Marathas Rally For Reservation 

$524 million 
What is it?Non-bank loans and deposits in Swiss banks by Indians, according to Bank for International Settlements (BIS).

Why it’s important? This is down 34.5% from $800 million in 2016, and was cited by finance minister Piyush Goyal in the parliament to say the efforts to curb black money by NDA government have been successful. This comes a month after the government faced flak on data released by Swiss National Bank, saying money parked by Indians in Swiss Banks went up by 50% to over Rs 7000 crore in 2017. Goyal said locational banking statistics by BIS is a better indicator of money held by Indians in Swiss Banks.

Tell me more: According to BIS, the non-bank and deposits in Swiss banks by Indians have been coming down year after year – from $2.6 billion in 2013, to $2.3 billion in 2014 and $1.4 billion in 2015.




What is it?The number of protest rallies held by Maratha community since July 2016, starting at Aurangabad, Maharashtra.

Why is it important?The protests seeking 16% reservation in government jobs and education have been mostly peaceful, but took a violent turn, leading to the death of a constable. On 23rd, a 28 year old protestor Kakasaheb Shinde-Patil committed suicide by jumping into the Godavari river during protests at Aurangabad District, and that was followed by suicide attempts by two more protesters. Maratha Kranti Morcha, which is organising these protests, has called for a bandh in Mumbai-its 60th – on Wednesday.

Tell me more: Marathas are the dominant caste group in Maharashtra, and data shows they are better off than other groups. However, there is a rising sense of insecurity among the community members who believe that the future is in jobs and education rather than farm incomePatidars in Gujarat and Jats in Haryana have earlier protested for reservations.


$12 billion 

What is it? Aid promised by the Trump administration to United States farmers hit by the ongoing trade wars.

Why is it important? Republican party has traditionally opposed such government assistance. US president will not need approval from Congress for the giveaway, and will use US Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Credit Corporation. Some observers believe it is a temporary measure that will give President Trump enough time to reset the trade policies. Critics said the move might violate World Trade Organisation rules and could distort the market.

Tell me more:  US is fighting a bitter trade war with China, a country that imported $12.3 billion worth of soybeans from United State’s, more than half the country’s soybean exports. US agri exports were $138 billion in 2017. Earlier this year, India signed deals with 8 countries, including US, for farm exports.




What is it?Growth in sales expected by paints industry in 2018-19 as result of reduction in Goods and Services Tax by ten percentage points.

Why is it important? Last year, the industry grew by about 9%. The recent cut in GST rates for 50 products, including refrigerators and other electronic goods, is expected to bring down prices and drive sales.

Tell me more: Some industry players have raised concern over the impact of input tax credit under the revised rates. Domestic sanitary napkins makers, for examples, fear that loss of input tax credit will cancel the benefits of zero GST on the product. The government in planning 46 amendments to GST law to address some of the concerns.




What is it?The number of people killed by wildfire in the resort town on Mati, near Athens in Greece.

Why is it important? This is the worst wildfire to hit the country since 2007, when similar fires led to death of 46 people. The drying out of undergrowth and foliage thanks to heat waves (it’s the fourth hottest year on record) and wind blowing at the speed of 50 miles per hour are two of the key causes of wildfires.

Tell me more: Greek government has deployed 500 firefighters and approved $23 million in relief.

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News in numbers, Oct 26, 2015: Firms’ net sales slowest since Q4 FY09, India’s pension index…


What is it? Sales growth between July – September 2015 of a sample of 109 companies sampled.

Why is it important?  It’s slowest pace since March 2009.  Industry accounts for 30% of India’s GDP. A sluggish sales growth will put downward pressure on meeting government’s target of 7.5% GDP growth this fiscal. Agriculture is in trouble already because of successive deficit monsoon. The net profit of these companies though grew 4.74% aided by lower commodity prices.

Tell me more: Another study of 154 companies (excluding banks, non-banking finance companies and financial services firms) that have declared their September quarter results show nearly sales decline of 12%.


15 years

What is it? The tenure of annuity that would be paid to corporates for building and maintaining sewage networks in 118 towns and cities that pollute river Ganga.  

Why is it important? Might improve execution. The project to clean up river Ganga had suffered from poor implementation. Between June 2011 and June 2014, only 28% of projected spending was disbursed.          

Tell me more: Only 45% of wastewater from 30 class I cities (population more than 100,000) that line-up river Ganga. Among 14 class II cities, below 33% of wastewater is treated. The river is lifeline for India as it supports 40% population, accounts for 25% of water resources, and 90% of water is used for irrigation.     


Rs 5

What is it? The price of a BGR-35 tablet, a herbal drug to treat diabetes

Why is it important? The herbal drug, jointly developed by two state-funded laboratories – National Botanical Research Institute and Central Institute for Medicinal and Aromatic Plant, will be commercially produced and marketed by a private pharma company. Diabetes could emerge as endemic in India with more than 62 million diabetic individuals currently diagnosed. A cheaper and safe drug locally produced could lead to savings.

Tell me more: The drug claims to have 66% success rate under clinical trials, and scientific study has shown it to be safe.



What is it? India’s score under the Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index. Of the 23 countries compared, India scored the lowest.

Why is it important? With people living longer and retirement age remaining same, a low pension index reflects poor financial security post-retirement. Denmark, which scored the highest, has state-funded minimum pension scheme, which is supplemented by ‘means-tested’ pension benefit. The report suggest minimum support for poorest aged individuals and increasing coverage of unorganized working class.

Tell me more: India’s score fell from 43.5 in 2014 on account of downward revision of household savings rate.


13.91 lakh

What is it? The number of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) that needs to be replaced before 2019 Lok Sabha elections. This represents more than 80% of current stock of EVMs.   

Why is it important? This would require Rs 2,000 crore in a staggered manner so that new EVMs are sourced. Difference of views between the government and the Election Commission of India is holding up release of funds for replacing the EVMs. Government saying its too early to source given fast advancement of technology, and Election commission claiming there may not be capacity to source large numbers in short period of time.

Tell me more: Bharat Electronics Limited and Electronics Corporation of India – the two state-run entities – are the suppliers of EVMs in India.

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