News in numbers, Apr 14, 2016: $250 mn to beat cancer, e-platform for farm produce trading…

1.20 million barrels per day (bpd)

What is it? The expected increase in global demand for oil in 2016, according to 13-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Why is it important? This is 500,000 bpd lesser than the previous estimate, raising concerns of crude prices going down again. Oil prices hit a 12-year low of $27 in January this year. A producers’ meet to freeze output at January levels to support prices, which is scheduled for this Sunday in Doha, is keenly awaited though Iran has refused to participate in it.

Tell me more: On February 16, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Russia and Qatar said they would freeze oil production at January levels, if other producers agreed to join in on the plan. This resulted in increase in oil prices by 30% in the subsequent weeks.

$250 million

What is it? Internet billionaire Sean Parker’s funding to set up a non-profit institute to beat cancer.

Why is it important? It brings together over 300 scientists at 40 labs in six institutions to work on a new area of cancer research – immunotherapy – which uses one’s immune system to fight cancer. This seeks to draw in on the advantages of scientists and researchers working together rather than in silos, though this also has the risks of suppressing diverse opinions to think alike.

Tell me more: The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy would pursue immune therapy patents on behalf of the six institutions and license them, taking a 10-15% cut of the revenue generated by the patents to be put back into the institute. There were 8.2 million cancer-related deaths and around 14 million new cases in 2012, according to the World Health Organization.

21

What is it? The number of local markets to be connected on an e-platform called National Agriculture Market launching today.

Why is it important? The e-platform aims to provide farmers with wider choices of selling their produce at better prices, a move that is likely to help the government fulfill its promise of doubling farm incomes by 2022. Currently, farmers sell their produce to traders at the nearest market. This comes at a time when farmers are reeling under two successive droughts.

Tell me more: The 21 markets are spread across 8 states. The Indian government plans to bring 585 such markets on to the platform by March 2018. However, the government may need to tackle some state laws/rules that may be a hindrance to this national e-marketing platform.

64 lakh litres

What is it? The quantity of water the Bombay High Court has asked the BCCI to supply to drought-hit villages in Maharashtra.

Why is it important? This direction comes along with the order to BCCI to shift all 13 IPL matches, including the finals, to be played in the state after April 30. BCCI had promised it would use treated sewage water for the IPL matches in Mumbai and Pune and the teams from these cities would contribute Rs 5 crore each towards drought relief measures in the state.

Tell me more: The BCCI said though it respects the court’s orders, it is difficult to re-organise the tournament mid-way. The BCCI Secretary said it was unfair to target the league and questioned if the swimming pools in five-star hotels have been shut or if people in the state have stopped watering their gardens.

30

What is it? The number of new fund offers (NFOs) for which mutual fund houses have filed draft papers with the market regulator so far this year.

Why is it important? Indicates that the mutual fund industry would retain or outpace last year’s growth (which saw 191 draft papers of NFOs). In 2015-16, 43 lakh new equity accounts were opened taking the total to 3.6 crore, the fastest addition since the 2008 global financial crisis. However, it is still less than the total of 4.1 crore accounts at the time of the crisis.

Tell me more: Reflecting the increasing demand for mutual fund products from retail investors in what is perceived to be a largely risk-averse market, the investors’ base hit a record high of 4.76 crore at the end of March.

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News in numbers, Apr 6, 2016: RBI cuts repo rate, global executions highest in 25 years…

6.5%

What is it? The repo rate, the benchmark rate at which the central bank lends money to the banks for a short term. It was 6.75% earlier.

Why is it important? It is likely to result in banks lowering their lending rates. The repo rate is at a more than five-year low. This is expected to encourage companies to invest to boost economic growth.

Tell me more: The RBI cut repo rate by 125 basis points last year but banks lowered lending rates by only 60 basis points. To help improve liquidity and for better transmission of interest rate cuts, the central bank has also reduced the cash proportion of banks’ requirement of reserves to be kept with the RBI. It has also increased the reverse repo rate (the rate at which the central bank borrows from lenders) by 25 basis points to 6%.

11

What is it? The number of state cricket associations that have not received any money from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in the last five years, as pointed out by Supreme Court.

Why is it important? This could potentially force BCCI to come up with a transparent method to disburse funds to state associations.

Tell me more: The BCCI disburses funds to the state cricketing associations to develop and promote the game. The Supreme Court was hearing an affidavit filed by the BCCI, which has raised objections to some of the recommendations of Lodha committee that was set up in the wake of the IPL 2013 spot-fixing and betting scandal.

1,634

What is it? The number of people who were sentenced to death globally in 2015, the highest in 25 years.

Why is it important? This renews the debate on capital punishment and human rights. The number of executions saw an increase of 50% in 2015 over the previous year, even as the number of countries that abolished death penalty in 2015 increased to 102 from 60 in 1996.

Tell me more: Three countries – Iran (977), Pakistan (320) and Saudi Arabia (158) – accounted for nearly 90% of executions last year. The United States, the only country in the Americas to have carried out death sentences in 2015, was ranked fifth with 28 executions. The numbers are from Amnesty International.

Rs 15-20 crore

What is it? The amount Kishore Biyani’s Future Group is reportedly paying to buy Rocket Internet-backed startup FabFurnish.com.

Why is it important? This is Future Group’s first acquisition of an online store and Rocket Internet’s first exit in India. The latter has been trying to sell its Indian investments (including FoodPanda, Jabong, PrintVenue and FabFurnish), which have been struggling to be in business. FabFurnish laid off a fourth of its employees last August.

Tell me more: The Future Group, which owns a home and furnishing business under the brand ‘HomeTown’, is looking to leverage the deal to reach out customers in areas with no offline or minimal presence.

160 km/hour

What is it? The speed of Gatiman Express that connects Delhi and Agra.

Why is it important? India’s fastest train. While there have been incremental improvements in the speed of train over years, this is India’s attempt to leapfrog. India plans to build a high speed train network, be completed by 2023 and costing $14.8 billion.

Tell me more: The second fastest train, Bhopal Habibganj Jan Shatabdi Express takes an extra 17 minutes to cover the distance between Delhi and Agra.

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News in numbers, Dec 9, 2015: Job creation numbers, India’s missing women and children…

 

43,000

 

What is it? Net fall in jobs in textiles, automobiles, leather, metals, gems and jewellery, transportation, information technology/business process outsourcing (IT/BPO) and handloom/powerloom sectors in the April-June quarter this year, compared to the previous quarter, per quarterly employment survey.

 

Why is it important? This is a four-quarter low for job creation in manufacturing and export-oriented sectors. Despite a 7% GDP growth recorded in the first quarter of 2015-16, dismal job creation numbers show economic recovery is slower than expected and still has a long way to go.

 

Tell me more: Automobiles and textiles and apparels reported the largest decrease in jobs in the April-June 2015 quarter: 18,000 and 17,000 respectively.

 

1.35 lakh

 

What is it? Number of missing women in India as of November 30, 2015, as per government records.

 

Why is it important? That is an increase of 41% from nearly a year ago. Trafficking of women and children for various purposes such as for domestic help, forced marriages, sexual exploitation, forced labour, begging rackets and stealing of organs, is a major problem in India. According to non-governmental organisation, Prajwala, which had moved the Supreme Court against trafficking of women and girls, as many as 200,000 women and children are inducted into the flesh trade every year.

 

Tell me more: The number of missing children as of November was 61,000, an increase of 34.5% from December 2014. The Indian government has approved the setting up of 150 specialised investigative units on crimes against women in states and union territories on a 50:50 fund sharing basis.

 

Rs 1,427 crore

 

What is it? The amount Flipkart India and Flipkart Internet borrowed from banks by pledging their assets in the August-October period this year.

 

Why is it important? High growth companies such as Flipkart tend to avoid debt, because it comes with interest costs, and other risks related to default. Instead, they go for venture capital funding. In fact, Flipkart has raised $3.2 billion since inception – and over 80% of it in the last two years.

 

Tell me more: Flipkart India and Flipkart Internet reported a loss of Rs 2,000 crore in 2014-15, three times the loss it posted the previous financial year.

 

Rs 65-70 crore

 

What is it? The amount the two new Indian Premier League franchisees for Pune and Rajkot will forego from the central pool of the league’s revenue to be a part of IPL.

 

Why is it important? Shows the intensity of competition for the franchise. In fact, New Rising Promoters and Intex Technologies would be paying BCCI Rs 16 crore and Rs 10 crore respectively, per year for the teams. Power utility CESC Ltd chairman Sanjiv Goenka’s New Rising won Pune by bidding minus Rs 16 crore while mobile phone maker Intex Technologies got Rajkot by bidding minus Rs 10 crore. In a reverse bidding process by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the companies that bid for the lowest amount to be received from the central pool for the teams, are declared winners.

 

Tell me more: These two teams would replace Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals for two years.

 

Rs 5,000

 

What is it? Flight ticket prices (starting range) to fly from Mumbai to Goa between December 20 and January 1.

 

Why is it important? This is half of the ticket prices that reigned five years ago between the same sectors. And, Goa is one of the busiest places to holiday in Christmas/New Year season. Fuel prices at a near seven-year low and increase in capacity have led to this drop.

 

Tell me more: The average airfare between the New Delhi-Mumbai sector in December 2015 is Rs 4,984 compared to Rs 5,581 in 2010.

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