The government says it released Rs800 crore to set up community water purification plants in 1,327 arsenic—and 12,014 fluoride-affected habitations for supply of water for drinking and cooking. File photo: Hindustan Times
The government says it released Rs800 crore to set up community water purification plants in 1,327 arsenic—and 12,014 fluoride-affected habitations for supply of water for drinking and cooking. File photo: Hindustan Times

News in Numbers: 100.6 million Indians get contaminated water

In other news, China's largest ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing has raised $4 billion in its latest funding round just seven months after raising $5.5 billion, taking its total funds raised to $19.5 billion

19

What is it? The number of accused in the high-profile case related to irregularities in the allocation of 2G telecom spectrum and licences in 2008 who were acquitted by a special CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) court on Thursday.

Why is it important? The 2G case, which has been listed as the second in Time magazine’s “Top 10 Abuses of Power" list, could be a blow to the Narendra Modi government that swept the 2014 polls using corruption charges against the UPA-II government as one of its plank. The judge said the “prosecution had miserably failed in proving charges". The CBI and the Enforcement Directorate are planning to appeal against the judgment.

Tell me more: In 2012, the Supreme Court had cancelled 122 telecom licences and spectrum allotted to nine companies under former telecom minister A. Raja’s tenure. It remains to be seen if those firms will now file a petition against the top court’s order, following the latest verdict.

100.6 million

What is it? The number of Indians who are receiving contaminated water (with excess fluoride) in 12,577 habitations, according to information given by the minister for drinking water and sanitation Narendra Singh Tomar in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

Why is it important? This puts these people at very high risk of getting fluorosis, which is caused by excessive intake of fluoride through drinking water, food or industrial pollutants over a period of time. The government says it released Rs800 crore to set up community water purification plants in 1,327 arsenic—and 12,014 fluoride-affected habitations for supply of water for drinking and cooking. It has also provided Rs100 crore each to West Bengal and Rajasthan to tackle arsenic and fluoride problems.

Tell me more: Skeletal fluorosis affects the formation of bones in the body, leading to their softening and weakening. This could result in deformities and crippling, while dental fluorosis discolours and disfigures teeth.

20

What is it? The number of medical devices on which Dharam Vira Gandhi, a doctor and member of Parliament, has sought price caps, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Why is it important? This is to reduce hospitalisation costs and make healthcare more affordable. However, the government’s decision to impose a 75% price cut for some heart stents and 30-78% cuts for orthopaedic knee implants was opposed by manufacturers, including foreign ones, who play a dominant role in India’s medical technology industry and who cited such moves as negatively impact innovation and investment decisions. There are no restrictions on healthcare charges in India, according to Gandhi.

Tell me more: Last month, the health ministry asked all states to take strict action against healthcare providers who indulge in overcharging and fail to follow standard treatment protocols.

$4 billion

What is it? The amount of money that China’s largest ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing has raised in its latest funding round. This comes just seven months after raising $5.5 billion, taking its total funds raised to $19.5 billion.

Why is it important? This development is likely to increase the competition between Didi and its biggest rival, Uber. In China, Didi successfully pushed Uber out after a fierce price war, amid a string of setbacks faced by the American company. Although it hasn’t been as aggressive as Uber in entering new markets, Didi is reportedly making moves in Estonia, Taiwan and Mexico, and will use its new funds for international expansion and to develop artificial intelligence.

Tell me more: Didi is the world’s second-most valuable startup, trailing only Uber. In April, after its previous fund-raising, it reportedly had a valuation of $56 billion.

10 minutes

What is it? The duration for which Rajya Sabha MP Sachin Tendulkar reportedly remained standing in an attempt to begin his speech in the lower house of Parliament.

Why is it important? This was to be Tendulkar’s maiden speech in his tenure of five-and-a-half years that has been defined by absenteeism and non-participation. When the greatest cricketer that India has produced, stood up to speak on the short discussion motion he had moved on the future of sports in the country and the right to play, opposition leaders intervened demanding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi clarify his remarks made during the Gujarat poll campaign on former PM Manmohan Singh. The house was subsequently adjourned.

Tell me more: Tendulkar, a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha, is yet to take part in a debate. His attendance record is 8%, against the national average of 73%. He has asked 22 questions in the house, against a national average of 308.

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