News in Numbers, July 20, 2016: Global warming and reduced productivity, Uber’s 2 billion rides…

Rs 76,685 crore

What is it? The amount 8,167 wilful defaulters owe banks in 2015-16, according to the government. Wilful defaulters are those who have the ability to repay loans but do not do so or have siphoned them off for a purpose other than the original one.

Why is it important? This is around 12.9% of the total gross bad loans in the Indian banking system, which is difficult to recover as such cases have seen a conviction rate of just 1.14% in 2015-16. A total of 1,724 FIRs (first information reports) have been filed in the same year.

Tell me more: The extent of bad loans and consequently, the losses posted by the banks have jumped up in the last few quarters, after central bank’s directed them to clean up their balance sheets by March 2017.

 

$2 trillion

What is it? The potential cost to world economy in lost productivity due to global warming by 2030, according to the United Nations.

Why is it important? This is mainly because the hot weather would make it difficult or unbearable to work. Due to the reduced productivity, 43 countries including India, China and Indonesia would see a decline in their gross domestic product by 3.2%, 0.8% and 6% respectively. According to the researchers, up to 20% of annual work hours is already being lost in jobs due to exposure to extreme heat and this is likely to double by 2050.

Tell me more: Researchers have warned that those engaged in low-paid occupations such as agriculture, heavy labour and manufacturing are at a high risk of exposure to extreme heat. This is likely to deepen their poverty levels and even put their lives in danger.

 

2 billion

What is it? The total number of rides taxi-hailing firm Uber has completed on June 18.

Why is it important? The company, which completed its first billion rides in six years, took just six months for another billion. Indicates the rapid pace of expansion of Uber, a potential threat to its global rivals including Ola in India, Lyft in the US and Didi Chuxing in China. However, going by its 2014 and 2015 (first half) figures, Uber’s rapid pace of growth is at a huge cost: incentives to drivers and riders, promotions, price cuts, and fast growth in increase in sales, marketing and research costs, which is mainly due to funding by investors and it remains to be seen how long the company can sustain this.

Tell me more: Uber raised $3.5 billion from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund in June, which took the total valuation of the company to $62.5 billion. This was followed by the company securing a $1.15 billion leveraged loan earlier this month.

 

14,222

What is it? The number of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) barred from receiving funds between 2012 and 2015.

Why is it important? Of this, over 70% were barred last year. The government says that action has been initiated against those NGOs that violate the provisions of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Rules Act, 2011 (FCRA). Critics have argued that this is a move by the government to suppress those who against the government’s economic policies.

Tell me more: Just one NGO has been barred from receiving overseas funds so far this year. The organisations are given opportunities to submit additional information, allow their records to be inspected, issuance of show-cause notices and personal appearances, if required, before cancelling their FCRA registrations, according to the Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju.

 

Rs 2,000 crore

What is it? The assets belonging to the former Financial Technologies (FTIL) reportedly seized by Mumbai’s Economic Offences Wing.

Why is it important? This brings the investigation a step closer to closure, a likely relief for investors who lost money in the 2013 scam. It comes a week after FTIL’s founder Jignesh Shah was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate, which claims it has got evidence of money laundering against him. Shah is being probed in connection with the Rs 5,575.35 crore money laundering fraud at National Spot Exchange Ltd, 99.9% owned by FTIL.

Tell me more: FTIL assets including its Mumbai headquarters, banks’ fixed deposits and accounts have been attached. The company has confirmed the same but has said it would move the court as it claims there is no legal basis for the action by the Economic Offences Wing.

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