Higher Direct Tax Collection Brings Some Solace


Rs 6,56,000 crore 

What is it? The direct tax collections for the first nine months of 2017-18. This is an increase of 18.2% over the corresponding period of 2016 and 67% of the budget estimate.

Why is it important? This 18.2% growth in direct taxes comes as a breather for the government, which is running the risk of overshooting its fiscal deficit target for 2017-18. Last month, the finance ministry said it will borrow an additional Rs 50,000 crore this year due to lower-than-expected collections under GST and higher revenue expenditure, a step that could raise the fiscal deficit to 3.5%, against the targeted 3.2%.

Tell me more: For the nine-month period to December, advance tax collections rose 12.7%, led by a 21% growth in personal advance income tax and 10.9% growth in corporate advance tax.


$28 billion

What is it? The annual cost of food-borne diseases to India, which is 0.5% of the country’s GDP (gross domestic product), according to a study by ‘Food for All’ partnership of the World Bank Group and the Netherlands government.

Why is it important? The study says that though Indians transitioning from simple staples to more nutritious food should have positive impacts, this is leading to consumption of “risky foods”. Some of the main reasons for food contamination include unregulated use and management of pesticide, indiscriminate use of antibiotics for non-therapeutic reasons (most bacteria that cause food-borne diseases have been found to be multi-drug resistant) and chemical additives in processed and packaged food, according to the Centre for Science and Environment. The burden of food-borne diseases in India is unknown.

Tell me more: The researchers say there could be an adverse impact with potentially large costs, due to an increase in poverty and under-nutrition, if no investments in food safety are made.



What is it? The proposed safeguard duty by India on cells and modules shipped from China and Malaysia.

Why is it important? This is reportedly in response to an application filed by five domestic cell and module makers, and has been made on the basis that imports from China and Malaysia in this regard are a “threat of serious injury” to the domestic industry. Last year, India was the largest solar cell and module importer from China. If this proposal is implemented, it could potentially result in the end of record low solar tariffs, according to an analyst. Solar tariffs hit a record low of Rs 2.44 per unit last May.

Tell me more: India’s average requirement of solar cells is 20 gigawatts per year, whereas its annual manufacturing capacity is just 15% of that.


64 years

What is it? The number of years that Old Monk, the iconic Indian brand of dark rum sold in a distinctive squarish bottle, has been around.

Why is it important? It was reported yesterday that, Kapil Mohan, the man who shaped and nurtured this brand to become the most popular rum and something more for a generation of Indians, passed away on January 6 at the age of 88 years. In the 1970s, Mohan took over the reins of Mohan Meakin, a family business, and breathed new life into the company.

Tell me more: While consumption of alcohol in India has been increasing, sales of rum have been on the decline. And Old Monk has seen its market share fall from 15% in 2005 to 5% in 2014.



What is it? The number of McDonald’s outlets that Connaught Plaza Restaurants, the licencee for north and east India of American fast food chain McDonald’s, plans to reopen by the end of this week.

Why is it important? Connaught Plaza and McDonald’s are embroiled in a messy, and public, dispute. In this backdrop, last month, Vikram Bakshi-controlled Connaught Plaza had shuttered these outlets after differences with its logistics partner, which, it claimed, was acting at the behest of McDonald’s. Connaught Plaza has since signed a new partner. The reopening of the restaurants could open new fault lines as McDonald’s has, in a public statement, called these outlets “unauthorised”.

Tell me more: The dispute dates back to 2013, when McDonald’s removed Bakshi as the managing director of Connaught Plaza. Bakshi challenged the decision before the Company Law Board, saying this was an attempt by McDonald’s to buy out his 50% share for a low valuation.


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News in numbers, Jan 4, 2016: Pathankot terror attack, revenue from excise duty hikes…


Rs 10,000 crore

What is it? Additional revenue Indian government expects to earn in 2015-16 from hikes in excise duty on petrol and diesel.


Why is it important? It will partially help in covering for the shortfall in revenue from disinvestments in public sector units (PSUs) and direct tax collections. The government had aimed to raise Rs 69,500 crore from selling shares in PSUs but managed to mop up just over 18% or Rs 12,700 crore so far. Between April and November 2015, the direct tax collections was less than half (46.26%) of the budgeted target of Rs 7.97 lakh crore in 2015-16.


Tell me more: The government on Saturday increased excise duty on petrol by Rs 0.37 per litre and by Rs 2 per litre on diesel. This is the third hike in 2015-16 and since November 2014, the seventh. The three excise duty hikes translate to a total increase of Rs 2.27 per litre on petrol and Rs 3.47 a litre on diesel.




What is it? India’s score in the 11th edition of the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship. India beat defending champion Afghanistan on Sunday.


Why is it important? With this win, India has lifted the SAFF cup for the seventh time. This is also likely to have an impact on India’s position in the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) rankings to be released on January 7. From 121 in 2001, India’s ranking has slid to 166 currently, reaching a low of 171 in 2014 since the start of the new millennium.


Tell me more: India had lost to Afghanistan 0-2 in the final match of the 2013 edition.


$522 billion


What is it? Estimated global oil and gas investments in 2016, according to Oslo-based consultancy Rystad Energy.


Why is it important? If this happens, it would be the lowest in six years. In 2015, global investments in this sector had seen a 22% fall to $595 billion. This would also be the first time that there may be a decline in investments for two straight years since the 1986 oil crash, according to Bjoernar Tonhaugen, vice president of oil and gas markets at Rystad Energy . One of the major fallouts of this is the loss of jobs. In November last year, the number of job losses in oil and gas companies had crossed the 250,000 mark worldwide, according to industry consultant, Graves & Co.


Tell me more: Crude oil prices fell 35% in 2015 and are expected to decline even further in 2016. A combination of factors — global glut, suppliers refusing to cut down on production and engaging in price war to attract customers — are responsible for the rapid decline in oil prices.




What is it? Number of military personnel killed in a terrorist attack on Pathankot air base situated in Punjab, about 30 km from the Pakistan border. As many as 20 have been wounded.


Why is it important? Raises questions about security lapses and how the terrorists managed to enter the air base undetected. This is the second attack on Punjab after the Gurdaspur district attack in July 2015 that killed 10 people including the Gurdaspur Superintendent of Police. In the latest terror attack, militants disguised as soldiers, stormed the base a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid an impromptu visit to his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif. Four terrorists have been reportedly killed and two more are said to be holed up at the base.


Tell me more: The government claimed the operation successful on Saturday but fresh attacks on Sunday, it said the operation was not over yet.


160 million


What is it? Number of one rupee notes issued in 2014-15 and 2015-16 so far by the government.


Why is it important? The cost of printing a one rupee note at Rs 1.14, exceeds its value – and the life of a paper note is 9 to 10 months. It’s a reason why currencies of lower denominations tend to be in coins. The government had stopped issuing one rupee notes between 1995-96 and 2013-14.


Tell me more: In 2014-15, a total of five million notes of one rupee denomination and in the current fiscal year, 155 million notes were introduced in the market.

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