What we learnt this week: India spends 7 paise on public libraries

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What we learnt this week: India spends 7 paise on public libraries

NH Web Desk

India spends 7 paise on public libraries

The per capita expenditure on public libraries is by far the lowest among ‘super-powers’ at seven paise per year per head. Most developed countries spend a lot more, impose a library cess and public libraries are funded and run by municipal authorities.

No wonder India is nowhere in the list of books lent per year by public libraries (in million):

Book loans per year(million)

Tokyo: 111.9

Shanghai: 86.2

New York: 56.3

Hong Kong: 49.8

Los Angeles: 42

Singapore: 33

Moscow: 30.3

Toronto: 30.2

Paris: 28.3

London: 25.8

Cape Town: 9.9

Amsterdam: 9.8

India’s economy the size of California’s

The current size of India’s Gross Domestic Product, estimated at 280 lakh crore Rupees ($2.8 trillion), is similar to the state of California in the United States. California’s GDP is estimated at $2.7 trillion while Texas boasts of a GDP of $1.7 trillion.

While India’s GDP is an aggregation of the output of all states taken together, only five states in India has a GDP close to $ 200 billion mark. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a target of doubling the GDP by the year 2024 and take it to $ 5 trillion mark before the next general election.

Farmers’ suicide: It’s official

After being in denial for years, the Maharashtra government finally conceded that as many as 12,021 farmers committed suicide in the state in three years. The information was given in the state Assembly and the government admitted that in as many as 6,888 of these cases, the farmers were eligible for aid from the state government. In other words, 5133 farmers who committed suicide were ineligible for aid. With eight suicides a day, government aid doesn’t seem to be making much of a difference.

Centre favours Gujarat

In a reply in the Rajya Sabha, the government admitted that Gujarat received the lion’s share of central funds allocated for irrigation schemes in the last five years. Gujarat received central assistance worth Rs 2,074 crore, or nearly 56 per cent of the total Rs 3,772 crore spent for Command Area Development and Water Management (CADWM) between 2014-15 and 2018-19, informed Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar in reply to questions from Congress MPs Amee Yajnik and Husain Dalwai.

Besides, Gujarat received an additional Rs 1,200 crore, which is nearly 12 per cent of the funds allotted for another scheme Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) during the same period. The Centre sanctioned a total of Rs 10,249 crore for the PMKSY scheme between 2014-15 and 2018-19. Among the states which received more funds than Gujarat under the PMKSY scheme were Andhra Pradesh (Rs 1,674 crore) and Karnataka.

Bullet Train to sacrifice mangroves

Around 54,000 mangroves spread over 13.36 hectares will be affected by the proposed Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, Maharashtra Transport Minister Diwakar Raote admitted in a written reply in the state legislature.

The figure, he claimed, was actually on the lower side because the pillars of the Bullet Train project would be rather high. “…the cutting of mangroves will be less. It will not affect the environment much,” he claimed and added that the state government had proposed to plant five mangroves for each one that will be cut for the multi-billion dollar project.

Billionaires & charity

Share of wealth given up by billionaires to charity:

Bill Gates: 46%

Michael Dell: 9%

Carlos Slim: 6%

Sergey Brin: 5%

Ma Huateng: 4%

Larry Page: 3%

Mark Zuckerberg: 2.4%

Larry Ellison: 2.1%

Jeff Bezos: 1.9%

When did they become billionaires?

Age of becoming a billionaire:

Sheldon Adelson: 68

Warren Buffett: 56

Charles Koch: 53

Michael Bloomberg: 52

Carlos Slim: 51

Larry Ellison: 49

Bernard Arnault: 48

Jack Ma: 45

Steve Ballmer: 38

Jeff Bezos: 35

Bill Gates: 31

Larry Page: 30

Mark Zuckerberg: 23

(Source: Business Insider)

India biggest exporter of ‘Blue Water’

A cup of coffee may contain just 120 ml of the liquid but it takes 132 litres of water to grow the coffee beans and reach them to us. Virtually everything we use require enormous volume of water to produce—which experts call ‘virtual water’. Whether we buy a car or a washing machine, thousands of litres of water would have been used to manufacture them.

And as developed countries get smarter and conserve their own water by importing products that require a lot of water, India has emerged as the largest exporter of ‘blue water’ or virtual water.

Police too hasty in slapping charges of sedition

In yet another case of people accused of sedition and waging war against the state being found innocent, the Calcutta High Court acquitted three alleged Maoists sentenced to life imprisonment by the trial court. The acquittal comes 13 years after they filed an appeal in 2006. They were arrested on suspicion and the police claimed to have recovered Maoist literature.

Besides pointing out inconsistencies in the police version, the high court noted that neither firearms nor explosives were seized by the police from the trio. The evidence was insufficient and the link between the accused and Maoists was tenuous at best. Tragically, one of the three petitioners had died in 2006 itself.

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Published: 30 Jun 2019, 10:22 AM