ReVISAble process? 🗽

$5.4 billion

What is it? The value of the stake in seven publicly-held companies that government plans to sell this fiscal.

Why is it important? The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management has sought bids to manage the sales, as part of the disinvestment programme of the central government. Through strategic stake sale in publicly-held companies and minority stake sale in private companies, the government plans to raise Rs 72,500 crore ($11.26 billion) this year. It would help plug the 3.2% fiscal deficit of GDP for the year.

Tell me more: The companies include large entities such as Indian Oil, NTPC and Steel Authority of India. The initial disinvestment target is seldom met, with the central government often revising it lower through a fiscal. Last year, it managed to earn Rs 46,247 crore through disinvestment.

 

Rs 15 lakh

What is it? The penalty Air India proposes to levy on unruly passengers delaying flights for over two hours.

Why is it important? The national carrier, tasked with transporting government employees and ministers, has had a spate of such incidents, the latest ones involving parliamentarians. Shiv Sena’s Ravindra Gaikwad and Trinamool Congress’ Dola Sen held up flights and misbehaved with the staff. Depending on the delay caused by unruly passengers, the fine would get levied: Delays upto an hour would attract Rs 5 lakh, between one and two hours Rs 10 lakh and beyond two hours Rs 15 lakh.

Tell me more: The proposal also has advice on tackling such situations which include an immediate filing of police complaint.

 

199,000

What is it? The number of H1B visa applications filed by employers for 2018 with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Why is it important? This is the first time the total number of applications fell. Even though it is over two times the available visa quota of 85,000, the number of applications dwindled compared to last year and earlier. Last year, there were 236,000 applications filed by employers. It shows their apprehensions about the H1B visa programme, meant for hiring highly-skilled workers from out of US, after the Trump administration proposed restrictions.

Tell me more: The Indian IT majors have spoken of looking at more local hiring than sending Indian employees to client sites.

 

Rs 39,000 crore

What is it? The declared value of Sahara’s Aamby Valley property

Why is it important? The Supreme Court has now ordered to sell the property, spread over 10,000 acres, because Sahara failed to deposit Rs 5000 crore as required by the court’s earlier order. Sahara Group, through two firms, had raised Rs 24,029 crore from investors in 2009-10, flouting public issue norms. Market regulator Sebi asked Sahara to return the money to investors in 2010. It has paid about Rs 11,000 crore so far. Pending amount is Rs 14,779 crore.

Tell me more:  In February, the court had attached Aamby Valley, on concerns that Sahara is dragging its feet to return the money. Sahara chief Subrata Roy, who was arrested in 2014 over the case, is at present out on a bail.

 

$7.8 million

What is it? The fine amount Google will pay to settle an antitrust case related to Android operating system in Russia

Why is it important? The case indicates the dominance of the search engine giant, which in some ways mirrors the dominance of Microsoft’s operating system in the computer market and the antitrust case it triggered over 15 years ago. Google has also agreed to remove restrictions on pre-installed applications on Android platform. It could potentially become the norm in other markets too.

Tell me more: This is the culmination of a two year old legal battlethat started with a complaint by Yandex, Russia based search engine that said Google is using its dominant position in the market to stifle competition through restrictions on pre-installed apps that come with the phone.

Read More

News in Numbers, May 16, 2016: Google’s likely antitrust fine, polling across three states…

€3 billion

What is it? The antitrust fine amount Google is reportedly to be served with, by the European Commission in the near future.

Why is it important? If true, this would be the highest antitrust fine imposed on any company, surpassing a €1.1 billion fine on chip-maker Intel in 2009. The world’s largest search engine has been accused of promoting its shopping service in Internet searches, harming its rival services. This is likely to force Google to stop manipulating its search results, a case which has gone on since 2010 in the European Union.

Tell me more: The fine is expected to be announced in June and could go up to €6.6 billion, one-tenth of Google’s annual sales.

5,000

What is it? The number of jobs affected in the automobile sector due to the ban on diesel cars and SUVs with engine capacity of 2,000 cc and above in the Delhi-NCR area, according to an industry body.

Why is it important? The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers has contended that there is no link between engine capacity and emission levels and automakers such as Mercedes Benz have argued that their vehicles are BS VI-compliant and that diesel does not pollute the air anymore than petrol. Some have called for phased reduction, which might also give more time for transition for workers. However, Supreme Court appears to be entertaining no further debate on the issue.

Tell me more: Due to this ban between December 16, 2015 and April 30, 2016, production of 11,000 vehicles has been affected and a countrywide ban during the same period would have impacted 47,000 jobs and resulted in a loss of production of 1 lakh vehicles.

402

What is it? The total number of constituencies where polling is happening across Tamil Nadu (232 of 234), Kerala (140) and Puducherry (30).

Why is it important? In Tamil Nadu, which has always elected a clear winner for nearly 50 years, the fight is between J Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK and M Karunanidhi’s DMK, it remains to be seen if the combine of a few regional parties including Vijayakanth’s DMDK is able to make a mark to result in vote-splitting. In Kerala, the ruling UDF and the LDF are battling it out. In both these states, BJP’s vote share would be keenly watched as a measure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity, who campaigned in both the states.

Tell me more: In the southern union territory of Puducherry, two Congress parties are up in arms against each other – one, led by Sonia Gandhi and the other, a breakaway faction led by chief minister N Rangasamy.

6 days

What is it? The delay in the onset of Indian monsoons this year, which is now expected to hit the Kerala coast on June 7.

Why is it important? After two consecutive years of drought and with a quarter of India’s population reeling under its effects, India’s monsoon this year is highly anticipated. The monsoon accounts for over 70% of India’s annual rainfall, is the primary source of irrigation for half of the country’s cropland and refills over 80 nationally-monitored water reservoirs (important for drinking purposes, power and irrigation). The delay is unlikely to affect the sowing of the Kharif crops.

Tell me more: Monsoon usually arrives on June 1 and the India Meteorological Department’s forecast has a margin of error of four days.

0.616

What is it? The number of seconds by which Dutch teenager Max Verstappen beat Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen in Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Why is it important? With this win, 18-year-old Verstappen became the youngest winner of a Formula One race, beating four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel’s victory in 2008 at the age of 21. He is also the first Dutch race winner since the championship began in 1950.

Tell me more: Dominant players Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg collided and crashed out in the opening lap. Verstappen made his F1 debut when he was 17 for Toro Rosso, one of the two F1 teams owned by Austrian beverage company Red Bull, after which the minimum entry age was changed to 18 years.

Read More