What is it? The number of iPhones sold by Apple in India in the last three months of 2015, according to Counterpoint Technology Research.
Why is it important? This is the highest ever sales recorded in the country, a 76% growth from a year ago. However, this is less than 3% of total smartphones sold in India during the period. Globally, Apple reported flat sales of its flagship smartphone, which accounts forover two-thirds of its revenue, in this period, a reason it’s turning its attention on India. The company said it is “increasingly putting more energy” into the country’s youth and their rising disposable income. Recently, it had sought the government’s approval to open its own retail stores in India.
Tell me more: Analysts are worried that China’s economic slowdown (it reported the lowest numbers in 25 years) might impact Apple’s growth. Greater China accounted for nearly a fourth of Apple’s fourth quarter revenue.
What is it? India’s ranking in 2015’s global corruption index (out of 168 countries) by Transparency International.
Why is it important? It has moved up nine positions from the previous year’s 85th ranking. Its grade index score of 38 out of 100 (100 is the least corrupt) compares poorly with the Denmark’s 91, the top country in the index. Shows India has a long way to go in weeding out corruption. One of the key promises by the NDA government has been to improve India’s ranking in the ease of doing business index and position it among the top 50 countries. To do so, India would have to tackle corruption quickly, which has been cited as the main obstacle in doing business in the country by a 2014 KPMG report.
Tell me more: Brazil reported the worst decline in rankings, down seven positions to the 76th position, as a massive scandal erupted at state-run companies.
Rs 6 lakh crore
What is it? The amount the Indian government could earn based on the telecom regulator’s recommendations on the reserve price for spectrum in the 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz bands.
Why is it important? This would be the highest ever earned by the government from spectrum auction, if it accepts the regulator’s recommendations. The 700 MHz band, which is known to be the best for offering mobile broadband and 4G services and is being offered under the auction for the first time, could alone contribute to around Rs 4 lakh crore. The telecom companies are reeling under massive debts (Rs 3.5 lakh crore as of April 2015) and it remains to be seen how far they are willing to stretch their balance sheets to participate in the next round of auction.
Tell me more: Telecom operators including Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular have opposed the sale of spectrum in the 700 MHz band, saying it should be done only when the operators are ready with the devices and equipment to operate the airwaves.
What is it? India’s arms export target by 2025.
Why is it important? The Indian government is seeking to not only become self-sufficient in the defence sector but also, one of the world’s biggest arms exporters. If India achieves the $3-billion target, then it would then transform the country from an arms importer to a major seller. In 2014-15, it sold defence equipment worth around $150 million to other countries, a mere 0.25% of the $64-billion global defence trade. In contrast, India’s arms imports totalled to $5.57 billion in 2014.
Tell me more: According to Anurag Garg, a director of defense at Strategy&, a consulting group of PwC, state companies account for 80% of defence production and that there is heavy reliance on the private sector to design military hardware, which is “no easy task”.
10.23 million tonnes
What is it? India’s rice exports in 2015, according to a Thai rice exporters organisation.
Why is it important? This makes India the world’s largest rice exporter, beating Thailand. India’s top position comes not from its scaling up, but by Thailand’s decline. Thailand’s rice exports were down by 10.8% to 9.8 million tonnes on a year-on-year basis. The Southeast Asian country attributed this to global economic slowdown, particularly in countries with high rice demand and decrease in purchasing power of nations due to falling oil prices. India’s total rice shipments have seen a 7.3% decline in volumes and an 18% fall in value in the April-November period of the current fiscal. It is likely to post lower export figures in 2015-16 than the 11.92 million tonnes shipped in 2014-15.
Tell me more: Fall in shipments of the basmati rice variety to Iran, one of the largest buyers from India and tepid demand from African countries (mainly Nigeria) are the main reasons for the fall in India’s rice exports.