Air India’s debt-laden wings ✈

Rs 30,748 crore

What is it? The annual cost of various allowances paid to central government employees and pensioners as approved by the Cabinet on Wednesday.

Why is it important? The approved sum is nearly 5% more than the estimates of the 7th Pay Commission in 2016, at Rs 29,300 crore for allowances. The total financial impact, including salaries, had been estimated at Rs 102,100 crore then.

Tell me more: It was approved after the Committee on Allowances, headed by Ashok Lavasa, submitted its report in April this year.

 

Rs 52,000 crore

What is it? The amount of debt in the books of Air India. Indian government decided yesterday to privatise the state-owned national carrier.

Why is it important? The debt ($8 billion) makes its equity valuation zero or negative, and is the biggest hurdle to its sale. Of this, around Rs 22,000 crore is a loan to purchase aircrafts. The committee is likely to hive off its assets and divest the profit-making subsidiaries.

Tell me more: Private carriers had a domestic market share of 87% in May, 2017, with Air India’s share decreasing over time.

 

6

What is it? The number of countries, with a Muslim majority, whose resident must have a close family tie to a US resident or formal ties with a US entity to be eligible for a US visa.

Why is it important? The latest guidance from the US State Department comes after the US Supreme Court on Monday said the controversial travel ban cannot be imposed on anyone who has “a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States”. The apex court allowed parts of the travel ban, earlier blocked by lower courts, while it reviews the rest of the order by the Donald Trump administration.

 Tell me more: The US Supreme Court will review the full order in autumn.

 

10 years

What is it? The age of the iPhone, Apple Inc’s flagship device, launched on June 29, 2007.

Why is it important? The smartphone, with seven versions so far, has sold more than a billion times since launch. The anniversary brings into focus the future of the gadget as in 2016, Apple saw the volumes of the iPhone take a beating, which slid further in 2017.

Tell me more: In the second quarter of 2017, despite declining volumes, the iPhone brought in more revenue: $53.25 billion from 50.76 million phones compared to the year before sales of 51.19 million phones for $32.86 billion.

 

774

What is it? The number of people invited from 57 countries to join the group choosing the annual Oscars, the most popular movie awards.

Why is it important? The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences which conducts the Oscars says the group of 2017 comprises 39% female and 30% coloured invitees. The Academy had come under fire for leaning heavily on white male membership in its awards panel, reflected in its choice of nominees and awards. The criticism of the lack of racial diversity reached a crescendo in 2016, with the #OscarsSoWhite discussion.

Tell me more: Indian actor, Priyanka Chopra, recognised for her lead turn in ‘Quantico’, a US TV show, is among the invitees.

 

In India, more births happen in the latter half of the year. Is there a reason for it? Check out our latest story for Mint at http://bit.ly/2sjjMNY

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News in Numbers, July 1, 2016: World Bank’s loan to India for solar, Flipkart vs Amazon…

$1 billion

What is it? The amount the World Bank would lend to India for its solar energy programme.

Why is it important? This is the biggest ever loan given by the bank for a solar programme to any country and would help India achieve its ambitious target of installing 100 GW (gigawatts) by 2022. The solar power generation had crossed 19,000 MW (megawatts) in 2015-16 though the Minister for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy is looking to achieve this target by the end of 2017 itself.

Tell me more: India wants non-fossil fuel (wind, water, solar and nuclear) to account for 40% of the total installed power capacity by 2030 from 30% currently. The World Bank has lent $4.8 billion to India between 2015 and 2016, making it its biggest client.

Rs 2,28,986 crore

What is it? India’s fiscal deficit (excess of expenditure over receipts) for April and May of 2016.

Why is it important? It’s 42.9% of the budget target for this fiscal compared to 37.5% for the same period last year (despite a slowdown in government’s capital expenditure.) This may make it challenging for the Finance Minister to restrict fiscal deficit to Rs 5.33 lakh crore in 2016-17, especially with the implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission that would cost the exchequer over Rs 1 lakh crore.

Tell me more: The government’s capital expenditure was down by nearly 12% to Rs 33,231 crore in the first two months of 2016-17 from Rs 37,743 crore in the same period last year. The revenue expenditure, which would go up further due to the Seventh Pay Commission payout, increased by 17.6% to Rs 2.64 lakh in April and May from a year ago.

 

Rs 8,392 crore

What is it? The amount held by Indians in Swiss banks at the end of 2015, a third lower than the previous year.

Why is it important? This is the lowest amount of funds held by Indians in the Swiss Banking system since the country started making its data public in 1997 and marks the second straight year of decline. This seems to be the impact of clampdown of illicit wealth by countries including India, which is likely to lead to Swiss banks become more transparent than ever. India has sought faster responses to its pending information requests from the Alpine nation and an automatic financial information exchange would begin in 2018.

Tell me more: The funds held by Indians in Swiss banks was at a record high of Rs 23,000 crore at the end of 2006.

 

91

What is it? E-commerce firm Flipkart’s score in the quarter ended March based on metrics including trust in a brand, product assortment and prices, overall buying experience in terms of ease of using its platform and the ease of product cancellations and returns.

Why is it important? Flipkart is still slightly ahead of Amazon India, which entered the country in June 2013 and had a score of 87, though Snapdeal was a distant third at 60. This is yet another sign that Amazon is ahead of Snapdeal and breathing on the neck of Flipkart. With a recent investment announcement of $3 billion in the country, Amazon India has an advantage over both Flipkart and Snapdeal, which has to depend on external investors. A US mutual fund managed by Vanguard Investment marked down the value of its shares in Flipkart by 25%, the sixth such markdown in recent times.

Tell me more: In terms of ‘Most trusted brand’ and ‘Best value proposition’, Flipkart scored higher than Amazon India while the latter beat the former in terms of ‘Great experience’. The analysis is by RedSeer Management Consulting for Mint.

 

683

What is it? The number of invitees to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, of which 46% are women and 41% are minorities.

Why is it important? It will make the voters more diverse. The Academy had recently promised to double it female and minority membership by 2020. The Oscars came in for heavy criticism for having no nominees from minority actors for the second year in a row. However, it has a long way to go because even if all the invitees join, the share of women and minorities would only marginally increase (25% to 27% and 8% to 11% respectively).

Tell me more: If all those who invited were to join, it would increase the academy’s total voters to 6,945, a record in the last few years.

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