“nothing but lies and deceit”

As Donald Trump and Pakistan ushered in new year, the latter got reprimanded by the leader of the world’s most powerful economy in his first tweet of 2018. Trump said that Pakistan had given them “nothing but lies and deceit”, as he laid out in his tweet, the quantum of funds US has given to Pakistan in last 15 years. Well, that’s some way to ring in the new year.

For more news in numbers, read on.


Rs 68,826 crore

What is it? The total amount raised by Indian firms via the initial public offering (IPO) route in 2017, according to Prime Database.

Why is it important? This is the highest amount raised through this route so far, indicating increased buoyancy in the Indian equity markets. This is likely to continue in 2018: 15 companies have Sebi (Securities and Exchange Board of India) approval to raise Rs 12,000 crore; another 10 companies, looking to raise Rs 19,000 crore, are awaiting regulatory consent; and more filings are expected in the near future.

Tell me more: According to SBI’s research report Ecowrap, the heightened IPO activity could spur credit growth in some sectors—as seen in previous years—even though there is no direct relation between the two.


119.2 million

What is it? The number of shares that Bandhan Bank is looking to offer to the public via its proposed initial public offering (IPO).

Why is it important? On Monday, the bank said it had filed a Draft Red Herring Prospectus (DRHP) with capital market regulator Sebi. Back in June 2015, Bandhan, which was then India’s largest microfinance company, was one of the two entities to receive a banking licence, the other being IDFC. Going public within three years, a statutory requirement, will mark another milestone in Bandhan’s transformation from a giver of small loans to a full-fledged bank.

Tell me more: The proposed Bandhan IPO will consist of a fresh issue of up to 97.6 million shares and an offer for sale of 21.6 million shares. As of September 30, 2017, the Kolkata-headquartered bank had 864 bank branches and 386 ATMs, and current account and savings account deposits of Rs 7,170 crore.



What is it? The rate at which India’s infrastructure output grew in November from a year ago.

Why is it important? This is the fastest in 13 months, which suggests a possible revival in Indian industrial production. The growth in eight core industries, which account for 40% of industrial production, is likely to boost India’s factory output (as measured by the Index of Industrial Production), which had slowed to a three-month low of 2.2% in October.

Tell me more: The growth in infrastructure output in October was led by double-digit growth in steel and cement. The eight core sectors cumulatively grew 3.9% between April and October of 2017-18, lower than the 4.9% growth in the same period a year ago.


$33 billion

What is it? The total aid the United States has given Pakistan over the last 15 years, according to a tweet by US President Donald Trump yesterday.

Why is it important? In a strongly-worded tweet, which is also his first in 2018, Trump accused Pakistan of harbouring terrorists and said it had given them “nothing but lies and deceit”. The US is reportedly considering withholding $255 million in aid to Pakistan to express its displeasure over the latter’s alleged role in abetting terrorism. This is likely to boost India’s efforts in isolating Pakistan, whom it has blamed for sponsoring terrorism.

Tell me more: Minister of state Jitendra Singh tweeted that the American stance on Pakistan has vindicated India’s stand on terror.



What is it? The number of seasons that Vidarbha have played the Ranji Trophy, the premier competition in Indian domestic cricket.

Why is it important? On Monday, playing their first Ranji final, unfancied Vidarbha trounced Delhi by nine wickets to win their first title. Only two teams have taken longer to win their first title: Gujarat (83 seasons) and Uttar Pradesh (72 seasons).

Tell me more: Vidarbha’s win was scripted by a young squad mentored by a team of Ranji veterans, including 39-year-old opening batsman Wasim Jaffer, who won eight titles with Mumbai, coach Chandrakant Pandit and bowling coach Subroto Banerjee.

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News In Numbers – August 24

News In Numbers: August 24



The percentage of water of the total live storage capacity currently held by the 91 main reservoirs in India. This is about 14% lower than the water stored by these reservoirs in the same period last year. Worse, this is also less than the last 10 years’ average storage of 98.7 billion cubic metres of water. Region-wise, only the northern (Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan) and the central (Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh) regions have more water than the last 10 years’ average storage. According to a Central Water Commission member, the reservoir storage has been directly impacted by less rainfall across India. With the country showing signs of slipping into a drought year, the weather department said 58% of India received normal rainfall, 29% deficient and 13% excess.


Rs 80 crore

The amount the newest bank in India, Bandhan Bank, garnered in deposits by opening 60,000 new accounts on its first day. Bandhan, which is the first microfinance institution to morph into a bank, began operations with 1.43 crore accounts, a Rs 10,500-crore loan book and 19,500 employees. The bank will have nearly 70% of its branches in rural areas to focus on the unbanked or under-banked rural poor. Bandhan had borrowed about Rs 9,000 crore from various banks when it was a microfinance institution and has sought “relaxation” from the Reserve Bank of India to repay these loans as banks are not allowed to borrow from each other.


$10.84 billion

The value of Uber Technologies’ projected global bookings in 2015, against $2.91 billion last year. For 2016, the taxi-hailing service has estimated doubling its 2015 figure: $26.1 billion. Uber operates in 50 countries and takes 20% of the booking revenue. In India, it is aggressively trying to catch up with homegrown Ola Cabs and recently raised around $75-100 million from a Tata Group private equity fund. The company plans to invest around $1 billion in the next 6-9 months in India to achieve its target of 1 million rides a day, from the current 200,000. Ola, which raised $400 million this April as well as an undisclosed amount from Tata Sons Chairman Emeritus Ratan Tata last month, clocks 750,000 rides a day and hopes to hit the one-million mark this month.


5 million

The number of jobs lost between 2004-05 and 2009-10, at a time when India’s economy grew at about 8% annually, according to a study by industry body Assocham. It says that though the number of people seeking employment grew at an annual rate of 2.23% between 2001 and 2011, growth in actual employment in this period was only 1.4%. India’s unemployment rate (measured as the number of people actively looking for a job as a percentage of the total labour force) decreased to 4.9% in 2013 from 5.2% in the previous year. Average unemployment rate in India was 7.32% between 1983 and 2013, peaking at 9.4% in 2009.



The percentage of India’s disinvestment target for 2015-16 the government will achieve if it mops up the targeted Rs 9,302 crore from a 10% stake sale in Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), scheduled for today. With the IOC stake sale, the government would have garnered Rs 12,600 crore, the best ‘first half’ in the last seven financial years. This year, so far, the government has raised around Rs 3,300 crore by selling minority stakes in Power Finance Corporation, Rural Electrical Corporation and Dredging Corporation of India. India’s disinvestments are crucial for achieving its fiscal deficit targets; its target for 2015-16 is 3.9% of GDP. Although it managed to meet its fiscal deficit target in 2014-15, it has missed its disinvestment targets the last five financial years. is a search engine for public data


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14 things we didn’t see coming in 2014: Some surprising, some shocking

This piece originally appeared on


A $11 billion Flipkart








Flipkart had been redefining how Indians shop for a while. In 2014, a year in which it raised about $1.9 billion, Flipkart redefined valuations in the online retailing space. With a seven-fold growth in its valuation in about a year, Flipkart would have been ranked India’s 30th most valuable company had it been publicly traded. The valuation would also make it the third-most valuable consumer company in India, trailing behind ITC Ltd and Hindustan Unilever Ltd. Flipkart is now worth almost five times the combined valuation of the top four listed retailers.


BJP’s performance in Uttar Pradesh






The road to Delhi, they say, goes through Uttar Pradesh, which elects 80 of the 543 Lok Sabha MPs. That the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would improve significantly on its 2009 tally of 10 seats in this politically fragmented state was expected, but the extent of the sweep by the saffron party—smashing the three-fourth marker of 60 seats—in a way no party had done since the Congress rode a sympathy wave in 1984 was not. Uttar Pradesh delivered a quarter of the BJP’s MPs in the 2014 general elections.


Oil below $60






The last time crude oil fell below $60 a barrel, the world economy was dealing with the effect of a credit contagion that originated in Wall Street. Lower oil prices are an outcome of a weak global economy. Even India, which imports much of its oil, and hence spent the first half of the year fretting about the effect of high prices on its finances, tends to slow down when oil cools off. But this time, it can be different for India if the government can marshal a confluence of domestic factors—inflation, interest rates and government finances—for greater corporate investments.


Trouble in the skies






Air crashes are rare. Statistically, one is more likely to die riding a bicycle than flying in a commercial aircraft. Aircraft going missing is even rarer. A commercial airliner disappearing with 239 passengers on board is off the chart. The fate of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which disappeared on 8 March on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, remains a mystery. In the context of overall airline safety, 2014 wasn’t an outlier in terms of numbers. It was in its manner—one commercial plane missing and another shot down.


NRN’s exit from Infosys





The news in June of N.R. Narayana Murthy stepping down as executive chairman of Infosys came as a bigger surprise than the news of his coming back, a year ago, to the company he co-founded. The reasons were many. Murthy had said he could be around for five years. The task he set out to do (or the task everyone assumed he set out to do) remained unfinished. And in India, promoters are not inclined to let go of the companies they founded. But, in fact, Murthy was busy setting the system right for the long term—cost effectiveness, productivity and such. The news that most observers missed: Murthy was always going to leave Infosys—along with his son, Rohan—after the cleanup and after finding a good successor.


SpiceJet on the ground






At the beginning of the year, SpiceJet was on a typical flight path for airlines in India—battling turbulence. Still, it was competing well for the second spot, even occupying it for three months, amid fleeting promises of a profitable ascent. Its fall in recent months has been swift and it appears only a white knight—co-founder Ajay Singh, who exited the airline in 2010, has shown interest—can now save it from going the way of Kingfisher Airlines.


Apple, Google > Russia




In November, when the market capitalization of Appleovertook the collective value of all companies listed on the Russian stock market, it was only partly seen as a weakness of the world’s ninth-largest economy, for Apple’s own market value had risen 33% during the calendar year. But in December, on the back of a huge drop in oil prices and the weight of economic sanctions imposed as a result of its military misadventures, the Russian economy seemed headed towards a crisis. The value of its stock market had gone even below that of Google, which was worth about half of Apple.


Uber’s contrasting rides






Even as the valuation of Uber, the taxi-hailing app company, went up and up, touching $40 billion based on the latest round of fund-raising, and the term “uberisation” of an industry gained ground, those very attributes seen as its strengths seemed to start troubling the company. Uber was global, and so were its problems. It was pushing boundaries, and existing regulations didn’t know where to place it. It was disruptive, and there was backlash from incumbents. It was scaling up fast, and there were concerns about its processes. As 2014 ends, Uber seems strong enough to tap opportunities, but it’s not clear if it’s strong enough to handle the accompanying risks.


Ebola outbreak






It has been nearly 40 years since the deadly Ebola virus first reared its head in two different regions in Central Africa (one near the Ebola river, from which the virus gets its name). But 2014 witnessed the worst-ever Ebola virus disease outbreak, with about 19,000 cases reported and 7,300 deaths, surpassing the combined figures for the last 40 years. While these were concentrated in three African countries—Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone—the scare extended to other countries, notably US and Spain, as well. The World Health Organization (WHO) says there are no licensed vaccines to combat this virus, but there are two potential candidates that are undergoing evaluation.


Peshawar school massacre






It’s not the first time that a terrorist group has targeted children, or children at a school, or a child because she spoke for education. In the year that Malala Yousafzai andKailash Satyarthi jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education”, the Pakistani Taliban gunning down 132 children in an army school in Peshawar, assaulted our senses.


Women on corporate boards






Boards of Indian companies have been male-dominated, and capital market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) sought to change that. In February, seconding a clause in the revised Companies Act, Sebi instructed all publicly traded companies to appoint at least one woman to their boards by 1 October. Data from companies listed on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) shows that many have, some haven’t. Overall, women’s representation on company boards has increased, but parity and independence in the truest sense remains elusive.


Bandhan Bank






It was after 12 years that India’s central bank was issuing bank licences. And there were many corporate heavyweights who had applied, including Aditya Birla Nuvo, L&T Finance Holdings and Reliance Capital. Yet, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued two licences, one of them to Bandhan. It was a case of being at the right place at the right time. The RBI wanted new banks to further financial inclusion and Bandhan had solid credentials in that space. It was the only large microfinance institution to be insulated from the excesses that ravaged the sector in 2010, and catapulted from number four in the sector to number one by 2013.


Jayalalithaa’s arrest






It was partly because the case had meandered on for 18 years. It was partly because she was a chief minister in office and became the first one to be disqualified. On 27 September, a special court in Bangalore sentenced the then-chief minister of Tamil Nadu J. Jayalalithaa to four years in jail and fined her Rs.100 crore in a disproportionate assets case. After spending about 20 days in jail, Jayalalithaa received bail of two months from the Supreme Court.


Sebi’s ban on DLF





In October, in one of its toughest and high-profile punishments, Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) banned property developer DLF Ltd, its chairman K.P. Singhand five other company executives from the capital market for three years. The charge was DLF’s failure to provide key information on subsidiaries and pending legal cases at the time of its initial public offering in 2007. Its 2013-14 annual report points to a sterner capital market regulator: it is prosecuting more, and this is accompanied by fewer requests from market participants for settlement of cases by consent.

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