Facebook’s “Big Mistake”


What is it? The number of US products that China has levied additional tariffs on, though it has not announced the effective start date yet.

Why is it important? China took less than 11 hours to hit back at the United States, which proposed 25% tariffs on about 1,300 Chinese products, whose imports to the US are in the region of $50 billion. This has heightened fears of a global trade war, and rattled investors and fueled market fears.

Tell me more: Washington has targeted products that benefit from China’s industrial policy, while Beijing’s list picks out signature US exports such as soybeans, frozen beef, cotton and other agricultural products grown in states that voted for President Donald Trump in the 2016 elections.


87 million

What is it? The number of Facebook users whose personal information might have been improperly shared by the social media giant with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

Why is it important? The new number was disclosed by Facebook chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer in a blog post yesterday, and is an increase over the 50 million number that has been cited in news reports so far. Of this, 70 million were Americans and 0.6 million were Indians. Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg will testify before a US Parliamentary panel on April 11.

Tell me more: As of December 2017, Facebook had 1.4 billion daily active users, a number that increased 14% in 2017.



What is it? The number of startups reportedly funded under the Startup India initiative, of the 6,981 startups recognised by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) as on February 6, 2018.

Why is it important? A Parliamentary committee report has expressed grave concerns about the gap between the number of startups recognised by the DIPP and those that have received funding and tax exemptions. Only 82 entities have been certified for claiming tax exemptions under the Income Tax Act, 1961. With such progress, it seems like a steep climb for the DIPP to achieve its target of facilitating and supporting 1,000 startups by March 2019.

Tell me more: According to a recent poll by community-based social networking platform LocalCircles, 80% of respondents said they have not benefited from the government’s Startup India plan.



What is it? The share of American Depository Receipts (ADRs) in ICICI Bank’s shares.

Why is it important? The bank and its top management are at the risk of facing a class action lawsuit in the United States by holders of the lenders’ ADRs, according to a note by brokerage firm Jefferies. ICICI Bank’s chief Chanda Kochhar is facing the heat for her alleged involvement in the financial dealings between the bank, Videocon Group and her husband Deepak Kochhar’s firms.

Tell me more: The bank has refused to hire external agencies to conduct an independent investigation into the nepotism allegations against Kochhar.


19 minutes

What is it? The number of minutes in a passage of play in which English football club Liverpool slammed three goals past Manchester City in the first leg of their quarter-final match in the Champions League.

Why is it important? The burst helped Liverpool win 3-0 and put them in the driver’s seat for the return leg in Manchester in a week’s time. All season long, teams have struggled to match up to Manchester City in the English Premier League, with the result that the club holds a 16 point lead with seven games left, and is poised to break the 100-point mark.

Tell me more: City’s only loss in the EPL this year at the hands of Liverpool in January, in the same ground where they lost yesterday.


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The Tariff War Is On




What is it? The number of people who died in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan as protests against the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, turned violent on Monday.

Why is it important? Dalit organisations called for a Bharat Bandh on Monday after the Supreme Court on March 20 expressed concern over the misuse of this law, which aims to protect marginalised communities against discrimination and atrocities, and diluted some of its provisions. The Central government yesterday moved the Supreme Court seeking a review of the March 20 order.

Tell me more: The Central government has sent 800 anti-riot policemen to Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh to quell the violence. In 2016, 40,801 cases were recorded of crimes/atrocities by non-SC/STs against SC/STs.


$3 billion

What is it? The value of American exports to China, across 128 products, on which the latter placed additional tariffs beginning Monday. China is imposing a 15% tariff on 120 products and 25% on eight other products.

Why is it important? This is ostensibly a retaliatory response by China to the twin US trade moves in March: new duties on steel and aluminum imports, and initiating the process to target $50 billion of Chinese imports with tariffs. China had announced this hours after the $50 billion move by the Donald Trump administration, and it followed through yesterday, escalating the trade standoff that is brewing between the US and the rest of the world.

Tell me more: In 2017, the US received goods worth $505 billion from China, while sending goods worth $130 billion to China.



What is it? The revised fiscal deficit target as a percentage of GDP (gross domestic product) in 2017-18.

Why is it important? The government has expressed confidence that India’s fiscal deficit will be within target, mainly due to buoyant direct tax collections and a record disinvestment year that has seen the government raise over Rs 1,00,000 crore. It added the fiscal deficit target has been met without any major expenditure cuts and that there were natural savings as some departments could not spend all the money allocated to them by March 31.

Tell me more: In the Budget for 2018-19, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had revised the fiscal deficit target for 2017-18 to 3.5% of GDP, from 3.2%.


Rs 2.11 trillion

What is it? The recapitalisation plan announced by the Central government for public sector banks announced last October.

Why is it important? The government would reportedly not announce such a massive plan for state-run lenders again. This means banks need to find alternative sources of funding such as selling of non-core assets and merging with each other, in a move that signals a major consolidation in the public banking sector. The government is reportedly working on a plan to create 3-4 global-sized banks and reduce the number of state lenders to 12.

Tell me more: Stressed loans, which include non-performing assets and restructured loans, increased to Rs 9,50,000 crore at the end of the December quarter, from Rs 9,46,000 crore at the end of September.



What is it? The number of points by which German club Bayern Munich lead the Bundesliga, the top-flight German football league, with six games to play.

Why is it important? On Saturday, in spite of this seemingly insurmountable lead, Bayern put out their best side in a 6-0 drubbing of arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund. On Wednesday early morning India time, Bayern will meet Spain’s Sevilla in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and the German side will be looking to stamp their presence in a tournament where they have gone under the radar despite their imperious domestic form.

Tell me more: Although Bayern has won the Champions League twice since 1993, when the format was changed, the last time it won was in 2013.


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US-China Face Off?

$375 billion

What is it? The trade deficit the US had with China in 2017: the US received goods worth $505 billion from China, while sending goods worth $130 billion to China.

Why is it important? On Thursday, US president Donald Trump said he had asked his trade department to impose tariffs on at least $50 billion of goods coming from China. This was Trump’s second move to wrest more favourable trade terms for the US, after the tariff on steel and aluminium.

Tell me more: Like the first move, this one too goes against the established global trade order, and has triggered fears of retaliatory action and trade wars. The Dow Jones fell 3% on Thursday, even as experts iterated that the trade deficit number was actually lower than $385 billion.


What is it? The number of cases related to the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots for which the Uttar Pradesh government has reportedly initiated the process to withdraw them.

Why is it important? These include 13 murder and 11 attempt to murder cases. Some of the cases include charges under Indian Penal Code sections related to “heinous” crimes, which are given a minimum of seven years of jail time. The state will withdraw cases if they are “politically motivated”, according to Uttar Pradesh minister of law and justice Brijesh Pathak.

Tell me more: At least 62 people died in the riots, with thousands losing their homes in September 2013. The then-state government ruled by the Samajwadi Party filed 503 cases against around 1,455 people in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli.

Rs 20 lakh

What is it? The amount up to which gratuity will now be tax-free.

Why is it important? On Thursday, the Indian Parliament passed the Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2017, to double this limit for purposes of calculating tax liability. Government employees will be a major beneficiary and is in line with the Seventh Pay Commissiondoubling the gratuity limit for them to Rs 20 lakh.

Tell me more: Gratuity is the monetary benefit received by employees who complete at least five years of continuous service in an establishment that has 10 or more persons are eligible to receive gratuity. It is paid for by the employer and is calculated in the following manner.

$3.5 billion

What is it? The reported investment by the Indian Oil Corporation in the 2018-19 financial year.

Why is it important? This investment, which would be done using internal resources, would be to upgrade and expand refineries, which is important for India’s biggest oil refiner to maintain its lead. Private fuel refiners have increased their market share in diesel and petrol sales to 8.2% (from 0.2% in 2013-14) and 6.8% (2.3%) respectively in 2017-18.

Tell me more: Last year, Indian Oil had said it would invest $4.7 billion over the next 5-7 years.


What is it? The foreign investment cap India plans to have in niche defence technologies under the automatic route, up from the current 49%. As of now, anything above the current limit is decided on a case-to-case basis.

Why is it important? This is to reduce dependence on imports and aim for self-sustenance in development and local manufacturing of indigenous weapon systems. India, which is the world’s fifth largest defence spender, is also the biggest importer of arms, accounting for 12% of global imports between 2013 and 2017.

Tell me more: The government is looking to increase domestic production in this sector by nearly three times to Rs 170,000 crore by 2025.

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