What is it? India’s economic growth rate in the first half of 2016-17, according to commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s written reply in the Lok Sabha today.
Why is it important? This implies a growth rate of 7.1% for the second quarter of this fiscal, the figures of which are to be released this Thursday. This is slower the 7.2% recorded in the April-September period of 2015-16 and 7.4% in the first half of 2014-15 and comes at a time when the global economic growth rate has slowed down. It remains to be seen if India is able to sustain a similar momentum in economic growth in the second half of the fiscal, given that some global banks and ratings agencies have downgraded India’s estimated GDP rate for the current year on account of demonetisation in the short-term.
Tell me more: India’s GDP growth rate was 7.2% in 2014-15 and 7.6% in 2015-16.
What is it? The proposed tax, penalty and surcharge to be levied on black money hoarders who do not declare unaccounted wealth and are caught by the authorities.
Why is it important? This is one of the provisions of the Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016, introduced in the Lok Sabha today by finance minister Arun Jaitley. This bill seeks to plug loopholes in India’s income tax laws that may have been used to conceal money and avoid paying taxes. Indicates that the government is taking additional steps after the withdrawal of old currency notes to tackle the black money problem in the country; one of the criticisms against the demonetisation move was that as a standalone measure it would be ineffective.
Tell me more: Voluntary cash deposits above a certain threshold are to attract a 50% tax. The bill also introduced ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana’ where after taxes, penalty and cess, 25% of the money declared would be deposited in a deposit scheme under this plan. This money would then be used for livelihood, infrastructure, primary health, irrigation, housing and construction of toilets, among other objectives.
What is it? The number of alleged Al-Qaeda members arrested in Madurai (Tamil Nadu) on Monday.
Why is it important? These three suspects—a painter, an employee at a software firm and the owner of a chicken broiler shop—have allegedly been involved in bombing at court complexes at places including Mysore, Chittoor, Kollam, Nellore and Malapuram. The three of them were reportedly planning to attack 22 top leaders in the country including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and had also, allegedly threatened embassies of different countries in India.
Tell me more: These arrests were made by the National Intelligence Agency in collaboration with the Tamil Nadu and Telangana police. The authorities have apprehended a fourth suspect and are on the lookout for two others, also suspected to be Al-Qaeda operatives.
What is it? The amount deposited (Rs8.11 trillion) and exchanged (Rs33,948 crore) between 10-27 November after the government announced that old currency notes of Rs500 and Rs1,000 would cease to be legal tender from November 9.
Why is it important? This compares with about Rs 5 trillion deposited until 20 November and is about 60% of the total demonetised currency (Rs14 trillion). One way to measure how successful this move has been would be to see how much of the demonetised currency does not return to the banking system. The deadline for depositing old currency notes is 30 December.
Tell me more: The government used the services of the Indian Air Force from 19 November, reportedly for the first time, which transported 160 tonnes of new currency notes from the four printing presses to different parts of the country to tackle cash shortage.
What is it? The amount invested by Australian-American media baron Rupert Murdoch in a California-based health technology company, Theranos, recently.
Why is it important? This investment happened just before the Wall Street Journal wrote a series of articles on how Theranos’ blood testing methods were allegedly suspect, putting in danger tens of individuals for failing to reveal potential inaccuracies. Murdoch is executive chairman of News Corp. and 21st Century Fox Inc. News Corp is the parent company of the Wall Street Journal. Theranos, which is under criminal investigation, is now valued at $800 million, down from $9 billion in 2014, according to Forbes. Theranos has raised an estimated $725 million by selling shares to investors, according to VC Experts Inc.
Tell me more: Elizabeth Holmes, founder of Theranos, made it to the Forbes’ list in 2014 as the “first” youngest self-made female billionaire with an estimated net worth of $4.5 billion, which has now been revised to nothing.
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