Kharif Deficit


What is it? The deficit in Kharif plantation this year compared to last year due to rainfall shortage, according to data released by the agriculture ministry.

Why is it important? The government has cited the shortfall of 8% rainfall as the reason for the lower plantation. In Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the rains are deficient by 19% or more.

Tell me more:The Kharif season is mainly rain-led, and the four-month monsoon is critical as more than 50% of the agricultural land in India lacks irrigation and is rainfall-dependent. Among Kharif crops, only the area under sugarcane (a crop requiring extremely high amount of water) is higher than last year.


What is it? The number of political parties opposed to simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly elections.

Why is it important?At a consultation meeting held by the Law Commission, as many as 9 parties objected to the proposed move to hold simultaneous elections, while 4 parties supported the move. The two national parties, BJP and Congress, stayed away from the consultations.

Tell me more:This is the Law Commission’s second set of deliberations on the subject to get political opinions from across the spectrum. It gains significance in view of the speculation on whether the four assembly elections slated to be held in the next 6-8 months in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram could be delayed or advanced to kick-start the first step towards synchronizing them with 2019 elections.


What is it? The percentage amount by which dues of big wilful defaulters of Punjab National Bank (PNB) fell.

Why is it important? Bank data has shown that dues from big wilful defaulters has fallen to Rs 15,354 crore on June 30, against Rs 15,490 crore last month. According to PNB, big wilful defaulters are those who have borrowed more than Rs 25 lakh and haven’t paid back, even though they have the ability to do so.

Tell me more:The public sector bank has been grappling with mounting non-performing assets, scams and frauds. PNB also witnessed a sharp decline in asset quality, with gross non-performing assets amounting to 18.4% of gross advances at March end.

What is it? The number of students enrolled in the Cambridge Assessment International Education (CIE), a provider of international qualifications, from India.

Why is it important?This represents a 50% increase in student enrollment from India since 2013, as parents are looking at international qualifications for their children. Higher enrollment in CIE is increasing the number of schools (420 in 2017) that offer this international qualification. These schools, in general, charge much higher fees than other private schools.

Tell me more:Assuming that each of the 67,000 students spend an average of Rs 10,000 per month, the 420 schools would earn Rs 804 crore in one year.


What is it? The number of South Korean women who protested against pervasive use of spycam pornography.

Why is it important? South Korea has the world’s highest penetration of smartphone at 95% of population, and this wide access coupled with high-speed internet has created a wave of online porn videos using spycams. The protestors were demanding stricter punishment for offences.

Tell me more:The number of spycam crimes in South Korea increased to 6,500 in 2017, as compared to 1,100 in 2010. Creating sexual images via spycam can attract a jail term of 5 years or a fine of $8,970. In reality, protestors at the female-only protests say, convicted people receive lighter punishments.

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For Indian Lenders, Dominoes Have Started Falling

Rs 842.15 crore

What is it? The alleged defrauding of a consortium of lenders, led by the State Bank of India, by Kanishk Gold, a Chennai-based jewellery chain. A case has been reportedly registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Why is it important? The modus operandi seems to be similar to that of other cases that have surfaced recently: the accused fleeing the country to escape prosecution after failing to repay bank loans. The promoters and directors of Kanishk Gold, Bhoopesh Kumar Jain and his wife Neeta, Jain are believed to be in Mauritius currently.

Tell me more: The firm first defaulted on interest payments to eight banks in March 2017; by next month, no payments were made to all 14 lenders. Along with interest, the firm’s total dues to banks would be over Rs 1,000 crore.

3 to 4

What is it? The number of times the US central bank expects to increase interest rates in 2018.

Why is it important? On Wednesday, the US Federal Reserve, meeting for the first time under new chairman Jerome Powell, raised the benchmark lending rate a quarter-point, signaling a continuity of the direction laid out by his predecessor Janet Yellen. The rate will now hover in a band of 1.50% to 1.75%, against 1.25% to 1.5% previously, and forecast a steeper path of hikes in 2019 and 2020.

Tell me more: US central bankers have projected a median federal funds rate of 2.9% by end-2019 and 3.4% by 2020.

Rs 24,000 crore

What is it? The accumulated losses of Flipkart as of March 2017, up from Rs 10,000 crore a year ago.

Why is it important? This is about half the total amount it has raised so far (nearly Rs 40,000 crore or $6.1 billion), which shows how much it cost Flipkarts to keep up with deep-pocketed Amazon India and the new entrant in the two-horse race, Alibaba Holdings-backed Paytm Mall. Walmart is reportedly planning to buy a third of Flipkart for $7 billion, which would mean a renewed fight between the US retail giant and Amazon in India.

Tell me more: Flipkart’s revenue growth slowed down in the year ending March 2017 to 29% (to Rs 19,855 crore), against 50% growth in the previous year. It also recently asked its sellers to deal with 60% of discounts during sales.


What is it? The number of political parties—BJP, Congress and JD(U)—that Ovleno Business Intelligence has claimed to have worked with. Ovleno has a joint venture called SCL India with London-based SCL Group, which is the parent of Cambridge Analytica.

Why is it important? Cambridge Analytica, a British data analytics firm, is in the eye of a storm in three countries—India, the US and UK—for reportedly harvesting data of 50 million Facebook users beginning in 2014. BJP and Congress are accusing each other of having availed the services of the controversial firm during various elections.

Tell me more: The LinkedIn profile of Ovleno’s former directorclaims to have helped BJP “achieve target of Mission 272+”, a reference to its stunning victory in 2014 General Elections. Interestingly, the website of Ovleno was suspended as of Wednesday evening.


What is it? The number of runs by which Scotland were trailing West Indies under the run-rate system in the ICC World Cup Qualifiers when rains terminated the match.

Why is it important? As a result, West Indies were declared winners, and they booked one of the two spots for the 2019 World Cup in England. When the match was called off, Scotland needed 75 from 14.4 overs, with five wickets in hand.

Tell me more: Who joins West Indies in Sunday’s final and to 2019 will be determined by the remaining two matches in the Super Six phase. Three teams are in contention: Zimbabwe, Ireland and Afghanistan—.

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Coal India Loses Decades-Old Monopoly



What is it? The number of years within which a Tribunal to be set up is expected to settle the Mahanadi Water Dispute. The Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved the proposal for adjudication of this dispute.

Why is it important? This comes less than a month after the Supreme Court had directed the central government to set up a  tribunal to resolve this dispute. Odisha had moved the court in December 2016, seeking an order for Chhattisgarh to stop the construction activities of its projects on the upstream of Mahanadi. The latterdid not want the setting up of a tribunal and pointed to the 1983 agreement between Odisha and Madhya Pradesh (Chhattisgarh was a part of it until 2000) to settle the matter.

Tell me more: According to the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956, the tribunal would consist of a Chairman and two members nominated by the Chief Justice of India from among the judges of the top court or high court. In addition, two water resources experts will advise the tribunal.


Rs 1.11 trillion

What is it? The total amount outstanding of loans taken by wilful defaulters (with loans of over Rs 25 lakh) in which lawsuits have been filed, as of September 30, 2017.

Why is it important? This figure stood at Rs 28,416.93 crore four years ago. At that time, nationalised banks accounted for nearly a third of the total amount outstanding in the accounts of wilful defaulters, which leaped to 58.7% at the end of September last year. The case of Punjab National Bank (PNB), which is in the eye of a storm over its alleged defrauding by billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi to the tune of Rs 11,400 crore, has raised questions about systemic risks and audit processes at Indian banks, especially with respect to state-lenders.

Tell me more: The compounded annual growth rate of the total amount outstanding in wilful defaulter accounts with PNB is 95.13% between September of 2013 and 2017. The equivalent numbers of nationalised and private banks are 62.92% and 25.67% respectively.



What is it? The maximum margins four hospitals in the Delhi-National Capital Region have made on drugs, consumables (such as surgical masks and hand gloves) and medical devices (include disposable syringes with or without needles and catheters), according to an analysis by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA).

Why is it important? The report by the drug pricing authority highlights the practices of these hospitals including them prescribing and dispensing drugs that do not come under the price control regime, exorbitant profit margins made by them in the non-scheduled devices used in three cases (syringes, cannula and catheters) are exorbitant and that the costs of diagnostic services in hospitals were higher than those charged by private centres.

Tell me more: One example of the excessive profiteering by hospital is: a three-way stop cock (bi-valve) purchased by the hospital for Rs 5.77 was sold at Rs 106, giving the hospital a profit of 1,737%. The report concluded that the major beneficiaries of profits in the cases analysed because of inflated MRPs (maximum retail price) were hospitals rather than the manufacturers of drugs and devices.


45 years

What is it? The numbers of years where the state-run Coal India Ltd has monopoly status on commercial production of coal. The union cabinet on Tuesday decided to allow private players to commercially produce coal.

Why is it important? This is expected to increase competition, resulting in higher output and better prices for end users. Thermal power plants could have better fuel availability and less inventory carrying cost. India imported 191 million tonnes of coal for the year ended March 2017.

Tell me more: The coal mines will be auctioned based on ‘ascending forward auction’, where the winner will be determined based on the price per tonne of coal. At present, only end users are allowed to mine coal mines for captive use.



What is it? The projected growth rate for software export revenues for financial year 2018-19 by Nasscom, an industry lobby group.

Why is it important? The information technology sector, which is the biggest exporter, will maintain current growth rate. This will add between $9 billion and $ 11 billion export revenues in 2018-19, and companies are expected to hire 100,000 people to meet the growth.

Tell me more: Domestic software market is expected to grow at a faster rate at 10-12%. The market size ($28 billion) is only a fifth of software export revenues ($135 billion) projected for next financial year.


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News in Numbers, July 20, 2016: Global warming and reduced productivity, Uber’s 2 billion rides…

Rs 76,685 crore

What is it? The amount 8,167 wilful defaulters owe banks in 2015-16, according to the government. Wilful defaulters are those who have the ability to repay loans but do not do so or have siphoned them off for a purpose other than the original one.

Why is it important? This is around 12.9% of the total gross bad loans in the Indian banking system, which is difficult to recover as such cases have seen a conviction rate of just 1.14% in 2015-16. A total of 1,724 FIRs (first information reports) have been filed in the same year.

Tell me more: The extent of bad loans and consequently, the losses posted by the banks have jumped up in the last few quarters, after central bank’s directed them to clean up their balance sheets by March 2017.


$2 trillion

What is it? The potential cost to world economy in lost productivity due to global warming by 2030, according to the United Nations.

Why is it important? This is mainly because the hot weather would make it difficult or unbearable to work. Due to the reduced productivity, 43 countries including India, China and Indonesia would see a decline in their gross domestic product by 3.2%, 0.8% and 6% respectively. According to the researchers, up to 20% of annual work hours is already being lost in jobs due to exposure to extreme heat and this is likely to double by 2050.

Tell me more: Researchers have warned that those engaged in low-paid occupations such as agriculture, heavy labour and manufacturing are at a high risk of exposure to extreme heat. This is likely to deepen their poverty levels and even put their lives in danger.


2 billion

What is it? The total number of rides taxi-hailing firm Uber has completed on June 18.

Why is it important? The company, which completed its first billion rides in six years, took just six months for another billion. Indicates the rapid pace of expansion of Uber, a potential threat to its global rivals including Ola in India, Lyft in the US and Didi Chuxing in China. However, going by its 2014 and 2015 (first half) figures, Uber’s rapid pace of growth is at a huge cost: incentives to drivers and riders, promotions, price cuts, and fast growth in increase in sales, marketing and research costs, which is mainly due to funding by investors and it remains to be seen how long the company can sustain this.

Tell me more: Uber raised $3.5 billion from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund in June, which took the total valuation of the company to $62.5 billion. This was followed by the company securing a $1.15 billion leveraged loan earlier this month.



What is it? The number of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) barred from receiving funds between 2012 and 2015.

Why is it important? Of this, over 70% were barred last year. The government says that action has been initiated against those NGOs that violate the provisions of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Rules Act, 2011 (FCRA). Critics have argued that this is a move by the government to suppress those who against the government’s economic policies.

Tell me more: Just one NGO has been barred from receiving overseas funds so far this year. The organisations are given opportunities to submit additional information, allow their records to be inspected, issuance of show-cause notices and personal appearances, if required, before cancelling their FCRA registrations, according to the Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju.


Rs 2,000 crore

What is it? The assets belonging to the former Financial Technologies (FTIL) reportedly seized by Mumbai’s Economic Offences Wing.

Why is it important? This brings the investigation a step closer to closure, a likely relief for investors who lost money in the 2013 scam. It comes a week after FTIL’s founder Jignesh Shah was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate, which claims it has got evidence of money laundering against him. Shah is being probed in connection with the Rs 5,575.35 crore money laundering fraud at National Spot Exchange Ltd, 99.9% owned by FTIL.

Tell me more: FTIL assets including its Mumbai headquarters, banks’ fixed deposits and accounts have been attached. The company has confirmed the same but has said it would move the court as it claims there is no legal basis for the action by the Economic Offences Wing.

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