The Right To Die With Dignity

5

What is it? The number of judges on a Supreme Court panel who reaffirmed that passive euthanasia is legal in India, besides allowing the execution of living wills of those suffering from chronic diseases and likely to go into a permanent vegetative state.

Why is it important? In a landmark judgment, the top court upheld the right to die with dignity and said that it is a fundamental right. Although passive euthanasia has been legal in India since 2011, since the judgment was delivered on the Aruna Shanbaug case, the government is yet to pass a law to that effect. The court said it will lay down guidelines on how laws should be drafted and implemented to prevent their abuse.

Tell me more: Passive euthanasia is when you allow the patient to die who is on complete life support or in a vegetative state and cannot live without medical treatment. Active euthanasia is when steps are taken to end the life of a person who is terminally ill.

3 GW

What is it? The cumulative solar capacity of projects whose tendershave been reportedly cancelled in 2017-18.

Why is it important? This is said to be due to new tax increases on solar companies since last July when the GST (goods and services tax) was introduced and India’s proposal to levy a 70% tariff on solar equipment made in China, Malaysia and the West. This raises questions about India achieving its target of 100 GW of installed solar capacity by 2022.

Tell me more: In a related development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted the first meeting of the International Solar Alliance on Sunday. French President Emmanuel Macron, who is on an India visit as well, said an investment of $1 trillion is required to achieve 1 TW (terawatt) of solar capacity by 2030.

35,000

What is it? The number of farmers from across Maharashtra who reached Mumbai on Monday after a four-day walk to demand for the complete waiver of their loans and for the acceptance of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations.

Why is it important? This is the latest in a number of farmer protests to occur in the state, mainly due to a delay in the rollout of the loan waiver scheme, the decrease or projected decline in production of some key crops and a government failure/delay in fulfilling other promises made to the agrarian sector. As of March 6, the state government has passed on Rs 13,782 crore as loan waivers to 35.68 lakh farmers out of a total 89 lakh farmers expected to benefit from the scheme.

Tell me more: Last year, 2,144 farmer suicides were reported from six divisional commissionerates across the state between January 1 and October 31.

5

What is it? The number of years for which Chinese president Xi Jinping has been in power.

Why is it important? The 64-year-old Xi, whose second and last term as the president of China was to end in 2023, can now remain president for longer, even for life. This change came on Sunday after China’s National People’s Congress scrapped presidential term limits, a 36-year-old provision that allowed a president a maximum of two terms. US President Donald Trump recently also joked about being a president for life.

Tell me more: In the voting held on Sunday, 2,957 ballots were cast in favour of the change, while three delegates abstained and two voted against.

0

What is it? The number of times in three innings that South African batsman AB de Villiers has been dismissed by Australian bowlers in the ongoing test series.

Why is it important? On day two of the second test match, de Villiers ended with an unbeaten 126. This follows his 71 not out in the first innings of the first test match; in the second innings of that match, he was run out. His unbeaten effort yesterday put South Africa in the driver’s seat in the second test and served a reminder of his importance to its batting line-up.

Tell me more: Since his comeback in the test format, AB de Villiers has scored 461 runs in 10 innings, the highest among South African batsmen.

Read More

Supreme_Court_of_India_-_Retouched

Disorder, Disorder!

 

Last week, Indians saw something that will go down in the pages of judicial history. Four Supreme Court judges addressed a press conference about their rift with the Chief Justice of India, while breaking the judicial protocol. Though, the act undermined the veracity of India’s apex court, it also left several questions unanswered than it answered.

7

What is it? The size of the delegation from the Bar Council of India, led by its chairman Manan Kumar Mishra, meeting Supreme Court judges.

Why is it important? In an unprecedented move, four senior-most Supreme Court judges alleged that Chief Justice Dipak Misra was not following established rules to allocate cases among judges. They added this was adversely affecting the judicial delivery system. After meeting with one of the four aggrieved judges, Mishra said it was an internal matter and that a solution would be found in 2-3 days.

Tell me more: At an emergency meeting convened on Saturday, the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) passed a resolution to “express grave concern” over the differences the four senior-most judges have with the Chief Justice. The SCBA President handed a copy of the resolution to Misra, who said he will look into it. Separately, four retired judges have written an open letter to Misra saying they agree with the issues raised by the four working judges and that the issue needs to be resolved within the judiciary.

 

6

What is it? The number of days for which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in India, beginning Sunday.

Why is it important? This is his first visit to the country and also the first trip by an Israeli leader to India in 15 years. Netanyahu is accompanied by the largest-ever business delegation (130) to travel with an Israeli leader where executives from companies in defence, cyber and agriculture sectors seek to pursue deals with India. The visit is also seen as a means to deepen diplomatic ties. Though India has been known to vote against Israel in the United Nations, the former has increasingly abstained in issues relating to the Middle Eastern nation in the last two years.

Tell me more: Bilateral trade between the two countries has increased to $4.16 billion in 2016, from $200 million in 1992 when they established diplomatic ties.

 

4

What is it? The minimum number of years for which the World Bank would correct and recalculate national rankings of business competitiveness in the annual report titled ‘Doing Business’, according to its chief economist Paul Romer.

Why is it important? This raises questions about the authenticity of the rankings. Romer made a personal apology to Chile, whose rankings have dipped from 34 to 57 in the last three years. This review could impact India, whose rankings have jumped to 100 in 2018 from 140 in the previous year, the biggest improvement among all countries. After assuming power in 2014, the Narendra Modi-government had set a target of breaking into the top 50 in these rankings.

Tell me more: Romer said the World Bank had changed the methodology of calculating the ranks of countries repeatedly in ways that were unfair and misleading.

 

36

What is it? The number of players who have set their base price in the Indian Premier League (IPL) auctions, to be held on January 27 and 28, at the maximum of Rs 2 crore.

Why is it important? As the eight IPL franchises look to rebuild, with the IPL completing 10 years and all players barring 18 going into the selection pool, the Rs 2 crore set is where the top players and the team mainstays reside. It comprises 13 Indian and 23 overseas players, and franchises are expected to vie for their services, stretching their budgets. After completing their permissible player retentions, the eight teams have anywhere between Rs 47 crore and Rs 67.5 crore to complete their squads from 1,122 players who have registered for the auction.

Tell me more: So far, 18 players have been retained by the eight teams. Royal Challengers Bangalore spent the most on one player: Rs 17 crore to retain Virat Kohli, making him the most expensive player in IPL history.

 

139:10

What is it? The swap ratio set for the merger between Capital First and IDFC Bank, announced on Saturday. Shareholders of Capital First, a non-banking finance company, will receive 139 shares of IDFC Bank for every 10 shares held by them.

Why is it important? IDFC Bank is paying top money—on Friday, the market capitalisation of Capital First stood at Rs 8,266 crore and that of IDFC Bank at Rs 23,019 crore—to buy itself growth and scale, especially on the retail side. It had tried to do the same with the Shriram Group, but that deal fell through in October 2017.

Tell me more: Post merger, V Vaidyanathan, currently chairman and managing director of Capital First, will take over from Rajiv Lall as managing director and CEO of the combined entity. And Lall will step into the role of non-executive chairman of IDFC Bank.

 

Read More

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.

 

 

23

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.

 

 

136

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.

Read More

Deadly mountain roads

Rs 7,400 crore

What is it? The worth of 30 properties of the Sahara group, many of which conglomerates have evinced interest in buying.

Why is it important? The auction, reportedly in its early stage, will not appease the Supreme Court, even if the entire money raised is deposited with it. The court turned down the proposal and insisted on the group selling its expansive Aamby Valley project as it had failed to meet the apex court’s timeline for depositing Rs 5,000 crore. Aamby Valley’s value is reportedly between Rs 34,000-39,000 crore, while the Sahara group says it is over Rs 1 lakh-crore. The 30 properties, which includes Lucknow’s Sahara Hospital, would fetch around 50% (Rs 14,779 crore) of the amount still owed to investors as per Sebi’s instructions if not sold in a hurry, and less if they are.

Tell me more: Knight Frank, the realty consultants, in India, has been tasked with carrying out the sale. The interested buyers include Tatas, Godrej, Adani, Patanjali, realty developers Omaxe, Eldeco, Indian Oil and Apollo Hospital.

 

44

What is it? The death toll in the bus crash near Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.

Why is it important? India’s killer roads become deadlier with altitude. The bus veered off a mountain road and plunged into a river, killing those onboard. In 2015, as many as four hilly states figured among 10 states with the highest severity (deaths in every 100 accidents), even though compared to cities and metros in other densely-populated states, traffic is less in such states. Himachal Pradesh had 36.4% severity while neighbouring Uttarakhand 59.9%.

Tell me more: Two people travelling on the bus were able to escape by jumping off before the bus fell.

 

6

What is it? The number of places in Arunachal Pradesh for which China has announced its own names and spellings – in Chinese, Tibetan and English.

Why is it important? This is being seen as China’s retaliation for theDalai Lama’s visit to the Indian state. China’s foreign ministry spokesperson mentioned the move as reflecting and explaining its claims on ‘Southern Tibet’, China’s name for Arunachal Pradesh. While India is yet to respond to the reaffirmation of China’s territorial claim, it had refuted the latter’s objections to Dalai Lama’s, the Tibetan spiritual leader visit, saying there was no political motive to it and was religious.

Tell me more: It was the Dalai Lama’s second visit to the state that stirred up such a storm.

 

1.6 million

What is it? The number of voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) units to be bought by Election Commission.

Why is it important? The election commission wants to ensure that by 2019 general elections, all polling stations have electronic voting machines with VVPAT units, which will confirm to the voters that their votes were registered accurately. The machines will cost Rs 3,173 crore. The cabinet approved the funding on Wednesday.

Tell me more: These machines will be manufactured by state owned Bharat Electronics and Electronics Corporation of India.

 

4,000 kgs

What is it? The weight of payload that can be carried by Indian Space Research Organisation’s new rocket GSLV-Mk III.

Why is it important? It’s almost double the weight of the heaviest payload that Indian rockets launched so far. The first developmental flight of GSLV-Mk III (D1) is scheduled to take place next month. The second developmental flight is likely to happen a year from now. It would reduce India’s dependence on other countries to launch heavier satellite, besides creating more opportunities for revenue generation.

Tell me more:  The first developmental flight will take communication satellite GSAT 19, which will also monitor the effect of radiation on the satellite and electronic equipment.

Read More