News in numbers, Apr 6, 2016: RBI cuts repo rate, global executions highest in 25 years…

6.5%

What is it? The repo rate, the benchmark rate at which the central bank lends money to the banks for a short term. It was 6.75% earlier.

Why is it important? It is likely to result in banks lowering their lending rates. The repo rate is at a more than five-year low. This is expected to encourage companies to invest to boost economic growth.

Tell me more: The RBI cut repo rate by 125 basis points last year but banks lowered lending rates by only 60 basis points. To help improve liquidity and for better transmission of interest rate cuts, the central bank has also reduced the cash proportion of banks’ requirement of reserves to be kept with the RBI. It has also increased the reverse repo rate (the rate at which the central bank borrows from lenders) by 25 basis points to 6%.

11

What is it? The number of state cricket associations that have not received any money from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in the last five years, as pointed out by Supreme Court.

Why is it important? This could potentially force BCCI to come up with a transparent method to disburse funds to state associations.

Tell me more: The BCCI disburses funds to the state cricketing associations to develop and promote the game. The Supreme Court was hearing an affidavit filed by the BCCI, which has raised objections to some of the recommendations of Lodha committee that was set up in the wake of the IPL 2013 spot-fixing and betting scandal.

1,634

What is it? The number of people who were sentenced to death globally in 2015, the highest in 25 years.

Why is it important? This renews the debate on capital punishment and human rights. The number of executions saw an increase of 50% in 2015 over the previous year, even as the number of countries that abolished death penalty in 2015 increased to 102 from 60 in 1996.

Tell me more: Three countries – Iran (977), Pakistan (320) and Saudi Arabia (158) – accounted for nearly 90% of executions last year. The United States, the only country in the Americas to have carried out death sentences in 2015, was ranked fifth with 28 executions. The numbers are from Amnesty International.

Rs 15-20 crore

What is it? The amount Kishore Biyani’s Future Group is reportedly paying to buy Rocket Internet-backed startup FabFurnish.com.

Why is it important? This is Future Group’s first acquisition of an online store and Rocket Internet’s first exit in India. The latter has been trying to sell its Indian investments (including FoodPanda, Jabong, PrintVenue and FabFurnish), which have been struggling to be in business. FabFurnish laid off a fourth of its employees last August.

Tell me more: The Future Group, which owns a home and furnishing business under the brand ‘HomeTown’, is looking to leverage the deal to reach out customers in areas with no offline or minimal presence.

160 km/hour

What is it? The speed of Gatiman Express that connects Delhi and Agra.

Why is it important? India’s fastest train. While there have been incremental improvements in the speed of train over years, this is India’s attempt to leapfrog. India plans to build a high speed train network, be completed by 2023 and costing $14.8 billion.

Tell me more: The second fastest train, Bhopal Habibganj Jan Shatabdi Express takes an extra 17 minutes to cover the distance between Delhi and Agra.

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News In Numbers – July 30

News In Numbers: July 30

 

Rs 64.4 crore

Nestle India’s first quarterly loss (April-June 2015) in more than 15 years. In the same period a year ago, the Swiss food maker had posted a profit of Rs 287.9 crore. Last month, India’s food regulator banned the company’s popular 2-minute Maggi noodles snack for containing excessive amounts of lead. This led to a one-time loss of over Rs 450 crore for Nestle India. The company had filed a petition before the Bombay High Court challenging the ban, and on Wednesday, Maharashtra’s Food and Drug Administration argued in court that if the company was confident about the quality of Maggi, it should have asked for re-tests of its samples or offered other samples for testing.

 

2,466

The number of people estimated to have been sentenced to death in 2014 across the world, according to a report by Amnesty International. This was a 28% increase over the figure for 2013. These figures do not include the number of people executed or sentenced to death in China as it is a “state secret”. In India, 1,303 capital punishment verdicts were given between 2004 and 2013, but only three executions took place. The Supreme Court twice rejected petitions, including an overnight plea, to stay the execution of of Yakub Memon, who was convicted for his involvement in the 1993 serial bomb blasts in Mumbai. He was hanged to death at around 7 AM today.

 

32 times

The number of times the initial share sale of Syngene International, a contract research firm, was subscribed, when the issue closed on Wednesday. The retail portion was subscribed 4.78 times, while demand from non-institutional investors like corporates and non-retail investors was 90.24 times. The success of Syngene, especially in terms of retail interest, will boost the prospects of other businesses that are looking to go public, including Cafe Coffee Day, Indigo Airlines and Matrix Cellular. Syngene will raise around Rs 550 crore by selling 16 million shares at between Rs 240 and Rs 250 per share.

 

1,100 jobs

General Motors Company will shut down its Gujarat plant and expand capacity at its other manufacturing facility in Maharashtra, a move that is expected to result in job losses for 1,100 workers. The US-based company, which is the world’s third largest automaker by sales, entered India in 1994, but has struggled to in a market that has so far been dominated by Maruti Suzuki, the Indian unit of Suzuki Motor Corporation. GM currently has less than 2% market share and wants to double it by 2020 with an additional investment of $1 billion. The move to shift the factory from Gujarat is a counter-trend, where companies like Maruti, Tata Motors, Ford and Honda are setting up manufacturing facilities in the western state.

 

Rs 3,200 crore

India’s Kalyani Group has tied up with Rafael Advanced Systems of Israel to make Spike missiles in India. State-run Bharat Dynamics will be the third partner. The deal, worth Rs 3,200 crore, will supply 8,000 anti-tank guided missiles to the Indian army. Ties between India and Israel have strengthened in recent years, with the Indian president likely to visit the Jewish state, making it the first visit by a top Indian statesperson. The Indian government is looking at defence projects to boost its ‘make in India’ programme by encouraging private companies to produce locally. So far, nearly all defence production made locally are from state-run units.

 

 

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