Enroute larger tax base

7.95 million

What is it? The number of applicants to register under the goods and services tax (GST) as of mid-Friday.

Why is it important? Registered taxpayers under GST is now 50,000 short of 8 million tax base of value added tax, excise duty and service tax. With registration open until tomorrow, the tax base under GST is expected to exceed the previous regime. Meanwhile, government has extended last date for small businesses (with revenue of Rs 75 lakh) to register under composition scheme where traders will pay lower tax rates.

Tell me more: Widening of tax base will help government to collect more taxes, and could lead to reduction in tax rates. India’s tax revenue to gross domestic product is 17%, as compared to 25.4% in US.

 

Rs 9,509 crore

What is it? The unspent funds with Health Societies in 27 states (from Rs 7,375 crore in 2011-12) under the National Rural Health Mission, according to a report filed by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on Friday.

Why is it important? The amount increased while in six states, Rs 36.31 crore has been diverted to other schemes. The CAG observed the shortfall in availability in physical infrastructure such as primary health centres to be between 24-38% in 28 states, instances of non-availability of essential drugs in 24 states, and medicines issued to patients without prescribed quality checks in 14 states. The average shortage of five types of specialists (general surgeon/physician, obstetrician/gynaecologist, paediatrician and anaesthetist) ranged between 77-87% in select community healthcare centres in 27 states.

Tell me more: About 13,000 facilities did not report data on Health Management Information System, a web-based interface, in 2015-16 due to which the overall position on health indicators has not been ascertainable.

 

Rs 71,941 crore

What is it? The total amount of undisclosed income detected by way of searches, seizures and surveys by the Income Tax department between April 1, 2014 and February 28, 2017, as per information submitted by the government to the Supreme Court.

Why is it important? This is after government’s effort to curb black money generation. Among the steps taken by the government to flush out black money, it recently cancelled the registration of one lakh firms while it is probing 37,000 shell companies for funnelling black money and another 3 lakh for suspicious transactions.

Tell me more: Until a couple of months after the demonetisation move, another attempt against those hoarding money illegally, the total undisclosed amount admitted was over Rs 5,400 crore while the total quantity of gold seized was over 300 kg.

 

Rs 1.5 lakh

What is it? Amount payable to members of central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) for each meeting.

Why is it important? Apart from paying a sitting fee to MPC members, the central bank also codified conduct involving conflict of interest, confidentiality and silent period. For example, members are required to maintain a seven-day silent period seven days before and after the meeting. This will generate greater confidence in decision making of MPC.

Tell me more: MPC’s mandate is to guide monetary policy to achieve a targetted inflation rate of 4% through adjustments in lending rates and provisioning norms by the central bank.

 

31

What is it? The number of people arrested by the Rajasthan police for stealing crude oil from India’s biggest onshore oilfield owned by Cairn India

Why is it important? The crime went undetected for six years, and 50 million litres of crude oil worth $ 7.75 million was stolen. Drivers and contractors working in the oilfield were part of the network that stole crude oil.

Tell me more: Trucks carrying water – a byproduct of oil exploration – out of the oilfield were carrying crude oil, and was sold to two factories nearby with storage capacity. These factories then sold to clients across India.

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Rudeness as a marketing strategy

$50 million – $90 million

What is it? The amount Paytm might pay to acquire rival Freecharge from Snapdeal, according to reports.

Why is it important? E-commerce firm Snapdeal had acquired Freecharge for $400 million in 2015. Freecharge is e-wallets business, widely considered to be vulnerable to other payment options such as UPI, where it faces intense competition from rivals. Besides, even at the time of acquisition, there were concerns that Snapdeal might have overvalued Freecharge.

Tell me more: Paytm is in talks with Softbank to raise $1.9 billion at a valuation of $8 billion to $9 billion. Softbank owns 33% in Snapdeal. In its latest earnings report, Softbank said it has written down the value of its investments in Snapdeal and Ola by $1.4 billion.

 

1500

What is it? The number of employees Tech Mahindra, the country’s fifth largest IT company, might fire.

Why is it important? Three of its four bigger rivals are already said to cut headcount, suggesting that this could be a season of layoffs in the sector. News about layoffs at Cognizant, Infosys and Wipro have hit the headlines in the last few days. TCS, India’s largest IT firm, is in the process of conducting performance appraisals – and hasn’t given any indication that it would follow suit.

Tell me more: As the news of layoffs spread, it’s gaining a political colour as an industry body sought government intervention in Tamil Nadu, one of the key hubs of IT majors. Telangana labour department is to meet Cognizant officials today over layoffs.

 

500 million

What is it? The number of machines that are running Windows 10 operating system.

Why is it important?  While the number is impressive, it’s lower than what Microsoft expected to achieve. The behemoth which controls about 85% of market share in desktop operating system was aiming to reach 1 billion active installations by 2018. Even by last year, it was clear it would fall short.

Tell me more:  According to one estimate, Windows, across various versions, has 84.14% market share followed by Mac OX (11.6%) and Linux (1.53%)

 

7.6%

What is it? The percentage growth in the number of passengers United Airlines flew in April 2017 compared to April last year.

Why is it important? A widely reported PR disaster – which followed after a passenger was violently deplaned – seems to have had no impact on its business. Its share price which took a beating in the following days is higher than what it was the day before the incident.

Tell me more: Meanwhile, there is a constant flow of reports on complaints by United passengers on various issues.

 

Rs 451.75 crore

What is it? The amount central government owes to Air India, the state owned carrier, as on March 31, 2017.

Why is it important? The amount mostly relates to use of its chartered planes by the prime minister, president and vice president for their official visits. The biggest chunk of unpaid dues is Rs 206.19 crore towards 22 visits made by vice president in the years 2008 to 2017.

Tell me more: Recently, Air India came under fire after Comptroller and Auditor General revealed that the carrier understated its operating losses by nearly $1 billion over financial years 2012-13 to 2014-15.

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Rs 2465.21 crore

What is it? The amount of equity infusion in Air India during financial year ending today.

Why is it important? This is 8% of the total equity of Rs 30,231 crore planned till 2021 by the government as part of Air India’s turnaround plan. Public money keeping the airlines afloat has been a bone of contention as Air India recently came under the Comptroller and Auditor General scanner, which accused it of understating losses as recently as 2014-15 (Rs 1,992.77 crore).

Tell me more: The government carrier has been getting government funds regularly and so far received nearly 82% of the proposed bailout.

 

300 million

What is it? The number of people living with depression worldwide.

Why is it important? The number has grown by over 18% between 2005 and 2015, but healthcare spends to combat depression is low. The World Health Organisation says global average is 3% of healthcare spends but low-income countries see only 1% of total spends. But high-income countries with 5% health expenditure do not necessarily fare better in treating depression, as nearly 50% go untreated in such countries.

Tell me more: Stigma and lack of support for people with mental disorders aggravate the loss of productivity and quality of life due to depression, one of the more prevalent mental afflictions.

 

1 GB a second

What is it? The speed of Internet through wired broadband services provided by ACT Fibernet in Hyderabad.

Why is it important? This puts Hyderabad in a club of a handful cities with such internet speed, which includes Seoul (South Korea), Hong Kong, Singapore, Kansas (US). Even though it is being seen as a large stride towards the Telangana government’s aim to connect its 23 million citizens to the Internet by 2018, the delivery mode might prove a hurdle. The enviable speed might be thwarted by the low adoption of wired delivery of broadband services. Of the 236 million broadband subscribers in December, 2016, wired connections accounted for around 7% (8% if fixed wireless was considered).

Tell me more: The Giga speed is expected to enable Internet downloads faster than transferring data from a USB drive.

 

78%

What is it? The percentage of primary and upper primary schools in Odisha that doesn’t have power connectivity.

Why is it important? With temperature already touching 43 degrees Celsius in some parts of the state, the lack of electricity in 40,087 of the 51,094 primary and upper primary schools indicate serious lack of basic infrastructure for students. In 20 of the 30 districts in the state, each school have at least 1,000 students.

Tell me more: In another instance, 60% of the 2,739 schools in Vizianagaram district in Andhra Pradesh have no overhead tanks with running water facility.

 

31

What is it? The number of new cities that will have air connectivity via the government’s UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik or ‘Let the common man fly’) scheme. A total of 128 routes covering 71 cities were announced on Thursday.

Why is it important? This will bring more air passengers from smaller cities at affordable prices. Under UDAN, half the seats will be capped at Rs 2,500 for flight journeys that take up to an hour. Eighty per cent of the loss from this price ceiling will be funded by levying cess on non-regional routes, and rest by state governments.

Tell me more: Around 1.3 million new seats will be created from these 128 routes, with a subsidy bill of Rs 200 crore each year.

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