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News in Numbers: Value of notes returned to RBI after demonetisation estimated at Rs15.28 trillion

LiveMint logoLiveMint 31-08-2017 howindialives.com

Rs15.28 trillion

What is it? The estimated value of high-value currency notes, which were banned after the sudden demonetisation move last November, that have been returned to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) as on 30 June 2017.

Why is it important? This is 98.96% of the Rs15.44 trillion of banned notes that were in circulation as on 8 November, which is likely to step up scrutiny of the usefulness of the demonetisation exercise, given its impact on the common man and on businesses. This could imply that there was very little unaccounted money held with the public, though the government says a significant portion of the deposited amount could be unexplained/black money.

Tell me more: The Congress hit out at the central bank and the government and questioned if the demonetisation move was to convert black money into white. It said that 104 lives were lost during the implementation of the exercise and demanded an apology from the Prime Minister.

296

What is it? The number of children that have died at the Baba Raghav Das Hospital in Gorakhpur district, Uttar Pradesh, so far this month, according to a senior official at the hospital.

Why is it important? This is the same hospital where 60 children died between 7 and 11 august, of which half reportedly died because the hospital had not paid its dues to a supplier who cut off oxygen supply to the health facility. These deaths highlight the lack of proper public health facilities in India, especially Uttar Pradesh, the most populous and one of the poorest states. It has a neonatal mortality rate of 49 deaths per 1,000 live births and most of them preventable. Over 97,000 villages in the state have just around 3,600 primary health centres.

Tell me more: Of the 296 child deaths this month, 213 died in the neonatal intensive care unit.

$475,000

What is it? The cost of the therapy offered by Novartis to treat acute lymphoblastic leukaemia per treatment.

Why is it important? This drug called Kymriah, reportedly among the most expensive ever, is the first gene therapy to be introduced in the United States after approval by the US Food and Drug Administration—it would be the first treatment to redesign a patient’s immune system to attack cancer. In this process, white blood cells would be extracted from the patient’s blood and the cells would be modified to include a new gene that would direct them to seek out the cancer cells and kill them. These cells would then be infused back into the patient.

Tell me more: Of the 63 patients treated with this therapy, 83% were in complete remission within three months but long-term data collection is still on.

57,000

What is it? The number of non-combat personnel who will be redeployed as part of the restructuring exercise to increase teeth-to-tail ratio—the number of combatants to non-combatants performing support role.

Why is it important? This move will affect one in 20 employees in armed forces, and is part of 65 recommendations of D. B. Shekatkar committee which looked into combat capability and defence expenditure. The other decision includes shutting down 39 military farms spread over 20,000 acres, and this land could now be used for training purposes. If Shekatkar committee recommendations were accepted, then it would have resulted in savings of Rs25,000 crore over the next five years.

Tell me more: Other recommendations like tri-service command have been postponed, or not accepted, like increasing defence expenditure to 2.5%—3% of GDP as compared to less than 2% now.

25%

What is it? The proposed goods and services tax (GST) cess on luxury cars and sports utility vehicles (SUVs), as compared to 15% at present.

Why is it important? Cars that have engine capacity more than 1,500 cc and are more than 4 metres long will see price increase. Luxury car makers have criticised the government move, saying more time should have been given to see revenue impact of lower GST tax rates. The overall tax incidence on luxury cars dropped post GST, and it led to higher demand because of price reduction of luxury cars and SUVs.

Tell me more: The government promulgated an ordinance on Wednesday, but the exact quantum of increase will be decided by the GST council, which has representatives from the central and state governments, on 9 September.

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