News in Numbers, July 1, 2016: World Bank’s loan to India for solar, Flipkart vs Amazon…

$1 billion

What is it? The amount the World Bank would lend to India for its solar energy programme.

Why is it important? This is the biggest ever loan given by the bank for a solar programme to any country and would help India achieve its ambitious target of installing 100 GW (gigawatts) by 2022. The solar power generation had crossed 19,000 MW (megawatts) in 2015-16 though the Minister for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy is looking to achieve this target by the end of 2017 itself.

Tell me more: India wants non-fossil fuel (wind, water, solar and nuclear) to account for 40% of the total installed power capacity by 2030 from 30% currently. The World Bank has lent $4.8 billion to India between 2015 and 2016, making it its biggest client.

Rs 2,28,986 crore

What is it? India’s fiscal deficit (excess of expenditure over receipts) for April and May of 2016.

Why is it important? It’s 42.9% of the budget target for this fiscal compared to 37.5% for the same period last year (despite a slowdown in government’s capital expenditure.) This may make it challenging for the Finance Minister to restrict fiscal deficit to Rs 5.33 lakh crore in 2016-17, especially with the implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission that would cost the exchequer over Rs 1 lakh crore.

Tell me more: The government’s capital expenditure was down by nearly 12% to Rs 33,231 crore in the first two months of 2016-17 from Rs 37,743 crore in the same period last year. The revenue expenditure, which would go up further due to the Seventh Pay Commission payout, increased by 17.6% to Rs 2.64 lakh in April and May from a year ago.

 

Rs 8,392 crore

What is it? The amount held by Indians in Swiss banks at the end of 2015, a third lower than the previous year.

Why is it important? This is the lowest amount of funds held by Indians in the Swiss Banking system since the country started making its data public in 1997 and marks the second straight year of decline. This seems to be the impact of clampdown of illicit wealth by countries including India, which is likely to lead to Swiss banks become more transparent than ever. India has sought faster responses to its pending information requests from the Alpine nation and an automatic financial information exchange would begin in 2018.

Tell me more: The funds held by Indians in Swiss banks was at a record high of Rs 23,000 crore at the end of 2006.

 

91

What is it? E-commerce firm Flipkart’s score in the quarter ended March based on metrics including trust in a brand, product assortment and prices, overall buying experience in terms of ease of using its platform and the ease of product cancellations and returns.

Why is it important? Flipkart is still slightly ahead of Amazon India, which entered the country in June 2013 and had a score of 87, though Snapdeal was a distant third at 60. This is yet another sign that Amazon is ahead of Snapdeal and breathing on the neck of Flipkart. With a recent investment announcement of $3 billion in the country, Amazon India has an advantage over both Flipkart and Snapdeal, which has to depend on external investors. A US mutual fund managed by Vanguard Investment marked down the value of its shares in Flipkart by 25%, the sixth such markdown in recent times.

Tell me more: In terms of ‘Most trusted brand’ and ‘Best value proposition’, Flipkart scored higher than Amazon India while the latter beat the former in terms of ‘Great experience’. The analysis is by RedSeer Management Consulting for Mint.

 

683

What is it? The number of invitees to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, of which 46% are women and 41% are minorities.

Why is it important? It will make the voters more diverse. The Academy had recently promised to double it female and minority membership by 2020. The Oscars came in for heavy criticism for having no nominees from minority actors for the second year in a row. However, it has a long way to go because even if all the invitees join, the share of women and minorities would only marginally increase (25% to 27% and 8% to 11% respectively).

Tell me more: If all those who invited were to join, it would increase the academy’s total voters to 6,945, a record in the last few years.

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Budget 2016: How much, where and how is the Indian government investing?

This piece originally appeared on Livemint.com

 

Capital expenditure by the government is about the current generation creating assets for future generations: building infrastructure, from schools and hospitals to water canals and bus stations. The higher the capital expenditure, the greater the trickle-down effect on growth in the long run. The problem is Indian governments have very little fiscal room, directing only Rs.1 for every they Rs.4 spend on today’s expenses.

How much is the government investing?

Capital expenditure exceeded 20% of the total in just two of the last nine years. In other words, only one rupee out of every five went towards creating future assets; the other four went towards running expenses like paying salaries. The current National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government projected an expansion back to the 20% mark last year, budgeting about Rs.3.18 trillion. This budget will tell us how it fared in that projection.

 

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Is it investing what it budgeted?

It’s one thing to budget, it’s another to spend as intended. In three of the seven years till 2013-14, the government spent less than budgeted. It spent significantly more than budgeted in two years, which is also when it pierced the 20% mark.

 

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Where is it investing?

The share of transport and communication (which includes roads) has been shrinking. Meanwhile, the share of ‘other social services’—which include housing, labour welfare, employment and rural works—has increased. As has agriculture.

 

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How is it investing?

Increasingly, rather than directly spending, the central government is relying on states and local bodies.

 

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Data for 2013-14 is revised estimate and for 2014-15 is budget estimates.

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