14,200 crore ($2.1 billion)

What is it? The amount the Indian authorities have asked Vodafone to pay in taxes, failing which its assets will be seized.

Why is it important? This comes when the government is hard-selling its ‘Make in India’ programme, which aims to transform India into a global design and manufacturing hub, and woo potential foreign investors. Referring to the 2012 amendments that allow certain deals to be taxed retrospectively, Finance minister Arun Jaitley had said that those had “scared investors away".

Tell me more: Vodafone bought Hutchison Essar in 2007 and was asked to pay capital gains tax (tax levied on the sale of property or investment), but five years later the Supreme Court ruled that it was not liable to do so. The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government changed the laws later that year that allowed taxing deals retrospectively.

250,000 tonnes

What is it? The quantity of corn Seoul-based Daewoo International would ship to India from Ukraine, after it won a tender to bring non-genetically modified cereal crop into the country.

Why is it important? India’s rules do not allow cultivation of genetically modified crops, which have their DNA altered to be made resistant to pests, diseases and adverse climatic conditions, and activists say these could pose health risks. However, analysts and traders say it is doubtful if anybody can provide 100% non-genetically modified corn and even a small presence of genetically modified seeds could mix with local varieties and become a part of Indian agriculture.

Tell me more: Last month, India announced its decision to import half a million tonnes of corn, the first time in 16 years, due to shortage in production caused by a back-to-back drought situation.

4

What is it? The number of countries that have struck a preliminary deal to freeze oil output at January levels. These are Saudi Arabia, Russia, Qatar and Venezuela.

Why is it important? The deal, which depends on other major oil producers joining in, could be the first such agreement between Opec (an organization of 13 petroleum-exporting nations) and non-Opec countries in 15 years. With oil supply in excess of demand, prices have spiralled downwards in the last few months—about 70% down since their peaks in mid-2014. However, Iran, which recently re-entered the global markets after western sanctions were lifted, has refused to be a part of this deal.

Tell me more: Russia and Saudi Arabia are the world’s two biggest crude oil producers, each accounting for 10 million barrels a day.

800 crore

What is it? The amount United Breweries (Holdings) Ltd, majority-owned by Vijay Mallya, owes Punjab National Bank.

Why is it important? The state lender has declared the company and Mallya as wilful defaulters. This means they would not be given additional facilities by any banks or financial institutions and would be debarred from institutional finance to float new ventures for five years from the date of removal of their names from the wilful defaulters’ list. Two other public sector banks—United Bank of India and State Bank of India—had earlier declared the holding company, Kingfisher Airlines, and Mallya as wilful defaulters.

Tell me more: Kingfisher Airlines, whose permit was cancelled by the aviation regulator in 2012 after employees went on a strike, stopped flying after it ran out of cash. Overall exposure of banks to Kingfisher Airlines is 7,000 crore.

9,100

What is it? The number of residents China would relocate in Guizhou province to make way for the world’s largest radio telescope.

Why is it important? It reveals both China’s ambitions in science, and the ease with which it can execute large infrastructure projects (in contrast to India). The 500-metre spherical aperture telescope—to go live this September—can catch radio signals from billions of light years away, and offer clues about life beyond earth.

Tell me more: Such relocations are common in China. An estimated 1.5 million people were displaced over 10 years between 1995 and 2005 to build Three Gorges Dam. Over 2.5 million residents were relocated in Shanghai between 1993 and 2003.

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