‘Ease Of Doing Business’ In India


IndiGo is adding to its fleet. India is getting better at Doing Business says the World Bank. Tata Teleservices paid over a billion to end dispute with the erstwhile partner NTT Docomo.



What is it? The percentage of seats that went empty on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad-Mumbai train route in the three-month period to September, according to the response of the Indian Railways to an RTI query.

Why is it important? This is the route chosen by the Central government to build India’s first bullet train project, with Japan’s help, at a cost of Rs 1,10,000 crore. Critics of the project argue that, instead of investing in one high-speed line, the money can be better spent on multiple projects whose benefits reach more Indians.

Tell me more: For 2017-18, the total capital and development expenditure of the Indian Railways has been earmarked at Rs 1,31,000 crore, of which, Rs 55,000 crore is due to come from the Central government.



What is it? The number of aircraft in the fleet of IndiGo, as of September 2017. That’s an increase of 6 aircraft over June 2017 and 23 over September 2016.

Why is it important? At its Q2 results yesterday, India’s number one domestic airline reported a four-fold increase in net profit on a year-on-year basis to Rs 552 crore, partly driven by a 25.7% increase in passenger revenues. This increase comes in the lean season, which shows it is being able to sweat its assets.

Tell me more: The net profit was partly aided by compensation from Pratt & Whitney and Airbus for grounding of planes and delivery delays.



What is it? Share of Mauritius in the $43.4 billion foreign direct investment (FDI) that came into India in 2016-17.

Why is it important? Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath is today flying to Mauritius on a three-day visit, during which he will participate in an event of non-resident Indians and invite them to invest in the state. Last month, he hosted a 50-member industry delegation from the US.

Tell me more: The share of the Kanpur regional office of the central bank, which covers UP and Uttarakhand, in FDI inflows in 2016-17 was just 0.2%.



What is it? The number of positions that India gained in the 2018 Doing Business rankings released by the World Bank yesterday.

Why is it important? This study assesses countries on 10 parameters, and India posted an improved score in each, with the biggest jumps coming in ‘paying taxes’, ‘getting credit’ and ‘resolving insolvency’.

Tell me more: The World Bank survey is based on the situation in New Delhi and Mumbai. A state-level survey of 3,276 manufacturing firms by NITI Aayog-IDFC Institute, released in August, documented improvements but also reported challenges in doing business.


$1.27 billion

What is it? The amount that Japan’s NTT Docomo said on Tuesday it has received from Tata Sons as arbitration, awarded last year for its 21.6% stake in Tata Teleservices.

Why is it important? The transfer ends the dispute between the erstwhile joint venture partners and paves the way for the merger of the loss-making consumer-mobile business of the Tata Teleservices with Bharti Airtel.

Tell me more: A stated goal of Tata Sons executive chairman N Chandrasekaran is rationalisation of the group’s businesses, with an approach that pivots around 5-7 groups than 110 companies.


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News in numbers, Apr 19, 2016: Bullet train’s viability, global switch to a new polio vaccine…


What is it? The number of equity investments in private cancer therapeutic companies in the three months ended March 2016.

Why is it important? The investments into these companies – totalling $604 million in three months alone – might bring a cure for cancer closer. There were 8.2 million cancer-related deaths in 2012 and the number of cancer cases are expected to increase from 14 million in 2012 to 22 million within the next 20 years.

Tell me more: Internet billionaire Sean Parker recently announced a $250-million funding to bring together 300 scientists at 40 labs and six institutions to work on a new area of cancer research called immunotherapy. This uses a person’s immune system to fight cancer.


What is it? The number of passengers India’s proposed bullet train connecting Mumbai and Ahmedabad should carry to be financially viable, according to an IIM-Ahmedabad report.

Why is it important? Raises questions about its viability. To be viable, the train has to undertake 100 trips daily (50 trips each way), assuming ticket price of Rs 5/km for 300-km distance and an operating cost of 20-40% of the revenues. This also means three trains would be needed every hour each direction.

Tell me more: The government expects to start work on the Rs 98,000-crore project next year.


What is it? The number of countries (including India) that will switch to bivalent oral polio vaccine from trivalent polio vaccine between April 17 and May 1.

Why is it important? It reduces the risk of vaccine-derived polio. The bivalent vaccine protects against types 1 and 3 of wild polio strains while trivalent protects against all three strains. Wild polio virus type 2 was confirmed to be eradicated in 2015, and by switching to bivalent vaccines, these countries eliminate the risk of causing vaccine-derived Type 2 polio.

Tell me more: India was declared ‘polio-free’ by the World Health Organization in 2014. The agency’s goal is to stop all three types of polio vaccines by 2020.

$5.07 billion

What is it? India’s trade deficit (excess of imports over exports) in March.

Why is it important? The lowest in five years thanks to 80.5% decline gold imports in March and a 35.3% fall in oil imports (because of low oil prices). Low commodity prices have guarded India from the effects of global economic slowdown, which have caused exports to be the lowest since 2010-11, contracting for the 16th straight month in March.

Tell me more: India’s exports declined 15.9% to $261.1 billion in 2015-16 while imports fell by 15.3% to $379.6 billion in March.


What is it? Revenue growth of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India’s largest software firm, in 2015-16.

Why is it important? While TCS has done well financially (its profits beat forecasts), the company is facing a trial in the US. Last week a US federal court jury imposed a  penalty of $940 million on TCS in an infringement case of intellectual property and trade secrets.

Tell me more: TCS plans to appeal in the higher courts. The company’s net profit grew by 14.8% to $3.69 billion in 2015-16 from a year ago.

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News in numbers, Oct 23, 2015: Failure of govt health scheme, airlines’ expected losses…


What is it? Number of nuclear warheads Pakistan might have in 10 years, according to a recent paper in Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.  

Why is it important? The number represents a doubling of its current count, and would make Pakistan the fifth-largest nuclear weapons state in the world. A scale-up of nuclear arsenal by Pakistan and India, in the backdrop of their fragile peace, could stoke an arms race in the sub-continent. According to the World Bank, between 2011 and 2015, military spend of India and Pakistan amounted to 2.4% and 3.4% of their respective GDPs, a sizeable amount that can be better used for development or poverty alleviation.

Tell me more: There are about 16,000 nuclear warheads in the world, 90% of them with Russia and the US.


3.6 times

What is it? The multiple by which China’s monthly gross foreign direct investment (FDI) have outstripped India in 12 months period ended August 2015. China’s monthly average is $ 10.5 billion as compared to $ 2.9 billion for India.  

Why is it important? It’s in sharp contrast with the “net” FDI inflows. Recent reports cited how India has outstripped China in terms of attracting foreign investment. But that number is net FDI inflows – which includes repatriation of capital and repayment of loans. A better measure of foreign investment is gross inflows.      

Tell me more: India’s net FDI inflow averaged $2.9 billion in twelve months up to August 2015, as compared to $ 1 billion for China.         


$15 billion

What is it? The loan offer from Japan for the 505-km Mumbai- Ahmedabad bullet train link at an interest rate of 1%.

Why is it important? The amount offered is higher than cumulative loan sanctioned by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and the interest rate offered is much lower than 1.4% charged for previous projects. So far JICA has sanctioned Rs 92,170 crore for 67 projects till December 2014, the last date for which data is available.

Tell me more: JICA loans are for 30 years including a grace period of 10 years towards repayment. For the bullet train loan, Japan is asking India to source 30% of its requirement from Japanese companies.



What is it? The percentage that went towards health/medical expenses by households from out-of-pocket in 2011-12.

Why is it important? It has gone up by more than a percentage point from 5.73% in 2009-10.  A report by Council for Social Development cite this increase in out-of-pocket expenses as proof of failure of state-run Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), which takes care of hospitalization expenses of households living under poverty. Nearly 10 million (9.7 million) hospitalisation cases were covered since April 2008, when RSBY was launched.

Tell me more: A survey report conducted in 2013-14 shows that 12-13% of all households are now supported by state-run health expenditure support schemes.


Rs 5,500 crore

What is it? The expected aggregate loss of domestic airlines in current fiscal.

Why is it important? It’s going to be lower compared Rs 7,500 – Rs 8,500 crore of loss reported in 2014-15 – despite entry of new players like Air Costa, AirAsia India and Vistara. The lower loss numbers are mainly on account of subdued fuel cost. Fuel account for around 40-50% of operating expenses for airlines. A 30% reduction in fuel cost will save 12-13% of operating expenses, ICRA said in a report.

Tell me more: At present, 10 scheduled domestic airlines are operating with five more waiting for clearance to start their operations.


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News In Numbers – July 21


News In Numbers: July 21


Rs 98,805 cr

India’s first bullet train between Mumbai to Ahmedabad is expected to cost Rs 98,805 crore, about 52% more than the initial estimated cost, according to a feasibility report prepared by a Japanese agency and presented to the Railways for consideration. The train is projected to run at 300 km per hour, reducing the travel time between the two cities to two hours, from the current seven hours, and have a fare of around Rs 2,800. The current fastest train in India, Bhopal Shatabdi Express, which connects New Delhi and Bhopal, reportedly clocks a peak speed of 155 km per hour.



The number of bills on the legislative agenda of the Indian Parliament, which reconvenes today for a period of 24 days. Seven of these bills are carryovers from the previous session, while nine are new introductions. Among the pending bills is the land acquisition legislation, which has become one of the political flashpoints between the government and the opposition. This and several other flashpoints—including the dealings of senior BJP leaders with disgraced cricket administrator Lalit Modi and the recruitment scandal in Madhya Pradesh—are expected to make this session a stormy one.



The number of incidents of communal violence is up 24% to 287 in the first five months of 2015, compared to the corresponding period of 2014. In the same period, the number of people who died due to such incidents increased by 65% to 43. The equivalent figures for 2014 had seen a reduction when compared with those recorded in 2013. Back in May, the Indian government had said the maximum number of communal incidents in 2014-15 (March not included) occurred in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka.


$100 million

British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has teamed up with Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner to launch a project to hunt for aliens. They intend to spend $100 million (about Rs 630 crore) in the next 10 years. Hawking has been positive about the existence of extraterrestrial life, saying humans must be cautious about interacting with it. NASA’s Kepler Spacecraft has discovered 1,028 planets outside of the solar system, which is more than half of all known exoplanets till now.


Rs 25,000 crore

The Maharashtra government plans to levy additional taxes to raise Rs 25,000 crore in the next five years to channelize them for water conservation and power projects. The state, which is reeling under an agrarian crisis, has embarked on a “zero suicide mission” (with reference to farmer suicides). Rejecting the loan waiver schemes, the state government is targeting bringing 215,000 hectares of additional land under irrigation in suicide-prone areas, besides providing new electricity connections to farmers, constructing wells and spending on crop insurance. Maharashtra recorded the highest number of farmer suicides in 2014. is a search engine for public data


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