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Flood response centres have been set up in 62 places across the country and mock drills are being conducted in flood-prone areas besides training people living on river banks. Photo: HT
Flood response centres have been set up in 62 places across the country and mock drills are being conducted in flood-prone areas besides training people living on river banks. Photo: HT

News in numbers | Nine states are facing the risk of floods

In other news, 30% of the country's total geographical area is undergoing degradation

9

What is it? The number of Indian states facing the risk of floods this monsoon season.

Why is it important? Underlines the need for infrastructure to face both scarcity and abundance of water. This season, 90% of India has received normal to excess rainfall after two consecutive years of drought. The government is responding. Flood response centres have been set up in 62 places across the country and mock drills are being conducted in flood-prone areas besides training people living on river banks.

Tell me more: The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has placed the following states on alert for floods: Bihar, Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.

8-12%

What is it? The proposed benefits, as a percentage of the total cost of the new vehicle, buyers would receive if they exchange their old cars (over 11 years old) for a new one.

Why is it important? This is part of a vehicle policy that has the potential of taking 28 million polluting vehicles off the road. This is also likely to boost the automobile industry’s sales and revenues, which recorded a manufacturing capacity utilisation rate of 54.25% in 2015-16.

Tell me more: The benefits totalling 8-12% of the cost of a new vehicle would be in three forms: scrap value from the old vehicle, a discount by the manufacturers and a partial excise duty exemption. The replacement vehicle should be BS-IV compliant, the norms of which would come into effect from April 2017.

11

What is it? The number of Indian firms that have been given licences by US biopharmaceutical firm Gilead Sciences to market its Epclusa drug to treat Hepatitis C.

Why is it important? In 2013, as many as 12 million people were estimated to have been infected with Hepatitis C in India, which often remains unknown, undiagnosed and untreated. Hepatitis C virus causes inflammation of the liver and could lead to jaundice, bleeding, fluid accumulation in the abdomen, liver cancer and death. This drug is the first to treat all six major forms of the virus.

Tell me more: The drug was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration last week. The medicine can be prescribed to anyone testing positive for Hepatitis C and a pill a day for 8-12 weeks can lead to curing them.

4

What is it? The number of members on the panel that would look into the feasibility of having a new financial year.

Why is it important? India is the only one among the major countries to follow an April-March financial year, making international comparisons difficult. Most countries follow a January-December fiscal year. If a change is recommended and accepted, it would effect major changes in taxation systems, businesses, preparing the national budget and data collection.

Tell me more: The committee is headed by former chief economic advisor Shankar Acharya and it has to submit its report by December 31, 2016. The committee also has to suggest a way of making the transition, if it suggests a new financial year.

30%

What is it? The percentage of the country’s land that is undergoing degradation, according to a study.

Why is it important? Land degradation is the long-term loss of ecosystem function and productivity caused mainly by human activities and natural disasters. This makes it challenging for India to meet its commitment of fully stopping land degradation by 2030, as per the UN Convention on Combating Desertification.

Tell me more: The degrading area has increased by 0.5% to 29.3 million hectares over an eight-year period, as shown by comparing satellite imageries of the states for the years 2003-05 and 2011-13. Desertification has increased by 1.16 million hectares to 82.64 million hectares in 2011-13.

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