Higher Import Bill?

400,000 tonnes
What is it? The amount of copper produced annually by Vedanta India’s copper smelting plant in Tuticorin.Tamil Nadu government on Monday asked the plant to shut down permanently, citing larger public interest.

Why is it important? This will negatively impact around 800 small and medium units that make electrical wire and transformers that use copper as input. The Tuticorin unit accounted for 40% of India’s output, as per a report by ratings agency ICRA. Hindalco, another private company, and Hindustan Copper Limited,a state-run entity, produce 500,000 and 90,000 tonnes of copper respectively.

Tell me more:  Protest against the Vedanta’s copper smelting unit in Tuticorin turned violent last Tuesday. Police firing on protestors has so far killed 15 people.



What is it? The replacement rate of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT)device in Kairana Lok Sabha elections held on Monday.

Why is it important? The number is much higher than acceptable failure rate of 5% for these machines which are attached to the Electronic Voting Machines. VVPAT allows voters to verify whether their votes have gone to the correct candidate or party. Two other Lok Sabha constituencies that went to poll on Monday also reported higher failure rate of 19% and 13% respectively.

Tell me more:Elections to four Lok Sabha and 10 assembly constituencies were conducted on Monday. The most watched is Kairana in Uttar Pradesh where three major opposition parties – BSP, SP and RLD – have come together to fight the BJP.


Rs 2,675 crore

What is it? The additional revenue that accrues to the states for every dollar increase in crude oil price because of tax on petroleum products.

Why is it important? As the states have gained (Rs18,728 crore of revenue higher than budget estimates) because of higher crude oil prices, the retail price of petrol can reduce by Rs2.65 a litre, if the states decide to pass the additional revenue as price cut, as per estimate by the State Bank of India’s research unit.

Tell me more: The average sales tax or value added tax levied by states on petrol and diesel is 27.41% and 19.41% respectively. This is on top of excise duty of Rs19.48 per litre of petrol levied by the central government.


1 million 

What is it? The number of French smokers who have quit in the last one year, according to a latest survey. 26.9% of people in the age group of 18 to 75 years smoke in 2017, as compared to 29.4% in 2016.

Why is it important? This is the sharpest drop in smoking in a decade, and decline has been observed among teens and low income people – the two groups where incidence of smoking is higher. Neutral packaging (where company name is printed in a standard font and size with no logo or branding), high cigarette pricing and support for buying cigarette alternatives have helped France to reduce number of smokers.

Tell me more: India’s tobacco consumption has steadily increased from 406 million kgs in 1981-82 to 562 mn kgs in 2014-15.



What is it?The monthly salary payable to Sudha Balakrishnan, who was appointed as the first chief financial officer or CFO of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Why is it important? Balakrishnan, whose position is equivalent to an executive director of the central bank, will handle the internal financial functions of the RBI like a CFO of a company. RBI’s balance sheet size is Rs33,040 billion as on June 30, 2017.

Tell me more: The idea to create a senior leadership position was floated by former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan, who had suggested a designation equivalent of a deputy governor.

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News in Numbers, Jan 17, 2017:

Rs 10,000

What is it? The daily limit of cash withdrawal at ATMs, raised from Rs 4,500 by the Reserve Bank of India.

Why is it important? Higher ATM withdrawal limit could be a signal from the central bank that it can now handle cash better since the withdrawal of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. Though the overall withdrawal limit a week remains unchanged at Rs 24,000, the decision will reduce the number of trips one has to make to the ATM.

Tell me more: Cash withdrawal limit at ATMs has been raised from the initial Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,500 two days into demonetisation, to Rs 4,500 on December 31, to the current value. Limits on current accounts have been revised from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1,00,000.

8 million

What is it? Estimated tax-payers under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, slated to be unveiled from July 1 of this year.

Why is it important? A crucial milestone was reached on Monday as the centre and the states agreed on the ratio of control over small taxpayers and when to roll out the GST. Small taxpayers with turnover below Rs 1.5-crore will be shared between centre and the states in the ratio of 10:90 for audit and scrutiny. This will be randomly generated.

Tell me more: The draft laws for GST and various tax slabs are yet to be constituted. But in the ninth GST council meeting, there was consensus to meet the new deadline.

Rs 1,243 crore

What is it? The amount of money the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) may raise in its initial public offering (IPO) next week.

Why is it important? BSE, Asia’s oldest stock exchange, will be the first IPO in 2017. Last year, 26 firms raised Rs 26,000 crore through IPOs – the third biggest in the last 25 years. Seventeen out of the 26 firms are trading above their listing price.

Tell me more: Singapore Exchange Ltd, Atticus Mauritius and billionaire George Soros’ Quantum will be selling 15.4 million shares for Rs 805-806 a share. The other Indian stock exchange, National Stock Exchange, too, is looking to dilute 22.5% stake for Rs 10,000 crore

$30-50 billion

What is it? Saudi Arabia’s investment in its renewables energy programme to produce 10 gigawatts of power.

Why is it important? The producer of 13.6% of the world’s crude oil production is betting on non-fossil fuels to generate energy for itself. The project’s first stage would be generating nuclear energy. With crude oil bringing in 85% of its forex and accounting for 50% of its GDP, Saudi Arabia is taking steps to ensure its continuity by resorting to other fuels at home and cutting back crude production to prop up global prices.

Tell me more: The first two nuclear reactors would be for 2.8 gigawatts of energy. It will also look to connect to other countries such as Jordan and Egypt for the renewables energy projects


What is it? US President-elect Donald Trump threatened to levy the import tax on German-made cars if they are not locally made.

Why is it important? Trump has legal powers to impose 15% import tariff for 150 days without US Congress approval, and if companies file litigation, it will take 18 months to decide, says Simon Evenett, an international trade expert. Earlier, Trump asked GM and Toyota to shift operations from Mexico to service local demand.

Tell me more: The German automakers’ shares were hit, following the outburst. BMW shares fell by 1.5% in Frankfurt, VW by 1.8% and Daimler (Mercedes Benz-owner) by 1.6%

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News in Numbers, Sep 21: Infiltration bids foiled, sick units to be shut down…

6,000 cusecs

What is it? The quantity of water the Supreme Court has asked Karnataka to release to Tamil Nadu between September 21 and 27.

Why is it important? This is double of what the Cauvery Supervisory Committee had ordered Karnataka to release to its neighbouring state during the same period. Earlier, the apex court’s order to Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs (later, modified to 12,000 cusecs) a day until September 20 had triggered widespread protests in the state. Tamil Nadu has welcomed the latest order while Karnataka has said it cannot be implemented.

Tell me more: The Supreme Court has also directed the central government to constitute the Cauvery Water Management Board within four weeks. Karnataka is likely to be the first state to declare drought this year.



What is it? The number of terrorists reportedly killed on Tuesday as the Indian army foiled two infiltration bids made from across the border in Jammu and Kashmir’s Lachipura and Nowgam areas.

Why is it important? This comes two days after 18 Indian soldiers were killed in an attack by a suicide squad of militants when they attacked a camp in Uri. In Tuesday’s encounter, one Indian soldier lost his life. It was reported that gun battles between terrorists and the Indian security forces were on in Uri and Nowgam sectors last night.

Tell me more: Pakistan violated ceasefire and fired continuously for 20 minutes at Indian posts in Uri this morning, which is now believed to be a cover for the militants to cross over. A meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security has been scheduled for today.



What is it? The percentage of cigarette packs of different brands that flout 85%-display-rule mandated by the central government, according to a study.

Why is it important? This calls for stricter enforcement norms. When the government ordered cigarette companies to display pictorial and health text warnings covering 85% of the principal display area on both sides of the pack, the tobacco lobby protested saying this was practically not feasible. The move is believed to discourage smoking and tobacco consumption. Tobacco-related diseases are said to kill about 2,500 Indians a day and an estimated 5,500 youth and children initiate tobacco use per day.

Tell me more: The government had asked the companies to increase the graphic health warnings on the labels from 20% to 85% of the principal display area from April 1 this year. The study by Voluntary Health Association of India covered 786 cigarette packets from 24 different brands of four tobacco companies, 665 packets from seven companies making smokeless tobacco and 539 bidi packets in eight states.



What is it? The number of sick /loss-making public sector units the government plans to shut down, following the state think-tank Niti Aayog recommendations. Prime Minister’s office has given the go ahead. It awaits cabinet approval.

Why is it important? The move will improve state finances by cutting losses. In some cases, land used by these companies can be put to more productive use or leased out. National Jute Manufactures Corporation, Bharat Wagon and Engineering, Indian Oil-CREDA Biofuels and CREDA HPCL Biofuel are among the companies identified for shutting down. Niti Aayog identified 74 sick or loss making units for shutting down or sale.

Tell me more: The government also plans reduce its ownership to 51% in 22 PSUs per Niti Aayog recommendations. The sale, also pending cabinet approval, will help in reaching its disinvestment target of Rs 56,500 crore this financial year.


36.87 million

What is it? The number of barrels of crude that India plans to hold as emergency reserves.

Why is it important? India imports 80% of its oil needs, and this will cover about two weeks of demand. To this end, it plans to buy six million barrels from Iran, 4 million through BPCL and the remaining through Mangalore Refineries and Petrochemicals.

Tell me more: Iran’s oil exports to India hit a 15-year-high this year. The western Asian country exported 576,000 barrels a day to India in August.


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News in numbers, Apr 18, 2016: States reducing rural spend, Tamil Nadu’s freebie culture…


What is it? The number of states that have reduced their rural spending in absolute terms in 2015-16 compared to the previous year.

Why is it important? The cutback in rural spending – for example, in agriculture, rural infrastructure and irrigation – comes during the second consecutive year of drought. One reason is the reduction in state revenues from their share in central taxes and grants in aid, which declined by 0.3% of GDP in 2015-16.

Tell me more: Of the 14 states that reduced rural spending, five cut down on their overall spending in 2015-16. This also raises the question if states have shifted their expenditure from rural spending by using the spending freedom got due to the implementation of the 14th Finance Commission recommendations.

~Rs 15,000 crore

What is it? The value of freebies provided by the Tamil Nadu government between 2006 and 2016, first five under M Karunanidhi’s DMK and the next under J Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK.

Why is it important? Raises questions about the economics of freebies, especially when the state’s revenue deficit (net amount received is lesser than projected net amount to be received) is estimated to nearly double to Rs 9,155 crore in 2016-17 from the previous year. The freebies offered by DMK and AIADMK included rice at single-digit prices per kg, fans, mixers, gold, laptops, bicycles and television sets.

Tell me more: In response to a 2013 Supreme Court order, the Election Commission updated its Model Code of Conduct rules and said parties should not make promises that impair the quality of the election process or exert undue influence on the voters. The rules also require the parties to explain the rationale behind the poll promises and broadly state the financial means by which they would implement them.

$38.06-$40.86 per barrel

What is it? The prices at which the global benchmarks of crude oil (US and Brent crude futures respectively) were trading at around 6 am (Indian Standard Time) today.

Why is it important? Crude oil prices were down by 5.7% and 5.2% respectively from their last closing. This was due to the failed attempt by major oil-producers to curb their output at January levels to arrest falling oil prices, at their Doha meet on Sunday. This gives rise to concerns about continued global oversupply of crude and low oil prices in the near future.

Tell me more: Barclays estimates Brent to average at around $36 a barrel in the second quarter of this year.

$37,584 (~ Rs 25 lakh)

What is it? The value of Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk’s total compensation in 2015.

Why is it important? Musk does not take salary from Tesla, and this amount is as per California’s minimum wage requirements. Musk has a 26.5% stake (as of December 31) in the company, worth around $9.47 billion. He received stock options worth $5.27 million in 2012 to compensate him for 10 years.

Tell me more: Other CEOs who got low compensation are Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg who received $1 as salary in 2014 (along with additional compensation of $610,455) and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey whose compensation was valued at $68,506 last year.

$37 million

What is it? The amount Yahoo President and CEO Marissa Mayer would receive if she leaves after Yahoo is sold off.

Why is it important? Telecom firm Verizon and Daily Mail General Trust (owner of MailOnline website) are expected to submit their bids to takeover Yahoo’s core business today.

Tell me more: Yahoo’s revenue has fallen by 8.5% since 2012 (Mayer was appointed CEO in July 2012) to $4.09 billion in 2015 while its adjusted profit has nearly halved to $0.95 billion during the same period. If Marissa Mayer is fired before the company is sold off, she would still receive $13 million, per reports.

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