Less smoke in the kitchen

9.10%

What is it? The new base rate of the State Bank of India (SBI) .

Why is it important? The largest Indian bank cut its base rate from the previous 9.25%. This would let earlier borrowers benefit from an easing of bank rates seen over the last few months. Borrowers who had taken out loans before April 1, 2016, were unable to benefit from cuts in the marginal cost-based lending rate (MCLR) (the new system of lending rate for customers) levied since then.

Tell me more: On January 1, 2017, SBI had cut its MCLR but it was not changed in yesterday’s cut.

 

52.5

What is it? The manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) in March.

Why is it important? The factory activity index rose for the third month, after contracting in December (as it had in December, 2015, as well). But the rate of expansion was the fastest in five months since October, 2016, with production and new orders growing.

Tell me more: It has helped that inflation rates eased since February. The private index, by Markit, recorded a rise in additional employment generated to cope with increasing orders in the pivotal sector.

 

$300 million

What is it? The deal value of the Ruias-led Essar Group’s sale of its BPO unit, Aegis, to Singapore-based private equity firm Capital Square Partners.

Why is it important? The move would help the group retire 2.2% of its debt. The group is in the middle of paring the large debt on its books, worth Rs 88,000 crore. Before Aegis was sold, the Essar Group had lined up two more businesses — its oil refinery arm (Essar Oil) and its steel business (Essar Steel) — but both missed their March targets of a stake sale.

Tell me more: The Aegis sale marks the group’s exit from business process outsourcing. The slated Essar Oil sale, of $12.9 billion, would be India’s largest FDI.

 

Rs 3.42 crore

What is it? Legal bill raised by lawyer Ram Jethmalani for his services to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal so far.

Why is it important? These costs will have to be borne by the Delhi government, and not by Arvind Kejriwal, according to a report. This has led to a furore. Arun Jaitley had sued Arvind Kejriwal defamation last year. Delhi government reasoned that Kejriwal made the statements that led to the suit in his capacity as a chief minister. However, some analysts point out he didn’t invoke Section 80 of civil procedure code, and therefore, it should be considered that he is fighting it in his personal capacity.

Tell me more: Ram Jethmalani, one of the most expensive lawyers in the country, had earlier said that he is charging just Re 1 from Kejriwal, because ‘his government itself is so poor.’

 

3.25 crore

What is it? The number of LPG connections released by oil marketing companies during FY 2016-17.

Why is it important? This is highest ever in a financial year. It includes over 2 crore connections given under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, which aims to provide LPG connections in rural areas, as a replacement for the unhealthy wood-based fire in the kitchens.

Tell me more: The numbers indicate the broader strategy of the government. Look for efficiency and cost savings in one section using Aadhaar and other policy initiatives (in this case LPG subsidies, which mostly went to well-to-do middle class households) and, at the same time, expand government services to more deserving sections.

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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.

 

721

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.

 

 

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