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Currency crash, GDP and war: The week that was

A handout picture from Ukraine’s interior ministry shows smoke billows from a television centre in Kyiv after a missile attack (Photo: AFP)Premium
A handout picture from Ukraine’s interior ministry shows smoke billows from a television centre in Kyiv after a missile attack (Photo: AFP)

This week we look at some of the financial and humanitarian costs of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, along with India’s GDP numbers and GST collections data, warnings issued by a new climate change report, and gender attitudes ahead of International Women’s Day. Here’s more

Every week, Plain Facts publishes a compilation of data-based insights—complete with easy-to-read visual charts—to help you delve deeper into the stories reported by Mint. This week we look at some of the financial and humanitarian costs of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, along with India’s GDP numbers and GST collections data, warnings issued by a new climate change report, and gender attitudes ahead of International Women’s Day. Here’s more:

Currency crash

As Moscow intensified its military action against Ukraine, several nations in the West imposed sanctions against Russia, pushing the ruble to record lows. The Bank of Russia doubled interest rates in an attempt to attract savings and tackle inflation. On Monday, the central bank also asked Russian companies to prepare to sell their foreign currency in the hope to create demand for the ruble. Moscow finds itself cornered in the global economy after its invasion of Ukraine.

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Growth slows

The Indian economy expanded by 5.4% year-on-year during the October-December quarter, showed government data released on Monday. As expected, this was slower than the growth in the previous two quarters as the base effect weakened. With easing covid-19 restrictions after the second wave, the country’s real GDP had grown 8.5% in the July-September quarter. The public administration and defence sector grew the most (16.8%), while the construction sector contracted by 2.8%. The full-year GDP growth for 2021-22 is estimated at 8.9%.

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Civilian deaths

227: That’s the number of recorded civilian deaths, including 15 children, in Ukraine due to Russia’s invasion between 24 February and 1 March, according to the latest data by the United Nations. The real toll is expected to be much higher. Among the deceased is an Indian student, who was killed amidst shelling by Russian forces in the eastern city of Kharkiv. Over 520 civilians have been reportedly injured.

Gender roles

Nearly 85% of Indians, regardless of gender, believe that a woman must obey her husband, found a survey by Pew Research Center. The survey, which covered 29,999 respondents and was conducted in 2019-20, was released ahead of International Women’s Day. Nearly half of the respondents, again across both genders, also felt that men should primarily be the family’s breadwinners. However, men were more likely than women to be of the view that women should be primarily responsible for a child’s care.

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Rising collections

The gross GST revenue collected in February 2022 stood at 1.33 trillion, a year-on-year increase of 18%. It was also 26% higher than the receipts in February 2020, the last pre-pandemic month. While the total mop-up was more than 1.3 trillion for the second consecutive month, last month’s collections was less than the 1.41 trillion collected in January 2022. According to the finance ministry, the robust collections indicate recovery in several sectors such as automobile sales, among others.

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Reserves in use

60 million: That’s the number of barrels of oil the International Energy Agency (IEA) has agreed to release from its emergency reserves amid rising crude oil prices due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This is expected to bring relief for nations, including India, that are dependent on imports for their energy needs. India is the world’s third largest oil importer and is dependent on imports to meet 85% of its oil needs. The conflict has sent global crude oil prices soaring to levels last recorded in 2014.

Warming worries

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned in a report on Monday that the world faces several irreversible climate hazards with global warming of 1.5°C. Perennial river basins such as Ganga and Indus could face severe water scarcity by 2050, said the report. It also pointed out that among Asian cities, Ahmedabad is at high risk from heat while cities such as Mumbai and Chennai could bear the brunt of rising sea levels. Due to the changing climate, there is a rise in water- and vector-borne diseases and mental health disorders, the report said.

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Chart of the week: Gentleman’s game?

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The ICC Women’s 50-over Cricket World Cup, which begins in New Zealand today, once again sheds the spotlight on the issue of pay disparity in sports. This year’s winner will take home $1.32 million, just a third of the amount the England men’s team received three years ago as their World Cup prize money .

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