News in Numbers, May 12, 2016: New drought policies, some Amazon India sellers in trouble…

3

What is it? The number of months the government has to set up a National Disaster Mitigation Fund to tackle drought, per Supreme Court directions.

Why is it important? This would accelerate and streamline drought relief and preparations, and mitigate its impact including farmer suicides. Over 330 million people (about a quarter of India’s population) are drought-hit and 116 farmers have committed suicide in 10 states so far.

Tell me more: Other measures listed by the Supreme Court include: replace colonial methods and manuals with a modern, transparent, rule-based framework to deal with drought, implement provisions of the National Disaster Management Act and formulate a national policy under it, revise the existing drought management manual of 2009 and standardised nomenclature. The apex court rapped three states – Gujarat (for delay in acknowledging drought), Haryana and Bihar (for not declaring drought at all).

 

Rs 9,000 crore

What is it? The value of domestic assets and shares of liquor baron Vijay Mallya, which the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is reportedly considering to attach, in relation to the IDBI bank loan fraud case.

Why is it important? Mallya’s assets and shares are being examined to be attached under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act so that no third-party rights can be created in them, according to an ED official. However, attachment and attempts to sell Mallya’s properties have not fetched the authorities/banks anything so far.

Tell me more: The IDBI Bank loan fraud case pertains to an allegation by the investigating agency that Mallya has siphoned off Rs 430 crore from the Rs 900 crore loan given by the bank to his now defunct firm Kingfisher Airlines, to buy properties overseas. The grounded airline owes around Rs 9,000 crore to 17 banks.

 

50

What is it? The number of sellers of Amazon India who have been alleged to falsely claiming credit on Central Value Added Tax (Cenvat).

Why is it important? The alleged tax evasion – using the provision that allows tax relief on inputs for a product or service – could be about Rs 118 crore. It also highlights the tough time global tech companies – others include Facebook, Uber and Google – have been facing in India.

Tell me more: The authorities has questioned Amazon India and conducted searches in its business premises across the country to determine if Amazon is involved in any wrongdoing related to this case.

 

4

What is it? The number of telecom circles Vodafone will launch 4G services in, over the next few months.

Why is it important? This would help India’s second largest telecom service provider to cover 1,000 cities across nine circles by the end of this year, which will likely contribute to the onset of a pricing war and consolidation in the industry. Bharti Airtel is aggressively pushing to establish dominance in the 4G segment before Reliance Jio’s expected launch by the end of the year.

Tell me more: The new circles are Haryana, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh East and West Bengal. According to a Deloitte India report, a third of the mobile users in the country are expected to adopt 4G services by the end of the year, possibly resulting in the reduction of traditional voice calls.

 

11

What is it? The average age of US technology companies that went public in 2014, compared to four years in 1999.

Why is it important? An indicator that these firms are shying away from an initial public offering (IPO) longer than earlier due to rapid increase in private investor money. Poor performance of IPOs of tech companies in the last few years have not helped. This is likely to change the way investments are done in tech startups, given that investors have to wait longer to realise their returns.

Tell me more: The data is according to a research by Jay Ritter, a University of Florida professor, which points to the fact that tech companies are preferring the private route to grow into unicorns (startups valued at over $1 billion) and decacorns (valuation above $10 billion) instead of the public listing route.

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