News in Number: India wheat imports may increase by 40%
What is it? The jail term for former Bangladesh prime minister Khaleda Zia after she was found guilty in a corruption case.
Why is it important? Zia heads the main opposition party, which has a bitter rivalry with prime minister Sheikh Hasina, and there are fears violence might return to Bangladesh. Political demonstrations by Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party and her Islamist allies in 2014 and 2015 left 200 people dead.
Tell me more: Human Rights Watch (HRW), a not-for-profit group, called for an end of arbitrary arrests of opposition party members who are protesting against the verdict. “The Bangladesh government’s claims to be open and democratic ring hollow as it cracks down on political dissent,” HRW said.
What is it? The amount of fine imposed against Google by India’s antitrust body for skewing search results in favour of its travel search engine.
Why is it important? This could provide level-playing field for companies that operate in one area like travel against Google’s own offering (Google Flights). Competition Commission of India announced the decision on Thursday, with four members supporting the order and two writing a dissent note.
Tell me more: The European Union had imposed a record $2.7 billion fine against Google for similar practices—demoting rivals and promoting its own product in search results—in June last year.
What is it? A company with a turnover up to Rs250 crore is eligible to be classified as a medium-sized enterprise, as per the new definition for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME).
Why is it important? It is likely to bring many enterprises under the definition of MSME. At present, enterprises self-declare whether they are an MSME, based on investments made. For example, investments up to Rs10 crore in the manufacturing sector (Rs5 crore in services sector) is considered a medium enterprise. Now the classification will be based on turnover, which can be cross-verified from the goods and services tax (GST) filings.
Tell me more: Enterprises with turnover up to Rs5 crore and between Rs5 and Rs75 crore will be classified as micro and small enterprises.
What is it? The fair value of Bhushan Power and Steel Ltd as estimated by the resolution professional.
Why is it important? Bhushan Steel is one of the 12 large bad loans referred under India’s new bankruptcy code for faster resolution. The unlisted company owes Rs37,000 crore to lenders. India’s top two steel makers, Tata Steel and JSW Steel, have submitted their bids to buy Bhushan Steel. The bid amount was not known.
Tell me more: The bids will be evaluated by lenders and the amount of loss incurred by banks will be closely watched to see how the new bankruptcy code is working.
92 million tonnes
What is it? The estimated wheat output for the year 2017-18.
Why is it important? It will be the lowest wheat output in three years, if estimate matches actual output, and it could increase imports by 40%. Inconsistent and low rainfall, combined with a lower acreage under wheat, down to 30.1 hectares from 30.8 million hectares are reasons for low output.
Tell me more: India is the second largest wheat producer after China, but the Asia’s third largest economy has been a wheat importing nation, importing wheat ever year since 1960.
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