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Mission: Nab Tax Evaders

 

It’s mission ‘catch tax evaders’ for the income tax watchdog. And justifiably so, as the number of tax evaders have doubled in the first half of 2017 over last year. TRAI is backing the open and free internet. Over 10% of all the medical products sold in low and middle income countries fail due to substandard quality, says a WHO report. And, in the golfing world, master golfer Tiger Woods is back in action, again.

 

1.16 lakh

What is it? The number of individuals and firms who have received income tax notices for having made cash deposits of above Rs 25 lakh in bank accounts post-demonetisation but failing to file returns.

Why is it important? The number of people violating income tax laws have more than doubled to 609 in the first six months of 2017-18, from 288 in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal. The number of convictions of those violating tax rules has gone up from 13 to 43 in the same period. Earlier this year, the department had decided to launch a large-scale data project by matching information in different databases to nab tax evaders.

Tell me more: A total of 2.4 lakh people who have made deposits of Rs 10-25 lakh and not filed returns are set to receive similar notices in the second phase.

 

11

What is it? The number of months since the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) released a consultation paper seeking to establish a net neutrality framework in India.

Why is it important? On Tuesday, the telecom regulator published a set of recommendations supporting the basic principles of open and free Internet. Its suggestions include prohibition of discriminatory content, excluding content delivery networks (telecom firms providing content within their network without accessing the public Internet) from regulation and the setting up of a watchdog to enforce net neutrality.

Tell me more: The International Telecommunication Union, a specialised agency of the United Nations, has formed a group of experts to look into the issue of net neutrality. Recently, the Federal Communications Commission in the United States released a proposal to end net neutrality regulations championed by former President Barack Obama.

 

10.5%

What is it? The rate of failure in all medical products used in low-income and middle-income countries, according to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Why is it important? A model developed by the University of Edinburgh estimates that 72,000 to 169,000 children may be dying each year due to the use of substandard and falsified antibiotics, while another estimates that substandard and falsified anti-malarials account for 116,000 additional deaths per year from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. About 3.16% of drugs sold in India were found to be ‘not of standard quality’ while 0.0245% were found to be spurious, according to the first such survey carried out by the health ministry recently.

Tell me more: In the last four years, WHO has received 1,500 reports of cases of substandard or falsified products, of which antimalarials and antibiotics were the most common ones.

 

3

What is it? The number of chairpersons that Air India has had in 2017. On Tuesday, the government announced Pradeep Singh Kharola would be replacing incumbent Rajiv Bansal as the new chairman and managing director of the state-run airline.

Why is it important? The recurrent change at the top is the exact opposite of continuity, which a business on the comeback trail needs. But the government move could also be planned with the objective of executing the complex task of privatising Air India, which it announced earlier this year and has commenced work on.

Tell me more: Kharola, 56, is an IAS officer from the 1985 batch and Karnataka cadre. An engineer by education, Kharola has had 27 stints since joining the civil services in August 1987. His last posting was Managing Director at the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation.

 

9

What is it? The number of months after which Tiger Woods will return to competitive golf, in yet another effort to return from yet another surgery. On Thursday, Woods, 41, will tee off at the Hero World Challenge, a tournament where his charity foundation is a key beneficiary.

Why is it important? His last comeback effort, in February, ended after just 18 holes. Once on pace to become the most decorated golfer ever in terms of number of majors, Woods has been beset by marital, legal and injury problems. A mellowed Woods, who has been seen on team managerial duties during this absence as a player, has confessed he has little idea on how effectively he might return from injury.

Tell me more: Woods has 14 majors, the second most in the history of golf, after Jack Nicklaus (18 majors). The last time Woods won a major was in 2008.

 

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News in Numbers, Mar 02, 2017: Hiring to strain finances 💰😓

Rs 295-299

What is it? The price band of shares of Avenue Supermarts, owner of the profitable supermarket chain, D-Mart, that would be sold in its initial public offering starting March 8.

Why is it important? The upcoming IPO, worth Rs 1,870 crore, has evinced interest as it is one of the few organised retail chains, especially in grocery segment, which makes a profit. In 2015-16, it made a profit of Rs 321 crore on a revenue of Rs 8,605 crore.

Tell me more: While Maharashtra and Gujarat contribute over 81% of its revenue, D-Mart also has footprint in Telangana, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh.

 

4-52%

What is it? The sales growth range of passenger cars across seven manufacturers in February, 2017.

Why is it important? Passenger car sales are picking up after being hit in the last two months of calendar 2016, following the cash crunch. A measure of consumer discretionary spending, the growth was fuelled by higher shipments to dealers and new models for some manufacturers.

Tell me more: Growth for Ford India was the highest at 52%, albeit on a small base of 8,338 cars. Maruti Suzuki, selling 120,735 cars, managed to grow in double-digits over 2016. Mahindra and Mahindra was the only company to report a decline of 13% owing to demonetisation.

 

56.67 million

What is it? The number of Indians suffering from depression, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Why is it important? India has only 0.3 psychiatrists per 100,000 population, whereas incidence of depression is 4.5% of the population. Lack of mental health facilities, and concentration of doctors and hospitals in urban areas, mean a large number of people with mental health issues will go untreated for a long time.

Tell me more: The total estimated number of people living with depression increased by 18.4% between 2005 and 2015, according to the ‘Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders — Global Health Estimates’ report.

 

2.8 lakh

What is it? The number of hiring by central government in next financial year starting April 2017.

Why is it important? This will bloat government expenses and potentially suck money away from developmental schemes, unless tax revenues match the increased outgo. Salaries (excluding defence personnel) and pension payment totals Rs 317,529 lakh crore, or 25% of tax collections in 2017-18.

Tell me more: Current size of central government employees is 3.53 million.

 

Rs 2,500 crore

What is it? The amount of black money declared so far under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY). The last date under this scheme is March 31, 2017.

Why is it important? Tax authorities have identified 1.8 million taxpayers who have deposited more than Rs 5 lakh in cash during the two months’ period in November and December when old high value notes were replaced with new ones. Tepid response to the scheme could be an indicator these taxpayers are confident of explaining their sources of income, or waiting till the end of this month.

Tell me more: A flat tax rate of 50% would be levied on income declared under the PMGKY, and another 25% will be parked in an interest-free deposit for four years.

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Chart of the Day | The Demographics of Suicides in India

On Monday, the Rajya Sabha passed The Mental Health Care Bill, 2013 which effectively nullified an earlier law (IPC Section 309) that made suicide attempts punishable. It’s doubtful if the law against attempted suicides had any impact at all. India had the highest number of suicides across the world in 2012, according to World Health Organisation (pdf). Admittedly, the absolute numbers reflect the billion plus population. But even as a ratio, with 21.1 suicides per 100,000 people in 2012, India is among the most suicide prone countries. The chart below gives a break up of suicide rates across age groups and gender. Except in the age group of 15-29, suicide rates among men are much higher than among women.

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News in Numbers, July 18, 2016: Kashmir valley tense, 3 Indian sites on UNESCO heritage list…

3

What is it? The number of Indian sites that got selected to be part of UNESCO’s World Heritage list.

Why is it important? This is the first time any country has got three sites in this list in a single session of UNESCO’s committee meeting. Not only does this tag help promote global recognition and tourism but also helps in increased protection of cultural and natural places for future generations to enjoy. Now, India has a total of 35 sites on the list, of which 27 are cultural, seven are natural and one is in the ‘mixed’ category.

Tell me more: The three sites chosen from India include Chandigarh’s Capitol Complex, Sikkim’s Khangchendzonga National Park and Nalanda University in Bihar.

 

2,000

What is it? The number of additional Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel rushed to Kashmir valley.

Why is it important? This is in addition to 2,800 troops of the CRPF sent to the region to tackle violence that erupted after the killing of Burhan Wani, a terrorist based in the valley, last week. The situation remains tense after 41 people were killed and over 2,000 were injured in the clashes that broke out between protesters of Wani’s killing and the security forces. There have been raids and clampdown on printing and distribution of newspapers to prevent flaring of further violence.

Tell me more: Mobile phone and internet services have been disabled in many parts of the state and schools and colleges that were to reopen tomorrow after the summer holidays have got a week’s extension.

 

1,068

What is it? The number of polluting units and industries that the Telangana industries department wants to shift out of Hyderabad city limits by December 2017.

Why is it important? Though different governments have tried to shift the factories outside the city limits for the last 15 years, they haven’t been successful due to opposition from the businesses. If successful, other state governments could follow suit to de-congest the major cities that face similar problem. Among five metros including New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, Hyderabad’s air quality index was the worst at 10 pm last night, as per the US Embassy and Consulates’ air quality monitor.

Tell me more: The government will hold consultations with industries and manufacturing units for the shifting out and housing them in industry-wise clusters and has agreed in principle, to provide certain concessions to them including tax rebates and easy land conversion.

 

Rs 20,000

What is it? The maximum compensation air passengers in India will be eligible for, in case of cancellation of a flight or denying them boarding, effective from August 1.

Why is it important? This is five times the maximum compensation air travellers are allowed in such cases, and is likely to force airlines to improve their on time performance and have a re-look at their overbooking strategies. As many as 1,873 people were denied boarding in the month of May, besides 7,165 cancellations and 87,323 delays, for which airlines gave a total compensation of Rs 192.4 lakhs.

Tell me more: For denied boarding, the compensation is up to Rs 20,000 while for cancelling or delaying a flight by over two hours would make travellers eligible for up to Rs 10,000. The compensation varies depending on factors such as the number of hours of delay or cancellation and alternate flight arrangements.

 

57%

What is it? The percentage of people who claimed to be allopathic doctors in 2001 but did not have any medical qualifications, according to a recent World Health Organization (WHO) report.

Why is it important? Highlights the extent of quackery in India and the need for stronger rules to tackle this, besides taking measures to increase the number of medical seats. The country is already battling low density of health workers. The doctor-patient ratio is less than 1:1000 – the recommended limit by the WHO – by the Indian government’s own admission.

Tell me more: The rural areas are worse off where just 18.8% of the allopathic doctors had a medical qualification. Overall, less than a fourth (23.3%) of all health workers had medical qualifications as per the 2001 Census.

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