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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Stress weighs banks down

Rs 1,000 – Rs 4,000 crore

What is it? The range of stressed assets for which state-run banks will restructure the debt into equity. For corporate bad loans above Rs 5,000 crore, companies will be referred to National Company Law Board to recover money under the insolvency and bankruptcy code.

Why is it important? Evolving a rule-based approach to deal with India’s Rs 10 trillion stressed assets problem could help in faster decision making, as bankers will feel secure that their decisions will not be scrutinised later by investigating agencies.

Tell me more: Restructuring debt into equity has not been successful, as lenders are not able to find buyers. If restructured loan is not sold within 18 months, banks will have to consider the exposure as bad debt.


1 million

What is it? The number of subscribers of the Employees Provident Fund Office (EPFO) who can avail home loan from the Housing and Urban Development Corp. Ltd (HUDCO) by using their retirement corpus lying with EPFO over the next two years.

Why is it important? This access to EPFO database will help HUDCO to better evaluate creditworthiness of borrowers as contribution and employment records are available with the retirement fund manager. For provident fund subscribers, they could use 90% of their corpus towards down payment or paying monthly installments.

Tell me more: Under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, borrowers with monthly family income upto Rs 12 lakh can avail maximum interest subsidy of 6.5% to buy houses.


> 10,000 people

What is it? The number of lives saved by Red Cross volunteers who safely buried Ebola victims in West Africa in 2014-15.

Why is it important? Community burials, when relations washed the body of Ebola victims, infected large number of people. A study estimates two people developed Ebola for every unsafe community burial. 11,310 people out of 28,000 people infected with Ebola died during 2014-15.

Tell me more: 1,500 Red Cross volunteers managed 50% of all burials during the outbreak.


3 million

What is it? The number of students studying in state-run schools whose learning outcome will be monitored through an annual government survey.

Why is it important? This will help monitor progress of students on regular basis as the current National Achievement Survey done by the National Council for Education Research and Training is done once in three years with a sample size of 200,000.

Tell me more: Only 28% of standard III children could do a 2-digit subtraction, and 43% can read standard I text, as per the survey conducted by Annual Status of Education.


Rs 16 lakh

What is it? Amount paid by a company to buy the registration number, ‘0001’ in Delhi.

Why is it important? A potential revenue source for transport departments to tap the craze to buy fancy vehicle registration numbers. The success was also because the Delhi auction was conducted online with no manual intervention.

Tell me more: So far, Delhi’s transport department has earned Rs 1.83 crore by auctioning ‘0001’ of different series between 2014 and 2017.

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