NTPC power plant
42 deaths: On November 1, 2017, an explosion at NTC’s Unchahar plant killed 42 persons. The “economiser hopper” (used to capture large ash particles from flue gas) reportedly opened due to extra pressure, releasing flue gas at high temperature. The unit had 85 people then; most of the 43 survivors suffered serious burn- and inhalation-related injuries. An expert panel headed by the NTPC executive director was set up. The report of a magisterial inquiry ordered by the Rae Bareli administration has not been made public. No FIR was registered. Ruchi Ratna, additional general manager (PR) NTPC, said that there are no updates since then.
26 deaths: Kolkata’s 2.2-km Vivekananda Flyover collapsed on March 31, 2016, killing 26 persons. A government-sanctioned probe by the consultancy RITES found that the design was faulty and construction was done without due care or proper supervision. A report by IIT-Kharagpur experts too found flaws in design and material. Police arrested 16 people including officials of construction firm IVRCL and Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority. Currently, out on bail, they were probed for murder, criminal conspiracy, attempt to murder and mischief causing damage; the first charge sheet in 2016 dropped the murder charge.
23 deaths: A stampede on a foot overbridge that connects Parel and Elphinstone Road stations on September 29, 2017, left 23 commuters dead and 32 injured. Investigations showed commuters had crowded the bridge during rain and panicked when they misunderstood a passenger’s shout of “phool gir gaya” (a flower has fallen off a basket) for “pul gir gaya” (the bridge has fallen). A second bridge was built four months after the stampede.
2 deaths: Parts of the 880-m Bomikhal flyover have collapsed twice in recent months. On May 3, a construction worker was killed and another injured; last September, a man was killed and his eight-year-old daughter was injured when a concrete slab came down. The government blacklisted the contractor, Panda Infra Projects (India) Pvt Ltd, after the September incident, and is now exploring grounds to fire it.
Tip for Reading List: Do Women Politicians Enhance Economic Growth?
The proportion of women participating in mainstream politics has grown steadily in the last two decades. With over 100 countries introducing quotas for women in Parliament or parties, the percentage of women in Parliament worldwide has doubled in the last 20 years, standing at 22.8% in June 2016. In an attempt to find whether “women politicians are good for economic growth”, T Baskaran and his team analysed data from 4,265 state Assembly constituencies in India between 1992 and 2012. During this period, women’s representation in the Assemblies grew from about 4.5% to 8%. The researchers used “satellite imagery of night luminosity as a measure of economic performance”, and compared constituencies in which a woman won against a man by a narrow margin with those won by a man against a woman by a narrow margin. They found that women legislators in India raised economic performance in their constituencies by about 1.8 percentage points per year more than male legislators. This, according to the researchers, was because women legislators were “less likely to be criminal and corrupt, more efficacious, and less vulnerable to political opportunism”. (Source: United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research)
This Word Means: the PCA framework
How and why does RBI put restrictions on some banks under Prompt Corrective Action?
On Thursday, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal met the heads of 11 state-owned banks to discuss how they can be taken out of a framework called Prompt Corrective Action, or PCA. It is a framework under which the RBI places weak banks to prevent them from going bust, and ensure they follow corrective measures. Banks under PCA are restricted from paying a dividend, expanding the number of branches, recruiting staff, increasing the size of their loan book, or other activities, depending on the level of risk. As per the framework of April 2017, PCA can kick in at three levels (risk thresholds). At Risk Threshold 1, PCA can kick in when net non-performing assets (NPA) are between 6-9%; there are negative returns on assets (RoA) for two consecutive years; and capital-to-risk weighted assets ratio (CRAR) falls by up to 250 basis points below the minimum regulatory requirement. At Risk Threshold 2, PCA can kick in when net NPA is 9-12%; or a bank has negative RoA for three consecutive years; and CRAR is between 250-400 basis points below the minimum requirement. At Risk Threshold 3, PCA can kick in when net NPA exceeds 12% or RoA has been negative for four consecutive years. Sunny Verma