News in Numbers | 52 police cases filed over rumours of Jayalalithaa’s health
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What is it? The number of people killed in a hospital fire in Bhubaneswar on Monday. The death toll could go up as some patients were severely injured.
Why is it important? It highlights the need for fire safety procedures and infrastructure in public buildings. Accidental fires account for every one out of 17 unnatural deaths in the country, third only to car accidents (53%) and drowning (9%). Over 1.13 lakh people were killed in fire accidents in five years, according to latest data from the National Crime Records Bureau.
Tell me more: Monday’s fire broke at the Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital around 7.30pm. It could have been caused by short circuit, according to initial reports.
What is it? The number of service tax payers to be assessed by central tax authorities under the goods and services tax.
Why is it important? This is one of the contentious issues under the new tax regime, which is aimed at simplifying the tax system across the country. A three-day meeting of the powerful federal body GST Council, starting on Tuesday, is expected to find a solution to this and other key issues related to the unified indirect tax regime that is expected to come into effect from 1 April 2017
Tell me more: According to the present arrangement, the existing 11 lakh service providers will be assessed by the central tax authorities, while the new ones will come under the purview of the state. This would result in dual control for companies that are into both goods and services.
What is it? The reported monthly cash burn at cab hailing services Uber and Ola.
Why is it important? It is an indicator of the cut-throat competition between the two largest players in the sector in India. Uber recently sold its China operations to its rival Didi Chuxing, which freed it to expand its operations in other markets, including India. Ola is reported to be in talks with Softbank to raise $500 million to counter Uber. As they fight each other, the two companies have been subsidising rides for customers, while providing cash incentives to their drivers to perform better—resulting in the cash burn.
Tell me more: Ola and Uber are reportedly changing their strategy to improve revenues and cutting costs in top cities, where they are relatively well-established.
What is it? The number of police cases filed over rumours of Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa’s health. Seven people have been arrested so far.
Why is it important? Jayalalithaa was hospitalised on 22 September, and has been under intensive care since then. There are concerns that rumours about Jayalalithaa’s health would lead to public unrest. Opposition leader and DMK treasurer M.K. Stalin has alleged that the state government is harassing his party workers using these charges. Some critics and political observers have said the state government is being secretive about Jayalalithaa’s health.
Tell me more: Only last week, the portfolios that were under Jayalalithaa were handed over to senior minister O. Panneerselvam, raising questions about the lack of standard processes to deal with such emergency situations.
What is it? The number of days two Chinese astronauts will spend at the experimental Tiangong 2 space lab. The country launched its Shenzhou 11 spacecraft carrying two men on Monday
Why is it important? This would be the longest stay in space by Chinese astronauts, and this mission would take China closer to its aim of building and operating a space station by 2020. The space lab was launched last month. China sent its first man in space back in 2003. India hasn’t launched a manned mission yet.
Tell me more: China spends an estimated $2.2 billion on its space programme, and it has over 181 satellites in space.
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