1.4 trillion

What is it? The amount collected under various cess impositions that are lying unutilised. Cess is an additional levy on top of taxes, and are collected for specific purposes like higher or primary education.

Why is it important? There is a risk that these funds could be diverted for other use, a sign of bad governance. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) says a separate fund was not created for the Secondary and Higher Education Cess where 64,288 crore was lying unutilised from 2006-15. Cess by definition is to be used for the purpose for which it was created. By not creating a separate fund, CAG says diversion of funds cannot be ruled out.

Tell me more: Between 1998 and 2015, the share of special levies, including surcharges, have increased from 7.5% of tax collections to 18.6%.

15.5%

What is it? The percentage of bad loans among the top 100 borrowers from Indian banks in September.

Why is it important? In March, it was 13.8%. These large borrowers account for 18% of all bank credit. Worsening of credit-worthiness of top 100 borrowers contributed significantly in the overall increase in bad loans of the banking industry in the last six months.

Tell me more: The top 100 borrowers accounted for 3.1% of bad loans in September compared with 0.7% in March.

15

What is it? The number of people against whom Uttar Pradesh police filed a chargesheet for killing a 52-year-old Muslim man in Dadri village on suspicion of eating beef.

Why is it important? The chargesheet mentions beef at several places, and the suspected presence of beef in the home of Mohammad Akhlaq, who was lynched by an angry mob three months ago, was cited as the main motive. This runs contrary to the claims made by both home minister Rajnath Singh and the Uttar Pradesh government that the lynching was not connected to beef.

Tell me more: Akhlaq’s daughter is the prime witness in this case. The chargesheet includes a confession by Vishal Rana, son of local Bharatiya Janata Party leader, on his alleged role on that day.

$80 per a barrel

What is it? The projected oil prices by 2020 compared with the current price of $37.57 a barrel for Brent crude, according to a report by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), a cartel.

Why is it important? This means the 13 countries of Opec, which account for 40% of the world’s oil output, feel prices will recover from the current low. There are two reasons. First, Opec expects demand to pick up. Two, the share of oil and gas in total energy demand will only marginally reduce from 53.6% in 2013 to 53.4% in 2020.

Tell me more: Even by 2040, Opec projects oil and gas to maintain the same share in energy demand as renewables are starting from a lower base, and developing countries like India will look for oil and gas to fuel growth.

200

What is it? The new Tatkal ticket charges for sleeper class from 25 December, representing an increase of 25. For third AC, the maximum Tatkal charge is now 400 compared with 350 earlier.

Why is it important? It is an attempt to increase earnings from passenger services, which is subsidised, without increasing fares across the board. The move will help Indian Railways to improve its surplus, which is less than 9% of what it earns, leaving little to fund its expansion or spend on improving safety.

Tell me more: Revenue loss from social services obligation—like passenger ticket prices below cost and running a non-profitable link—is estimated at 25,000 crore every year.

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