News in Numbers, July 28, 2016: India’s first transshipment port, gender pay gap a reality…

Rs 1,600 crore

What is it? The grant the Indian government will give Adani Group to help build the country’s first transshipment port at Vizhinjam in Kerala.

Why is it important? The government hopes to get business from established hubs in other Asian regions by competing with China and other major countries. The lack of a domestic transshipment port in India forces inbound and outbound containers to take diversion to other regional hubs such as Dubai, Singapore and Sri Lanka and by building one, it would help companies save on transport costs besides countering China’s growing influence in South Asia.

Tell me more: Once this port begins operations, the government plans to build another port for Rs 27,200 crore at Enayam in Tamil Nadu, which has the potential to save more than $200 million for Indian companies per year.

 

4

What is it? The number of states – Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Puducherry – that are likely to join the government’s scheme called UDAY, which is aimed at financial turnaround and revival of power distribution companies.

Why is it important? Indicates that the scheme, which was launched last November, has met with a fair amount of success. Manipur became the first north-eastern state and the 14th one in India to sign up for this deal on Tuesday. The cumulative benefits for Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana would be Rs 11,500 crore, Rs 18,600 crore and Rs 6,000 crore respectively, in the first three years after the implementation of the scheme.

Tell me more: After three years of the implementation of UDAY in these states, the benefits could go up to Rs 14,500 crore for Madhya Pradesh, Rs 22,420 crore for Tamil Nadu, Rs 6,100 crore for Telangana and Rs 440 crore for Puducherry per annum.

 

12

What is it? The number of people convicted by an MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act) court in the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case.

Why is it important? Among those convicted includes Abu Jundal, a key Lashkar-e-Toiba operative and the plotter of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. In May 2006, a Maharashtra anti-terrorist squad caught three terror suspects and seized 30 kg RDX, 10 AK-47 rifles and 3,200 bullets from them. The court accepted the prosecution’s case that the aim of the accused was to create terror in the minds of the people and also, eliminate the then chief minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Pravin Togadia.

Tell me more: The 2006 Aurangabad arms hauls case was where 22 people were accused of procuring arms and explosives to allegedly target political leaders accused of, in the 2002 Gujarat riots. Of the 22, eight have been acquitted, one fled during the trial and a separate trial will be conducted for another who turned approver.

 

Rs 4,988 crore

What is it? The amount consumers saved due to drug price regulatory measures in the last two years, according to the government.

Why is it important? Since 2013, the government has capped the prices of essential medicines thrice. The government is also considering making the voluntary uniform code for Pharma Marketing Practices compulsory so that cheap generic medicines can be promoted instead of the expensive branded ones. It also also working on opening 3,000 Jan Aushadhi outlets to sell quality drugs at affordable prices and over 500 medicines will be covered under the scheme.

Tell me more: The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) had initially brought 530 essential medicines under price control, which helped consumers save Rs 2,422 crore. Another 404 drugs were included in the list, where the savings totalled to Rs 2,216 crore. Besides this, the NPPA had fixed the prices of 106 drugs under public interest provision, which helped them save Rs 350 crore in two years.

 

Rs 69.3

What is it? The difference between median hourly wage for men and women across eight sectors in the first nine months of 2015, according to a report by recruitment portal Monster India.

Why is it important? This highlights the huge gender pay gap among Indian companies. However, there is a small silver lining. The median hourly wage of women has marginally increased from Rs 210.4 in 2013 to Rs 219.4 in the first nine months of 2015 while that of men has remained constant at Rs 288.7.

Tell me more: The sample size for this analysis consists of over 31,000 respondents, of which 86.5% are men and excludes those who are self-employed. The eight sectors included in the report are legal and market consultancy, business activities; Information and Communication Technology; healthcare, caring services, social work; education and research; financial services, banking and insurance; transport, logistics and communication; construction and technical consultancy; and manufacturing.

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News in numbers, Oct 16, 2015: Exports in September, registered births and deaths…

 

24%

What is it? The percent by which exports shrank in September 2015.   

Why is it important? It’s the sharpest fall since September 2009. India’s three major export commodities – petroleum products, engineering goods and gems & jewellery – have all shown sharp decline. Fall in crude prices can be attributed to drop in petroleum products export, but for others, it reflects poor global demand and increased competition from others. Imports too fell by 25%.     

Tell me more: Despite poor export numbers, the trade deficit shrunk by nearly $ 4 billion dollars in September 2015.  

36

What is it? The number of conditions Adani group has to fulfill while implementing the $12 billion Carmichael coal mine and rail project in Australia.

Why is it important? The move comes two months after the previous approval was set aside citing it hadn’t considered impact on two vulnerable animal species – the yakka skink and the ornamental snake. Among the conditions are the protection of 31,000 ha of habitat and return 730 megalitres of water every year for five years.

Tell me more: The impact of these conditions on total project cost will be watched closely and also where will Adani Group get the funding as ten international banks have withdrawn from the project.

Rs 557 crore

What is it? The amount laundered through eight banks using fake import invoices, and a part of Enforcement Directorate (ED) investigation into Bank of Baroda case. ED’s net has widened to include HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank.

Why is it important? Every import and export transactions are tracked by banks to ensure the genuineness, with returns filed with India’s central bank on periodical basis. This is cross checked with data from customs authorities The scam involving remittance of large amounts of money to overseas bank accounts with fake invoices with no real imports exposed the poor internal control process of these banks.  

Tell me more: Last week, ED said it had unearthed a similar scam involving a single branch of a state-run Bank of Baroda involving Rs 6,173 crore.

 

Rs 150 crore

What is it? The annual savings to railways from buying 50 MW of power through an open bidding process.

Why is it important? This is the first time Indian Railways has tried open bidding method. The price obtained – Rs 3.69 per unit – is much lower than its average cost of Rs 6.7 per unit when purchased from state power utilities. Indian Railways consumes around 4,000 MW of power annually, incurring a cost of Rs 12,000 crore. Savings could benefit the loss making state utility to invest in safety and capacity expansion.  

Tell me more: Another tender for purchase of 585 MW of power will be released soon.    

 

85.5%

What is it? The percentage of births that were registered in 2013. It has improved marginally from 84.5% in 2012. The number of registered deaths is 70.9% as compared to 69.3% in 2012.

Why is it important? Reflects poor data quality that policy makers have to work with. Under domestic laws, it is compulsory to register all deaths and births so as to capture vital statistics like infant deaths, life expectancy, and how many received medical attention at the time of birth or death. The absence of complete registration hampers policy decisions as most often the poor states, where government intervention is required more, is where registration is also poor.

Tell me more: Gross natural addition to population – the difference between total births and total deaths – was 1.63 crore in 2013 as compared to 1.61 crore in 2012.

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News In Numbers – August 25

News In Numbers: August 25

 

Rs 1,033 crore

The income-tax exemption extended by the government to six national political parties between 2006-07 and 2010-11, according to the Association for Democratic Reforms, a non-profit. This has been cited by ADR, in a public interest litigation, as one of the financial reasons to bring political parties under the ambit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, which would mandate them to share information about their functioning with the public. Yesterday, in the Supreme Court, the government opposed this. Other financial reasons cited by ADR include allotment of land, accommodation/bunglows at concessional rent, and free airtime on state TV and radio broadcasters.

 

$43.6

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil on the London markets, following yesterday’s sharp fall in global markets, including those in commodities. Brent Crude fell below $45 per barrel for the first time since 2009, and it has deepened what has already been a major decline in global commodity prices, following the weakness in the Chinese economy. Crude oil prices could fall even further as major oil-producing nations such as Iran look to expand production. The fall in crude prices will help keep India’s oil subsidies low: a $1 decline in prices of crude, which is India’s largest import, reduces the country’s import bill by around Rs 6,700 crore.

 

50%+

Share of mobile devices in total searches on Google originating from India. This is a marked increase from the 25% in the second half of 2013, and underscores why the mobile will lead the coming wave of Internet adoption in India. Although smartphone sales in India dipped 7% in the first quarter of 2015, they rebounded smartly in the second quarter, with sales of 26.5 million units, a growth of 44% over the corresponding period of 2014.

 

Rs 2,700 crore

The cumulative bad loans three public sector banks — Union Bank of India, Corporation Bank and Bank of Maharashtra — are planning to sell to asset reconstruction companies (ARCs) in the second quarter of 2015-16. Of these three, the gross non-performing asset (NPA) ratio of only Bank of Maharashtra showed a decrease in the June quarter of 2015-16, compared to the last quarter of 2014-15. Union Bank of India tops the list of public sector banks in bad loans, including restructured assets, as a percentage of total advances. In the March quarter of the last financial year, only Rs 5,500 crore of bad loans were on offer for sale to ARCs, against Rs 50,000 crore in all of 2013-14. This is due to a new rule by the central bank asking ARCs to pay more cash upfront for bad loans. Banks have been battling with the problem of rising bad loans, affecting their profitability.

 


Rs 25,200 crore
The amount the Adani Group is planning to invest in two major projects in Chhattisgarh — a coal to poly- generation project, and a rice bran solvent extraction plant and refinery. The company expects the two projects to generate employment for 10,600 people in the state. The Gujarat-based group recently signed a Rs 7,525-crore project with the Kerala government for development of the Vizhinjam port. The group has had a chequered history in terms of its environmental practices and, recently, it suffered a setback in Australia when a local court overturned the government approval for its $16-billion coal mine project there.

 

 

 

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News In Numbers – August 6

News In Numbers: August 6

 

$16 billion

An Australian Federal Court rejected environmental clearance to the $16-billion coal mining project by Gujarat-based Adani Group in the country for not having taken into consideration two endangered animal species. The Indian company has invested about $3 billion to acquire the port concerned (Abbot Point port), to buy land, and to secure approvals for the coal mine and connecting rail link. An Australian environment conservation group alleged that Australia’s Federal environment minister had not taken into account the company’s environmental history into account while approving the project. Back in 2013, the Indian government had fined a group company Rs 200 crore for causing damage to mangroves and creeks while developing a port project in Gujarat.

 

Rs 11,180 crore

The amount of private equity funds raised by India’s real estate sector in the first six months of 2015, thrice of what it raised a year ago. Of this, the residential sector received investments worth Rs 6,328 crore, with the commercial sector making up for the rest. Several major real estate companies are cash-strapped, given the current situation of low demand, high unsold inventory and falling property prices. According to a research report by Ambit Capital last month, prices of residential properties have fallen 7-18% across major Indian cities on a year-on-year basis. The country’s top listed real estate companies had unsold inventory worth Rs 70,000 crore in March.

 

2,060

The number of students who have dropped out of 16 Indian Institutes of Technology between 2012 and 2015. As many as 2,352 students have discontinued their studies from 30 National Institutes of Technology, human resources and development minister Smriti Irani told Lok Sabha on Wednesday. Dropouts have been the highest in 2014-15 and of this, IIT-Roorkee has recorded the maximum (about 30%). This institution had expelled 72 students last month for not meeting minimum passing grades; according to a news report, about 90% of them were from reserved categories and that lack of fluency in English was a major challenge for them. It took them back a few days ago. IIT-Bombay, which has been the most preferred among the IITs, saw 72 students drop out in these three years.

 

65.2%

Percentage of active workers on the muster rolls of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) whose bank accounts have been linked with their Aadhaar numbers. Yesterday, the Union Cabinet announced the direct transfer of work compensation to worker bank accounts, bypassing state and local government stops. This scheme, which assures 100 days of employment in a year to rural households, has been seeing flagging demand in the backdrop of payment delays and diversion of money.

 

Rs 3,786 crore

BSNL’s loss between April and September 2014, on revenues of Rs 14,125 crore. In 2013-14, the beleaguered state-run telecom company recorded a loss of Rs 7,020 crore. To reduce mounting losses, the Cabinet on Wednesday approved the hiving off BSNL’s tower business into a separate entity. Although the company has been attempting to generate revenues by sharing its assets for the last five years, it has a market share of less than 1%. This plan was mooted a few years ago and in 2012, the company had hoped to generate revenue of Rs 1,600 crore from its tower business in five years.

 

 

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