102.7 crore

What is it? Revenue earned by Power Grid Corp. of India from its telecom business in the third quarter ended December. It has seen a jump of 49.2% from the year-ago quarter’s 68.9 crore.

Why is it important? It’s an indicator of 4G investments by Indian telecom companies. Power Grid, which is India’s biggest transmission company, is the only utility firm that has overhead optic fibre network (by using optical ground wire on power transmission lines), which is used by telecom companies to provide their services. Telecom companies have committed to an investment of 1.75 trillion, of which 1.15 trillion is for 4G spectrum in five auctions.

Tell me more: Power Grid’s revenue from its core business (transmission services) increased by nearly 23% to 5,142.8 crore. The company plans to raise 2,000 crore through domestic bonds in February to meet its capital requirements to execute ongoing projects.

3.54 crore

What is it? The number of people in 20 smart cities.

Why is it important? These people would soon see their cities getting a makeover under the government’s Smart Cities programme: citizen-friendly governance, promotion of a variety of transport options, uninterrupted power and water supply, provision of housing and integration of urban planning with the smart city mission to address issues such as infrastructure, land use planning, urban design and architecture. The cities would receive an investment of 50,802 crore over five years.

Tell me more: The 20 cities, which include Bhubaneswar (Odisha), Pune (Maharashtra), Jaipur (Rajasthan), Surat (Gujarat) and Kochi (Kerala), were chosen out of 98 based on the proposals submitted by them. The government plans to create 100 smart cities by 2022.

4 million

What is it? The estimated number of people who could get infected by the zika virus, a mosquito-borne disease, in the Americas region (North and South America), according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Why is it important? Zika might turn into an epidemic, with cases being reported in 23 countries in the region and the virus “now spreading explosively". The virus has been linked to severe birth defects in babies born in Brazil, though it has not yet been proved. There is no cure or vaccine for the virus and clinical trials for two potential candidates in the US may begin by the end of this year, meaning we are still years away from a possible cure/vaccine. The most common symptoms of zika virus disease are fever, rashes, joint pain and conjunctivitis or red eyes. The World Health Organization, which came under fire for its slow response time when Ebola broke out in West Africa in 2014, has promised a quicker turnaround time to tackle the zika virus.

Tell me more: Closer home, though there have been no cases reported in Singapore, the authorities are preparing for the worst, because it could be imported into the country by tourists, and because it’s a tropical country, prone to mosquito-borne diseases.


What is it? The maximum number of tickets one can book per month on the IRCTC website, effective 15 February.

Why is it important? At present, one can book 10 tickets a month. Railways says the change is to prevent misuse of the online ticketing system by touts. According to an analysis, 90% of the users booked up to six tickets a month online. This will affect certain passengers who travel by train frequently for work or other purposes.

Tell me more: Other checks put in place by the IRCTC are: one can book only two tickets using her user ID in a day for advance reservation booking from 8am to 10am, an individual can book only two tickets per day per user ID under the Tatkal option from 10am to noon.

50,000 crore

What is it? The economic benefit of providing agro-meteorological (agromet) advisory services to farmers in 550 districts in 2015. These include weather updates and information on crop-weather relationships.

Why is it important? This provides some cushioning against the vagaries of weather and also helpful to most Indian farmers who rely on the monsoon for agricultural production. Rain-fed agriculture accounts for over two-thirds of India’s cropped area, which provides livelihoods to 48 crore people. If all the farmers are provided with agromet services, the potential economic benefit is estimated to be 2.11 trillion.

Tell me more: Agromet services are also being provided through text and voice messages on mobile phones to over 2 million farmers currently.

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