News in Numbers: new valuation of BSNL prime land pegged at Rs65,000 crore
What is it? The quantity of narcotics seized by the Indian Coast Guard from a merchant vessel off Gujarat on Saturday.
Why is it important? Valued at Rs3,500 crore, this is the largest single haul of narcotics till date, according to the defence department. The total quantity of various drugs seized rose more than threefold from 102,115 kg in 2015 to 350,836 kg in 2016 while the number of people arrested in such cases increased by around 20% from 32,559 in 2015 to 38,929 last year, according to the Narcotics Control Bureau.
Tell me more: The Indian Coast Guard’s ‘Samudra Pavak’ on Saturday intercepted the merchant vessel, which was brought to Porbandar on Sunday morning. A joint investigation by the Indian Coast Guard, Intelligence Bureau, police, Customs department, Indian Navy and other agencies is underway.
What is it? The number of supersonic B-1 bombers the US flew over South Korea on Sunday.
Why is it important? This was done as a show of force in response to North Korea, which conducted its latest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test on Friday, escalating tensions and threatening regional stability. North Korea’s latest missile launch reportedly appears to have the ability to hit the American mainland, which experts say shows that the country has progressed rapidly in its missile programme. It has conducted 12 missile tests since February and its first ICBM test on 4 July.
Tell me more: China, which is North Korea’s most important ally, urged North Korea to abide by the UN Security Council resolutions but US President Donald Trump expressed his disappointment in China failing to use its economic clout to curb North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
What is it? The estimated value of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd’s one-third of prime land holdings.
Why is it important? The book value of the 15,000-odd land and building assets held by the company was Rs 975 crore, the estimation that was arrived ‘decades ago’. The recent valuation exercise was initiated in April this year as part of the company’s business revival programmes, which could help the company monetise its assets by the commercial utilisation of its holdings. BSNL along with Air India and Steel Authority of India Ltd accounted for over half of the total losses incurred by the top 10 loss-making public sector companies in the country.
Tell me more: The public sector company has, however, narrowed its losses over the years: from Rs7,019 crore in 2013-14 to Rs3,880 crore in 2015-16.
What is it? The number of American diplomats expelled by Russia on Sunday.
Why is it important? This is the largest expulsion of diplomats from any country. The expulsion follows the US Congress approving sanctions against Russia for annexing Crimea and also for allegedly interfering in US Presidential elections last year.
Tell me more: Moscow had insisted US reduce staff at its embassies and consulates in Russia to 450, mirroring the strength of Russia’s staff in the US.
What is it? The Union power ministry has asked states to reduce electricity losses to below 10% in six months.
Why is it important? Capping electricity loss at 10% has the potential to transform the financial conditions of many state-run utilities. In June this year, the all-India average of power loss (both theft and technical) was 23%. Government data shows some 200 towns face losses in the range of 40-90%. Such circumstances make the target an ambitious one, given the timeline.
Tell me more: The government’s Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (Uday) straightening operational and bill collection efficiency have helped state-run power discoms cut their financial losses. The target of less than 10% of power loss in six months can only be attained by the simultaneous implementation of Uday for pilferage and theft and the Integrated Power Development System (IPDS) for technical upgrades to avoid faults.
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