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The Jio Effect

 

7.2% 

What is it? The rate at which the Indian economy grew in the third quarter of 2017-18.

Why is it important? India has regained its status as the world’s fastest-growing economy, indicating that it has likely left behind the effects of the November 2016 demonetisation and the July 2017 shift to the goods and services tax system. By comparison, China’s economy grew 6.8% in the last three months of 2017. This could boost the BJP’s prospects in the 2019 general elections as it steps up investments to prop up economic growth.

Tell me more: However, the government has projected full-year GDP growth at only 6.6%, down from 7.1% in 2016-17 and the slowest since Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed office in 2014, according to the second advance estimates by the Central Statistics Office.

 

1

What is it? The number of days for which Karti Chidambaram, son of former finance minister P Chidambaram, has been sent to police custody by a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Wednesday. He was arrested by a CBI team when he returned to Chennai from London earlier in the day.

Why is it important? Karti’s arrest comes after nine months of the CBI filing an FIR (first information report) against him for his involvement in the INX Media case. He is alleged to have received a payoff of up to Rs 10 lakh in this case, which pertains to alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to INX Media for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore. P Chidambaram was the finance minister then.

Tell me more: BJP leader and Rajya Sabha member Subramanian Swamy says all FIPB clearances given under Chidambaram’s tenure as finance minister are under scanner and that there are 25 such cases, which will ultimately lead to him. The Congress has termed this as “vendetta and vindictive politics” and a “classic diversionary tactic” to shift the spotlight from the Punjab National Bank-Nirav Modi case.

 

$7 billion

What is it? The amount Malaysian businessman T Ananda Krishnan-backed Aircel stands to reportedly lose after its failed foray in Indian telecom market. The company has filed for bankruptcy.

Why is it important? This is said to be his biggest loss on a soured investment. Krishnan’s net worth is $6.15 billion, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index, and he is the third richest man in Malaysia. At present, Maxis Communications, the holding company of some of Krishnan’s telecom ventures, is unlikely to recover any amount from the potential sale of Aircel’s assets, though this situation could change at a later point of time.

Tell me more: Airtel, in which Maxis Communications owns 74%, cited intense competition due to the entry of a “new player” (referring to Reliance Jio), legal and regulatory challenges, mounting debts and increased losses for its decision.

 

2

What is it? The number of assembly seats from Madhya Pradesh for which by-polls were held following the death of sitting MLAs and the results for which were declared yesterday, with the Congress retaining both seats.

Why is it important? Even though the Congress has only retained the two seats of Mungaoli and Kolaras, it comes as a shot in the arm for the party in a state that has seen 15 years of BJP rule and which is due to vote later this year. In February, the BJP had faced defeat in three bypolls in Rajasthan, which is also due to vote this year.

Tell me more: The Congress coasted in Kolaras, but Mungaoli was a close fight. Results were also declared yesterday for the Bejipur seat in Odisha, which was won by the ruling Biju Janata Dal, with the BJP and Congress finishing second and third, respectively.

 

199

What is it? The number of goals scored by Argentinian Sergio Aguero for Manchester City in his seven seasons at the English club.

Why is it important? On Thursday, Manchester City visit Arsenal for a high-profile clash in the English Premier League (EPL), which comes just four days after a 3-0 romp in the Carabao Cup final, which included a goal by Aguero. For Arsenal, time is running out to salvage something from this season to match the expectations that follow a club of its stature. For City, which has opened daylight to its rivals, it’s more about cementing its hold at the top, staying in shape for a treble, and records like Aguero’s 200th.

Tell me more: In November 2017, Aguero became the top goal scorer of all-time for Manchester City, passing Eric Brook’s 177 goals. Among all players in the EPL, with 143 goals, he’s ranked 12th among all players and third among foreign players.

 

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News in Numbers, Feb 03, 2017: 2G scam’s half a dozen

6

What is it? Number of those acquitted, including erstwhile telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran and two companies, in two different cases on the Aircel-Maxis 2G deal, by judge, OP Saini, at the special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Delhi on Thursday.

Why is it important? The efforts of the CBI and Enforcement Directorate, probing the wide-ranging offences in India’s 2G scam, took a beating with the exoneration. Maran was mired in the controversial spectrum allocation, favouring Aircel, and brokering a deal in Aircel for Maxis since 2010 onwards. In one of the cases, there was an alleged money-laundering of Rs 742.58 crore in kickbacks, by two companies South Asia FM and Sun Direct TV. The other involved criminal conspiracy of pressurising one of Aircel’s promoters to sell his stake to Malaysian Maxis Group.

Tell me more: The others acquitted include Maran’s brother Kalanithi, Kalanithi’s wife Kavery Kalanithi, South Asia FM (SAFL) Managing Director K Shanmugam and the companies SAFL and Sun Direct TV.

 

5

What is it? Number of states in the US where federal judges have objected, in part, to president Donald Trump’s executive orders for restricting entry to people of seven nationalities and refugees.

Why is it important? Trump’s move is not only inviting widespread protests but also facing legal challenges by federal judges in the country. Most of them are taking up parts of the order as challenged by cases brought to them by affected parties. US District Judge Andre Birotte Jr followed four other instances to limit the order issued last Friday to bring relief to plaintiffs in a case. But he widened the sphere of his ruling by including anyone from the seven countries with a valid immigrant visa to the US, unlike the earlier rulings

Tell me more: Reports claim that immigration/customs officials were ignoring the judges’ earlier orders by refusing access to the detainees who had moved court. At the same time, the Trump administration tweaked their’s to allow green card or valid US permanent residence holders to enter, irrespective of nationality.

 

10

What is it? Number of warheads on China’s recently-tested long-range missile.

Why is it important? A flight-test in January is being seen as China flexing its military muscles, even though its nuclear stockpile might be smaller than United State’s traditional rival, Russia. The missile, DF-5C, is clear evidence of China increasing its nuclear arsenal. Its warhead count has likely gone up from the estimated 250. Not just over trade relations with the US, China has also had recent disagreements over its military activities in the South China Sea.

Tell me more: Chinese state television had broadcast another nuclear missile, DF-41’s deployment and strike path into the US last week.

 

$487 million

What is it? Amazon.com’s international losses in the fourth quarter, ended December 31.

Why is it important? It increased by four times year-on-year. The business arm, which includes Amazon’s India concerns, grew 18% to $ 13,965 million but could not keep losses at bay. Last month, Amazon India’s FY15 losses were found to be Rs 1,724 crore, rising by five times. The perseverance of the US-based e-commerce company goes to show its deep pockets as it is prepared to dig its heels in a promising market by advertising and discounting aggressively.

Tell me more: While its North America and cloud Amazon Web Services arms posted profits, this was its international business’ biggest operating loss. In many of its international markets, Amazon also offered its Prime Videos at no additional cost to its Prime members, streaming original content that it had produced.

 

Rs 1,085

What is it? The listing price of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on rival bourse, the National Stock Exchange, on Friday.

Why is it important? The shares listed at a premium of 34.6% of its IPO issue price of Rs 806. Investor faith in the stock of the world’s 10th-largest and India’s largest bourse gets reiterated by its debut, as it beats the 5-15% premium that analysts expected it to launch at. It reflects the 51.22 times oversubscription of its IPO in January.

Tell me more:  At 10:30 am, it was trading at Rs 1,119.50.

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Younger Ambani makes a call

News In Numbers: September 15

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-25%

What is it? The decline in subscriber base of Reliance Communications in the five-year period between March 2011 andMarch 2016, according to figures from the telecom regulator.

Why is it important? The Anil Ambani-owned entity was the only one among the main telecom companies to lose subscribers. Yesterday, Reliance and Aircel, India’s fourth-largest and sixth-largest telecom company by subscribers announced a merger to create the third-largest company by subscribers. Both companies are challenged on many fronts, and there remain questions on the alliance details.

Tell me more: During the same five-year period, Aircel grew its subscriber base by 58%. Similar growth was registered by the market leaders: Bharti (52%), Vodafone (47%) and Idea (95%).

$ 1 billion

What is it? The development aid India has offered Afghanistan during the two-day visit of Afghan president Ashraf Ghani.

Why is it important? Reflects the changing dynamics between India and Afghanistan. Even last year, Afghanistan was seen as being too close to Pakistan for India’s comfort. This year, it is changing. While the aid is towards at Afghanistan’s education, health, agriculture and other sectors,  the two countries also agreed to strengthen “security and defense cooperation.”

Tell me more: In May, India, Iran and Afghanistan signed a deal to develop a port in Iran that will let the three countries trade directly bypassing Pakistan.

$66 billion

What is it? The amount German drug and chemicals major Bayer will pay to buy American seed company Monsanto.

Why is it important? This is the largest ever cash acquisition on record. The merged entity would be the largest supplier of seeds and pesticides. Bayer has been gradually increasing its offer to buy Monsanto, in a sector that has been consolidating over the last several years. The resulting industry structure will impact farm and food systems across the world.

Tell me more: The merger is also expected to come under significant regulatory and legal scrutiny – both in US and Europe.

 

1.142 billion

What is it? The number of stars cataloged in a map released by European Space Agency.

Why is it important? This is the most detailed 3D map yet of Milky Way galaxy, and gives the precise positions and brightness of 1.142 billion stars, besides distances and motions of more than 2 million stars. It could “revolutionise our understanding of how stars are distributed and move across our Galaxy,” according to Alvaro Giménez, ESA’s Director of Science.

Tell me more: The data is from ESA’s Gaia spacecraft — a space observatory which began its mission in December 2013, and is located about 1 million miles above Earth.

 

41

What is it? The number of doubles matches won by Leander Paes of India in Davis Cup, the world team format in men’s tennis.

Why is it important? Paes is one victory short of matching the all-time record of 42 doubles wins in Davis Cup by Nicola Pietrangeli of Italy. It’s, however, unlikely to come this weekend, when India takes on Spain, one of the world’s best all-round teams.

Tell me more: Nicola Pietrangeli’s doubles record was set over 66 Davis Cup ties, and included 12 losses. By comparison, Paes’ doubles compilation has been over 52 ties and includes 11 losses.

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Chart of the Day | Why RCom and Aircel had to merge

The merger of Reliance Communications and Aircel, announced yesterday, is a union of two telecom companies who have been struggling to keep pace in a hyper-competitive sector. This is also a sector embarking on a fresh round of consolidation that will leave it with, the prevailing wisdom says, 4-6 players of significance.

The Reliance-Aircel merger is the first of those consolidation moves. In the last five years, both companies have struggled to contend with the big three: Bharti, Vodafone and Idea. Each has had its own challenges. In 2012 and 2013, Reliance bore the brunt of the directive from the telecom regulator to weed out inactive subscribers, and saw its subscriber base plummet; even otherwise, it has struggled to add subscribers. Aircel has added subscribers, but legal troubles around the company have robbed it of the capital and entrepreneurial ballast needed to stay competitive in Indian telecom.

The fourth-largest telecom company by subscribers (Reliance Communications, owned by Anil Ambani) and sixth-largest (Aircel) have joined to create the third-largest telecom company. For how long is anybody’s guess. Unless the two companies decisively and effectively address the issues that have hobbled them, it’s probably only a matter of time before the merged company is either overtaken by current number four (Idea) or swallowed by another (Reliance Jio, owned by Anil’s brother, Mukesh).

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