Snail’s pace housing 🐌🏡

Rs 154

What is it? Bharti Airtel’s average revenue per user (arpu) in the three months ended June.

Why is it important? This is about 21% lesser than that reported in the same quarter a year ago and is an indication of the impact of Reliance Jio. The new telecom player provided free services for six months after its entry last year, which forced the incumbents to reduce their tariffs to protect/retain their market share. The impact of Jio on other players may lessen in the subsequent quarters as it has started charging its customers from April this year. Its maiden paid-for and most popular plan would translate into an arpu of Rs 96 while the most prominent of its revised plans would increase the arpu to Rs 124, according to ratings agency Icra.

Tell me more: The net profit of India’s largest telecom operator declined by 75% to Rs 367 crore from a year ago period. However, it added 5.2 million subscribers in the last three months, which is the highest ever.

 

180,877

What is it? The number of houses built under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana’ so far.

Why is it important? This is less than 0.5% of the target of 5 crore homes for the poor by 2022, which indicates the slow pace of the programme (launched in February 2016) as well as raises the question of the feasibility of achieving the goal. The programme is important as at least 6.5 crore people live in slums across India and most do so in makeshift houses and shacks.

Tell me more: The initiative was also launched with the idea that it would help create jobs though unemployment rate has gone up to 5%of the labour force in 2015-16 from 4.9% in 2013-14, the year before the NDA assumed power.

 

2002

What is it? The year since the Indian monsoons (June-September) have strengthened, according to a study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Why is it important? The strengthening in the last 15 years has resulted in the reversal of a 50-year drying spell when the monsoon brought relatively less rainfall to the northern and central parts of India. Strong warming of the entire Indian subcontinent and a significant slowdown in the temperature rise over the Indian Ocean could partially explain this trend, according to the researchers.

Tell me more: The year of 2015 saw a blip in trend – widespread drought across the subcontinent – which the study attributes to the severe El Niño (unusually warm temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific) season.

 

300-325 km

What is it? The distance covered by trucks a day after Goods and Services Tax (GST) was implemented.

Why is it important? This is 30% more than the 225-km-a-day covered by them pre-GST. The road transport ministry is crediting the abolishing of state-border checkposts for the increased productivity. Earlier, anywhere between 20-30% of a logistic truck’s travel time was spent on clearing checkposts, due to congestion.

Tell me more: The ministry says along with the abolishment of inter-state sales tax, it could bring down logistics costs by 10-12%.

 

Rs 500 crore

What is it? The relief package declared by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the flooded districts of Gujarat.

Why is it important? Gujarat has seen some of this year’s worst flooding, since June due to heavy monsoon rains, aggravated by water inflow from Rajasthan and relentless rains over the weekend. More than 36,000 people have been displaced from their homes and the transport sector suffered over Rs 6 crore losses a day due to flooding. The relief package will help rebuild and rehabilitate the lives of those displaced.

Tell me more: In 2015-16, 1,543 people died in natural disasters. Gujarat’s toll has crossed 70 since the start of monsoon this season.

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Men of steel ✊

96%

What is it? This year’s southwest monsoon rainfall estimate as a percentage of the Long Period Average (LPA), or IMD’s long-term rainfall-tracking benchmark.

Why is it important? The first-stage forecast is for normal southwest monsoons, alleviating worries about a dry season, for now. The monsoon’s distribution and timely arrival would determine if there would be a positive impact on GDP or not. In 2016, the same was for 106% of the LPA (which is 89 cm for 1951-2000). But in the drought-ridden year of 2015, the initial forecast was 93%, only three percentage points less than this year’s estimate.

Tell me more: The forecast would get updated in June, when the weather phenomenon of El Nino would have evolved further to paint a more accurate picture.

 

Rs 64,562 crore

What is it? The investment by the public steel manufacturer, Steel Authority of India Ltd (Sail) till December, 2016.

Why is it important? Sail is spending on modernisation and expansion of its integrated and special steel plants when India is set to leapfrog Japan in steel output in a few years. While the Indian Steel Association has said production would increase from 101.3 million tonne in 2016 to 240 million tonne by 2031, the Australian Department of Industry, Innovation and Science has predicted India would overtake Japan as the third-largest producer by 2019 with 118 million tonne. Sail’s expansion would raise its capacity from 12.8 million tonne a year to 21.4 million tonne (67%).

Tell me more: The steel major is in the last leg of its Rs 70,000-crore planned investment to raise capacity by 60-70%.

 

4.95 million

What is it? The net subscribers added by Netflix, the Internet video-streaming service, in the first quarter of 2017 (Jan-Mar).

Why is it important? The measure of new customers for Netflix went down both sequentially (30%) and year-on-year (27%) due to the lack of a blockbuster original production, and the tepid response to its new releases such as the latest Marvel-backed superhero series (Iron Fist). Instead, its profitability improved. In India, it finds itself competing for audience with Amazon Prime and homegrown popular apps such as Star India’s Hotstar, even before it got a chance to consolidate a lead.

Tell me more: Netflix’s net income/profit rose to $178 million in the quarter, a 166% rise sequentially and 536% rise year-on-year. In India, it plans to double its investments with an office in Mumbai, rather than operate the business out of Singapore which it had been doing so far.

 

51,000 kms

What is it? The length of roads to be developed as expressways under Indian government’s Bharatmala scheme.

Why is it important? Mega road projects have both short term and long term benefits, generating jobs immediately and boosting growth over time, and Bharatmala is one of the most ambitious and expensive projects of the NDA government. The total investments is pegged around Rs 10 trillion. The National Highways Development kickstarted by Vajpayee government will be subsumed under Bharatmala going forward.

Tell me more: A more specific and formal outlay and plan is likely to be a part of the next budget.

 

Rs 2.35 lakh crore

What is it? Market capitalisation of State Bank of India, end of Tuesday.

Why is it important? State Bank is now the most valued public sector unit, surpassing Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, which has a market cap about about Rs 2.29 lakh crore. State Bank shares rose by 16% this year. Interestingly, this came on the day when Vijay Mallya was arrested and then let go on a bail after a few hours in London. A consortium of banks led by State Bank of India had sued Mallya’ Kingfisher Airlines for defaulting on loans. State Bank’s gross non performing assets (or bad loans) stood at 7.23% end of December.

Tell me more: State Bank stands fifth in the list of top Indian companies by market capitalisation. Tata Consultancy leads the list, followed by Reliance Industries and HDFC Bank.

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The planet heats up

This piece originally appeared on Livemint.com

 

Even as the US elected Donald Trump, who had questioned climate change in the past, 2016 missed out on the distinction of being the hottest on record since 1880. It could well have been, but the temperatures cooled down in September and October, which one of the media outlets that supported Trump mistook as evidence against global warming. The reason was a retreating El Niño, an abnormal weather pattern caused by warm waters of the western Pacific Ocean flowing eastwards.

As it stands, the world is getting warmer (chart 1). While the temperature rise in 2015 and 2016 is due to El Niño, it’s not the only reason (chart 2). One of the immediate effects is the speed at which glaciers are receding (chart 3). In July, 90 million cubic yards of glacier collapsed in the Aru range in Tibet, resulting in one of the largest avalanches.

Meanwhile, a new study, published recently in Nature Geoscience, confirmed more strongly than before the link between climate change and glacial melting. In 2017, we will do well to keep track of those glaciers, and what Trump does with the Paris climate pact aimed at mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.

 

hottest1

hottest2

hottest3

 

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Chart of the Day | The Hottest Months

The earth is getting hotter. Every month this year has set a record for the hottest month ever, since world temperature was tracked from 1880. So it was with June. The month – with temperature of 0.9 degree-Celsius above average, according to US agency Noaa – is the 14th in a row of hottest months ever.

A closer look shows the trend began well before the strong El Nino of 2015-16 took root. Consecutive record-breaking hot months began in April of 2014, only interrupted in July and November of that year. In 2015, only January and April were not the hottest among the 136 years on record by then.

2016 has not seen a break so far, continuing with the trend since May of 2015. El Nino is believed to contribute only 0.1 degree-Celsius to such spikes.

The following table shows the ranks, on a scale of 1- 137 for coldest-hottest year for a particular month for 2016 data, and 1-136 where 2015 is the latest available year.

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