News in numbers, Apr 8, 2016: IIT fees increased, share of loss-making public companies…

5 million

What is it? The number of Reliance Communications’ (RCom) customers who will be migrated to fourth generation network operated by Reliance Jio, the yet-to-be launched telecom venture by Mukesh Ambani controlled Reliance Industries (RIL).  

Why is it important? This will be a test of call quality and broadband speed of Reliance Jio, whose launch is delayed to end of 2016. For RCom, owned by Mukesh’s younger brother Anil Ambani, the deal will help to launch the 4G services without spending much on setting up additional infrastructure.    

Tell me more: The two brothers signed a deal to share resources. RCom will share its network and spectrum, and RIL will allow RCom customers to use its network.    

 

Rs 2 lakhs

What is it? Revised annual fees payable by undergraduates studying at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). The earlier fees was Rs 90,000 per year.

Why is it important? The upward revision will cut government’s subsidy bill. The central government spends Rs 6 lakh each year to educate one student. The increase will be spent to improve the infrastructure within IIT’s.

Tell me more: Students from Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes and most economically backward families (annual income of less than Rs 1 lakh) will not be required to pay the fees. For rest, either partial remission of fees based on family income or bank loan is made available.

 

18%

What is it?  The Goods and Services Tax rate that finance minister Arun Jaitley says will be a part of the GST Bill

Why is it important?  The move – to make the 18% cap a part of the bill – might lower the resistance from the Congress Party to the passing of the bill in the parliament. While there is consensus about the tax rate – proposed by a committee headed by chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian – the government was reluctant to include any rate in the bill (as demanded by Congress) because it puts a constraint on raising tax revenues.

Tell me more: Experts have argued that implementation of GST will widen tax base, eliminate myriad taxes and their cascading effects, simplify compliance and help center and state tax administrations work together efficiently.

 

30%

What is it? The percentage of State Level Public Enterprises estimated to be incurring losses, per Reserve Bank of India.

Why is it important? The losses have adverse impact on state budgets, leaving less funds for development. The financial performance reflect poor management and excess manpower at the state run enterprises as well as policies such as administered prices and other market conditions.

Tell me more: There are 849 state level public enterprises operating in the areas of manufacturing, finance, power, infrastructure, agriculture and allied services and employ over 18 lakh people.

 

€ 1,500

What is it? Fine payable for anyone caught paying for sex in France. For second offence, the fine will increase to Euro 3,750 and an entry in that person’s criminal record.   

Why is it important? The law passed by the French parliament will criminalize paying for sex rather than the act of soliciting sex. France follows the model adopted by Norway and Northern Ireland. Opponents of this approach say this pushes prostitution underground.   

Tell me more: There are 3 million sex workers in India and 40% of them are children, as per Ministry of Women and Child Development estimate in 2007. Sex workers are allowed to practise in their private homes individually, but organized prostitution is banned.

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