Mayday Mayday

Rs 2,313.66 crore

What is it? The consolidated loss before tax of Ola, the Indian cab-hailing app in FY16.

Why is it important? Nearly three times more than FY15’s loss, this is being seen as Ola’s cost to remain a block ahead of Uber, its American rival. Revenue increased seven times to Rs 758 crore, but a four-times rise in advertising (Rs 385.5 crore) and over five-times increase in employee costs (Rs 379 crore), have ensured the losses pile up.

Tell me more: Ola-parent, ANI Technologies’ standalone operating revenue was Rs 383.44 crore, with which Uber India was almost neck and neck at Rs 374.79 crore.

 

352

What is it? Number of civilians killed in Iraq and Syria by US strikes against Isis targets since 2014, according to the Pentagon.

Why is it important? The Pentagon number is far less than the estimates of non-profit monitoring groups. Airwars, for example, puts coalition-led civilian deaths in Libya and Syria at 3,164 people atleast. High civilian deaths have remained the coalition fighting Isis’ Achilles heel, as human rights organisations have often criticised them for indiscriminate targeting.

Tell me more: Pentagon further said it was assessing the deaths of 42 people reported recently.

 

13

What is it? The number of states that have notified rules for the new Real Estate Act.

Why is it important? The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act , 2016, which promises transparency and protection of consumer rights, comes into effect on 1st May. The act was passed by both houses of parliament last year, and being a model law, it leaves the state governments to pass their own specific rules. The low number indicates the states are not prepared, but might face public pressure to notify rules.

Tell me more: Among other guidelines, the real estate act mandates developers to separately deposit 70% of the funds collected exclusively for construction.

 

10%

What is it? Import duty on gold at present.

Why is it important? Indian government is reportedly looking at bringing import duty down ahead of Goods and Services Tax (GST) rollout. Think tank Niti Aayog had suggested reducing the duty to make more gold available for small and medium firms, which in turn can increase jewelry exports. Lower duties also tend to bring down smuggling.

Tell me more: GST of 12% plus the current import duty is likely to make gold more expensive, according to industry players.

 

$1 billion

What is it? The cost of the anti-missile system called Thaad (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) , deployed by South Korea.

Why is it important? US President Donald Trump’s recent remarks of South Korea footing the bill for Thaad, which the US military built and deployed to South Korea, had put it in a spot. The US has now reassured it will pay for it. The anti-missile system installed as its neighbour, North Korea, lines up more missile and nuclear tests, has stirred up quite a few problems for the Asian country. They include China’s disapproval and political opposition in the ongoing presidential race in its country. The reassurance will bring some relief to South Korea.

Tell me more: North Korea test-launched another missile on Saturday, which was unsuccessful.

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News in Numbers, June 23, 2016: East’s answer to NATO, India’s largest spectrum auction…

8

What is it? The membership strength of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) once India and Pakistan join the group at a two-day summit starting today.

Why is it important? It’s East’s answer to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation). This would help India participate in military cooperation in the areas of counter-terrorism measures in Central Asia, intelligence sharing and tackling cyber terrorism with the member-states of this group. This would also provide better access to Central Asia for both India and Pakistan at a time when they are seeking to deepen their ties with the region, especially given their involvement in projects such as Chabahar Port and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor respectively.

Tell me more: The SCO comprises of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan while Afghanistan, Belarus, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan have observer status.

 

$950,000

What is it? The penalty the US’ Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has levied on mobile advertising company InMobi for tracking locations of consumers including children without their permission.

Why is it important? Shows how some new-age firms resort to practices deemed to be unethical and illegal to chase growth. Highlights the risks to consumers who have no way of knowing if their privacy (and their children’s privacy) is being compromised. For InMobi, which is competing with Facebook and Google, this comes at a time when it is struggling to raise funds, build a sustainable business model and fighting attrition in its senior and mid-level management.

Tell me more: Under the terms of settlement, the FTC said InMobi is subjected to a $4 million civil penalty, which is suspended to $950,000 given the “company’s financial condition”. InMobi has to delete all information collected from children and location information of consumers besides instituting a comprehensive privacy policy, which will be independently audited every two years for the next 20 years.

 

Rs 5.66 lakh crore

What is it? The amount the spectrum auction is estimated to fetch the Indian government.

Why is it important? Given how expensive the spectrum bands are (a firm bidding for 5 MHz of pan-India bandwidth in the 700 band would have to pay Rs 57,000 crore– over half of what the government earned from the 2015 auctions) and the Rs 3.5 lakh crore debt under which the telecom sector is reeling, the level of participation by the firms in the auctions remains to be seen. Idea, Vodafone and Airtel are reportedly not planning to bid for spectrum in the 700 MHz band.

Tell me more: This is the first time the government would put up the entire spectrum available on sale. The bidding is expected to commence from September 1.

 

Rs 418.25 crore

What is it? Revenue of ANI Technologies, which owns and runs brand Ola, in 2014-15.

Why is it important? It increased eight-fold from Rs 51.05 crore in 2013-14 though its losses shot up 20 times from Rs 34.21 crore in FY14 to Rs 754.87 crore in FY15. Indicates that the growth of the company, which raised two rounds of funding totalling to $251.5 million (nearly Rs 1,700 crore) in this period, came at a high cost (discounts and driver incentives) and that it requires increased capital to fend off competition from Uber and maintain its lead.

Tell me more: Ola is reportedly in talks with investors to raise $300-400 million or $1 billion, according to different publications.

 

57%

What is it? Percentage of cost of travel recovered by the Indian railways on passenger fares on an average.

Why is it important? The railways has been printing this information on train tickets in the last one week. The idea is to make rail passengers aware of the huge subsidy on rail tickets. Increasing rail fares is a politically sensitive subject in India and this awareness-building could be the first step in rationalisation of fares in the coming years.

Tell me more: Passenger fares were last hiked by 14.2% in June 2014. Suburban and short-haul train passengers account for over half of the traffic but their share in total passenger revenues was just 6-7%, accounting for around 60% of the annual subsidy of Rs 34,000 crore.

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