News in Numbers: Discoms under UDAY save Rs15,000 crore till March
Why is it important? This indicates initial success of the scheme, which was launched in November 2015 and aims at a financial turnaround and revival of discoms. The gap between average supply of power and the average revenue realised in states participating in the scheme has come down by almost 14 paise per unit of power. This gap had reduced, on an average, from 59 paise per unit in 2015-16 to 45 paise per unit in 2016-17, according to information provided earlier. The aggregate technical and commercial losses (loss of energy due to inefficiency of equipment and theft of electricity) have been reduced by nearly 1% in 2016-17.
Tell me more: Participating states of UDAY have taken over the targeted debt of Rs2.09 trillion of their discoms under the borrowing exemption provided by the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act given in the UDAY scheme.
What is it? The number of smartphone manufacturers, majority of them Chinese, to whom the information technology ministry has written to, asking them to outline the processes and procedures they have adopted to ensure the security and privacy of users’ data.
Why is it important? This comes at a time when India and China’s military standoff at the Doklam plateau shows no signs of abating and the government’s concerns about information being secretly sent from India to the Chinese servers. The Chinese brands, which had just a 7% market share in the Indian smartphone space in the January-March quarter of 2014, now command a 54% market share (April-June quarter), according to reports. The Indian smartphone vendors account for just 15% of the country’s smartphone market.
Tell me more: The government has reportedly given the smartphone makers time till 28 August to provide all the information.
What is it? The deficit in rainfall between June and 16 August, compared to the 50-year mean or long-period average.
Why is it important? The south-west monsoon that occurs between June and September, which is the primary source of irrigation for over half of India’s land, was forecast to be above normal. The rainfall in August has seen a deficit of 23% so far and it may impact crops such as soybean, cotton, pulses and millets, putting further pressure on farmers who are battling prolonged dry spells in some places, including parts of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. These have been among the top states in reporting farmer suicides in recent years.
Tell me more: The overall planting of kharif (monsoon) crops is slightly higher than last year, though the sowing of some crops such as pigeon pea (arhar/toor dal), some oilseeds and coarse grains are lower compared to the previous year.
What is it? The minimum notice period to be served by airline pilots if they want to quit, as compared to six months as of now. The change applies to commanders, and not to co-pilots.
Why is it important? The decision by the government to intervene in a commercial contract between an airline and pilots will help airlines that are expanding slowly in India. If Indian pilots take up one year to join another company, companies could resort to hiring foreign pilots who might be available immediately.
Tell me more: In another decision, the civil aviation regulator has decided to remove the cap on excess baggage charge to Rs350 per kilogram for between 15kg and 20kg.
What is it? The expected number of registered taxpayers under the goods and services tax (GST), based on ongoing registration pace.
Why is it important? This is nearly a fourth higher than the current indirect tax base of excise duty and value-added tax. An expansion in tax base could mean higher tax revenues as more transactions are captured by tax administrators.
Tell me more: India’s tax revenue to gross domestic product is 17%, as compared to 25.4% in the US. For the current financial year, higher tax revenue could help government stick to a fiscal deficit target of 3.2% of the GDP. Higher borrowings puts upward pressure on interest rate.
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