What is it? The increase in minimum support prices (MSPs) for paddy (per quintal), the crop most planted by farmers, in the 2018-19 rain-fed kharif season, from Rs1,550 in the previous season.
Why is it important? On Wednesday, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved a hike in MSP—the price at which the government buys from farmers— of all kharif crops for the 2018-19 season. This comes at a time when farmers have been demanding better prices for their produce, after a sharp fall in prices affected their income last year. The announcement comes ahead of state elections in agrarian states such as Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, besides the general elections that is less than a year away.
Tell me more: The impact of the MSP hike, according to some analysts, could result in an increase in inflation rates, add to fiscal deficit and likely to bring on steeper hikes of interest rates than anticipated.
What is it? The number of judges on the constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, that unanimously ruled on Wednesday that the Delhi Lieutenant Governor does not have independent powers to make decisions and is bound by the aid and advice of the council of ministers.
Why is it important? This is a landmark verdict that sets a new framework for the power tussle between the Delhi government and the LG appointed by the central government. The court ruled the Delhi government has the power to legislate and govern in all matters except for three areas: police, land and bureaucracy. It said the LG cannot obstruct or stall the decisions of the council of ministers, and that the LG can refer issues where there is a difference of opinion to the President only in exceptional matters.
Tell me more: Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal called the verdict a “victory for democracy". Puducherry chief minister V. Narayanasamy, who is locked in a similar power struggle with LG Kiran Bedi, has demanded for the top court’s ruling for Delhi to be applied to his union territory as well.
What is it? Number of units of the Nano car manufactured by Tata Motors in June 2018, against 275 in June 2017.
Why is it important? That production number has raised the question of whether Tata Motors is close to pulling the plug on its ambitious low-cost car that never became the best-seller it was intended to be. Back in August 2017, Satish B Borwankar, chief operating officer of Tata Motors, had said the company did not want to phase out the Nano car, and that it was working on alternative plans for it, including testing an electric version.
Tell me more: Sales of Nano have fallen nearly 90% to 7,591 units in 2016-17 from 74,521 in 2011-12. The company stopped exports earlier this year.
What is it? The number of large accounts with loans worth Rs3,80,000 crore that will require resolution by 1 September 2018, according to credit ratings agency ICRA.
Why is it important? Over 90% of these accounts have already been classified as non-performing assets (NPAs) by banks. However, under the Reserve Bank of India’s new stressed asset resolution framework, if a resolution plan is not in place within the 180-day deadline, they have to be referred for insolvency proceedings. Going by the limited recovery in some of the cases that have been resolved so far (except for in the steel sector) and given the high share of power sector in the 70 accounts, there is uncertainty regarding the haircuts banks may need to take upon resolution.
Tell me more: ICRA said though the pace of addition of NPAs would be slower (likely at 3%) for the banking system in 2018-19, compared with 7.3% in 2017-18, public sector banks could continue the trend of reporting losses in the current financial year too.
What is it? The number of balls West Indies took to bowl out Bangladesh in the first test match of their ongoing bilateral series in North Sound, Antigua.
Why is it important? Bangladesh were dismissed for just 43 runs, which was their lowest score ever and the 11th lowest completed innings score over the history of 2,310 test matches. This was also the lowest completed innings score since 1974, when England dismissed India for 42 runs at Lord’s.
Tell me more: Kemar Roach took five wickets, all in the space of 12 balls, which is the fewest for a five-wicket haul, along with Monty Noble in 1902 and Jacques Kallis in 2002.
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