News in numbers, Dec 14, 2015: CSR platform on BSE, CCI’s recovery of penalties imposed…

 

Rs 2,000 crore

 

What is it? Amount sought by projects listed on ‘Sammaan’, a corporate social responsibility (CSR) platform on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). This helps companies find implementing agencies for carrying out social welfare activities.

 

Why is it important? It’s an early indicator that the marketplace for social welfare activities might work. Sammaan provides an alternate way to raise funds for the estimated 20 lakh implementing agencies in India, which face a number of challenges while looking for money to help their causes. Corporates, on the other hand, would also benefit as they would be able to view a pool of verified implementing agencies along with their objectives, estimated budgets and progress and pick the ones they want to fund. It will also help certain classes of profitable companies, which have to spend 2% of their three-year annual average net profits for CSR projects.

 

Tell me more: In three days, 600 projects across 325 cities/towns have been listed by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and 200 corporates have registered.

38 million standard cubic metres per day (mmscmd)

 

What is it? Quantity of natural gas India would receive from the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline for a 30-year period, which would be operational by 2019.

 

Why is it important? Will help India’s future energy requirements, which by one count will be the third largest energy consumer in the world by 2020.  This deal between the four countries heralds a new phase in regional cooperation and is seen as a move by India to connect with Central Asia to counter Chinese influence in the region.

 

Tell me more: The $7.2 billion deal would see Pakistan getting 38 mmscmd of natural gas while Afghanistan would get the remaining 14 mmscmd. Natural gas is the third major source of energy in India, accounting for about 10.2% of total production in 2013-14.

 

200 kg

 

What is it? Amount of gold Shirdi Sai Baba Temple in Maharashtra wants to deposit under the Indian government’s gold monetisation scheme. This is over half of the gold reserves (380 kg) it owns.

 

Why is it important? If this happens, this would be the largest contribution under this scheme so far, beating Shri Siddhivinayak’s likely deposit of 40 kg of gold. However, it remains to be seen how the temple would go about this, given the Bombay High Court’s 2012 order, which had stayed the trust’s decision to auction gold, silver and diamond articles given by the devotees. The petitioners, two Shirdi residents, had argued that these were offerings by devotees and not for the purpose of raising money.

 

Tell me more: At Rs 2,661 per gm, 200 kg of gold would be worth about Rs 53.2 crore, not accounting for the impurities.  

 

Rs 82.1 crore

 

What is it? The amount the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has recovered from fines imposed on companies for violating rules since its inception in 2009.

 

Why is it important? This is just 0.6% of the combined penalty levied on companies (Rs 13,900 crore). And, approximately 97% of the penalties imposed have been stayed or overturned by courts or appellate authorities. Shows the competition regulator’s dismal record in recovering fine amounts, and brings to question its effectiveness.

 

Tell me more: Last week, the Competition Appellate Tribunal set aside an order of the CCI, which had asked 11 cement companies to pay a fine of Rs 6,316.6 crore for alleged cartelisation.

 

17

 

What is it? The number of women who have won seats in municipal elections in Saudi Arabia.

 

Why is it important? Women rights in Saudi Arabia is keenly watched by India and rest of the world. This is the first time women have contested and also, voted in elections in the country’s history. It is a step towards social equality and political openness in a country that is deeply conservative. (Now, Vatican City is the only country in the world where only men are allowed to vote.) Hopefully, this step would be followed by lifting of other restrictions on women in Saudi Arabia, which include- driving, venturing outside only with a male guardian and limited interaction with men they are not related to.
Tell me more: These municipal councils do not have legislative powers but advise authorities and help manage local budgets. Saudi Arabia ranked 130 among 142 countries in World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index Report 2014.

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News in Numbers – September 16, 2015

News In Numbers: September 16, 2015

 

37.4%

The combined wealth of India’s 198,000 high-net-worth-individual (HNWI) population as a percentage of India’s GDP (in 2014-15). The world’s second most populous nation is home to the 11th largest population of millionaires. India recorded the highest growth rates in the world for HNWI population (26.3%) and wealth (28.2%), due to falling oil prices and “constructive” election results. India and China led the growth of rich individuals and wealth in Asia Pacific, which surpassed North America’s HNWI population by a slim margin and is expected to overtake it in terms of wealth too, by the end of 2015. China’s HNWI population in 2014 stood at 890,000 whose wealth rose 19.3% to $4.5 trillion, which is more than twice of India’s GDP in 2014-15.

 

20.7%

The drop in India’s merchandise exports in August, the steepest decline in five months and contracting for the ninth consecutive month. The two main reasons for this are lower commodity prices and a weak global demand. Exports stood at $21.2 billion while imports declined 9.95% to $33.7 billion in August. India’s trade deficit marginally narrowed to $12.5 billion in August from $12.8 billion in July. The decline in exports was mainly due to a 48% year-on-year fall in shipments of petroleum products to $2.8 billion. Reviving exports is critical as it accounts for nearly a fourth of India’s GDP. S C Ralhan, president of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations has called for the intervention of the Prime Minister and the Commerce and Industry Minister to immediately consult with the export bodies and draw up a roadmap to tackle the situation where reaching last financial year’s export target was looking difficult.

 

Rs 1 lakh crore

The amount Indian Railways is planning to seek from the Finance Ministry for safety upgrade, after a spate of recent railway accidents across India including Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, which has brought the spotlight once again on the safety aspects of the railways. Chairman of the Railway Board, A K Mital, has said the Indian railways is preparing a “comprehensive safety plan” that includes elimination of all level crossings and strengthening of tracks and bridges. Japanese railways and companies have agreed to help the Indian government in achieving its ‘zero accident mission’. In 2014, 27,581 people died in railway related accidents, of which 9.3% were railway crossing accidents.

 

7

The number of days within which private airlines would have to present their plans to reduce “excessive” fares on certain routes to the Indian government. Junior aviation minister Mahesh Sharma said the government is open to imposing price caps if the responses of the private carriers are inadequate. He also said that the last minute fares are on the higher side and that these are giving the airlines “a bad name”. However, he added that the government prefers to settle this issue without introducing any caps or other rules. The Indian aviation is struggling with $11.3 billion in debt and just two airlines- Indigo and GoAir – made a profit in 2014-15. GoEuro, a European travel website, ranked India as the most inexpensive country in terms of air travel where it costs about $10.36 per 100 km. Recently, chairman of Competition Commission of India, Ashok Chawla, said that there is no need to put a cap on airfares and that market forces would be able to fix the right fares in an unregulated environment.

 

Rs 20,000 crore

The estimated revenue that the festival of ‘Ganeshotsav’ generates across India, according to a report by industry body Assocham. ‘Ganeshotsav’ or ‘Ganesh Chathurti’ is an important Hindu festival celebrated to honour the elephant-headed God, Ganesha. Terming the festival as ‘recession-proof’, Assocham said expenditure on the festival is growing at an annual rate of 30% and the number of ‘mandals’ (elaborate, artificial structures erected with idols of Ganesha) is increasing at 5-10% per year. The report says the setting up of these ‘mandals’ attract “generous contribution by people from all walks of life” and generate employment for thousands of people. A proxy of how the big the festival: organisers of ‘mandals’ across Mumbai had taken a combined insurance cover worth Rs 450 crore last year.

 

 

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News in Numbers – September 1, 2015

News In Numbers: September 1, 2015

 

7%

The rate at which Indian economy grew in the first quarter of 2015-16, slower than the 7.5% in the previous quarter. Agriculture and manufacturing grew at a slower pace, while construction and trade, hotel, transport, communication and services related to broadcasting grew faster. Ratings agency Moody’s recently downgraded India’s GDP (gross domestic product) growth to 7%, from 7.5%, for 2015-16, Japanese brokerage Nomura has pegged the GDP growth rate at 8%. The Indian government has set a target of 8.1-8.5% for 2015-16, while the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has estimated it at 7.6%.

2

Number of banks the RBI has classified under the ‘Domestic Systemically Important Banks’ category, which means these are too big to fail: State Bank of India, India’s largest state-owned bank, and ICICI Bank, the largest in the private sector. This is the first time the central bank has made such a classification, which will be an annual exercise. SBI and ICICI will have to maintain additional capital as a certain percentage of loans, though both banks say their capital base is higher than mandated. The RBI framework for such a classification will have five buckets. The higher the number, the more systemically important a bank. SBI falls in bucket three, ICICI in bucket one.

$5.6 billion

A theoretical maximum penalty India’s competition regulator can levy on Internet giant Google, based on a calculation of 10% of its average global revenues for the past three years. The Competition Commission of India has accused Google of misusing its dominant position and unfairly promoting its other services through its search engine. In response to queries raised by CCI, 30 companies, including Makemytrip, Flipkart, Nokia’s maps division and Bharat Matrimony, have submitted their views. Google has time until 10 September to respond to CCI’s findings. Google’s search engine had a market share of 97.3% in India in July.

78

The number of days since ex-servicemen have been agitating at Jantar Mantar in Delhi demanding the implementation of one rank, one pension (OROP) in addition to annual revision of pension. Finance minister Arun Jaitley has ruled out annual revision, saying it does not happen anywhere in the world. He, however, said the government would “safeguard the interests” of soldiers who retire early by paying them higher pensions. Three more Army veterans have joined the fast-unto-death at Jantar Mantar, taking the total number of those on hunger strike to 12. About 22 lakh retired servicemen and over six lakh war widows would be the immediate beneficiaries of this scheme, if implemented.

831

The number of dengue cases reported in Delhi this year, of which 93.6% were in August alone. The overall number is the highest in five years: thrice what was recorded during 1 January to 29 August between 2011 and 2014. In the same period in 2010, the number of cases was over 1,000. This year, India recorded 9,874 dengue cases until 29 July, of which Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu accounted for 62.7%. The number of dengue deaths in India stood at 25 in the same period, with Kerala accounting for 60% of the deaths.

 

 

 

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News In Numbers – July 17

News In Numbers: July 17

 

295

The Cabinet on Thursday approved a Bill that seeks to scrap 295 obsolete laws, a list that ranges from subjects such as child marriage to black marketing of cement. Two more such Bills are pending approval from the Parliament, which when cleared would repeal another 945 laws. The Law Ministry has identified another 1,871 laws that need to be repealed. Such an exercise to clean up the law books was last done in 2001. There are over 300 laws that were enacted in the British era.

 

$4.4 billion

‘Additions to unearned revenues’ of Amazon in 2014 at the global level, which would roughly be the sum of the merchandise value handled by India’s top two retailers. The main component of this accounting head is subscriptions to Amazon Prime—the US-based company’s membership programme, which offers members, for an initial payment of $299 a year and annual renewals of $99, free and faster shipping, access to online content and preferential shopping deals, among other things. The big event of the year for Prime members is July 15, or Prime Day. This year, while Amazon declared it a success, several shoppers expressed dissatisfaction at the deals on offer. In 2014, Amazon reported a loss of $241 million on revenues of $88 billion.

 

Rs 671 crore

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has fined four public sector insurers Rs 671 crore for rigging a tender floated by the Kerala government in 2009 to select an insurance provider for two Central government health schemes. The four insurers—National Insurance Company, New India Insurance Company, Oriental Insurance Company and United India Assurance Company—were found guilty of forming a cartel, quoting higher premium bids for tenders floated by the state government for three years and for having forced the state to issue fresh tenders each year even though these were for a period of three years. The umbrella body of the four general insurance companies has said it will challenge the CCI order. In 2013-14, general insurance firms collected Rs 15,663 crore as health insurance premium and made a marginal loss.

 

3 days

India’s central bank has asked credit card companies not to levy fines on cardholders or report such cases to credit rating companies if they pay up to three days after the deadline. The move will help cardholders save on penalties, which is usually a percentage of outstanding dues. About 21.2 million credit cards are active and Rs 18,150 crore was transacted through them in April 2015. The norm for classifying credit card dues as a non-performing asset has also been tightened. Now, it has to be done if the minimum dues are not paid for three consecutive months, as against 120 days now.

 

159,000

Increased smartphone ownership in India is adding to the demand for mobile app developers. It is estimated the mobile application industry will employ 159,000 people by next year, as compared to 75,000 jobs now, and have an income of around Rs 2,000 crore. Smartphones account for 10% of total mobile users in India, but they are expected to increase as a large number of users are experiencing Internet for the first time via mobile, which is also the only medium through which they are going online.

 

 

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