The week in 5 charts | BJP wins three of five state polls, Cyclone Michaung leaves trail of destruction, Crime in India report, and more

Here are five charts that will help you understand some of the key stories from last week

December 10, 2023 12:37 pm | Updated 06:52 pm IST

(Left) Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends party’s election victory celebrations. (Centre) An aerial view of the flood-affected area in Chennai. (Right) Mount Marapi spews colomns of volcanic ash on December 6, 2023.

(Left) Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends party’s election victory celebrations. (Centre) An aerial view of the flood-affected area in Chennai. (Right) Mount Marapi spews colomns of volcanic ash on December 6, 2023.

(1) BJP 3-1 Congress, ZPM wins Mizoram

In a big boost for Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of a national election due next year, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday won three out of five state elections.

The BJP wrested control of Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan from Indian National Congress and was reelected in Madhya Pradesh for a record fifth term, according to the Election Commission. While the Congress comfortably won Telangana, which was ruled by the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), the Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM), an alliance of six regional parties, secured the majority in the Mizoram assembly.

BJP’s performance was better than widely expected as opinion and exit polls had suggested a close contest between the BJP and the Congress. Although Congress won Telangana, its second victory in the south this year, Sunday’s outcome is seen as a setback. The five states account for 83 seats in the 543-member parliament.

Editorial | Decisive wins: On M.P., Rajasthan, Telangana and Chhattisgarh Assembly election results

Elections in the five states were held last month and more than 160 million people, or a sixth of India’s electorate, were eligible to vote.

(2) Cyclone Michaung leaves trail of destruction

Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha states are slowly crawling back to normalcy in the wake of Cyclone Michaung, even as residents in the worst hit parts of Chennai continued to grapple with stagnant water that receded only slightly and continued power outages.

Multiple state and central agencies threw themselves into relief and rescue operations in inundated suburbs of Chennai throughout the week. The death toll due to cyclone Michaung in Chennai rose to 24 on Friday.

Also read | How Cyclone Michaung formed, intensified, rained, and dissipated | Explained

While the state chief secretary declared that 99.5% of the city was free of inundation, several areas in north Chennai were under sheets of water and residents struggled without power and water supply. And even in areas where water had receded, health experts warned of the risk of serious disease as sewage-laced water was still stagnant on the interior roads.

Also read | Anger swells against political parties for inadequate response during floods in Chennai

There were rains in parts of Tamil Nadu on Friday, but officials said that there was no further damage, the cyclone had weakened, and the worst was now over.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Saturday announced ₹6,000 each, to all of the families that have been affected by Cyclone Michaung. The relief amount will be distributed through fair price shops in all affected areas. The Chief Minister, who chaired a meeting attended by his Cabinet colleagues, the T.N. Chief Secretary and other officials, also increased the solatium to ₹5 lakh from ₹4 lakh for those who lost their lives in the floods.

A State government press release said ₹8,000, up from ₹5,000, would be given to those who needed to repair their huts damaged in the incessant rain that ravaged many parts of the State due to the cyclone.

(3) Crimes against women, children increased in 2022

Crimes against women, Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), children, cyber crimes, and offences against the state saw an increase in 2022 as compared with 2021, according to the annual ‘Crime in India Report 2022’ published by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) on Sunday.

The annual crime report, and the Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India (ADSI) report were published when the results of the Assembly elections in four States were announced on December 3.

According to the Crime in India report, a total of 4,45,256 cases of ‘crimes against women’ were registered during 2022, showing an increase of 4% over 2021 (4,28,278 cases). The majority of cases occurring as ‘crimes against women’ under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) were registered under ‘cruelty by husband or his relatives’ (31.4%) followed by ‘kidnapping and abduction of women’ (19.2%), ‘assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty’ (18.7%), and ‘rape’ (7.1%).

Uttar Pradesh registered the highest number of 65,743 cases of crimes against women under IPC and Special and Local Laws (SLL), Maharashtra recorded 45,331 cases, and Rajasthan reported 45,058 cases, each with varying chargesheet rates.

A total of 1,62,449 cases of crimes against children were registered during 2022, showing an increase of 8.7% over 2021 (1,49,404 cases). In percentage terms, the major heads of crime under ‘crimes against children’ during 2021 were kidnapping and abduction (45.7%), and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 (39.7%), including child rape. A total of 30,555 cases have been registered against juveniles during 2022, depicting a decline of 2% over 2021 (31,170 cases).

(4) Indonesia volcano death toll rises to 22

The death toll from Indonesia’s Marapi volcano eruption jumped to 22 on December 5 as rescuers found more climbers who had perished near the crater, the head of the West Sumatra rescue agency said on Tuesday, up from 13 earlier in the day.

The 2,891-metre high volcano in West Sumatra erupted on Sunday, spewing gray clouds of ash as high as 3 kilometres (1.9 miles) into the sky.

Mount Marapi, which means “Mountain of Fire”, is among the most active of Indonesia’s 127 volcanoes and is also popular among hikers. The volcano last erupted in January and February this year. Marapi’s deadliest eruption occurred in 1979, when 60 people died.

Since 2011, Indonesia’s volcanology agency has urged a local conservation agency and the Environment Ministry in monthly letters to close an area within 3 kilometres’ radius of the summit to climbers, agency head Hendra Gunawan told Reuters.

There were 75 hikers in the area during the eruption, most of whom have been evacuated and received treatment for burns.

Marapi is located on Sumatra, the westernmost and third largest of Indonesia’s 18,000 islands. It stands 2,891m (9,485ft) high. The Indonesian archipelago sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, where the meeting of continental plates causes high volcanic and seismic activity.

(5) RBI keeps repo rate unchanged

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Friday unanimously decided to keep key interest rates unchanged, raised its GDP growth projection for 2023-24 to 7% from 6.5%, and retained its average inflation forecast at 5.4%, while warning that inflation could spike through November and December.

“We have made significant progress in bringing inflation below 5% despite intermittent blips… The target of 4% inflation is yet to be reached and we have to stay the course. Headline inflation remains volatile due to supply shocks,” Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das said.

Five of the six MPC members voted to persist with a policy stance focus on “withdrawal of accommodation”, but there was no indication of when interest rates — the key repo rate has been paused over five successive reviews after being raised by 250 basis points to 6.5% — may be trimmed. One basis point is equal to 0.01 percentage point.

Also read | Ten key takeaways from RBI’s Monetary Policy statement

Governor Das stressed that the idea was not just to achieve 4% inflation but to maintain it at that level on a durable basis and it is not possible to provide a “forward guidance” in the current scenario when there is excessive uncertainty. The “future looks fickle and new shocks can hit any economy at any time”.

Also read | RBI hikes UPI transaction limit for hospitals and educational institutions

“We expect the Central bank to maintain a prolonged pause on monetary policy rate until August 2024 and opt for a pivot thereafter with visibility on the durability of the 4% inflation target getting better,” QuantEco Research said in a note on Friday’s monetary policy statement.

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