No Judge, No Justice

 

 

6

What is it? The number of High Courts functioning without regular chief justices.

Why is it important? With four chief justices retiring by December 2017, the number of High Courts without regular chief justices would increase to 10 out of 24 high courts. This will have impact on disposal of cases, with more than 20% of cases pending for more than 10 years, according to data from the National Judicial Data Grid.

Tell me more: 28% of judges’ post are vacant in High Courts as on September 1, 2017.

  

74%

What is it? The percentage equity stake in Gland Pharma which the Chinese firm, Fosun Pharmaceuticals Co. Ltd. wants to acquire for $1.1 billion.

Why is it important? The equity stake is revised downwards from 86% proposed initially, after reported delay in clearing the deal by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs. As per current regulations, foreign direct investment up to 74% in pharma companies comes under automatic route and don’t require government approval.

Tell me more: The initial offer from Fosun group was to acquire 86% equity stake in Gland Pharma, a generics drug maker, for $1.3 billion – the largest acquisition by a Chinese firm, if the deal came through.

 

16,651 

What is it? The number of deaths of neonatal and paediatric patients in state-run hospitals in Odisha between 2013-16.

Why is it important? Despite the state having highest neonatal mortality rate (37 per 1,000 live births) in India, none of the government hospitals have studied the causes of death. Further, a committee set up by the health department to meet once a month to review causes of death hasn’t met once between 2013-16, the period of audit undertaken by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

Tell me more: Uttar Pradesh, which was in the news for infant deaths due to lack of oxygen in a government hospital in Gorakhpur, has neo-natal mortality rate (31) lower than Odisha.

 

Rs 10,880 crore

What is it? The estimated sales by e-commerce firms this festive season, according to Redseer Consulting.

Why is it important? This would be a growth of nearly 62% over 2016’s festive sales by e-commerce firms. After Snapdeal ceased to be a serious contender, the competition would be mainly between India’s homegrown e-commerce firm Flipkart and Amazon where the former is trying to widen its lead over its cash-rich rival while the latter is trying to leapfrog the domestic firm to gain the number one slot. Interestingly, Amazon announced that its flagship annual sale would be between September 21 and 24, which would coincide with Flipkart’s Big Billion Days sales from September 20 and 24.

Tell me more: In 2016, about 6.6% of total e-commerce gross sales were generated in just five days in October, which indicates that these companies are heavily dependent on the festive season sales that might make it difficult for them to break-even, given the increased spending and deep discounts during the season to woo customers.

 

3

What is it? The number of Superseries titles Indian badminton player PV Sindhu has won in her career so far, the latest being her win against Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara in the Korea Open Super Series finals.

Why is it important? Sindhu has created history by becoming the first Indian to clinch the Korea Open Super Series title in the women’s singles category. This comes after about three weeks when Okuhara defeated Sindhu in the World Championships final in Glasgow where the latter has reportedly termed it as a “sweet revenge“. Mumbai-based Ajay Jayaram is the only other Indian to have reached the final of Korea Open in 2015 though he lost out to China’s Chen Long.

Tell me more: Sindhu will move up to the second position from the fourth in the Badminton World Federation rankings when the list gets updated on September 21. The 22-year-old shuttler had previously achieved this level on April 6.

 

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A ‘Rogue Nation’ Gone Ballistic

 

~10.5%

What is it? The estimated gross non-performing assets (NPAs) in the Indian banking system as a percentage of advances in March 2018, up from 9.5% in March 2017, according to Crisil.

Why is it important? The rating agency expects fresh NPA creation to slow down in 2017-18 but adds it would continue to increase because “slippages would still outpace recoveries”. With about two-thirds of stressed assets (gross NPAs and standard assets at risk of turning sour) already recognized by banks, as of March 2017, the corporate loans portfolio of banks is likely to do better in the medium term.

Tell me more: Due to the implementation of the goods and services tax and farm loan waivers by some states, the performance of MSME and agricultural loans could deteriorate, though their impact on bank books is unlikely to be as severe as that of large corporates. Crisil’s estimates stressed assets to be Rs 11,50,000 crore, or about 14% of total advances.

 

2

What is it?: Number of missiles fired by North Korea over Japan in the last two months. North Korea launched the second intermediate-range ballistic missile on Friday morning, four days after the United Nations imposed fresh sanctions on the Kim Kim Jong Un’s regime.

Why is it important?: The latest North Korean provocation could escalate tensions in the region, as the world struggles to deal with an unpredictable leader in charge of a pariah nation.

Tell me more: North Korea is one of the nine countries with nuclear capabilities. According to the chief of US Strategic Command, the readings of North Korea’s most recent nuclear test, on September 3, “equates to a hydrogen bomb”.

 

3.24%

What is it? The increase in India’s wholesale price inflation in August, up from 1.88% in July.

Why is it important? This is the fastest pace of increase in four months, driven mainly by an increase in food prices and fuel costs. While the index for food articles rose 5.75% last month compared to 2.15% in July, fuel and power prices accelerated to 9.99% in August (from 4.37% in July). The prices of vegetables increased by 44.91% last month compared to 21.95% in July and a fall of 7.75% in August 2016.

Tell me more: India’s consumer price index rose to 3.36%, the highest in five months, due to food prices.

 

 

40,000

What is it? The approximate number of Rohingya Muslims who are in India after fleeing Myanmar over the last 10 years.

Why is it important? The Supreme Court is hearing a petition filed by two Rohingya Muslims (who escaped from their village in Myanmar’s Rakhine state about six years ago) against the government’s decision to deport Rohingyas. The government told the top court that these refugees were a threat to India’s national security as they were in touch with Pakistan-based terrorist groups.

Tell me more: Human rights organizations and members of the ethnic minority from Myanmar have criticized India’s move to deport them, with some saying that it is a violation of international law. Close to 15,000 Rohingyas have received refugee documentation, according to the United Nations.

 

3

What is it?: The number of points by which Lewis Hamilton leads Sebastian Vettel in the Formula 1 championship, one of the closest between drivers of two different teams in recent years, as the championships heads for its second Asian stretch.

Why is it important?: In a ding-dong battle, Ferrari’s Vettel is tipped to retake the lead from Mercedes’ Hamilton on Sunday in Singapore. The tight-and-twisty Marina Bay circuit favours the Ferrari, something even Hamilton has acknowledged.

Tell me more: In the last two races at Singapore, Hamilton, a leading driver in a leading car, finished fifth in 2015 and third in 2016.

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Amongst The Lowest In The World

 

 

103

What is it? India’s rank in Human Capital Report 2017 released by the World Economic Forum, the Geneva-based group known for organizing annual conferences bringing together leaders from different countries. Last year, the world’s second most populous nation was ranked 105 out of 130 countries.

Why is it important? The low ranking highlights the poor infrastructure to impart education, lack of opportunities to learn from the job, and low quality of high-skilled employees. Countries that are at the top of the rankings (Norway, Finland and Germany) have two things in common: ensuring educational attainment and deploying a large percentage of their workforce in skill-intensive occupations.

Tell me more: India has the world’s largest youth population, with nearly two-thirds of population below the age of 35. By 2020, India’s average age will be 29 years as compared to 37 years for China.

 

50,000

What is it? The number of people evacuated from different locations in Moscow on Wednesday due to bomb threats.

Why is it important? This is the fourth day since Russian cities and organizations started receiving phone calls about bombs being placed. So far, all have turned out to be hoaxes but 205 organizations and 20 Russian cities have been targeted nationally.

Tell me more: The identity of the callers are not yet found, but with some reports indicating it was originating outside Russia.

 

Rs 1,154 crore

What is it? The amount of dues payable by Reliance Communications Ltd (RCom) and its two subsidiaries to Ericsson India Pvt. Ltd, as per the insolvency petition filed by the Swedish firm before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).

Why is it important? If the petition is accepted by the NCLT, it will scuttle the debt reduction plan by RCom, which plans to merge with wireless division of Aircel – another telecom provider – and sell 51% stake in the tower business to Canadian company, Brookfield Infrastructure. Ericsson has cited lack of clarity on repayment of dues as reasons for filing the petition. RCom has Rs 45,000 crore of debt, and deal to sell majority stake in tower business would have reduced the debt by Rs 25,000 crore.

Tell me more: Section 14 of the bankruptcy code put a moratorium of six months for fresh or pending suits, recoveries etc., from the data when insolvency proceedings commence.

 

21.38%

What is it? The compounded returns achieved by Bessemer Venture Partners, a US-based venture capital, that sold its entire stake in the just concluded initial public offer of Matrimony.com, which runs online matchmaking services.

Why is it important? The successful exit for an investor from a domestic online venture comes at a time when many investors have written off investment in ventures like Housing.com in the last 15 months. Bessemer acquired the shares at an average cost of Rs 307.96 per share. The return was calculated based on upper price band of Rs 985 per share of face value of Rs5.

Tell me more: Matrimony.com’s IPO got oversubscribed 4.4 times, mainly due to retail and institutional investors.

 

Rs 518 crore

What is it? The net loss reported by Air Vistara, a joint venture between the Tata Group and Singapore Airlines, on a turnover of Rs 1,390 crore in financial year 2016-17.

Why is it important? The full service airline has reported loss even as three listed airlines – Indigo, Jet and Spicejet – have reported profits. Relatively low capacity utilisation and higher unit cost have contributed to a 29% increase in losses for Air Vistara.

Tell me more: Jet Airways reported a net profit of Rs 54 crore on a turnover of Rs 5,953 core during financial year ended March 2017.

 

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The Steepest Fall In 14 Years

 

 

6.1%

What is it? The drop in India’s oil consumption in August on a year-on-year basis.

Why is it important? This is the steepest fall in 14 years (April 2003). This is likely due to the effect of severe floods that affected states including Assam, West Bengal, Gujarat and Bihar that could have hurt freight and manufacturing activities leading to reduced demand of diesel and petrol. This is the second time that oil consumption has reduced sharply this year, the first being in January by 5.9% due to the effect of demonetisation.

Tell me more: Consumption of fuel was 15.75 million tonnes in August compared with 16.78 million tonnes in the same month last year. The demand for diesel, which accounts for nearly 40% of total oil used, dropped by 3.7% to 5.9 million tonnes while petrol sales fell 0.8% to 2.19 million tonnes from a year ago.

 

3.36

What is it? The consumer price index for August 2017.

Why is it important? This is the highest in five months, mainly due to an increase in food prices. Retail food inflation, which accounts for 54% of the consumer price index, increased by 1.52% last month after contracting for three consecutive months. The Reserve Bank of India has an inflation target of 4% for 2017-18 and it may not cut interest rates further this fiscal following the increase in retail inflation for two consecutive months.

Tell me more: In a separate set of data released by the government on Tuesday, the annual industrial output increased by 1.2% in July; it had contracted by 0.2% in June.

 

106,578

What is it? The number of directors of suspected shell companies that have been identified by the government.

Why is it important? This comes about a week after the government had disqualified as many as 3 lakh directors of shell companies from being re-appointed or appointed in other firms in similar positions. The government will further investigate if these directors were acting in the interests of those who were using these shell companies to launder money or evade taxes. In addition, the scrutiny would also extend to chartered accountants, company secretaries and cost and works accountants who may have been hand in glove with the shell companies in undertaking illegal activities.

Tell me more: A few months ago, a three-year probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation had unearthed a complex web of 393 shell companies that were allegedly used to divert funds worth Rs 2,900 crore.

 

~ 6

What is it? The number of minutes Apple’s senior vice president of retail Angela Ahrendts was on stage to present at Apple’s keynote on Tuesday. Ahrendts  was the sole woman presenter (among 8) at the two hour long event which saw the launch of iPhone X.

Why is it important? It reflects the lack of gender diversity in the tech industry. Only 32% of employees at Apple are female and the ratio is 28% at senior management level and  23% at its tech division. Since 1997, only 9 women representing Apple have been on stage at its events. Tim Cook had earlier acknowledged this as a problem.

Tell me more: A number of recent episodes – including the anti-diversity memo by an employee at Google, charges of sexism at Uber –  have highlighted the extent of diversity problem across tech industry. It’s true of Indian tech industry as well. (Meanwhile iPhoneX will be available in India from November 3 for Rs 89,000)

 

10

What is it? The number of coal mines the government plans to auction off for commercial mining, according to a report.

Why is it important? While this is a key step in opening up coal mining sector for private sector, the feasibility for private players will depend on their ability to sell coal at market prices. That might be constrained in a regulated power market, such as the one in India. Coal India, the state-owned monopoly, had cut its production target this year by about 10% on weak demand.

Tell me more: Earlier this year, government officials announced that it would allow commercial coal mining in 2017-18.

 

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