Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

News in numbers | 8.22 million people surrendered cooking gas subsidy by 3 March

Slow-paced in the initial months, the 'Give it up' campaign has gathered speed recently

5 crore

What is it? Fine imposed on Sri Sri Ravishankar’s Art of Living Foundation by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to restore the flood plains of Yamuna near Delhi, the venue of the foundation’s three-day World Culture Festival.

Why was it levied? NGT found instances of environmental violations by the foundation (such as flood plains having been tampered with, destruction of natural flow of Yamuna). But, it couldn’t ban the event, as it had already been approved. The tribunal also blamed the environmentalists for raising the issue after clearances had been given.

Tell me more: The Delhi police has also warned of a possible stampede at the event, if certain shortcomings are not addressed immediately. The festival would be conducted in an area spread across 1,000 acres, which features a 7-acre stage for 35,000 musicians and dancers.

275 crore

What is it? The payment received by liquor baron Vijay Mallya from Diageo Plc. as part of an agreement between the two, which includes the former stepping down as United Spirits’ chairman.

Why is it important? This amount, which is over half what Mallya is supposed to receive, was paid by Diageo immediately after the deal was signed on 25 February, according to Diageo’s spokesperson. However, it was only on Monday that the Debt Recovery Tribunal in Bengaluru passed an interim order barring Mallya from withdrawing the money to be paid by Diageo to him. This was in response to a loan default case filed by the State Bank of India.

Tell me more: The spokesperson for Diageo said the company is yet to receive the tribunal’s interim order. According to the lawyer of Kingfisher Airlines’ lenders, Mallya left India last week.

591

What is it? The number of former workers of Hindustan Unilever’s defunct thermometer factory in Kodaikanal who would receive compensation from the company.

Why is it important? This ends a 15-year-old dispute between the company and its employees, who were allegedly exposed to toxic mercury vapour, which is known to cause muscle atrophy (complete or partial wasting away of muscle), kidney failure, dermatological reactions and respiratory diseases. The factory was closed down in 2001 by Tamil Nadu pollution control board after allegations of toxic mercury being dumped in Kodaikanal surfaced.

Tell me more: Under the agreement, the former employees would also withdraw the petition they had filed with the Madras High Court in 2006.

8.22 million

What is it? The number of people who have surrendered their cooking gas subsidy as of 3 March, according to Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

Why is it important? Slow-paced in the initial months, the ‘Give it up’ campaign has gathered speed recently. This has helped save the government 4,166 crore. Of the total, over 5.3 million (64%) surrendered their LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) subsidy in the last six months. The number of people who had responded to the campaign was just 2,500 in August 2014 and 12,471 in December the same year.

Tell me more: Last December, the government had cut down on this subsidy for taxpayers whose annual income exceeded 10 lakh.

9

What is it? The number of cities in which Indian officials will shortly launch a bunch of measures aimed at preventing deaths due to heat wave.

Why is it important? Temperatures have been on the rise in India. Last year, heat wave killed over 2,300 people in the country. Heat wave conditions are said to prevail when temperatures exceed 40 degree Celsius. In nine cities—four in Odisha and five in Maharashtra—temperatures hit 47 degree Celsius last year. Under this programme, cities will ensure adequate supply of ice packs and water, train medical workers to deal with heat stress, heat stroke and dehydration and educate children about heat risks.

Tell me more: The programme was rolled out in Ahmedabad in 2013, which saw around 1,200 deaths due to heat-related causes in 2010. With the introduction of several measures to tackle severe heat conditions, the number of heat-related deaths was brought down to 20 last year.

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