Venezuela’s Hyperinflation Nightmare

4,57,000 barrels per day
What is it?India’s oil imports from Iran in the first three months of this financial year, according to India’s oil ministry.

Why it’s important? Iran has replaced Saudi Arabia as the largest supplier of oil to India. It’s up from 2,79,000 bpd during the same period last year, and is driven by better deals from Iran including inexpensive shipping and extended credit periods.

Tell me more: It comes amidst escalating tension between Iran and United States.  U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted Iran would face dire consequences “the like of which few throughout history have suffered before” if it made threats against the United States.


One million percent

What is it?Venezuela’s inflation rate by end of the year as projected by International Monetary Fund.

Why is it important?It could turn out to be one of the worst hyperinflationary crises in modern history. The projection was to signal that “the situation in Venezuela is similar to that in Germany in 1923 or Zimbabwe in the late 2000’s,” IMF director Alejandro Werner wrote in a blog.

Tell me more: The country’s central bank stopped publishing inflation data, and the legislature said the consumer prices are up 46,305 % this year. Venezuela’s economic crisis was triggered by a sharp fall in oil prices in 2014, which brought the state’s revenues down. Unable to sustain its social welfare programmes rolled out by previous government headed by Hugo Chavez, it started printing more currency, leading to high inflation.




What is it? Percentage of Indian IT security managers who reported a data breach last year, according to a survey by technology firm Thales.

Why is it important? This is higher than global average of around 36%. It’s true of earlier years too, with 75% of Indian respondents saying there was a data breach in the past, compared to 67% global average. The results come from a survey of over 1,200 senior IT security managers globally (100 of them in India) between October-November 2017.

Tell me more: Earlier this month,a report by IBM security and Ponemon Institute placed the average cost of data breach in India at $ 1.77 million, up 7.9% from 2017, but lowest in the world.




What is it?The number of banks and financial institutions that have signed an inter-creditor agreement.

Why is it important? The agreement will help these banks to resolve bad loans problems faster. 12.5% of all loans given by Indian banks are categorised as bad loans. The agreement effectively gives the lead lender a bigger say in recovery of loans from defaulters.

Tell me more: This is a part of Project  Sashakt, a five pronged mechanism to solve India’s NPA problem. The agreement was signed by 17 public sector banks, including State Bank of India, five private sector banks and two financial institutions.


60 billion times per minute


What is it?The spinning speed of a rotor created by researchers at Purdue University.

Why is it important? This is the fastest man-made spinning object, and could help study quantum mechanics and virtual particles that may temporarily appear in a vacuum.

Tell me more: The researchers created a nanoscale rotor, made from silica, and levitated it in high vacuum using a laser. It is over 100,000 times faster than a high-speed dental drill. Scientists have been fighting a race to make the fastest spinning object to study the behaviour of materials in extreme conditions. A previous record was an object that could spin 600 million times a minute.

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News in numbers, Oct 7, 2015: Proposed hike in Delhi MLA salary, deposit vs lending rate cuts

7,500 km

What it is: The length of highways at risk of remaining incomplete or being abandoned due to losses, according to ratings firm Crisil. It pertains to build-operate-transfer (BOT) highway projects awarded to private developers between 2009-10 and 2011-12.  

Why is it important: This highlights the issues that plague the sector: land acquisition issues, weak financial health of the sponsors, aggressive bidding and lower toll revenue growth. Infrastructure woes would only make it more difficult as India tries revive its economy. This also puts an additional stress on banks that have significant exposure to the road sector. Remember, banks are already struggling with rising bad loans.

Tell me more: The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has awarded 210 BOT projects covering 20,000 km, of which 38 projects covering nearly a fourth of the total length have been terminated. Only 80 projects spanning over 6,050 km are currently operational. Between April 1 and July 31 this year, the NHAI has awarded BOT projects spanning 873 km and EPC (engineering, procurement construction) projects covering 627 km.



What it is: The number of times the salaries of Delhi legislators is to go up, according to an independent committee set up by the Delhi Assembly Speaker. In absolute terms it would increase from Rs 82,000 to Rs 3.2 lakh a month.

Why is it important: If the committee’s recommendations are accepted by Delhi’s chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, the state’s MLAs could be counted among the richest in India. Assam’s legislators get paid the highest – Rs 60,000 basic salary a month. It would be interesting to see what Kejriwal does given the party calls itself the “common person’s” party and the moral high ground it takes on various issues.  

Tell me more: The recommendations include: an increase in constituency allowance from Rs 18,000 per month to Rs 50,000, communication allowance from Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000, conveyance allowance from Rs 6,000 to Rs 30,000, daily allowance of Rs 1,000-2,000 a day when the assembly is in session, a Rs 70,000 allowance for office assistants and a one-time furnishing office allowance of Rs 1 lakh.


Rs 450 crore

What it is: The amount Infibeam wants to raise to expand its business through an IPO.

Why is it important: The first e-commerce firm to be cleared by the market regulator for public listing in India. Some experts and investors have asked if there is an e-commerce bubble in India? Skyrocketing valuations, the ease with which e-commerce companies have been able to raise money, absence of a proper business model, high cash burn rates and no profitability are worrying. This would be a good test to gauge the broader investor appetite for this sector.

Tell me more: Infibeam, which runs and, wants to set up a cloud data unit and 75 logistics centres. Unlike its peers such as Flipkart or Snapdeal, Infibeam has not gone on the typical private equity investment route.



What it is: The number of new species discovered by scientists from various organisations in the Eastern Himalayas between 2009 and 2014, according to conservation group WWF.

Why is it important: The volume and variety of species discovered (133 plants, 39 invertebrates, 26 fish, 10 amphibians, one each of reptile, bird and mammal) highlight the fact that this region is one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world. The region includes Bhutan, north-east India, Nepal, the far north of Myanmar and southern parts of Tibet.

Tell me more: Some of the striking discoveries include a sneezing monkey during rains because it has an upturned nose and a blue ‘dwarf’ walking snakehead fish, which can survive on land for up to four days breathing atmospheric air. However, due to development and inadequate measures towards the protection of environment, only 25% of the “original habitats remain intact” and hundreds of species living in the region fall under the category of globally-threatened species.


130 bps versus 50 bps

What it is: Deposit rate cuts versus lending rate cuts. The average cut in one -year deposit rates by banks since January 2015 compared to the cut in lending rates, according to India Ratings. This is when the central bank has cut policy rates by a cumulative 125 basis points (bps).

Why is it important: Shows banks give importance to self-interest. Banks can make more money when it reduces deposit rates – and pay less to depositors – without proportionally cutting the lending rates.

Tell me more: India Ratings says from a 10-year study of the policy cycle and the banks, it appears that in most cases when policy rates are reduced, deposit rates have come down quicker than lending rates and the quantum of the former has also been higher. is a search engine for public data

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News in Numbers – September 4, 2015

News In Numbers: September 4, 2015


Rs 20,000 crore

The one-time impact on profitability of banks in 2016-17 if the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) draft guidelines on computation of base rate are implemented in their present form, according to ratings agency Crisil. This would be about 15% of their collective estimated profits in the next fiscal. The central bank on Tuesday invited comments on these guidelines. Currently, banks use different methods to compute their base rate and the one suggested by RBI “should be more sensitive to changes in policy rates”. However, Crisil says this would create an adverse impact as banks would be reluctant to cut deposit rates given its impact on their profitability. Banks are already battling rising bad loans, which is affecting their profitability.


$7.94 billion

Mumbai’s economic output at risk in the event of a terrorist attack between 2015 and 2025, according to Lloyd’s, the world’s oldest active insurance marketplace. In the terrorism context, Mumbai ranks number one among 301 cities, with 16.8% of its GDP (gross domestic product) at risk. The Lloyd’s City Rank Index says 10 Indian cities, including Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai, are the top ones in terms of GDP at risk. In terms of overall threats (besides terrorism, volcano, nuclear accident, market crash, etc), the three cities with maximum economic output at risk are Taipei, Tokyo and Seoul, and none of the Indian cities figure in the top 20.



The number of state quota seats illegally filled between 2009 and 2013 in private medical and dental colleges in Madhya Pradesh, according to the state government. Known as the DMAT scam, it came to light when a whistleblower filed a complaint with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The DMAT exam is conducted by the Association for Private Medical and Dental Colleges (APDMC) to fill 58% of around 2,800 seats in 15 private dental colleges and six private medical colleges. The rest are filled under the state quota, through Vyapam. The whistleblower alleged that almost all admissions under the management and NRI quota are rigged. The CBI recently told the Supreme Court that the DMAT scam looks bigger than the Vyapam scam “in its scope and depth”.


Rs 300 crore

Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata Group, has moved the Supreme Court challenging the sales tax demand of Rs 300 crore made by the Maharashtra government on the royalty it earns from its subsidiaries for using the ‘Tata’ brand name. In January, the Bombay High Court had ruled in favour of the Maharashtra government. The Tata Group had argued that the right to use the trademark was not exclusive and conditional, and therefore, should not come under the provisions of the ‘Transfer of Right to use any Goods for any Purpose Act, 1985’. Tata Sons earned over Rs 400 crore in royalty in 2014-15. According to Brand Finance, the Tata Group ranked 65 globally in terms of brand value in 2015 and was valued at $15.4 billion.


August 28

The air quality in Delhi has been in the ‘poor’ zone since August 28, almost a month earlier than usual. Typically, air quality drops gradually at the onset of winter and reaches its peak in January, when cold air and fog trap more pollutants. This year, due to the receding of rainfall a month earlier, PM2.5 (fine particulate matter) which is an air pollutant causing serious health problems, had started rising since August 26. In 2013, when rainfall was normal, the air quality was better in the corresponding period. The forecast for the next three days in Delhi shows ‘poor’ air quality, while Mumbai and Pune fare better with ‘good’ air quality predictions. Recently, the World Health Organization named Delhi as the worst of 1,600 cities globally in terms of PM2.5 particles. is a search engine for public data

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Major economic centres also lead in bank holidays

This piece originally appeared on


Come 1 September, bank employees in India will receive an additional 24 holidays a year—and banking customers 24 fewer days to transact at bank branches. This follows the Union government last week accepting a long-pending demand of bank employee unions to declare the second and fourth Saturdays of the month as a holiday. The central bank, on its website, lists a schedule of holidays for banks (excluding the standard weekly offs) in 28 Indian cities. The number of bank holidays shows a considerable range: 17 on the lower end and 26 on the upper end. Interestingly, it’s some of the major economic centres—notably, Belapur (Navi Mumbai), Bengaluru, Mumbai and Chennai—that lead in bank holidays in 2015.

By cities




By month




Most holidays in a month




Data source: RBI

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