In other news, dues from big wilful defaulters of Punjab National Bank (PNB) fell by 0.87% to Rs15,354.52 crore on 30 June compared to ₹15,490 crore on 31 May 2018
What is it? The deficit in Kharif plantation this year compared to last year due to rainfall shortage, according to data released by the agriculture ministry.
Why is it important? The government has cited the shortfall of 8% rainfall as the reason for the lower plantation. In Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the rains are deficient by 19% or more.
Tell me more: The Kharif season is mainly rain-led, and the four-month monsoon is critical as more than 50% of the agricultural land in India lacks irrigation and is rainfall-dependent. Among Kharif crops, only the area under sugarcane (a crop requiring extremely high amount of water) is higher than last year.
What is it? The number of political parties opposed to simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly elections.
Why is it important? At a consultation meeting held by the Law Commission, as many as 9 parties objected to the proposed move to hold simultaneous elections, while 4 parties supported the move. The two national parties, BJP and Congress, stayed away from the consultations.
Tell me more: This is the Law Commission’s second set of deliberations on the subject to get political opinions from across the spectrum. It gains significance in view of the speculation on whether the four assembly elections slated to be held in the next 6-8 months in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram could be delayed or advanced to kick-start the first step towards synchronizing them with 2019 elections.
Why is it important? Bank data has shown that dues from big wilful defaulters has fallen to ₹ 15,354 crore on 30 June, against ₹ 15,490 crore last month. According to PNB, big wilful defaulters are those who have borrowed more than ₹ 25 lakh and haven’t paid back, even though they have the ability to do so.
Tell me more: The public sector bank has been grappling with mounting non-performing assets, scams and frauds. PNB also witnessed a sharp decline in asset quality, with gross non-performing assets amounting to 18.4% of gross advances at March end.
Why is it important? This represents a 50% increase in student enrollment from India since 2013, as parents are looking at international qualifications for their children. Higher enrollment in CIE is increasing the number of schools (420 in 2017) that offer this international qualification. These schools, in general, charge much higher fees than other private schools.
Tell me more: Assuming that each of the 67,000 students spend an average of ₹ 10,000 per month, the 420 schools would earn ₹ 804 crore in one year.
Why is it important? South Korea has the world’s highest penetration of smartphone at 95% of population, and this wide access coupled with high-speed internet has created a wave of online porn videos using spycams. The protestors were demanding stricter punishment for offences.
Tell me more: The number of spycam crimes in South Korea increased to 6,500 in 2017, as compared to 1,100 in 2010. Creating sexual images via spycam can attract a jail term of 5 years or a fine of $8,970. In reality, protestors at the female-only protests say, convicted people receive lighter punishments.
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