News in Numbers, Jan 25, 2017: Deep-pocketed rival rattles leader

Rs 503.7 crore

What is it? Bharti Airtel’s consolidated profit for the third quarter of fiscal 2017.

Why is it important? The lowest profit since the quarter ended December, 2012, shows the largest telecom player is far from being immune to market forces. The sector again has a competitor, Reliance Jio, with deep pockets dragging other players into a price war. Bharti Airtel, like its counterparts, has had to take deep cuts in its voice and data tariffs to counter its promotional run. Demonetisation-driven cash crunch also affected its prepaid customers while the devaluation of the Nigerian currency raised losses from its African operations.

Tell me more: Bharti Airtel’s average revenue per user fell close to 7% from the second quarter to Rs 123. Its consolidated revenue at Rs 23,364 crore, dipped year-on-year for the first time.

 

Rs 660.5 crore

What is it? The interest waiver for November and December, 2016, for farmers who have taken short-term loans from cooperative banks.

Why is it important? The government will be taking on an additional Rs 1,060.5 crore liability besides the FY17-budgeted Rs 15,000-crore for the Interest Subvention Scheme, to make amends for the demonetisation impact. It was ill-timed as farmers could neither encash their cheques from the recent sale of their Kharif crops nor buy resources for their next Rabi sowings, making it difficult to serve their loans. They had been given additional 60 days to repay crop loans but this waiver could be a much-needed breather. Those who have paid, would get their amounts refunded.

Tell me more: The National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (Nabard) has gotten the nod to facilitate cooperative banks. It will make short-term borrowings of Rs 20,000 crore at market rate to lend it to them at 4.5% interest rate so more loans can be disbursed.

 

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What is it? The Grand Slam semi-finals Roger Federer would have played in, after his quarter-final win over Germany’s Mischa Zverev, at the Australian Open, on Tuesday .

Why is it important? Could signal a comeback for the Swiss great from last year, riddled with a knee injury. Unable to play since his withdrawal from the 2016 French Open, he had earlier never missed a Grand Slam since 1999. He goes up against fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka whom he has defeated 18 times of 21 matches they have played.

Tell me more: At Australian Open, Federer has appeared in 12 semi-finals, with the thirteenth cued.

 

$8.03 billion

What is it? The aid requested by the United Nations for 2017 to help Syrians, both refugees and within Syria.

Why is it important? The amount for Syria forms 31% of UN’s total humanitarian aid plea for 2017. Terming the Syrian people’s crisis as far from over, the UN asked for $4.63 billion for food, rent, education and healthcare of 4.7 million Syrian refugees and their 4.4 million hosts in five neighbouring countries: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. The remaining $3.4 billion would bring life-saving resources to 13.5 million Syrians still in the country.

Tell me more: Hosts are helping Syrian refugees with very few in camps. In Syria, 13 besieged areas have650,000 people cut off from aid.

 

Rs 7,832.98 crore

What is it? The income of political parties, both national and regional, from unknown sources between FY05 and FY15.

Why is it important? The amount comprising 69% of the total declared income of political parties in the 10 years, show the scope black money and illegitimate means of funding have in our democracy. The demonetisation move brought into sharp focus the need to monitor funds received by political parties with voices advocating a receipt-only approach. However, the Supreme Court turned down a plea earlier this month to make it mandatory for political parties to declare all sources of income, not just those from donors giving above Rs 20,000 as is the law.

Tell me more: The Delhi thinktank, Association for Democratic Reforms, studied IT returns with the Election Commission to arrive at the amount. National political parties were brought under the RTI Act in 2013 but are yet to comply.

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