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The Brunt Of Nature

2017 was the year when President Donald Trump refused to acknowledge the effects of global warming and moved to withdraw from the Paris Climate accord. Nature, probably didn’t like it. In the same year, the number of natural disasters spiked 20% on average versus the last 16 years. Global warming is real. There’s absolutely no denying that.

4

What is it? The number of states in which members of the Multiplex Association of India will not screen Padmaavat, the Sanjay Leela Bhansali period film that releases on Thursday.

Why is it important? The four states are Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Goa, all ruled by the BJP, which is also in power at the Centre. Protests against the film—led by the Shri Rajput Karni Sena, which is unhappy at the depiction of the Rajput community in the film—turned into acts of vandalism in several parts of the country yesterday, putting the spotlight on the inability of administrations to maintain the rule of law and raising fingers on their being complicit.

Tell me more: On Monday, three byelections are scheduled in Rajasthan: for the Lok Sabha seats of Alwar and Ajmer, and the assembly seat of Mandalgarh. The bypolls were necessitated by the death of the sitting MPs and MLA, all of them from the BJP.

 

5

What is it? The number of years for which Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav was sentenced to jail in a fodder scam case by a special CBI court in Ranchi on Wednesday. In addition, he has been fined Rs 5 lakh.

Why is it important? Of the total six cases relating to the fodder scam for which he is facing trial, Yadav has been convicted in the third one. This case relates to the fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 33.67 crore from Chaibasa (now, in Jharkhand) district treasury during 1992-93, when Yadav was the chief minister of Bihar. Yadav, who is currently serving time in Ranchi’s Birsa Munda jail after being pronounced guilty in the second fodder scam case, is unlikely to escape legal wrangles soon, as verdicts in the remaining cases are expected over the next few months.

Tell me more: Another former chief minister Jagannath Mishra has also been given the same punishment as Yadav in this case. A total of 50 accused in this case have been convicted and six are off the hook.

 

Rs 88,139 crore

What is it? The total amount the government said it will infuse in 20 public sector banks this fiscal, of which Rs 80,000 crore will be raised by the finance ministry through recapitalisation bonds and the rest provided as budgetary support.

Why is it important? This is the first tranche of the unprecedented two-year recapitalisation plan of Rs 2,11,000 crore the government had announced last October. The capital infusion would prop up public sector banks, which account for 87% of the banking system’s total bad loans as of September 30 (resulting in higher provisioning) and which also require additional capital to move towards the full implementation of Basel III norms. This is likely to spur lending and revive growth at a time when bad loans have reached record levels.

Tell me more: Public sector banks have raised Rs 10,312 crore so far this fiscal from sales of shares to external investors. This means the total recapitalisation will cross Rs 100,000 crore in 2017-18.

 

330

What is it? The total number of natural disaster events in 2017, according to a report by Aon Benfield. An event qualifies as a natural disaster in this study if it meets at least one of the defined set of criteria such as economic losses of at least $50 million, 10 fatalities, 50 injured people, an insured loss of $25 million, and 2,000 homes/structures damaged or claims filed.

Why is it important? This is 20% higher than the average of 275 recorded in the period of 2000-2016 and is the highest in seven years. The total economic losses due to natural disasters was $353 billion, the second-costliest year on record. 2017 also broke other records such as being the second-costliest year on record for natural-disaster insured losses, the costliest year ever for weather disasters and, thereby, also for insurers who provide protection against such catastrophes.

Tell me more: In 2017, nine of the 10 costliest insured loss events (including four that were severe weather-related) impacted the continental United States, which pulled out of the 2015 Paris climate accord last year. The region accounted for 51% and 63% of catastrophe losses and insured catastrophe losses, respectively, last year.

 

Rs 1286 crore

What is it? The loss declared by Idea Cellular, India’s third-largest telecom service provider, in the third quarter (October to December) of 2017-18.

Why is it important? This is Idea’s biggest-ever quarterly loss and its fifth consecutive one. The company, which is set to merge with Vodafone India to become India’s largest telecom company by subscribers, has been deeply affected by the price wars triggered by Reliance Jio, which has done in 16 months what Idea took 17 years to do. In the last quarter, the 57% cut in interconnection usage charge (IUC) by the telecom regulator also eroded Idea’s revenues by Rs 820 crore; overall, Idea’s revenues dropped 24% to Rs 6,551 crore.

Tell me more: Last week, Bharti Airtel, the fourth heavyweight in Indian telecom, declared its Q3 results, where it announced a 39% drop in net profit, showing the lingering effects of the Jio pressure.

 

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