Treating The Cause

8 million

What is it? The number of lives that can be saved in low- and lower-middle-income countries by 2030 if investments are increased in non-communicable disease control, according to a report.

Why is it important? Besides saving lives, this could also gain financial benefits up to $350 billion by the next 12 years by scaling up investments in preventing and treating chronic diseases (such as cancer and heart disease), which would cost an additional $1.27 per person per annum. It says that for every dollar invested for the same could return at least $7 by way of increased employment, productivity and longer life.

Tell me more: Non-communicable diseases are the leading cause of mortality in the world. In 2015, of the 56 million global deaths, 40 million were due to this group of diseases.


What is it? The number of thermal power plants, of a total of 114, had a coal stocks of less than seven days, as of May 14.

Why is it important? Private producers such as Tata Power Company and Jindal Power can now switch suppliers of coal, which would help in addressing supply shortages and optimise transportation and generation costs. Earlier, power producers could source coal only from the entity they had signed a pact with. The savings generated from this optimisation has to be passed on to distribution companies/consumers.

Tell me more: This exercise will be voluntary on the part of the thermal power plants.


What is it?The number of years in which India has sent a minister to North Korea. The Indian Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh is on a two-day visit to the country.

Why is it important? This follows the signs of thaw in the Korean Peninsula. However, on Wednesday morning, North Korea threatened to pull out of a summit with US President Donald Trump if his country insists that it give up its nuclear weapons. The United States is hopeful that the meeting will take place in Singapore as scheduled on June 12.

Tell me more: India and North Korea explored the possibilities of cooperation in areas such as agriculture, pharmaceuticals and traditional medicines, besides agreeing to strengthen people to people contact through cultural and educational exchange.


What is it? The number of days before which B S Yeddyurappa, leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has to prove his majority in the state assembly.

Why is it important? BJP emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats, eight short of a simple majority. With the other two major parties – Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) or JDS – coming together, Yeddyurappa cannot prove the majority unless he weans away some newly elected legislators from Congress or JDS. If BJP was able to do it, such MLAs will be disqualified under the Anti-Defection Law, which prohibits legislators to disobey the directive of the party.

Tell me more: three-member bench of the Supreme Court heard a petition filed by the Congress party opposing the Governor’s move inviting BJP to form the government. The hearing, which started at 2 AM on Thursday and lasted for four hours, will resume tomorrow at 10.30 AM.


What is it? The proposed pension amount per month for building or construction workers after they reach 60 years.

Why is it important? This is the first time building and construction workers will receive pension, as per the proposal published by the Labour Ministry. Workers will be eligible only if they have paid premium for at least five years.The draft also has provisions for supporting the education of workers’ children and health insurance.

Tell me more: 13 percent of all male workers are engaged in construction industry in 2011-12, as compared to 2 percent in 1977-78, as per Statistics Ministry. States levy one per cent cess on cost of construction under the Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Cess Act. Till December 2017, Rs39,152 crore has been collected but only Rs10,123 crore was utilised.

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News In Numbers – August 4


News In Numbers: August 4



The median forecast of the repo rate—the rate at which the central bank lends money to banks—for 2015-16 by 27 professional forecasters surveyed by it in June 2015. The repo rate currently stands at 7.25%, and the Reserve Bank of India, as part of its monetary policy review today, is unlikely to cut this key indicator of interest rates. In calendar 2015, the RBI has cut the repo rate thrice, each time by 0.25 percentage points. Even if it pauses, lower interest rates remain the expectation for the next 18 months: in the same RBI survey, the 27 forecasters predicted a median repo rate of 6.75% in 2016-17.



Of the total funds committed by members of Parliament (MPs) in the last 14 years towards rehabilitation after major natural disasters, less than 40% has been utilised. Under the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme scheme, MPs can recommend up to Rs 1 crore for disaster rehabilitation. They had committed a total of Rs 250 crore since the 2001 Gujarat earthquake, of which, only Rs 99 crore has been used. As many as 21,975 people have died in India between 2001-02 and 2010-11 in major natural disasters.



Prices of crude oil, as represented by Brent futures, fell below the $50 a barrel mark on Monday, the first time since January. On the one hand, there is lower demand from China, which has been powering growth in the world economy. On the other, the expectation is that oil-rich Iran, following the removing of western sanctions, will increase supply in the market. Lower crude prices are good for India, which imported $116 billion worth of this commodity in 2014-15, or 25% of its overall imports. In 2015-16, for April and May, India’s import bill under this head was $13 billion.



The average capacity utilisation of thermal power plants in 2015-16 (till June), continuing a consistent decline. In 2009-10, this was as high as 77.5%. The largest decline in plant usage has been in plants run by private players, followed by those run by state governments and Central governments, respectively. In its first-quarter results yesterday, central government company National Thermal Power Corporation announced a 7% drop in power generation and 6% drop in revenues due to lower demand from cash-strapped state distributors of electricity.



Of the 353 million Internet users in India as of June 2015, 127 million are local language Internet users, according to a survey by the Internet and Mobile Association of India and IMRB International. The total digital advertising spend in India is estimated to be Rs 3,575 crore by December 2015, of which digital ad spends in local languages are projected to have a share of 5%. In India, 122 languages are spoken. Of this, Hindi has the maximum share (41% of total population), followed by Bengali (8.1%) and Telugu (7.9%). is a search engine for public data


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