What is it? This year’s southwest monsoon rainfall estimate as a percentage of the Long Period Average (LPA), or IMD’s long-term rainfall-tracking benchmark.
Why is it important? The first-stage forecast is for normal southwest monsoons, alleviating worries about a dry season, for now. The monsoon’s distribution and timely arrival would determine if there would be a positive impact on GDP or not. In 2016, the same was for 106% of the LPA (which is 89 cm for 1951-2000). But in the drought-ridden year of 2015, the initial forecast was 93%, only three percentage points less than this year’s estimate.
Tell me more: The forecast would get updated in June, when the weather phenomenon of El Nino would have evolved further to paint a more accurate picture.
Rs 64,562 crore
What is it? The investment by the public steel manufacturer, Steel Authority of India Ltd (Sail) till December, 2016.
Why is it important? Sail is spending on modernisation and expansion of its integrated and special steel plants when India is set to leapfrog Japan in steel output in a few years. While the Indian Steel Association has said production would increase from 101.3 million tonne in 2016 to 240 million tonne by 2031, the Australian Department of Industry, Innovation and Science has predicted India would overtake Japan as the third-largest producer by 2019 with 118 million tonne. Sail’s expansion would raise its capacity from 12.8 million tonne a year to 21.4 million tonne (67%).
Tell me more: The steel major is in the last leg of its Rs 70,000-crore planned investment to raise capacity by 60-70%.
What is it? The net subscribers added by Netflix, the Internet video-streaming service, in the first quarter of 2017 (Jan-Mar).
Why is it important? The measure of new customers for Netflix went down both sequentially (30%) and year-on-year (27%) due to the lack of a blockbuster original production, and the tepid response to its new releases such as the latest Marvel-backed superhero series (Iron Fist). Instead, its profitability improved. In India, it finds itself competing for audience with Amazon Prime and homegrown popular apps such as Star India’s Hotstar, even before it got a chance to consolidate a lead.
Tell me more: Netflix’s net income/profit rose to $178 million in the quarter, a 166% rise sequentially and 536% rise year-on-year. In India, it plans to double its investments with an office in Mumbai, rather than operate the business out of Singapore which it had been doing so far.
What is it? The length of roads to be developed as expressways under Indian government’s Bharatmala scheme.
Why is it important? Mega road projects have both short term and long term benefits, generating jobs immediately and boosting growth over time, and Bharatmala is one of the most ambitious and expensive projects of the NDA government. The total investments is pegged around Rs 10 trillion. The National Highways Development kickstarted by Vajpayee government will be subsumed under Bharatmala going forward.
Tell me more: A more specific and formal outlay and plan is likely to be a part of the next budget.
Rs 2.35 lakh crore
What is it? Market capitalisation of State Bank of India, end of Tuesday.
Why is it important? State Bank is now the most valued public sector unit, surpassing Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, which has a market cap about about Rs 2.29 lakh crore. State Bank shares rose by 16% this year. Interestingly, this came on the day when Vijay Mallya was arrested and then let go on a bail after a few hours in London. A consortium of banks led by State Bank of India had sued Mallya’ Kingfisher Airlines for defaulting on loans. State Bank’s gross non performing assets (or bad loans) stood at 7.23% end of December.
Tell me more: State Bank stands fifth in the list of top Indian companies by market capitalisation. Tata Consultancy leads the list, followed by Reliance Industries and HDFC Bank.