News in numbers, Nov 20, 2015: Indian aviation’s passenger growth, Jan Dhan Yojana’s progress…

 

Rs 18,060 crore

What is it? Salary arrears paid to government of India employees, current and former, in 2008, when the last round of pay revisions, as per the recommendations of the 6th Pay Commission, happened for them.

Why is it important? The 7th Pay Commission, which submitted its report yesterday, has recommended a 23.55% increase in emoluments for 4.8 million government employees and 5.5 million pensioners. The expected cost of implementation in 2016-17 is Rs 1,02,000 crore. Along with recipients, consumer companies will be keenly watching the handout figures as they typically spur big-ticket purchases like vehicles and electronic items.

Tell me more: Back in 2008, the 6th Pay Commission came at a fortuitous time for the economy, which was reeling under the global credit crisis, and the arrears effectively handed government employees a windfall to spend. Consumer companies will be looking for an encore.

 

 

1

What is it? Number of collectives, as opposed to individuals, in the 58 nominees listed by Time magazine’s for ‘person of the year’. The collective is ‘refugees’.

Why is it important? This century, collectives have been bestowed the Time ‘person of the year’ award as many as six times: the whistleblowers (2002), the American soldier (2003), the Good Samaritans (2005), you (2006), the protestor (2011) and Ebola fighters (2014).

Tell me more: This year’s list features three people with an Indian connection: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

 

 

36.5%

What is it? Percentage of bank accounts set up under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana with no money in them, as of November 11. This is a significant improvement from the 55.8% in April 2015.

Why is it important? The opening and operation of these bank accounts is critical to the government’s plan to shift to a welfare regime that is based on cash transfers directly into bank accounts of beneficiaries. One of the pet schemes of this government, it has had to face the criticism for opening millions of bank accounts that are lying dormant. The latest numbers show an uptick.

Tell me more: Among the three categories, private sector banks have the maximum percentage of zero-balance accounts (41.1%) and regional rural banks the least (36.2%). For public sector banks, the figure is 36.3%.

10

What is it? Number of months in calendar year 2015, till October, in which domestic airlines in India posted double-digit growth in passengers flown. In October 2015, domestic airlines recorded growth of 19.96% over October 2014.

Why is it important? The steady rise in passenger traffic is part of the troika of factors that is driving the comeback of the beleaguered Indian airline sector, which has piled up about $12 billion of accumulated losses in the past eight years. The other two factors working in the sector’s favour today are low fuel prices and relative stability in airfares.

Tell me more: In 2015, July saw the highest year-on-year growth in passenger traffic (29.6%) and September the lowest (14.5%).

 

 

32%

What is it? The jump in the share price of Canadian company Lucara Diamond after it announced it had found the world’s second-largest gem quality diamond in its mine in Botswana, one of its two key assets.

Why is it important? As discoveries go, a diamond this size is fairly rare, though the company is yet to decide when or how to sell it. Meanwhile, the stock movement of Lucara highlights the windfall potential in the business of precious stones: one find erased the entire loss in Lucara’s market value in 2015.

Tell me more: The prized stone is a 1,111-carat diamond. It is second in size only to the 3,106-carat Cullinan, found in South Africa in 1905.

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