News in Numbers, Jan 04, 2017: Unicorns’ babies…

700

What is it? The number of startups spawned by India’s 12 unicorns (with $1 billion plus valuations), according to startup and venture capital tracker Tracxn.

Why is it important? Indicates the kind of contribution such unicorns make towards the startup ecosystem – could be in terms of experience, exposure to the startup culture, financial security orsupport from the unicorn. However, just like any other startup, these also face trouble in terms of sustainability and scaling up and raising resources. For instance, less than one of every 10 startups are able to get funding from an institutional investor and less than 3% are able to get Series B stage funding, according to Abhishek Goyal, co-founder of Tracxn.

Tell me more: This is similar to the host of entrepreneurs created by Infosys and Wipro, whose ex-employees have gone on to set up 867 and 685 companies so far.

 

Rs 23,528.73 crore

What is it? The amount the government has raised via disinvestment in the first eight months of 2016-17.

Why is it important? This is 41.6% of the disinvestment target of Rs 56,500 crore set for 2016-17, better than the previous fiscal’s 36.4%. To accelerate disinvestment process, the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management has replaced annual plans with rolling ones, fast tracked approval process and reserved 20% of shares on public sector units’ offer for sale (OFS) transactions for retail investors.

Tell me more: The government has focussed more on share buybacks(cash-rich public sector units buying the government’s stake in companies) this year rather than raise money from the equity market through the OFS route. Of the total amount raised through this route until November, about 91% (or Rs 21,432.38 crore) has been through minority stake sale in 14 central public sector enterprises and the rest (Rs 2,096.35 crore) through strategic disinvestment.

 

12 nautical miles

What is it? The offshore distance up to which some coastal states wants to levy goods and services tax.

Why is it important? The demand by states such as Kerala, Karnataka and West Bengal could delay GST rollout. Besides, some states also asked for increasing the number of items on which cess would be levied to compensate for the loss in revenues (after the rollout of GST) by up to 40% due to demonetisation. The government was initially aiming for an April 1 rollout but it may reportedly be done by June or July 1, within the mandatory deadline of September.

Tell me more: The earlier proposal was a Rs 55,000 crore GST compensation fund in the first year by levying cess on luxury items and demerit or sin goods over and above the highest tax slab of 28% but now, states expect this to go up to Rs 90,000 crore.

 

Rs 3,500 crore

What is it? The estimated annual fiscal impact of the measures announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the New Year’s eve, according to a report by the State Bank of India research team.

Why is it important? The report has termed this cost to the Indian economy as “minimal” given the “social and economic benefits” of the schemes announced. It has suggested a tweak to the scheme announced for senior citizens: to decrease the lock-in period to five years from 10 and that the maximum deposit limit should be Rs 15 lakh instead of the proposed Rs 7.5 lakh. Under the scheme, senior citizens are to receive a fixed interest rate of 8% for 10 years on deposits up to Rs 7.5 lakh where the interest can be paid monthly.

Tell me more: The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (a housing scheme) is available for those belonging to the Economically Weaker Section (households with annual income up to Rs 3 lakh) and Low Income Group (households with annual income between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 6 lakh). As a rule of thumb, a person with annual income of Rs 6 lakh is eligible for a housing loan of Rs 24 lakh and if this is the case, then the revised scheme announced recently could be a “game changer” as nearly two-thirds of housing loans of 26 public sector banks are in the category of less than Rs 25 lakh.

 

88 million

What is it? The number of cows and buffaloes that would get a 12-digit unique identification number this year.

Why is it important? The idea is to tag and track cattle in order to vaccinate them regularly and to use scientific interventions for better breeding and improve milk production. The government has earmarked Rs 148 crore for the procurement of tags, tag applicators, health cards and tablets. In 2014-15 and 2015-16, milk production has increased by around 6.2-6.3% on a year-on-year basis. India ranks number one in milk production, accounting for nearly a fifth (18.5%) of the global production.

Tell me more: About a lakh technicians with 50,000 tablets have set out this year to affix a tamper-proof polyurethane tag inside the ears of the cattle. After assigning the tag, the technician would enter the number in an online database and provide an animal health card to the cattle owner, which would contain the unique identification number, details of the owner, breeding details, status of deworming and vaccinations.

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News in Numbers, Oct 3, 2016: Black, the colour of the season…

Rs 65,250 crore

What is it? The value of assets declared under the Income Disclosure Scheme, 2016.

Why is it important? This is said to be the biggest black money disclosure and would fetch the government over Rs 29,000 crore in taxes. This might take some sting away from the criticism that NDA government was going too slow on black money. One of its main poll promises was to crack the whip on tax evaders. Under this scheme, there were 64,275 declarants with an average disclosure of more than Rs 1 crore.

Tell me more: The government had given a four-month window for people to declare their undisclosed assets, which closed at midnight on Friday. The taxpayers could escape prosecution by paying tax at 30%, a penalty at 7.5% and a surcharge at 7.5%, taking the total to 45% of the undisclosed income. In comparison, the income declared under the Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme, 1997, was over Rs 33,000 crore.

 

Rs 53,531 crore

What is it? The value of bids received by the government from telecom companies on day 1 of the latest spectrum auction.

Why is it important? This is India’s biggest spectrum auction and is expected to help the firms in providing better quality services amidst intensifying competition, especially with the entry of Reliance Jio’s 4G services at competitive rates. However, there were no takers for the 700 megahertz (MHz) band of airwaves, which has been put on sale for the first time and is considered to be the most efficient for offering high-speed broadband services. The reserve price – at Rs 11,485 crore per MHz – is considered expensive by the bidders.

Tell me more: Seven telecom firms – Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Tata Teleservices, Idea Cellular, Reliance Communications, Reliance Jio Infocomm and Aircel – are bidding to acquire airwaves in seven bands (700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 Mhz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz and 2,500 MHz).

 

Rs 21,000 crore

What is it? The divestment proceeds collected by the Indian government between April and September this year.

Why is it important? This is over 37% of the total disinvestment target of Rs 56,500 crore for 2016-17. It has also exceeded the previous high in the first six months of 2015-16 by over Rs 8,000 crore. This indicates that 2016-17 may be the year when it either achieves its targets or comes closer in reaching them, after having missed it for the last six years straight and for the 16th time last year in the disinvestment’s quarter-century history.

Tell me more: Of the total raised so far this year, Rs 16,500 crore is from buybacks initiated by five public sector units.

 

500,000

What is it? The number of products Flipkart said it sold in the first hour on the first day of its special Big Billion Days sales event on Sunday. Amazon said it sold 100,000 units on the first half hour of its Great Indian Festival sales, which started a day earlier.

Why is it important? This highlights the stiff competition between the two players as they try to capture India’s e-commerce market. Amazon India has the financial backing of its parent in America. Flipkart is reportedly in talks with Wal-Mart for a billion dollar investment in the company. The sales metrics the companies shared underscored the difficulty is assessing who is ahead in the race.

Tell me more: Snapdeal, the third big player in the market, said more than 2 million users logged on during the first hour of sale.

 

18

What is it? The number of years US presidential candidate Donald Trump might not have paid any income tax, according to a New York Times story

Why is it important? Trump’s finances has become an important issue in the ongoing election campaign in the US, because he hasn’t yet released his tax returns yet, defying a norm among the presidential candidates. His tax returns for 1995 showed a loss of $195 million, which “could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years,” the newspaper said. The revelation is likely to help Hillary Clinton, and there are speculations that releasing his returns could be devastating for Trump’s campaign.

Tell me more: According to Forbes magazine calculation, Donald Trump’s net worth is $3.7 billion, primarily from the real estate properties he owns or has a stake in.

 

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News in Numbers, August 8, 2016: Apple India sales decline, floods have killed over 300…

800,000

What is it? The number of smartphones Apple shipped in India in the April-June quarter of this year, according to a report.

Why is it important? This is a third lower than the 1.2 million smartphones the company shipped in the same period last year. These numbers do not look good at a time when Apple is betting big on India, even as its sales in China (its second largest market after the US) has slowed down recently. The Indian government relaxed some foreign direct investment norms a couple of months ago, where Apple was seen as one of the beneficiaries.

Tell me more: Apple’s loss seems to have been Android phones’ gain, whose shipments increased by over 28% to 29.8 million in the second quarter of 2016.

 

Rs 19 crore

What is it? The average overall pay package of the chief executive officers (CEOs) of 20 of the 24 private sector companies listed on BSE Sensex in 2015-16. The other four are yet to disclose this information.

Why is it important? This is almost double from the average CEO salary of Rs 9.9 crore in 2013-14 and a 35% hike from 2014-15’s average. This came during a year when the combined net loss of 11 BSE Sensex companies was Rs 33,905 crore, which far exceeded the cumulative net profit of 16 firms (Rs 23,525 crore) on this index. The three other firms posted a dramatic turnaround last financial year.

Tell me more: Of the six public sector companies on the BSE Sensex, details of only one firm was available, that of the chairperson of the State Bank of India, which was just Rs 31.1 lakh.

 

Rs 13,500 crore

What is it? The amount the government hopes to raise from public sector units (PSUs) buying back their shares in the next couple of months.

Why is it important? With the government having already garnered Rs 3,183 crore from stake sale in hydropower generation firm NHPC, employee subscription in Indian Oil Corporation and disinvestment in power utility firm NTPC in 2016-17, this is likely to take the total amount raised through this route to over Rs 16,000 crore – around 44% of the target the government has set from minority stake sale in PSUs this financial year. After missing its disinvestment targets for the sixth year in a row last year, these buy-backs could help the government achieve its target of Rs 56,500 crore in 2016-17 (with Rs 36,000 crore expected from minority stake sales and Rs 20,500 crore from strategic stake sales).

Tell me more: In June, the government had asked PSUs with a net worth of at least Rs 2,000 crore and cash balance of over Rs 1,000 crore to buy back their shares from the stock markets. A central public sector enterprise can seek to be an exception based on its financials and mentioning its capital expenditure plans.

 

> 300

What is it? The number of people who have died in different states such as Bihar, Assam and Uttarakhand due to floods in the recent weeks. Lakhs of them have been displaced.

Why is it important? Floods are an almost annual affair in the country during monsoon, which account for around 70% of India’s yearly rainfall. These occurrences are mainly as a result of poor drainage systems in urban areas with haphazard construction activities without due consideration to the hydrology of an area while in rural areas, it is due to bad policy decisions, climate change and man-made problems such as deforestation.

Tell me more: According to a 2015 United Nations report, India’s annual economic losses due to disasters is $9.8 billion, of which floods account for over $7 billion.

 

Rs 1,200

What is it? The proposed upper limit fee for issue of driving licences, up from Rs 320.

Why is it important? This is part of the proposed amendments to the Central Motor Vehicle Rules 1989, which is likely to make driving (any vehicle) more expensive. The charges for conducting a driving test is likely to increase to Rs 300 from Rs 50 while that for a twin-test (two-wheeler and four-wheeler) could be hiked to Rs 600 from Rs 50.

Tell me more: The other increases include hikes in cost of issuing smart-card driving licence, learner’s driving licence, international driving permit and introduction of fees for applying for changing details (such as residential address) in the licences. The states are allowed to levy additional fees for automation, technology and value-add services.

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News in Numbers, May 3, 2016: Factory output in March, three earth-like planets discovered…

25%

What is it? The percentage of shares state-owned National Aluminium Co Ltd (Nalco) has agreed to buy back from the government.

Why is it important? This is to partly help the government raise funds to meet its fiscal deficit target of 3.5% of GDP for 2016-17 after having contained it at 3.9% of GDP in 2015-16. The price at which Nalco will buyback the shares is yet to be fixed and if it is done at market prices, it would cost the firm $450 million (less than Rs 3,000 crore).

Tell me more: It remains to be seen if this would affect Nalco’s expansion plans, which includes setting up of a $2-billion smelter facility in Iran. The company’s chairman has claimed otherwise.

< 40 crore

What is it? The number of unorganised workers who would be benefitted by government schemes including insurance and pension using Aadhaar and Jan Dhan accounts.

Why is it important? The near-universal coverage of Aadhaar (93% of adults have Aadhaar cards and 25 crore bank accounts linked) would enable the government to do away with its earlier plans of issuing social security smart cards to unorganised workers. This would help save the government an estimated Rs 15,000-Rs 20,000 crore on the smart cards’ project, besides cutting down on implementation time.

Tell me more: Unorganised workers, who account for nearly 90% of the total workforce in the country, face problems including inadequate legal protection in terms of job security, wage-related issues and poor access to formal credit.

6.4%

What is it? The growth of the combined output of eight infrastructure sectors in March 2016 compared with a year-ago period.

Why is it important? This was the fastest growth in 16 months, mainly due to a sharp increase in fertiliser, cement, electricity and refinery products, indicating that the economy may be on the recovery path. However, the higher numbers could be because of the base effect as factory output contracted by 0.7% in March 2015.

Tell me more: Interestingly, Nikkei’s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, a composite indicator of India’s manufacturing activity based on a survey, declined to a four-month low – indicating trends in contrast to the factory output numbers.

2%

What is it? The percentage of water left in 11 major dams in Marathwada region covering eight of the 36 districts in Maharashtra, compared to 10% a year ago.

Why is it important? The region is facing its fourth drought year in the last five years. With a month and a half for the monsoons to set in, only three dams have live water storage (water that can be used) while the rest are on dead storage levels (water that cannot be drained out by gravity but needs to be pumped out). Officials say they would manage with the available water.

Tell me more: Reduction in crop production by 70% over the last one year is not helping the situation. 370 farmers have reportedly committed suicide in the region in the last four months.

3

What is it? The number of earth-like planets an international team of scientists have discovered.

Why is it important? This is the best possible chance to find traces of life outside the solar system, scientists say, taking research one step further in finding potentially habitable planets. All the three planets may have regions with temperatures apt for sustaining liquid water and life, and the availability of technology and proximity of these planets makes the research all the more promising.

Tell me more: The three planets, which orbit a small star, are 39 light years away.

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