News in Numbers: Govt plans to sell 1 mt of pulses from its warehouses
What is it? The number of employees Tata Teleservices had on its rolls as on 31 March. At the end of the previous fiscal, it employed 5,513 people.
Why is it important? The fate of these employees hangs in the balance with some reports indicating that the company would wind down its wireless business soon. If this happens, this would be the first major unit of Tata Sons to close down business in its 149-year-old history.
Tell me more: The shares of the company, which reportedly was looking to recast its outstanding debt of Rs32,000 crore recently, fell 14% on Monday. Tata Sons chairman N. Chandrasekaran admitted that the group’s telecom business isn’t doing well and that he would take a call on it.
What is it? The number of convicts in the Godhra train burning case of 2002 whose death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by the Gujarat high court on Monday. The death sentence was awarded by the Special Investigation Team court in March 2011.
Why is it important? With this judgment, all the 31 convicts in this case get life imprisonment. Of the 94 Muslims who stood trial on charges of murder and conspiracy, the SIT court had acquitted 63 and Monday’s judgment did not change that. This means the prime accused in this case, Maulana Umarji, has been posthumously acquitted. The court said the state government and the railway authorities had failed to maintain law and order and asked that the kin of the victims be given a compensation of Rs10 lakh.
Tell me more: In February 2002, a coach of the Sabarmati Express was torched at the Godhra railway station when at least 58 people lost their lives. This triggered major communal riots in Gujarat when at least 1,000 were killed.
1 million tonnes
What is it? The quantity of pulses the Indian government is reportedly planning to sell from its warehouses.
Why is it important? This is likely to prevent rotting and wastage of a part of the produce stored in the country’s warehouses, which has traditionally been the norm over the years. However, this kind of a move before the winter crop season could also result in lowering local prices that could, in turn, impact winter sowing. This also shows that the Warehousing (Development and Regulation) Act, 2007 (notified in 2010) may not have been implemented effectively, one of the ways in which government can prevent rotting of grains, among other things.
Tell me more: The country’s pulses production hit an all-time high of an estimated 22.95 million tonnes, about 40% higher than the previous year’s production and about 19% higher than the previous record production in 2013-14.
What is it? The percentage of bank branches that have given loans under Stand-up India scheme for funding entrepreneurs from scheduled caste or scheduled tribe (SC/ST) category.
Why is it important? This is 17 months after the scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. All bank branches were mandated to disburse one loan to an individual from SC/ST category and a woman. 25% of bank branches have disbursed loan to women entrepreneurs.
Tell me more: Five private banks have not disbursed a single loan to any ST applicant under Stand-up India. So far, 38,111 individuals have received loans under this scheme with average amount of disbursement at Rs10 lakh for SC/ ST category borrowers, and Rs12.27 lakh for women.
What is it? The average cost of borrowing for Indian companies during financial year ended March.
Why is it important? It shows companies are able to reduce their interest cost by borrowing less from commercial banks, and more via corporate bonds and external commercial borrowings. Sectors like power, crude oil, and telecom had interest cost less than 8.2%, while capital goods, infrastructure and education sectors paid in excess of 12%.
Tell me more: At 8.2%, it is cheaper than home loans and is marginally higher than the marginal cost of funds-based lending rate (MCLR), the minimum rate below which banks are not allowed to lend.
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