World’s 12th Richest City



What is it? The number of instances in the last 18 months in which IndiGo has replaced a faulty Pratt & Whitney engine on an Airbus A320neo operated by it.

Why is it important? On Saturday, after the European aviation regulator warned of a new issue with a particular type of Pratt & Whitney engines, IndiGo said it had grounded three affected planes. Further, Airbus had halted all deliveries of A320neos to IndiGo for now, it added. Fewer planes in operation and a slowdown in deliveries could pose challenges related to passenger management for India’s number one domestic airline.

Tell me more: Of the 157 aircraft in its fleet, 24 are Airbus A320neo, which is facing this particular engine issue, while 130 are A320-200 and 3 are ATR 72s.



What is it? The number of places gained by Punjab in a ranking of states for a Health Index crafted by Niti Aayog. As a result, it climbed from number 5 to number 2.

Why is it important? In these Health Index rankings for 2015-16, released on Friday, Punjab was one of the three states that gained several spots with reference to the base year. The other two were Jharkhand and Jammu & Kashmir, both of which gained 4 spots each, but much lower down in the rankings.

Tell me more: Releasing the Health Index report, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said the government was next looking to come out with performance-based rankings of district hospitals by June 2018, the objective being to “encourage good performers, and name and shame those who don’t”.


$950 million

What is it? The total wealth of India’s financial capital Mumbai, according to a report by New World Wealth, a South Africa-based market research group. Total wealth here is defined as the private wealth held by all individuals in the city.

Why is it important? The report ranked Mumbai to be the 12th richest city globally. It was the only Indian city in the 15-city list, and was ranked above Frankfurt, Paris and Toronto. The list was topped by New York, with a wealth of $3 trillion, followed by London ($2.7 trillion) and Tokyo ($2.5 trillion). Mumbai also had 28 dollar billionaires, placing it among the top 10 cities in the world in billionaire population.

Tell me more: New World Wealth ranked India as the 6th richest nation a few days ago, with a total wealth of $8.2 trillion. But this income and wealth is lopsided in its distribution: according to the World and Income Database, the share of the top 1% in national income has increased from 6.1% in 1982 to 21.7% in 2013.



What is it? The lowest value that Bitcoin registered last week. At one time, during a 24-hour period, the price of the leading cryptocurrency plummeted 28% to below $6,000, before recovering to above $8,000 levels by the end of the week.

Why is it important? The financial ecosystem is still figuring out cryptocurrencies and is increasingly veering towards control. On Sunday, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde said it was “inevitable” that cryptocurrencies would come under government regulation.

Tell me more: By one estimate, there are five million traders in crypto-currencies in India, which has said it does not recognise Bitcoin as legal tender.



What is it? The number of runs scored by Indian opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan after 100 one-day internationals, a milestone he completed on Saturday against South Africa.

Why is it important? Dhawan is the second-highest run-getter at the 100 ODI mark, after Hashim Amla of South Africa (4,808 runs). The 33-year-old has notched up 13 centuries and 25 half-centuries while averaging 46.33, proving to be a batsman to start strong at the international level and stay the course in the medium-term.

Tell me more: Virat Kohli, who is on course to rewrite many batting records in ODIs, was seventh on this list, with 4,107 runs. In Saturday’s match, Kohli passed Mohammad Azharuddin to climb to number five in ODI runs among Indians and number 18 overall.


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The Stock Shock



What is it? The losing streak of the BSE Sensex. In these last five days, the bellwether index has shed 4.2%.

Why is it important? After a steady and continuous run up in 2017, share prices are correcting, not just in India but also across the world. In the US, the Dow Jones crashed 1,600 points during intra-day trading on Monday, its biggest fall ever, eventually closing the day with a loss of 1,175 points. The Dow has wiped off its 2018 gains in the last two days.

Tell me more: A host of global reasons (like the US hiking interest rates and the run-up in prices) and local reasons (the imposition of a long-term capital gains tax in India) are being cited for the weakening sentiment.


88.2 million

What is it? The number of passengers that passed through Dubai International Airport in 2017.

Why is it important? This figure makes this airport in the Middle East, which is a hub for Emirates Airline, the busiest international airport for the third year in a row. Its 2017 passenger number is an increase of 5.5% over its 2016 number. Dubai’s elevation has come in a short period of time, and in 2014 it overtook London’s Heathrow airport as the busiest international airport. The airport expects international passenger footfalls to cross 90 million in 2018.

Tell me more: While Dubai is the busiest international airport, the busiest airport overall (domestic plus international) in 2017 was Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, servicing 101.6 million passengers.



What is it? The fall in the price of Bitcoin on Monday, briefly even dropping below $7,000 to reach a level it last hit on November 14.

Why is it important? The meltdown reflects the growing caution against crypto currencies and how they integrate into the mainstream. In the last week, concerns have arisen about increased regulation, hackers and potential price manipulation at a major crypto currency exchange. On Friday, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup said they had disallowed crypto-currency purchases on their credit cards.

Tell me more: In India, economic affairs secretary SC Garg said the government was planning policy measures to make crypto currencies illegal as a payments system and appoint a regulator to oversee unregulated exchanges trading.



What is it? The EBITDA margin (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) of Tata Motors’ India business in the third quarter (October to December) of 2017-18, the results for which the company announced yesterday.

Why is it important? On a year-on-year basis, that’s an increase of 7.5 percentage points, and comes on the back of a 59% increase in revenues, suggesting improving performance in the India business of Tata Motors. For the past couple of years, Jaguar Land Rover, the company’s international business, has been pulling performance at the company.

Tell me more: In the third quarter, the company posted a decline in net profit for the third straight quarter to Rs 1,214 crore, compared to Rs 2,501 crore in the previous quarter.



What is it? The number of years it has been since American singer-songwriter Paul Simon released his first solo album, The Paul Simon Songbook, in 1965. He has since released another 15 albums and toured prolifically.

Why is it important? On Monday, the 76-year-old said 2018 would be his last year doing live shows, citing the demands of touring and the death of lead guitarist, Vincent N’guini. Further, Simon would celebrate this passing of an era with a series of shows in the US and Europe between May and July in ‘Homeward Bound-The Farewell Tour’.

Tell me more: He first made his name in the 1960s as one half of Simon & Garfunkel. After they split in 1970, Simon built a successful career as a solo artist, showing an interest for global musical styles, working with South American and African musicians in projects that drew attention for their musical ambition and political context.


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The Steep Learning Curve


Children between the age group 14-18 in rural India are having a hard time doing the basic maths or reading text, according to a survey that spanned 26 rural districts. According to several estimates, India is projected to become a manufacturing powerhouse due to its huge demographic dividend. But, to really reap the benefits from our upcoming millennial generation, government would need to focus on their foundational education, without which this dividend could become a massive deterrent in the future.



What is it? The number of Indian children in the age group 14-18 years who could not do a division problem (3 digit by 1 digit) correctly.

Why is it important? This shortcoming in a key foundational skill is one of the many findings of the Annual Status of Education (ASER) Report 2017, released yesterday, and illustrates the deficiencies that plague the Indian educational system. According to the report, “even among youth in this age group who have completed eight years of schooling, a significant proportion still lack foundational skills like reading and arithmetic.”

Tell me more: This year’s survey focused on 14-18 year olds, and interviewed 28,323 youth in that age group in 26 rural districts across 24 states. Information was collected for four domains: activity, ability, awareness and aspirations.



What is it? The price drop in top cryptocurrencies—Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple—during trading on Tuesday.

Why is it important? The latest fall came in the backdrop of news trickling in that more countries, led by South Korea and China, were looking to step in to regulate trading in cryptocurrencies, including taking drastic action like banning trading. Elsewhere, a research paper laid bare instances of, what it said were, price manipulation in Bitcoin on the Mt Gox Bitcoin currency exchange.

Tell me more: According to this paper, a single actor likely drove the USD/BTC exchange rate from $150 to $1,000 in 2 months in late-2013, volumes on all exchanges increased greatly on days with suspicious activity and unregulated cryptocurrency markets remain vulnerable to manipulation.



What is it? The number of e-commerce portals that Patanjali Ayurved tied up with yesterday to sell its wide range of products.

Why is it important? Offline, the Baba Ramdev company has made its presence felt in several FMCG spaces that were the strongholds of multinationals, and a presence on some of the most popular e-commerce portals could help it open another distribution flank against them. In the first year, the company is targeting Rs 1,000 crore sales from these online channels.

Tell me more: Patanjali’s revenues have rocketed from Rs 2,006 crore in 2014-15 to Rs

Rs 10,561 crore in 2016-17, which made it about one-third the size of Hindustan Unilever. On the sidelines of yesterday’s announcement, Baba Ramdev said he was looking to convert Patanjali, currently a company, to a “non-profit organisation”, which some experts saw as an objective to save tax.


$690 million

What is it? The value of a 10-year outsourcing contract that technology major TCS yesterday said it had bagged from M&G Prudential, the European savings and investments business of Prudential.

Why is it important? This is the third big, multi-year contract that TCS has secured in the past month or so, following a $2.25 billion renewal—its largest ever by an Indian IT firm, spread over 10 years—from Nielsen and a $2 billion win from Transamerica. The Tata Group IT major needs these wins to lift up growth, which was underwhelming in the latest results announced earlier this week.

Tell me more: Earlier this week, TCS COO N Ganapathy Subramaniam said TCS would record double-digit growth in 2018-19, aided by the kicker provided by the new contracts. In the third quarter, it reported net addition of 1,667 employees.



What is it? The stake that Bajaj Finance is acquiring in MobiKwik, a mobile wallet firm, which is more than the 10.8% it had said it would when it invested Rs 225 crore in August.

Why is it important? Bajaj Finance told the Bombay Stock Exchange yesterday that the higher stake was the result of a change in price of the compulsory convertible cumulative preference shares. The lower conversion price suggests the valuation of MobiKwik has fallen in the intervening period, from $327 million to $279 million.

Tell me more: MobiKwik competes against the likes of Paytm and Freecharge. For 2016-17, it reported declining revenues and increasing losses. Its revenues stood at Rs 37.3 crore (against Rs 38 crore in 2015-16) and loss at Rs 131 crore (Rs 109 crore).


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A Bitcoin Is Worth Gold

Bitcoin is now worth a half kilogram of gold. Indians have taken to trading in the cryptocurrency as 11 bitcoin trading platforms have cropped up in the country where about 30,000 members on average trade on any given day. Is it a bubble waiting to be burst or currency waiting to be recognised, is not known yet. What’s known is that it is not legally recognised in India and IT watchdog is hawk-eyeing every Bitcoin transaction on these exchanges.


Rs 14.1 lakh

What is it? The amount one has to pay to buy one unit of bitcoin from Bengaluru-based bitcoin firm Unocoin, including a fee and tax, according to the rate on Wednesday evening.

Why is it important? Bitcoin is not legally recognised in India. Income tax authorities are reportedly investigating transactions at bitcoin exchanges, including in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi and Gurgaon. It is not clear if these investigations are related to money laundering or tax evasion. Also, there is no clarity on the levy of taxes related to Bitcoin transactions in the country.

Tell me more: There are reportedly at least 11 Indian bitcoin trading platforms that claim to have about 30,000 members actively trading at a given point of time.



What is it? The percentage of world population that does not have full coverage of essential health services, according to a report by the World Health Organization and the World Bank.

Why is it important? This highlights the distance the human race needs to go in terms of achieving universal basic health coverage. It says about 100 million people are being pushed into extreme poverty (living on $1.9 or less) as they have to pay for healthcare and nearly 12% of the global population spends at least a tenth of their household budget on healthcare.

Tell me more: According to a study by medical journal Lancet, India ranks a poor 154 of 195 countries in access to healthcare. It also fares badly in terms of government spending on healthcare, parting with just 5% of its total expenditure compared to China’s 10.4%.


0.25 percentage point

What is it? The amount by which the US central bank has increased its key interest rate, in a move that was widely expected.

Why is it important? The US federal funds rate, which helps determine rates for mortgages, credit cards and other borrowing, will now hover in the range of 1.25% to 1.5%. This is the fifth time the Fed has lifted interest rates since the 2008 financial crisis. Policy makers plan to raise rates three more times in 2018, and then twice in 2019. Despite the current and planned increases, US interest rates remain at historically low levels.

Tell me more: Key US share indices hit all-time highs following the government reporting healthy macroeconomic numbers and news that it would be able to muster the numbers to push through a business-friendly tax package.



What is it? The increase in overall cost of solar projects following the introduction of the goods and services tax (GST), according to the All India Solar Industries Association (AISIA).

Why is it important? The AISIA general secretary, in letters to the revenue secretary and other government officials, has said that this would be detrimental in achieving the solar power capacity of 100 GW by 2022 under the National Solar Mission. The association says that solar power generating systems are being charged 5% tax, but equipment such as module mounting structures, transformers, cables and trackers are subjected to different rates under GST.

Tell me more: In a note this May, consulting firm Bridge to India had said that a 5% tax on solar panels, instead of 18% proposed earlier under GST, would translate to an increase of 4% in cost of solar power projects.



What is it? Number of double hundreds scored by Indian batsman Rohit Sharma in one-day internationals. His latest came on Wednesday, when Sharma carted Sri Lanka for 208 not out in 153 balls.

Why is it important? No other batsman has two double hundreds in ODIs, leave alone three. In all, five batsman have scored 200 or more in the 50-over format, including three Indians. The pace of evolution of batting in this format can be gauged from the fact that the first 200 was scored only in 2010. And since then, six more have been racked up.

Tell me more: Sharma’s knock on Wednesday was a tale of two innings. In his first 126 balls, he scored 116 runs. In the next 27 balls he faced, he smashed 92 runs, including 11 sixes and three fours. Such acceleration has been the feature of all his three efforts.


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