News in numbers, Mar 7, 2016: A dozen bills likely to be passed, terror alert in Gujarat…

~ $3 billion

What is it? The amount belonging to India, which was lying unused in an account managed by the Pentagon, the headquarters of the US Department of Defense.

Why is it important? Despite this, India has been paying the United States for new military purchases due to “ill-management” or “lack of attention”. This money was not earning interest. The amount was discovered last year and about 40% has been used to pay for committed purchases, saving the country around $700-800 million in foreign exchange.

Tell me more: According to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, the government also saved up to Rs 3,000 crore by tightening payment norms to Indian vendors, which include public sector units.

 

12

What is it? Number of pending bills likely to be passed in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in the ongoing Budget Session.

Why is it important? The outcome of a compromise between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress party, according to unnamed leaders from these parties. It is a surprising move given the disruptions in the working of the Parliament due to issues such as the suicide of a student at the Hyderabad University, the Jat agitations and the JNU row. The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha have spent just 9% and 8% of the Budget Session on legislative issues respectively so far.

Tell me more: The bills to be taken up, seven in Lok Sabha, and five in Rajya Sabha, does not include the important Goods and Services Tax Bill.

 

200

What is it? Number of National Security Guard (NSG) personnel sent from Delhi to Gujarat after the issuance of a terror alert in the state.

Why is it important? Indian officials say Pakistan’s National Security Advisor had provided intelligence inputs to his Indian counterpart regarding a possible terror strike by a group of 8-10 Lashkar-e-Toiba members in the state, particularly at “some coastal pilgrimage centres in Saurashtra or Kutch”. Ahead of ‘Mahasivarathri’, an important Hindu festival, the state government has stepped up security at all the main temples.

Tell me more: Delhi has also been put on high alert after inputs suggested the terrorists could have moved from Gujarat to Delhi.

 

75

What is it? Number of Rajya Sabha members who are to retire from the House between March and July this year.

Why is it important? This will let the ruling NDA muster enough numbers to pass the GST Bill by July 2016, according to Morgan Stanley. For the Bill to be passed, not more than 82 members must oppose it (assuming all 245 vote). Due to retirees this season, BJP would gain nine seats including seven by way of new appointees, while Congress would lose seven. This would result in those favouring the bill to increase from 97 to 110 and those opposing to 81 members.

Tell me more: The GST Bill is supposed to merge all central and state taxes into a single tax rate and if implemented well, it could boost economic growth by 2-2.5% and increase exports by 10-14%, according to a study.

 

Rs 2,494 crore

What is it? The aggregate cash recovery or security available with Kingfisher Airlines’ lenders, according to its chairman Vijay Mallya.

Why is it important? This is about a third of the total amount (Rs 7800 crore) the grounded airline and Mallya owe to a consortium of 17 lenders led by the State Bank of India. Mallya, in a media statement, said that despite pledging blue chip securities and depositing “significant amounts” in the court, he is being painted as the “poster boy of all bank NPAs (non-performing assets)”.

Tell me more: Of the total, Mallya said banks and their assignees have recovered Rs 1,244 crore from sale of pledged shares in cash, an aggregate of Rs 600 crore has been lying with the Karnataka High Court since July 2013 and another Rs 650 crore belonging to the United Breweries Holdings has been deposited with the court since early 2014.

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