World’s Largest Oil Producer Is Not Russia



What is it? The number of exit polls (of three) predicting that BJP is likely to topple the Left government in Tripura, and consolidate its position in Meghalaya and Nagaland, where elections were recently held.

Why is it important? If these predictions come true, the BJP is likely to make significant inroads in the north-eastern region after having formed governments in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh post its win in the 2014 general elections. In Tripura, this would mean the end of the 25-year rule of CPI(M) and BJP’s maiden government with allies. In Nagaland, it would mean the likelihood of BJP and its ally, Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party, getting more votes than its former ally Naga People’s Front.

Tell me more: The Congress, which is in power in Meghalaya, is predicted to win fewer seats than National People’s Party by two exit polls.



What is it? The number of years in which the United States would overtake Russia to become the world’s largest oil producer, according to Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA). It could also happen as early as this year.

Why is it important? The increase in US oil production is happening at a time when other major producers, including Russia and members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, are cutting output to increase prices. This accord has been largely credited for the 50% increase in oil prices between mid-2017 and 2018. The US is not part of this deal, and its energy companies have wrested market share from those that are part of the pact.

Tell me more: Us crude output topped 10 million barrels per day (bpd) late last year, which happened for the first time since the 1970s, helping it surpass Saudi Arabia. The world’s largest economy is expected to register an output of over 11 million bpd by end-2018, which is likely to help it beat Russia to the first spot.


22 billion pounds

What is it? The amount that US cable leader Comcast has counter-bid for UK pay-TV group Sky, which is currently owned by media baron Rupert Murdoch, with a 39% stake.

Why is it important? Comcast’s bid is reportedly 16% higher than what Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox had previously agreed to pay to acquire the remaining 61% of Sky, even as it tries to complete the sale of a good part of itself to Disney. This puts a spanner in Murdoch’s plans in multiple ways as he has to find ways to preserve both the Sky and the Disney deals.

Tell me more: Murdoch’s plans have met with regulatory concerns on either side of the Atlantic: in the UK, about Murdoch controlling all of Sky, which augurs well for Comcast as it chases Sky; in the US, about the 21st Century Fox and Disney coming together.



What is it? The number of days within which state-run banks have been directed by the finance ministry to take pre-emptive action to improve their oversight of operational and technological risks.

Why is it important? This comes after India’s second-largest public sector bank Punjab National Bank (PNB) said it was hit by a Rs 11,400-crore fraud about two weeks ago. On Monday, PNB said the amount of fraudulent transactions could rise by another Rs 1,300 crore, resulting in its stock tumbling 13% yesterday, taking its total loss to 34% since it made public the Nirav Modi fraud. Lenders are expected to identify current oversight weaknesses, come up with a report on how to improve standards/practices, besides asking the boards of the banks to “assign clear accountability” for implementation and compliance.

Tell me more: The ministry has also directed public sector banks to investigate all non-performing assets of over Rs 50 crore for any possible fraud and report those cases to the Central Bureau of Investigation.


10 years

What is it? The number of years between Roger Federer’s fourth and the fifth Laureus Sportsman of the Year awards. Yesterday, the world’s number men’s singles tennis player won the 2018 award.

Why is it important? The 10-year gap is testimony to Federer’s longevity at the pinnacle of tennis and caps a stellar 12 months or so, in which the 36-year-old won three grand slams and became the oldest number one men’s singles player. Federer’s fifth Laureus win also takes him clear of Usain Bolt (4) and Novak Djokovic (3).

Tell me more: Federer also won the Comeback of the Year award, taking his overall Laureus tally to six—the most by any sportsperson in the awards that were instituted in 2000. Serena Williams won the Sportswoman of the Year award, taking her Laureus tally to 5.


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Test not the licence to kill ⚠


What is it? The number of bills listed for introduction, consideration and passing in the Monsoon session of the Parliament to be held between July 17 and August 11.

Why is it important? Important and controversial bills like Whistle Blower Protection (Amendment) Bill that exempts 10 categories of information including cabinet proceedings, and Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill that makes giving a bribe an offence will be introduced during the current session.

Tell me more: The productivity in the Lok Sabha during the Budget session was 108% (a third of it spent on legislative business) while that in the Rajya Sabha was 86% (a fifth of it spent on legislative matters).



What is it? The percentage of people who did not take a test to get a driving licence across 10 cities, according to a survey by road safety advocacy group, SaveLife Foundation.

Why is it important? The high share of people obtaining licences by illegal means highlights the extent of corruption in the licensing system and how this issue is likely a major reason for road accidents and injuries in the country. On an average, 17 people were killed every hour in 2015 and nearly three-fourths of the road accidents were caused due to overspeeding (41%) and dangerous/careless driving (32.2%) in the same year.

Tell me more: About 88% of the respondents did not take the driving test in Agra and the corresponding numbers for Jaipur, Guwahati, Delhi and Mumbai are 72%, 64%, 54% and 50% respectively.



What is it? The number of Wimbledon titles won by Roger Federer so far.

Why is it important? The Swiss player has created a record by winning the most number of Wimbledon titles, surpassing Pete Sampras and William Renshaw who won their seventh Wimbledon titles in 2000 and 1889 respectively. As Croatia’s Marin Cilic struggled with an injury, this was the most one-sided Wimbledon final in 15 years and Federer just took 1 hour and 41 minutes to defeat his opponent.

Tell me more: With his first Wimbledon final victory since 2012, he extended his record 19 Grand Slam titles and at 35 years 342 days, he became the oldest man to win a Wimbledon title in the modern era.



What is it? The number of votes with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), headed by the BJP for the presidential election.

Why is it important? This is around 12,000 votes short of majority in the electoral college for the presidential vote, where total votes number 1,098,882. But the expected support of regional parties such as the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and the YSR Congress could shore up the numbers for a majority for NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind. Votes would be counted on July 20.

Tell me more: The incumbent president, Pranab Mukherjee, had secured 713,763 in the 2012 elections.



What is it? The number of pending cases in courts where the Indian Railways (IR) is a party to, according to records in the Legal Information Management and Briefing System.

Why is it important? The railways account for the majority of the 135,060 court cases of the government. Of these cases, 10,464 cases are pending for over 10 years. The cases involve service matters, disputes with private parties, other government departments or public sector units. IR’s cases increased by 13.5% from 2016’s records of 58,735 cases.

Tell me more: The finance ministry comes second in number of litigations with 15,646 cases. The railways also lead in contempt cases, including flouting of judicial directions, failure to file affidavits or appear before the court, with 241 cases (out of 369 contempt cases).

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News in Numbers, Jan 25, 2017: Deep-pocketed rival rattles leader

Rs 503.7 crore

What is it? Bharti Airtel’s consolidated profit for the third quarter of fiscal 2017.

Why is it important? The lowest profit since the quarter ended December, 2012, shows the largest telecom player is far from being immune to market forces. The sector again has a competitor, Reliance Jio, with deep pockets dragging other players into a price war. Bharti Airtel, like its counterparts, has had to take deep cuts in its voice and data tariffs to counter its promotional run. Demonetisation-driven cash crunch also affected its prepaid customers while the devaluation of the Nigerian currency raised losses from its African operations.

Tell me more: Bharti Airtel’s average revenue per user fell close to 7% from the second quarter to Rs 123. Its consolidated revenue at Rs 23,364 crore, dipped year-on-year for the first time.


Rs 660.5 crore

What is it? The interest waiver for November and December, 2016, for farmers who have taken short-term loans from cooperative banks.

Why is it important? The government will be taking on an additional Rs 1,060.5 crore liability besides the FY17-budgeted Rs 15,000-crore for the Interest Subvention Scheme, to make amends for the demonetisation impact. It was ill-timed as farmers could neither encash their cheques from the recent sale of their Kharif crops nor buy resources for their next Rabi sowings, making it difficult to serve their loans. They had been given additional 60 days to repay crop loans but this waiver could be a much-needed breather. Those who have paid, would get their amounts refunded.

Tell me more: The National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (Nabard) has gotten the nod to facilitate cooperative banks. It will make short-term borrowings of Rs 20,000 crore at market rate to lend it to them at 4.5% interest rate so more loans can be disbursed.



What is it? The Grand Slam semi-finals Roger Federer would have played in, after his quarter-final win over Germany’s Mischa Zverev, at the Australian Open, on Tuesday .

Why is it important? Could signal a comeback for the Swiss great from last year, riddled with a knee injury. Unable to play since his withdrawal from the 2016 French Open, he had earlier never missed a Grand Slam since 1999. He goes up against fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka whom he has defeated 18 times of 21 matches they have played.

Tell me more: At Australian Open, Federer has appeared in 12 semi-finals, with the thirteenth cued.


$8.03 billion

What is it? The aid requested by the United Nations for 2017 to help Syrians, both refugees and within Syria.

Why is it important? The amount for Syria forms 31% of UN’s total humanitarian aid plea for 2017. Terming the Syrian people’s crisis as far from over, the UN asked for $4.63 billion for food, rent, education and healthcare of 4.7 million Syrian refugees and their 4.4 million hosts in five neighbouring countries: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. The remaining $3.4 billion would bring life-saving resources to 13.5 million Syrians still in the country.

Tell me more: Hosts are helping Syrian refugees with very few in camps. In Syria, 13 besieged areas have650,000 people cut off from aid.


Rs 7,832.98 crore

What is it? The income of political parties, both national and regional, from unknown sources between FY05 and FY15.

Why is it important? The amount comprising 69% of the total declared income of political parties in the 10 years, show the scope black money and illegitimate means of funding have in our democracy. The demonetisation move brought into sharp focus the need to monitor funds received by political parties with voices advocating a receipt-only approach. However, the Supreme Court turned down a plea earlier this month to make it mandatory for political parties to declare all sources of income, not just those from donors giving above Rs 20,000 as is the law.

Tell me more: The Delhi thinktank, Association for Democratic Reforms, studied IT returns with the Election Commission to arrive at the amount. National political parties were brought under the RTI Act in 2013 but are yet to comply.

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