12

What is it? The number of people, including Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and Lt Colonel Purohit, against whom all charges under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), 1999, have been dropped in the 2008 Malegaon blast case by a special National Investigation Agency court on Wednesday.

Why is it important? This means they will not be charged under a tough law against organised crime. Under MCOCA, one who commits an offence of organised crime that results in a death is awarded a death sentence or life imprisonment, and a minimum fine of Rs1 lakh. In other cases, this shall result in a jail term of five years to imprisonment for life and a minimum fine of Rs5 lakh. Both Thakur and Purohit will now face charges under an anti-terror law as the court rejected their applications for discharge.

Tell me more: On 29 September 2008, a bomb strapped to a motorcycle exploded in Malegaon in Maharashtra, killing six people and injuring nearly 100.

Rs50,000 crore

What is it? The additional amount that India would borrow through government securities in 2017-18.

Why is it important? This could result in the government breaching its fiscal deficit target, for the first time in four years. India has set a fiscal deficit target of 3.2% of GDP (gross domestic product) for 2017-18 and, according to analysts, this could go up to 3.5% of GDP with the additional borrowing.

Tell me more: Between April and October, India had already spent 60% of the total budgeted spending for the full year. In the same period, it received 48% of the target set for revenue collection, due to lower tax collections under the newly-implemented GST (goods and services tax) regime.

27%

What is it? Rajya Sabha’s productivity in the ongoing Winter Session as of 22 December, according to PRS Legislative Research.

Why is it important? This number is likely to go up as the Indian government and the opposition arrived at a truce after the House was adjourned multiple times in the last few days over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks against his predecessor Manmohan Singh during the Gujarat election campaign. Arun Jaitley, finance minister and leader of the House, said Modi did not question the commitment to the nation of either Singh or former vice-president Hamid Ansari, and that they hold these leaders in high esteem.

Tell me more: On Wednesday, the Rajya Sabha passed the Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill, 2017, which excludes bamboo from the definition of trees under this Act.

40

What is it? The number of services the Delhi government was aiming to deliver at a citizen’s doorstep, the proposal for which was, according to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government, “rejected" by the office of Delhi lieutenant-governor. The L-G office said it had not rejected the proposal, but asked the government to “reconsider" it on the grounds of security concerns.

Why is it important? It signalled yet another flashpoint in the unseemly power struggle between the AAP government and the L-G office that has been a running theme for the last two-and-a-half years, and the matter of distribution of powers between the two is currently in the courts. On Wednesday, in the context of the issue, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, “Who should have the final say?"

Tell me more: The scheme aims to provide 40 key public services at a citizen’s doorstep, including caste certificates, vehicle registrations and pensions. Under the scheme, a government representative would visit the applicant’s house to collect, certify and upload documents.

11,816

What is it? The number of runs scored by Alastair Cook of England in his test career until Wednesday, which was the second day of the ongoing Ashes test between England and Australia, and which had him strike an unbeaten hundred.

Why is it important? With this tally, the former English captain has now gone past Mahela Jayawardene of Sri Lanka in test runs and is now ranked eighth in most runs in test cricket. Cook, who is well-placed to soon overhaul Shivnarine Chanderpaul (51 runs ahead) and Brian Lara (137 runs), has the lowest batting average among the top 10 run-getters.

Tell me more: On a rare day for England in this series, Cook ended unbeaten on 104, his 32nd test hundred. England trailed Australia by 135 runs in the first innings, with eight wickets in hand.

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