News in Numbers: 7 Lok Sabha members, 98 state legislators under tax scanner
What is it? The time given by the Supreme Court to the Insolvency Resolution Professional (IRP) to draft a resolution plan that will take into account interests of homebuyers of Jaypee Infratech Ltd.
Why is it important? The apex court vacated the stay on the proceedings under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016—which was legislated to speedily resolve bad debts. The final ruling in this case will act as a benchmark to balance the claims of banks that have lent money to builders, and homebuyers who are yet to get delivery of their flats even after paying money to builders.
Tell me more: The court also asked the parent company of Jaypee Infratech to remit Rs2,000 crore to the court by 27 October, to protect the interests of the homebuyers.
What is it? The number of lawmakers (seven Lok Sabha members and 98 state legislators) who are under investigation by the income tax department for owning assets disproportionate to their known sources of income.
Why is it important? These members of Parliament and state legislators are part of the list of 26 Lok Sabha members, 11 Rajya Sabha members and 257 state legislators whose assets increased by up to 500% since their last filing with the Election Commission, according to Lok Prahari, an NGO which investigated and prepared the list. Investigation into assets of 42 state legislators and nine Rajya Sabha members is pending.
Tell me more: When candidates file the affidavit before contesting elections, they are not required to declare their income sources.
What is it? The quantum of money to be raised from retirees and provident fund subscribers to fund infrastructure projects in India.
Why is it important? This will provide a vital source of funding for infrastructure projects undertaken by the government, even as banks are reluctant to lend due to bad loan problems and the private sector is not able to invest. If the debt is guaranteed by the government or taken directly by government departments, it will increase the amount of public debt, which stood at Rs61 trillion as on July 2017.
Tell me more: The borrowing will be done in tranches of Rs10,000 crore, by selling 10-year bonds at coupon rate of 7.25-7.75%.
What is it? The number of years Indians could live longer if pollution level is contained at World Health Organisation (WHO) standard.
Why is it important? The estimate based on Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) developed by the University of Chicago will help policy makers to weigh the cost and benefits of policy decisions when it relates to containing air pollution which is often in conflict with economic growth. Residents of Delhi, ranked as one of the world’s most polluted cities, can live nine years longer if WHO standard of PM2.5 is 10 micrometers or less per cubic meter of air.
Tell me more: AQLI is based on long-term data from observing two areas in China which had different exposure to pollution because of a government policy of subsidising cheap coal for heating during winter in one area (north of Huai River) and not provide a similar subsidy to the other area.
What is it? The number of years that will take to build India’s first bullet train connecting Mumbai and Ahmedabad.
Why is it important? The work, which will start from Thursday, will now take one year less than what was initially estimated. The Rs1.1 trillion project will be debt-funded (Rs80,000 crore) by Japan as a 50-year loan at an interest rate of 0.1%, with a 15-year grace period. Exchange rate risk is an implicit cost in taking loans from Japan.
Tell me more: Critics of the bullet train project argue that Rs1.1 trillion can be better spent to improve the quality of the existing railway network, which is decades-old infrastructure that results in frequent rail accidents and delays.
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