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A Two-Horse Race In Himachal

     

    It’s a two horse race in the Himachal Pradesh assembly elections. Delhi government is considering re-instating the odd-even scheme. Mary Kom clinched her fifth gold in the recently concluded Asian Women’s Boxing Championship. India is likely on track to achieve its targets for green house gas emissions.

     

    338

    What is it? The number of candidates in the fray in the 68-seat Himachal Pradesh assembly, the elections for which are being held today. Both the BJP and Congress are contesting from every constituency.

    Why is it important? Himachal has been a two-horse race, with the BJP and the Congress taking turns to lead it. For the BJP, Himachal matters as another addition to its state count, an objective it has pursued with intent since returning to power at the Centre in 2014. For the ruling Congress, it needs to stop BJP’s expanding footprint.

    Tell me more: Of the 68 candidates each fielded by the two national parties, 59 Congress candidates and 47 BJP candidates have declared assets above Rs 1 crore. The results will be declared on December 18.

     

    3

    What is it? If the Delhi government today decides to enforce the odd-even scheme for vehicular movement in the capital—number plates ending with odd and even digits on alternate days—this will be the third time in two years.

    Why is it important? Air pollution levels in the National Capital Region continued to remain in the “severe plus” category, with readings yesterday even rising to 10 times that of Beijing, another city infamous for bad air.

    Tell me more: As of March 31, 2016, there were 9.7 million vehicles registered in Delhi. Of this, 6.1 million were motorcycles and scooters, and 3 million were cars and jeeps.

     

    5

    What is it? The number of gold medals Indian boxer Mary Kom has won at the Asian Women’s Boxing Championship, the latest being on Wednesday.

    Why is it important? This is her maiden gold in the 48 kg category of the tournament. Also, this is Kom’s first international gold medal in the last three years (since the 2014 Asian Games) and her first medal in over a year. In all, she has clinched five golds and a silver in all editions of the championship.

    Tell me more: The 35-year-old pugilist shifted to the 48 kg category, which she says suits her better than the 51 kg from which she made a switch last year after five years of competing in that category.

     

    $493,827

    What is it? The amount the United States government has announced it will grant to organisations for ideas and projects to promote religious freedom in India and Sri Lanka.

    Why is it important? The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has changed its stance on religious freedom in India: from ‘no large-scale incidents’ in 2008 to it being on ‘a negative trajectory’ in 2015. In 2009, the USCIRF had put India on its ‘watch list’ with respect to this issue. India, which believes that no foreign entity has the locus standi to pass comments and judgment on the constitutionally protected rights of Indians, has denied visas to USCIRF’s members for seven straight years, as reported last year.

    Tell me more: Indian applicants to this US grant are expected to submit proposals that develop and implement early-warning systems to quell large-scale violence, implement conflict-management systems between majority and minority groups, and counter hateful messages with positive ones using all forms of media.

     

    9

    What is it? The number of countries (of 25 emitting countries/regions), including India, that are likely or roughly on track to achieve their self-determined unconditional 2025/2030 targets for greenhouse gas emissions with currently implemented policies, according to a new report.

    Why is it important? The report projects that India is likely to overachieve its 2020 pledge of reducing emissions per unit of GDP (gross domestic product) by 20-25% over 2005 levels. However, it adds, no definitive conclusions can be made as this is dependent on future economic growth. The projections made by India in its Draft Electricity Plan of 2016 for stabilisation of coal capacity at 250 GW in the next decade and the expansion of renewable energy to 275 GW by 2026/27, if implemented, would “have a substantial impact on emissions”.

    Tell me more: The other nations/regions that are expected to achieve their targets in the next three years are Brazil, China, Colombia, Japan, Mexico, the Russian Federation, Turkey and Ukraine.

     

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