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The big stories of the week gone by – in charts

Though the day after Diwali in Delhi reported its cleanest air in the last few years, the air quality index (AQI) stayed in the “very poor” category (Photo: HT)Premium
Though the day after Diwali in Delhi reported its cleanest air in the last few years, the air quality index (AQI) stayed in the “very poor” category (Photo: HT)

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) initiated a drive earlier this month to stop the use of single-use plastic. Delhi reported an improvement in its air quality index a day after Diwali compared to the previous year

Every Friday, Plain Facts publishes a compilation of data-based insights, complete with easy-to-read charts, to help you delve deeper into the stories reported by Mint in the week gone by. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) initiated a drive earlier this month to stop the use of single-use plastic. Delhi reported an improvement in its air quality index a day after Diwali compared to the previous year.

Plastic Out

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The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) conducted a special drive from 17 to 19 October to implement the ban on certain single-use plastic (SUP) items in the country. Officials seized a huge cache of banned items from entities manufacturing SUP, the government said. The government is also conducting checks at interstate borders to prevent movement of SUP items. CPCB has also undertaken several enabling measures to help a switchover to alternatives to SUP.

Diwali Diary

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Though the day after Diwali in Delhi reported its cleanest air in the last few years, the air quality index (AQI) stayed in the “very poor" category. As of 4 pm on Tuesday, the 24-hour AQI in the national capital was 303, according to the Central Pollution Control Board. Despite the fall in AQI, the city was one of the most polluted among major cities on Tuesday. The improvement was primarily a result of better wind speed.

Google’s Woes

936 crore: That’s the quantum of fine the Competition Commission of India imposed on Google this week citing abuse of market position to promote its payment app and in-app payment system. This was the second antitrust penalty imposed on Google within a week. The commission had earlier imposed a fine of 1,337.6 crore on the company for perpetuating its position in the online search market resulting in denial of market access for competing search apps.

Depleting Kitty

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India’s foreign exchange reserves slid to $528.4 billion as of 14 October, the lowest since July 2020. This suggests intervention by the central bank to defend the rupee against its depreciation against the US dollar. The reserves declined $85 billion in the first half of the fiscal year, the worst among key emerging markets, next only to China, a recent Mint analysis showed. Beijing’s reserves depleted by $159 billion from 1 April to 30 September.

PM of Colour

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Rishi Sunak on Tuesday became the first Indian-origin prime minister of the UK. The recent political upheaval in that country has resulted in Sunak being appointed as the third PM within a year. In July, a scandal-ridden Boris Johnson government had collapsed. His successor Liz Truss resigned last week after serving for just a month and a half, thus paving way for Sunak to take the top post. Sunak faces a series of challenges, including a deteriorating economic situation.

Strategic Growth

$2-3 billion: Flipkart is planning to raise this amount at a valuation of more than $40 billion in India, Mint reported. The e-commerce firm carried out its first capital infusion round after Walmart’s 2018 acquisition only in July last year. That round valued Flipkart at around $37 billion. The new funds will help Flipkart meet the challenge posed by rivals Amazon India, Reliance Industries’ Jio Mart and the Tata group.

Flight Delays

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India’s largest airline, IndiGo, is finding it hard to be on time. The airline’s punctuality rate dropped to 84.1% behind Vistara (91%), AirAsia India (89.8%) and Air India (87.1%) . Before April, IndiGo was the most punctual airline in the country with a punctuality rate of 95.4% in February. DGCA listed “reactionary delays"—late departure on account of late arrivals—as the main reason for IndiGo’s poor show. Unrest among crew was also a reason for decline in its punctuality, Mint reported.

Chart of the Week: Phone Fetish

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Youngsters in the age group 15-17 years claim to be spending as much as five hours a day on their smartphones, a survey conducted by Lokniti-CSDS revealed. The popularity of smartphones was the least among the older generation (age 56+ years).

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