News in Numbers, Jan 25, 2017: Deep-pocketed rival rattles leader

Rs 503.7 crore

What is it? Bharti Airtel’s consolidated profit for the third quarter of fiscal 2017.

Why is it important? The lowest profit since the quarter ended December, 2012, shows the largest telecom player is far from being immune to market forces. The sector again has a competitor, Reliance Jio, with deep pockets dragging other players into a price war. Bharti Airtel, like its counterparts, has had to take deep cuts in its voice and data tariffs to counter its promotional run. Demonetisation-driven cash crunch also affected its prepaid customers while the devaluation of the Nigerian currency raised losses from its African operations.

Tell me more: Bharti Airtel’s average revenue per user fell close to 7% from the second quarter to Rs 123. Its consolidated revenue at Rs 23,364 crore, dipped year-on-year for the first time.


Rs 660.5 crore

What is it? The interest waiver for November and December, 2016, for farmers who have taken short-term loans from cooperative banks.

Why is it important? The government will be taking on an additional Rs 1,060.5 crore liability besides the FY17-budgeted Rs 15,000-crore for the Interest Subvention Scheme, to make amends for the demonetisation impact. It was ill-timed as farmers could neither encash their cheques from the recent sale of their Kharif crops nor buy resources for their next Rabi sowings, making it difficult to serve their loans. They had been given additional 60 days to repay crop loans but this waiver could be a much-needed breather. Those who have paid, would get their amounts refunded.

Tell me more: The National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (Nabard) has gotten the nod to facilitate cooperative banks. It will make short-term borrowings of Rs 20,000 crore at market rate to lend it to them at 4.5% interest rate so more loans can be disbursed.



What is it? The Grand Slam semi-finals Roger Federer would have played in, after his quarter-final win over Germany’s Mischa Zverev, at the Australian Open, on Tuesday .

Why is it important? Could signal a comeback for the Swiss great from last year, riddled with a knee injury. Unable to play since his withdrawal from the 2016 French Open, he had earlier never missed a Grand Slam since 1999. He goes up against fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka whom he has defeated 18 times of 21 matches they have played.

Tell me more: At Australian Open, Federer has appeared in 12 semi-finals, with the thirteenth cued.


$8.03 billion

What is it? The aid requested by the United Nations for 2017 to help Syrians, both refugees and within Syria.

Why is it important? The amount for Syria forms 31% of UN’s total humanitarian aid plea for 2017. Terming the Syrian people’s crisis as far from over, the UN asked for $4.63 billion for food, rent, education and healthcare of 4.7 million Syrian refugees and their 4.4 million hosts in five neighbouring countries: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. The remaining $3.4 billion would bring life-saving resources to 13.5 million Syrians still in the country.

Tell me more: Hosts are helping Syrian refugees with very few in camps. In Syria, 13 besieged areas have650,000 people cut off from aid.


Rs 7,832.98 crore

What is it? The income of political parties, both national and regional, from unknown sources between FY05 and FY15.

Why is it important? The amount comprising 69% of the total declared income of political parties in the 10 years, show the scope black money and illegitimate means of funding have in our democracy. The demonetisation move brought into sharp focus the need to monitor funds received by political parties with voices advocating a receipt-only approach. However, the Supreme Court turned down a plea earlier this month to make it mandatory for political parties to declare all sources of income, not just those from donors giving above Rs 20,000 as is the law.

Tell me more: The Delhi thinktank, Association for Democratic Reforms, studied IT returns with the Election Commission to arrive at the amount. National political parties were brought under the RTI Act in 2013 but are yet to comply.

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Political parties are sitting on a pile of cash they don’t want to talk about

This piece originally appeared on

Political parties demand financial probity and accountability from everyone else, but not so much from themselves. Funding patterns of political parties, both national and regional, show large chunks of donations whose source is not disclosed and in cash.

In spite of receiving tax waivers and subsidized land from the state, political parties don’t come under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. However, some information on their finances can be gleaned from their income-tax returns and disclosures to the Election Commission (EC).

The six national parties, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), have registered an eight-fold increase in income in nine years, with almost all of it coming by way of donations by several names, shows data from the Association for Democratic Reforms.



In 2014-15, 61% of their combined income of Rs 1,869 crore came from unknown sources, with every party showing a high presence of such donations.




Political parties have to disclose the identity of only those donors who contribute above Rs20,000. But parties are showing nearly half their donations as being below Rs20,000, thus avoiding this disclosure.




Of the six national parties, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), a prime contender in next year’s Uttar Pradesh polls, relies the most on such unaccounted for cash contributions.




Cash occupies a prime place in state elections as well. Parties have to disclose to EC the money raised and spent, and in what form (cash, cheque, draft or in kind), between the announcement of an election and its completion. For 71 state elections held in the last 12 years, partial disclosures made by political parties, both national and regional, show that 60% of the combined Rs3,368 crore collected was in cash.




The share of cash in total collections, though falling, was still a high 42% in 2014. Meanwhile, spending in cash has all but disappeared.




In another portent for the upcoming UP elections, the Samajwadi Party, another frontrunner, led all regional parties in cash collections for assembly elections in the last 12 years: Rs187 crore, of which 48% was in cash. That’s the currency whose rules have changed in one stroke. But will the rules of political funding ever change to allow tracing every rupee that political parties receive?


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News in numbers, Nov 3, 2015: Coffee Day’s market debut, impact of bridging gender gap…


What is it? The first day decline in stock price of Coffee Day Enterprises, which runs India’s largest coffee chain Cafe Coffee Day, post its listing in stock market on Monday.

Why is it important? An indicator that the shares might have been overpriced. Even during the IPO, the offer received muted response from retail and non institutional investors (these two categories were subscribed only upto 90% and 53%, respectively)

Tell me more: It remains to be seen how the other big listing by InterGlobe Aviation (which runs Indigo Airlines) would fare. It will debut later this month. The company raised Rs 3,010 crore in an initial public offering.



What is it? India’s share of women’s contribution to the country’s GDP, according to a McKinsey Global Institute report.

Why is it important? It is 20 percentage points lower than the global average of 37%. This shows the extent of efforts India needs to take in order to come closer to gender parity.

Tell me more:  Among Indian states, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Kerala, Goa and Sikkim are the best in terms of gender parity score (GPS) ranging between 0.70 and 0.64. And, these states account only for 4% of Indian working women. Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh are the worst in terms of GPS and these account for 32% of the country’s working women population.


2.66 lakhs

What is it? The number of cars sold by Indian carmakers in October.

Why is it important? The third highest sales recorded in a month in the history of Indian automotive industry. It’s 22% more than what they sold in October last year. Due to a prolonged economic slowdown, carmakers in India have been struggling with low demand, lesser sales and excess capacity. It remains to be seen if car sales (considered to be a proxy of how well an economy is doing) continues to grow at the same pace or faster after the festive season is over.

Tell me more: October also saw the two-wheeler segment breaking into a double-digit growth with Hero Motocorp and Honda posting their highest ever sales in a month.



What is it? The percentage drop in net sales of 622 companies in the second quarter of 2015-16 compared to same period last year.

Why is it important? Shows the dominance of oil and gas sector, and the impact of petroleum prices. Excluding the four oil and gas sector majors – Reliance Industries, Cairn India, MRPL and Petronet LNG – the net sales is up 4.9%.

Tell me more: While the net sales came down, profits went up 7.2% during the quarter (and 10.1% when the four oil and gas companies are excluded).


Rs 2.57 crore

What is it? The average assets of MLAs who are re-contesting Bihar’s Assembly elections in 2015, according to an analysis by the Association for Democratic Reforms.

Why is it important? This is a nearly threefold jump in five years. It was Rs 86.41 lakh in 2010. Bihar MLAs’ pay package was revised to Rs 1.65 lakh per month in March 2011 and once again 2014 according to reports. But, that doesn’t completely explain the 3 fold increase.
Tell me more: Among the 160 sitting MLAs, the biggest increase in assets is for JD(U) sitting MLA, Poonam Devi Yadav, who is re-contesting from the Khagaria constituency. Her assets increased to Rs 41 crore from Rs 1.8 crore between 2010 and 2015, an increase of over 2,000%. The assets of re-contesting Congress and JD(U) MLAs grew at the fastest rate while those from the Rashtriya Janata Dal had the highest average assets at Rs 3.8 crore in 2015.  

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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.



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.



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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