5

What is it? The number of years since self-styled godman Asaram has been held in a jail in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

Why is it important? A special Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe court in Rajasthan held him guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl and has awarded him life imprisonment till death. This is the second case of a powerful religious leader being convicted of a sexual offence in a year. Asaram is also facing a rape case in Surat in Gujarat where a woman has accused the preacher of raping her when she was living in his ashram between 1997 and 2006.

Tell me more: Two of his aides have also been convicted and given 20 years of jail term each.

138

What is it? India’s ranking, according to the 2018 World’s Press Freedom Index, out of 180 countries.

Why is it important? Its ranking dropped two places from 2017, which is attributed to the “deadly threat from Modi’s nationalism", a reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The report said Hindu nationalists are trying to purge all kinds of ‘anti-national’ thought from the national debate, which is resulting in an increase of self-censorship by media and that journalists are targeted by online smear campaigns.

Tell me more: The report added that at least three journalists were killed in 2017 were targeted in connection with their work. This includes the murder of journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh, who was shot dead outside her residence in Bengaluru in September 2017.

3.11 million

What is it? The number of people who have joined India’s state-run social security fund between September 2017 and February 2018.

Why is it important? This indicates that new jobs are being created in the non-farm sector. This could boost his prospects in the 2019 general elections. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has faced criticism for ‘jobless growth’, especially as creating employment was one of his key poll promises (10 crore jobs if voted to power). Unemployment rates have been on the rise in the recent months.

Tell me more: A report says one cannot say if Modi has been successful in creating jobs or not as data on employment creation is outdated. A recent study has claimed that 15 million people are being added to the labour force every year.

Rs70,000

What is it? The cost of bulletproof jackets developed by the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) for the Indian armed forces.

Why is it important? The indigenously developed weighs 6.6 kg, around 10 kg less than what is being used currently. Few incidents of current bulletproof jackets failing against hardcore steel bullets used in AK-47 rifles have been reported. The BARC developed jackets, made of boron carbide ceramics and nano-composite tubes, will provide effective protection against hard core steel bullets.

Tell me more: Indian Army signed a Rs639 crore deal with SMPP Pvt. Ltd to procure 186,138 bulletproof jackets. Per unit cost works out to Rs34,330.

3.035%

What is it? The yield on the benchmark 10-year US treasury bond on Wednesday. Higher yield reflects declining prices of bonds.

Why is it important? The bond yield is close to the 3.041% seen more than four years back in January 2014. Higher yield in US bonds could push money out of emerging markets like India, and this could put pressure on domestic bond markets and also on local currencies against the US dollar.

Tell me more: Indian rupee is the second worst performing major currency in Asia, falling by 4.52% in calendar 2018.

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