News in Numbers, Aug 5, 2016: Gujarat’s ordinance quashed, April 2017 target for GST…

50%

What is it? The maximum reservation a state can set aside for economically and socially backward groups, per Supreme Court order in 1963.

Why is it important? This has come in the way of Gujarat government’s ordinance to provide 10% reservation in educational institutions and government jobs for the economically backward among the unreserved category – a move which was seen as a way to pacify the Patidar community that organised a statewide agitation demanding the Other Backward Class (OBC) status. The High Court quashed the ordinance and held that it to be inappropriate and unconstitutional as the Constitution allows reservations to be given only for the socially backward and the Scheduled Castes/Tribes and not on the basis of economic criteria.

Tell me more: The BJP government has said it would challenge the High Court decision. On the other hand, Hardik Patel, the leader of the Patidar agitation welcomed the order and said that they would continue their demands to be included under the OBC category.

 

60,000

What is it? The number of revenue officials to be trained on rules related to Goods and Services Tax and IT infrastructure framework by April 2017.

Why is it important? This will help meet the Indian government’s target of rolling out GST, which would replace the existing indirect taxes and be implemented as a single tax rate, by April 1, 2017. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said they would work quickly and try and meet the deadline. A total of 16 states (BJP is in power in 13) need to ratify the bill and they have been asked to do so within 30 days of the President’s assent of the legislation.

Tell me more: The government hopes that all the necessary bills related to the GST would be passed in the Winter Session of the Parliament and that the back-end and front-end IT systems required for the rollout would be ready by the end of the year.

 

Rs 15 crore

What is it? The pay package of Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries in 2015-16.

Why is it important? The richest man in India has not taken a pay hike for the last eight years – a voluntary move by the elder Ambani brother. The other senior management personnel, however, got remuneration hikes. In the same period, Reliance Industries’ net profit nearly doubled from Rs 15,296 crore in 2008-09 to Rs 27,630 crore in 2015-16. In 2014-15, Ambani’s salary was 205 times that of the median employee remuneration.

Tell me more: The Reliance Industries chairman was ranked as the 36th richest man in the world with a total net worth of $19.3 billion by Forbes annual ranking for 2016. Until 2007-08, Ambani was the highest paid executive in the country with a pay package of Rs 44 crore per annum.

 

Rs 384 crore

What is it? The amount taxi-hailing app Ola, run by ANI Technologies, had raised in December from Vanguard Group, a US-based investment management firm, as per the company’s recent disclosure.

Why is it important? The investment by the Pennsylvania firm will draw further attention to Ola’s valuation (was around $5 billion last November) as it has to disclose the status of its portfolio to the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Vanguard has also invested in some of the bigger technology firms such as Facebook, Alphabet, Amazon.com and Flipkart. It was in news in India after Flipkart’s valuation was marked down by Vanguard and its peers from around $15 billion last July to about $10 billion now.

Tell me more: India’s third most valuable startup is reportedly in talks existing and new investors to raise more funds as it looks to compete with cash-rich Uber in India’s cab-hailing market.

 

24

What is it? The number of flights Air Costa, a regional airline, had suspended on Thursday due to problems with its aircraft lessors. It said it would resume operations as scheduled from today.

Why is it important? This comes a few days after another regional airline Air Pegasus suspended its operations (on July 27) after its lessors repossessed its aircraft due to non-payment of dues. This raises questions about the viability of the business models of regional carriers at a time when the government has unveiled the new civil aviation policy, which aims to boost regional connectivity and attract first-time flyers from small towns.

Tell me more: The government says it would help both the airlines, if feasible and if they approach them for help. The flight route of Air Costa includes cities such as Vijayawada, Bengaluru, Chennai, Tirupati, Coimbatore and Jaipur.

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News In Numbers – August 13

News In Numbers: August 13

 

11.1%

The fall in the rupee against the dollar during the one-year period from July 2008 which was the previous time that China, the world’s largest exporter, held its currency from appreciating consciously and for a sustained period. On Wednesday, for the second consecutive day, China pegged the yuan lower, rattling markets the world over. The rupee fell 0.94% for the day, closing at 64.81, its lowest value since September 2013. The fear is that the currency devaluation by China, which potentially makes its exports even more competitive globally, will force other governments to do the same just to stay in step.

 

3.2%

The percentage of the estimated $5 billion in economic losses suffered by Nepal in the earthquakes in April and May that were covered by insurance, according to a recent report by reinsurer Swiss Re. While Nepal was under-insured against natural catastrophes and manmade disasters, the world, in general, was better off than in the recent past: of the $37 billion of economic losses in the first half of 2015, 45% was covered by insurance firms against the 10-year average cover of 27%.

 

59%

The percentage of seats filled by Vistara on its flights in June, the last month of the summer holiday season in India and the latest for which occupancy data is available. This was the lowest among all airlines, the next being in Air Pegasus (73.1%). In May, the full-service airline co-promoted by the Tata Group and Singapore Airlines filled 71.1% of seats, and its drop to June was the largest among all airlines in India. July to September is a slack period for airlines in the country, and offers and discounts are a norm. On Wednesday, Vistara said it would offer a premium economy-class ticket free with every business-class ticket purchased, usable till 15 October, the approximate beginning of the other busy window for the airlines.

 

55%

Of the 4,363 information requests sought from Twitter by 62 governments during January to June 2015, 2,436 came from the US, as per the latest biannual transparency report by the microblogging site. Of the requests made by the US, which has about 10% of the world’s Internet users, 80% resulted in some information being produced. India was ranked sixth, with 113 requests (against 16 in the January to June 2014 period), 19% of which resulted in information being produced. However, India made more removal requests (33) than the US (25). Twitter has been releasing such data since 2012.

 

11

Number of double hundreds scored in Test matches by decorated Sri Lankan cricketer Kumar Sangakkara, who is currently playing his last Test series, against India. His count of double hundreds is second only to Sir Donald Bradman, who racked up 12 doubles. Among active cricketers, Younis Khan has the most (four) hundreds. In other records, Sangakkara is ranked number five in Test runs. He is also ranked nine in batting averages, though the eight above him have played between 10 and 85 Test matches, which is significantly less than Sangakkara’s 133. On Wednesday, in the first innings of his penultimate Test, he was dismissed for 5.

 

 

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