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, Oct 13, 2015: IIP in August, every 13th new cancer patient from India…

6.4%

What is it? Percentage by which Index of Industrial Production (IIP), which measures activities in mining, electricity and manufacturing, grew in August.

Why is it important? The growth is the highest in nearly three years and much higher than the 4.8% expected by analysts polled by Reuters.

Tell me more: The growth was led by a pickup in mining and electricity, rise in production of durable goods and double digit production in capital goods. Of the 22 industry groups in the manufacturing sector, 15 expanded  in August 2015 year-on-year.

 

7.7%

What is it? India’s share in number of new cancer patients in the world. In other words, every 13th new cancer patient is from India.

Why is it important? Cancer is already either the biggest or the second biggest killer in the country.

Tell me more: Nearly 5 lakh cancer deaths were reported in 2014 and the estimated cancer incidence was 11.2 lakh. India is planning to set up a national cancer institute to be modelled after the US National Cancer Institute, which would promote and conduct research to better understand and diagnose cancer.

 

75%

What is it? Percentage of banks’ outstanding loans to power distribution companies (discoms) likely to be converted to government bonds at a coupon rate of 8% and reducing the lending rate on the rest, according to a proposal discussed by the power ministry and bankers.

Why is it important? State electricity boards, which control the discoms, owe nearly Rs 4 lakh crore to banks. And, banks have a high exposure to the power generation companies and to infrastructure as a whole and their rising bad loans as a result is a huge concern. Solving this issue is a must if the Indian government hopes to fulfill its commitment of 24*7 electricity for all by 2022 and improve infrastructure in general, which is essential for economic revival and growth.

Tell me more: The government has also proposed to count discom losses as a part of a state’s fiscal deficit. This is intended to force state governments to take steps to decrease power losses and increase tariffs to cover costs, a measure most have been hesitant to do so.

 

90%

What is it? Percentage of funds involved in the alleged Rs 6,100 crore black money remittance case routed through proper banking channels from 30 banks, according to Bank of Baroda executive director, B B Joshi.

Why is it important? This relates to a case being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate where it is alleged that Rs 6,172 crore was remitted from Bank of Baroda to Hong Kong as payments of non-existent goods such as cashews, pulses and rice. Despite strict rules and laws such as Know Your Customer (KYC) norms and Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 and frequent reporting to the Reserve Bank of India, the enormity of the scam points to serious lapses in the banking system. This scam could damage the bank’s reputation.

Tell me more: It is also alleged that cash was deposited as advance for import in 59 accounts, which was then transferred to some companies in Hong Kong. Bank of Baroda has suspended two employees so far.

 

0.097%

What is it? Percentage of cases taken up by anti-corruption bureau (ACB) from  the 7,232 complaints filed with the agency in Mumbai between January 1, 2012 and September 23, 2015.

Why is it important? Shows one or a combination of the following: corruption levels are low in Mumbai, number of false cases are high, witnesses turn hostile, different methods used by officers to give and take bribes so as to not get caught and inefficiency on the part of ACB and the government.

Tell me more: Of the total cases filed, the state government has ordered inquiries in only 671 cases. These have come to light in response to a public interest litigation filed by Jeetendra Ghadge, a Mumbai-based activist. Interestingly, according to a list of seven cities released by the ACB last year, Mumbai was the least corrupt city (90 people were arrested last year) with Pune (216 arrested) topping the list.

 

 

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