News in Numbers, Feb 14, 2017: 😍 Indians 💖 Taxes

60,000

What is it? People who have responded online to Income Tax department’s request for e-verification and explanation of deposits after demonetisation.

Why is it important? As the IT department gears up to mine data gathered after demonetisation with sophisticated data analytics to unearth tax evaders, some from the first wave of online respondents have even agreed to pay tax arrears. The IT department has been trying hard to allay fears of undue persecution by first resorting to online queries for 1.8 million depositors, so that the honest taxpayer can explain deposits without bearing the brunt of an IT notice.

Tell me more: So far 200,000 people who had received the IT clarification request online have logged in. Before demonetisation, the IT department had sent 60,000 notices for large dubious non-Pan card transactions in September even as the – for tax compliance was going on.

 

5

What is it? Number of Grammy awards that British artist Adele won for her album ‘25’ in 2017.

Why is it important? In the world’s most prestigious music awards, the 28-year-old Adele became the first ever to win twice the top three coveted categories of album, record and song of the year, this time for her album and the ballad, “Hello”. She had won in 2012 for her album ‘21’. She also won Best Pop Solo Performance and Pop Vocal Album this year.

Tell me more: She beat Beyonce, who led with nine nominations for her influential album, ‘Lemonade’, on racism and feminism, but acknowledged the artist in her acceptance speech.

 

33,000 feet/10 km

What is it? The depth of the trenches in the Pacific Ocean where organisms were found with high levels of man-made pollutants, according to a report in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.

Why is it important? Man-made pollution has not spared even the deep sea. Shrimp-like tiny amphipods, Hirondellea gigas, were found in two of the ocean’s deepest trenches that were still 7,000-km apart, to contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), commonly used as electrical insulators and flame retardants.

 

Tell me more: Pollutants were found in every single sample, regardless of depth, regardless of species, according to the report’s lead author. He likened the contamination levels to that of Japan’s Suruga Bay, one of the most polluted northwest Pacific industrial zones. Given the sampled creatures are voracious scavengers feeding off any debris floating down to the depths, the concentration could be from contaminated fish remains and accumulation on sea-beds.

 

3.17%

What is it? Retail inflation in January 2017.

Why is it important? It is the lowest in the last five years, driven primarily by slowing of rise in food prices. Food inflation was 0.53% in January, compared to 1.37% in December. Core inflation (comprising of non-food, non-fuel items) however was the highest since October 2014, which likely prompted the Reserve Bank to maintain its benchmark interest rates in the recent monetary policy review.

Tell me more: Among the states, Jammu and Kashmir recorded the highest annual inflation for the month at 7.01%, followed by Delhi (6.32%) and Himachal Pradesh (5.92%).

 

2

What is it? The number of judges who will be delivering their judgement on the disproportionate wealth case against VK Sasikala, Tamil Nadu’s ruling party AIADMK’s general secretary.

Why is it important? A split verdict by the Supreme Court would extend the political tension in the state, even as fight the between O Panneerselvam the state’s chief minister and VK Sasikala who wants to occupy that chair intensifies. If the court rules against Sasikala, that is, if declines to uphold the earlier High Court acquittal of AIADMK chief, it would strengthen the hands of Panneerselvam, who by many accounts, has the support of voters, but not (at least, explicit) support of party MLAs.

Tell me more: The two judges P C Ghose and Amitava Roy are expected to deliver separate judgements on Tuesday. If there is a split verdict, the case will move to a third judge.

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News in Numbers, Feb 06, 2017: It takes seven to play fair

7 out of 10

What is it? Countries which voted in favour of the motion at the International Cricket Council (ICC) to remove the ‘Big Three’ model of revenue-sharing between member country cricket boards and the ICC, introduced in 2014.

Why is it important? The vote, in line to get ratified in ICC’s April board meeting, will replace the Board Of Control For Cricket India’s (BCCI) claim to ICC’s highest revenue share. The ICC will likely move towards a more equitable distribution of its earnings among member countries, away from the controversial rule implemented in 2014 that gave India the lion’s share of 20.3% of ICC global revenues, followed by England 4.4% and Australia 2.7% in the 2015-2023 revenue cycle. The rule was based on the argument that these three were more influential in the game and brought in more revenue for the ICC.

Tell me more: India’s old ally Bangladesh and the other two beneficiaries voted against while Sri Lanka was the only country to vote with India, for the Big Three. Zimbabwe did not vote.

 

61 days

What is it? The number of days O Panneerselvam held office as chief minister of Tamil Nadu after the death of his predecessor J Jayalalithaa

Why is it important? Panneerselvam’s resignation from his post on Sunday to let VK Sasikala succeed him comes amidst widespread frustration in the state. In his brief stint as chief minister, Panneerselvam had gained respect for his refreshingly different approach from the autocratic style of Jayalalithaa and for the way he handled the aftermath of cyclone Vardha and protests over Jallikattu. Sasikala, on the other hand, has no experience in administration, has not won any election so far, and faces a court case over accumulating disproportionate wealth.

Tell me more: Panneerselvam’s earlier terms as chief minister lasted longer. He held the office for 161 days after Jayalalithaa was forced to resign by the Supreme Court in 2001, and for 235 days after Jayalalithaa was sent to prison by a special court in 2015.

 

Rs 60,000 crore

What is it? The annual cost of Delhi’s traffic congestion.

Why is it important? Preventing traffic congestions in Delhi could mean saving Rs 60,000 crore for a region which contributes over 4.12% to the country’s GDP. The stakes could even increase to Rs 98,000 crore by 2030 according to a study by IIT Madras, as fuel wasted in idling vehicles, productivity loss, injury from air pollution and road accidents compound the loss further.

Tell me more: Productivity loss on bus commutes was found toconstitute 75% of the total cost and dedicated bus lanes could shave off 50% from the future economic toll traffic would take.

 

1,131

What is it? The number of migrants intercepted by the Libyan coast guard off its shores through last week.

Why is it important? Shows Libya is taking efforts on its own to curb the flow of illegal migrants, leaving their sub-Saharan countries for European shores. The migrants from last week are a fraction of the number of migrants pouring in Libya to travel onwards. Opportunist human smugglers have made Libya a hotbed of abuse and exploitation, with many migrants dying on the sea due to inhuman conditions of transport. The numbers have made European countries offer Libya aid to try and curb such entries.

Tell me more: Libya became the entry-hub for illegal migrants looking to cross the Mediterranean over to Europe after Turkey andGreece shut off theirs.

 

7

What is it? The number of times the winner of Directors Guild of America Award for directing a feature film did not go on to win an Oscar the same year since its inception in 1948

Why is it important? This year, Directors Guild award went to Damien Chazelle who directed La La Land, a musical starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone – indicating that the much coveted Academy Award will also go to him. La La Land which first hit the cinemas in November has 93% on movie rating aggregation site Rotten Tomatoesand has earned $223.5 million at the box office

Tell me more: La La Land has won 14 Oscar nominations. The winners will be announced on 26th February during the awards ceremony at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California.

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