serious questions raised about the authenticity of the event after unverified videos of the shooting between the state police and the fugitives where the former are seen shooting at inert bodies (as opposed to the official version that the activists were killed in ‘retaliatory’ firing) while another one purportedly shows five of the suspects waving, which could mean that they were trying to turn themselves in.

Tell me more: SIMI is an Islamic terrorist organisation which aims to convert India into an Islamic nation and was set up in 1977 in Uttar Pradesh. The organisation is believed to have been responsible for the bomb blasts in commuter trains in Mumbai in 2006 and another in Gujarat in 2008.

 

40.2 lakh

What is it? The number of differently-abled people in the age group of 5-19 years who were attending educational institutions, according to new Census 2011 data released on Monday.

Why is it important? This is an improvement of 11% (in terms of attendance among the differently-abled population) since 2011 though it is still about 10% behind the enrolment numbers of the general population. Those with ‘any other disability’ had the highest share of people attending educational institutions (71.2%) followed by those with visual disability (68%) and hearing difficulty (67%). Those suffering from a mental illness had the lowest percentage of people attending classes.

Tell me more: There are about 65.7 lakh differently-abled people in the 5-19 age group in India of which 61.2% are attending educational institutions, 12.1% who had attended one earlier while 26.7% who had never attended any. There is a significant difference between the share of differently-abled boys attending educational institutions and that of girls: 56.7% compared to 43.3%.

 

Rs 4.48 lakh crore

What is it? India’s fiscal deficit (difference between government’s revenue and expenditure) in the first six months of 2016-17.

Why is it important? This is 83.9% of its total Budget estimate of Rs 5.34 lakh crore for 2016-17 compared to 68.1% of the budget in the corresponding period. This is the highest in the first six months of a financial year since 1998-99 mainly due to an increase in public spending and higher salaries. Government spending is important to boost economic growth even as the private sector remains cautious about investing in key sectors such as infrastructure due to high interest rates and debt levels.

Tell me more: Revenue inflows from disinvestment, black money scheme and the recently-concluded spectrum sale are likely to help the government achieve its fiscal deficit target of 3.5% of the gross domestic product.

€100 million (Rs 730 crore)

What is it? The reported remittances by Russian arms firms into accounts of companies controlled by arms dealer Sudhir Choudhrie, his family and close associates in 12 months, according to secret documents accessed by the Guardian and the BBC. British company Rolls-Royce has reportedly paid £10 million to firms linked to the businessman.

Why is it important? It is illegal to pay secret middlemen to win defence deals in India. This raises questions about the deals signed by India with Rolls Royce for procuring Hawk aircraft engines and its defence deals with Russia. The billionaire and former Delhi resident through his lawyers has told the BBC that he has not bribed government officials or acted as an illegal middleman in defence deals. Choudhrie has been investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate for any wrongdoing in the past.

Tell me more: Choudhrie’s name figures as one of the 23 “unscrupulous persons” on a list of “undesirable contact men” (compiled and disseminated by the CBI), whose authenticity has been challenged by him.

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A new airport ✈

News in Numbers – September 16

chandigarh-172617_1280

22

What is it? The number of international airports in India, following the addition of Chandigarh to this list yesterday.

Why is it important? India is one of the fastest-growing markets in world aviation. The creation of new airport pairs, as is expected to happen with the Chandigarh airport in the international segment over time, is a big lever of passenger growth.

Tell me more: In 2013-14, the Chandigarh airport serviced 9,690 domestic flights and 10.50 lakh passengers. In terms of flights serviced, it was the sixth busiest in North India, after New Delhi Jaipur, Lucknow, Srinagar and Amritsar.

 

$ 21.51 billion

What is it? India’s exports in August, down 0.3% from August 2015. Imports declined by 14%, helping India to narrow the trade deficit.

Why is it important? The headline number masks the relatively better performance of the top 5 export groups, barring petroleum products. Non-petroleum exports increased by 1.79% in August 2016.

Tell me more: Imports declined sharply because of 78% dip in gold imports, partly aided by sharp dip in gold prices. Non-oil and non-gold imports- a proxy economic indicator – declined by 1.52%.

 

-3.4%

What is it? The drop in share price of Reliance Communications yesterday, a day after it announced the merger of its mobile wireless business with a smaller company, Aircel.

Why is it important? Along with sharing additional details on the merger, Reliance yesterday said it planned to raise $1 billion from outside investors. Meanwhile, rating agency Moody’s placed the company’s credit rating under “review for downgrade”.

Tell me more: Over much of its listing, the Reliance Communications stock has been a value destroyer: overall, it has depreciated 84% since debuting in March 2006.

 

22 million tonne

What is it? The expected production of pulses this year, up 33% from last year.

Why is it important? Pulses shortage and the resultant rise in prices have been among the biggest concerns of the government and policy makers over the last few months. The government has more than doubled its buffer stock of pulses, and warned that it would invoke essential commodities act to impose price control. Higher production would alleviate those concerns.

Tell me more: The rise in pulses production (and food grains in general) is expected on the back of normal monsoon this season, coming after two years of drought. The area under food grain cultivation has gone up by 5.3 million hectare.

 

30

What is it? The number of lives lost to Dengue and  Chikungunya in Delhi this year

Why is it important? Over 2800 people have been affected by these two diseases in the capital alone, raising questions about government’s ability to manage public health.   Across the country, the number of cases has crossed 12,000. Both viral diseases cause fatigue, fever and body pain, and can last a couple of weeks. Complications can lead to death.

Tell me more:  Both diseases have been causing concern to public health officials across the world. There is no specific treatment for either, and vaccines have caused their own problems. According to WHO, there are 390 million dengue infections per year, and the year 2016 saw five fold increase in reported Chikungunya cases

 

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Some good news from our taxman

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News In Numbers: September 13

 Rs 153,000 crore

What is it? Central excise tax collections between April and August this year, registering a growth of 49%.

Why is it important? This is a lead indicator of the health of themanufacturing sector, which accounts for around 15% of Indian economy. Latest GDP numbers showed investments have declined in three months between April and June 2016. Combining these two numbers, we could say demand for manufacturing has picked up but not to an extent where producers think it would outstrip their spare production capacity.

Tell me more: Services sector too did well, reporting a 23% growth in April – August 2016. Services account for more than half of Asia’s third largest economy.

 -35%

What is it? The decline in share price of Cairn India since December 8, 2011, when metals and mining major Vedanta acquired 58.5% in it for $8.67 billion.

Why is it important? Yesterday, shareholders of Cairn India finally gave a nod to merge their company into Vedanta. This ended a multi-year period of uncertainty for Vedanta’s prized entry into the oil and gas sector, which first afoul of the government and then of Cairn shareholders.

Tell me more: During the same period, the BSE Sensex was up 72% and the BSE Energy Index was up 35%.

 2 million tonnes

What is it? India’s planned buffer stock of pulses up from 800,000 tonnes at present.

Why is it important? It will cost the government Rs 18,500 crore, twenty times more than the current allocation of Rs 900 crore in price stabilisation fund. It has to bridge the gap through other internal resources or from the market. The move is aimed at reducing the price of pulses which has shot up on the back of low domestic production in the last two drought ridden years.

Tell me more: Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on Monday that if the retail prices of pulses and certain other food commodities don’t come down, the government would invoke Essential Commodities Actto impose a cap on prices.

12,000 cusecs

What is it? The volume of Cauvery water that Karnataka has to release to Tamil Nadu every day till 20th September, per Supreme Court’s modified order. Earlier it had directed Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs per day till 16 September.

Why is it important? This has led to violent protests in Karnataka, resulting in destruction of property, and one death from police firing.  Bengaluru police imposed Section 144 on 16 areas in the city on Monday, restricting public assembly and movements. While Karnataka’s reservoirs were only 30% short of water, compared to 49% in Tamil Nadu, overall reservoir capacity in Karnataka is a fourth lower than Tamil Nadu’s.

Tell me more: In its modified order, the Supreme Court criticised Karnataka government for citing public unrest as a reason for seeking a change. “If we are allowed to say then we must say that the tone and tenor of the application is absolutely disturbing. Agitation, spontaneity or galvanized riot or any kind of catalystic component can never form the foundation for seeking modification of an order,” it said.

 22.28

What is it? The additional runs scored per test innings by Cheteshwar Pujara, as compared to Rohit Sharma, since India’s tour to Sri Lanka in July 2015.

Why is it important? In the recent past, captain Virat Kohli’s preference to play five bowlers has often resulted in the flamboyant but inconsistent Sharma playing over the dour but effective Pujara. Both were included yesterday in the squad for the tests against New Zealand later this month.

Tell me more: During this period, Pujara has scored 409 runs at an average of 45.44. By comparison, Sharma has scored 278 runs at an average of 23.16. Please share it with your colleagues, friends.

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