Press gagged?

Rs 2,052 crore

What is it? The value of the two post-dated cheques accepted by the Supreme Court from Sahara group, as an assurance of payment.

Why is it important? The amount is 18% of the Rs 11,169 crore sum still due to Sebi towards paying Sahara’s investors. The court has allowed both the auction of Sahara’s star property, Aamby Valley, and repayment through cheques. It fixed Aamby Valley’s reserve price at Rs 37,392 crore.

Tell me more: The court warned Sahara chief, Subrata Roy, present in the court, about being sent back to jail if the cheques bounced.




What is it? The number of oil and gas discoveries by the state-owned refiner Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) in FY17.

Why is it important? This is a jump of 35% from FY16 (17 discoveries). ONGC has struck liquid gold at a time when global oil discoveries fell to a record low (in 2016), according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Tell me more: The discoveries were a mix of both inland and offshore wells.




What is it? India’s rank  in the World Press Freedom Index, brought out by Reporters without Borders, this year.

Why is it important? India has slipped in the rankings, from the 133rd position last year. The organisation recognises the reasons as Hindu nationalists trying to root out so-called ‘anti-national’ thoughts from any public debate, driving more self-censorship among the media. According to the report, threats of dire violence have also manifested in local journalists being targets of armed forces at the behest of the Union government.

Tell me more: Norway, Sweden and Finland ranked the highest in press freedom, with the first two moving up in rank.



Re 1

What is it? Potential ticket size of gold purchase on Paytm.

Why is it important? Gold price per gram is Rs 2730 as on Wednesday. Paytm has announced that customers can buy gold for as less as Re 1, which is made possible because of unbundling and aggregation that can happen with digital products. Called Digital Gold, the product is launched by Paytm with a  tie up with MMTC-PAMP India.

Tell me more: One97, which owns Paytm, is also reportedly talking to Softbank to raise $1.9 billion, which would make it the largest fund raise in a single round in India in venture capital space.



< $10,000

What is it? The compensation United Airlines would give to passengers who are asked to give up their seats in overbooked flights.

Why is it important? The policy comes on the back of United facing a public relations disaster after it violently removed a passenger from one of its planes to accommodate crew members. While the degree of violence made that case exceptional, bumping passengers from overbooked flights are more common in airlines, and the compensation could set a new standard for such situations.

Tell me more: United also reached a settlement with Dr. David Dao who was dragged out of the plane.

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News in Numbers – May 20, 2016


What is it? Net sales growth of 1,500 companies listed in stock exchanges in three months ended March 2016.

Why is it important? Near flat sales could be early indicator of recovery. In three quarters between March and December last year, sales of the same set of firms contracted by 5% and 7%. Consumer oriented sectors like auto, entertainment, garments and infrastructure companies performed well.

Tell me more: Fall in value of Rupee helped software and pharma firms to post double-digit sales growth.


What is it? Increase in price of 1121 variety of Basmati rice in the last month to Rs 46 per kg in wholesale market.

Why is it important? The spike is due to impending rice ban to be imposed by Iran to protect its local farmers. The ban, which will be effective from July 23 this year, led to exporters signing contracts and export before the ban comes into force.

Tell me more: Basmati rice exports shrunk by 22% in dollar terms between April 2015 and February 2016. 1121 variety or known as PUSA 1121 rice is has dominant share in Basmati rice exports because of its grain length, aroma and non-sticky nature. For farmers, this variety needs less water and yields more.


What is it? The number of excess cancer-related deaths due to 2008-10 economic crisis in high and middle income countries.

Why is it important? Underlines the need for more government spending on healthcare. The 2008-10 economic crisis fueled unemployment, which in turn reduced the capacity of people to spend. This combined with absence of Universal Health Care led to deaths from cancer that could have been treated.

Tell me more: The data relates to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, a grouping of world’s richest countries.

4,700 acres

What is it? Land claimed to be owned by Sahara Group that’s up for sale now.  

Why is it important? The sale is to meet the Supreme Court conditions to grant bail to Subrata Roy, chief of Sahara group. The apex court has demanded Rs 5,000 crore to grant bail, and another Rs 5,000 crore as bank guarantee. This is after the Sahara group failed to repay Rs 20,500 crore of deposits deemed illegal by the market regulator.

Tell me more: The sale of land is spread across 14 states. HDFC Realty and SBI Capital are managing the sales.


What is it? The pass percentage of class 10 students in Bihar. The pass rate dipped by 28 percentage points from last year.

Why is it important? The sharp dip was due to measures taken by education authorities to curb cheating. This followed after pictures of mass cheating in an examination centre in Vaishali went viral.

Tell me more: Pass percentage of boys in Bihar was 54% as compared to 38% among girls – in contrast to the rest of the country where girls have higher pass percentage than boys.

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News in Numbers – September 29, 2015

News In Numbers: September 29




What it is: The extent to which the Indian government is willing to cut its stake in public sector banks


Why is it important: Bringing down government stake in public sector banks will help in two ways.  One, it will help government mobilise money from disinvestment so that budget deficit is contained. Two, it indicates the government’s intention of not willing to give up control over state-run banks.


Tell me more: Axis Bank was once controlled by government. After the government became a minority shareholder, the bank has grown to be one of India’s largest private sector players with Rs 120,506.72 crore market capitalization.


Rs 24,000 crore


What it is: Loans disbursed under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana


Why is it important: This scheme recently launched by the Indian government disburses loans to small entrepreneurs who find it difficult to raise capital for their businesses. The share of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) in Indian GDP (gross domestic product) was 37.54% in 2012-13. It employs nearly 80-100 million people.


Tell me more: The government wants to disburse loans totaling to Rs 1,22,000 crore to at least 2 crore people and 60% of Mudra loans would be given under the ‘Shishu’ category (credit up to Rs 50,000).




What it is: South India’s share of top 20 CBSE schools by Class XII score.


Why is it important: Shows that schools with excellent performance are not equally distributed across the country.


Tell me more: Of the top 20, seven are from Tamil Nadu, five from Karnataka, two from Kerala and one each from Jharkhand, Gujarat, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi and Andhra Pradesh. Interestingly, the share of south indian states in number of schools is 19% compared to Delhi’s 12.7%, which has the highest share among all states.


$3 billion


What it is: Size of defence deal signed between India and the US


Why is it important: This strengthens US’ position as India’s second largest arms supplier at a time when India is looking to become a global defence exporter. India is the largest (or the second largest) arms importer in the world.


Tell me more: In this deal, the Indian Air Force will buy 22 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and and 15 CH-47F Chinook multi-mission heavy lift helicopters.


Rs 44,000 crore


What it is: Bailout amount from British Virgin Islands-based Helvetica Group for Sahara Group


Why is it important: Shows Subrata Roy is making some progress in settling with the courts. But, one has to wait and watch.


Tell me more: The group has failed to comply with a court order to refund Rs 20,000 crore it raised from investors by selling bonds, which were later ruled to be illegal. Subrata Roy, founder of the group, and two directors have been in jail for nearly 18 months and their bail amount has been set at Rs 10,000 crore, half in cash and the rest as a bank guarantee. is a search engine for public data

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