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.
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.
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.
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)
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.