PoS-itive additions 💳📊

1.4 billion

What is it? The amount e-commerce firm Flipkart raised from eBay, Microsoft and Tencent

Why is it important? It’s the biggest amount raised in a single funding round by an Indian start-up. It came at a pre-money valuation of $10.2 billion, signalling the confidence investors have showed in the company that saw a series of markdowns in the last couple of years. The funding – and acquisition of eBay India, that was a part of the deal – will strengthen Flipkart as it fights its aggressive and better endowed competitor Amazon.

Tell me more: There have also been talks that Snapdeal, the third largest commerce player in the country will be merged with Flipkart, along with additional funding from SoftBank.

 

21%

What is it? The share of the Europe, Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA) region in the global IPOs (initial public offerings) in first three months of 2017.

Why is it important? India with 26 IPOs accounted for nearly 34% of the region’s activity that ranked it second to Asia-Pacific in IPO numbers. EMEIA ranked third with 15% share in global proceeds, behind Asia-Pacific and the Americas.

Tell me more: The EMEIA region had 77 IPOs, raising $5.2 billion in all in Jan-Mar, 2017.

 

>2.5 million

What is it? The number of point-of-sale (PoS) machines at merchant establishments/shops.

Why is it important? PoS machine availability in India trails that of BRIC nations such as Brazil and China where per capita PoS availability for swiping plastic money is higher. Demonetisation had brought the scarcity into focus as people had to do less cash transactions. The numbers inched from 1.5 million swipe machines in October, 2016, to 1.7 million in December, 2.2 million in February, 2017, to over 2.5 million now. SBI has led with installation of 124,000 machines.

Tell me more: The count, shared by a National Payments Corporation of India official, is a little less than Niti Aayog’s estimate of 2.8 million PoS machines in February.

 

17 days

What is it? The time the UK-to-China freight train would take to reach its destination in Zhejiang, travelling along the ancient ‘Silk Road’ route.

Why is it important? The time taken by the train between the two countries, spanning a route along seven other countries, is still half the duration at sea. It is also cheaper than sending goods by air. While the train had brought household items, clothes, and consumer fashion goods from China, it is transporting soft drinks, baby products and pharmaceuticals on the maiden return journey.

Tell me more: Chinese premier, Xi Jinping’s 2013 “One Belt, One Road” policy to revive land-routes for trading with the West, has made London the 15th European city with a direct rail connection.

 

$50.9 billion

What is it? Tesla’s market cap at the end of trading on Monday

Why is it important? It is now the most valued car company in the US, beating General Motors, the 108 year old giant, by 64 million dollars. Tesla’s position is seen more as a reflection of investors’ faith in Elon Musk’s vision for the future of electric cars, than the present financials of the companies. GM earned $9 billion in 2016, and Teslalost $674 million. GM sold nearly 10 million vehicles, and Tesla sold 80,000 globally.

Tell me more: Toyota, with its  $172 billion market cap, is the biggest carmaker by market value at present. Volkswagen, with a sale of 10.31 million vehicles in 2016, is the largest carmaker by sales volume, closely followed by Toyota.

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Bezos, Amazon and Blue Origin

6%

What is it? The new, increased reverse repo rate fixed by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday.

Why is it important? This was a surprise move as the RBI was expected to keep rates unchanged at the review. Even though the key rate of repo (the rate at which the central bank lends to banks against government securities) was not changed, the tinkering of the reverse repo by 25 basis points would still affect liquidity. This would incentivise banks to deposit more with the RBI as they would earn higher interest income from such deposits.

Tell me more: This points to the RBI’ concern of an increase in inflation.

 

$1 billion

What is it? The worth of Amazon.com’s stock that founder Jeff Bezos sells annually to fund his other project — the private space rocket company, Blue Origin.

Why is it important? The funding comes from Bezos’ personal stock-holding in Amazon, which made him the second-richest person in the world late last month. Bezos has a networth of $77.3 billion, largely due to his stock-holding. While in 2015, he held 83.43 million shares of the company, it has reduced through stake sale through the years to 81.91 million in 2016 and at 80.89 million shares in 2017. With the funding, Blue Origin is inching closer to the goal of launching passenger space trips, lasting 11 minutes from 2018.

Tell me more: Blue Origin, like Elon Musk’s SpaceX, is working on reusable rockets for affordable space flights.

 

5.7%

What is it? The growth forecast rate for 2017 of ‘developing Asia’, comprising 45 countries who are members of the Asian Development Bank.

Why is it important? This year and the next would see the slowest growth at 5.7% since 5% growth in 2001. The Asian Development Bank kept its forecast muted as China’s economic indicators  could get revised downwards and uncertainty in global policies take root.

Tell me more: The region had grown at 5.8% in 2016. While China is forecast to clock 6.5% in 2017, less than 6.7% in 2016, India is expected to grow at 7.4% in 2017, higher than 7.1% in 2016.

 

$2 billion

What is it? The value of defence deals signed between India and Israel on Thursday.

Why is it important? This is for the supply of advanced medium range surface-to-air missile systems. The technology was developed by by Israel Aerospace Industries and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation, along with a few other players, signalling the strengthening relationship between India and Israel..

Tell me more: This comes three months ahead of Modi’s visit to Israel. Modi will be the first Indian prime minister to visit the country, and marks a change in India’s diplomatic relationship with the state.

 

$8.4 million

What is it? Grants to four Indian non-profits from Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm.

Why is it important? The grants will help these organisations – Learning Equality, Million Sparks Foundation, Pratham Books StoryWeaver and Pratham Education Foundation – develop technology-based learning solutions. As India struggles to raise the standards of its school education, tech-based solutions could help in the process. Annual Status of Education Reports have painted a dismal picture of education outcomes.

Tell me more: The projects include a technology platform for translating books, hybrid learning programmes, digital content platforms and offline digital content for students.

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News in Numbers, Feb 08, 2017: Infosys: a question of governance

$11 million

What is it? Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka’s salary, including variable component.

Why is it important? The founders of Infosys have reportedly raised concerns over the remuneration of the offshoring giant’s first non-promoter CEO, besides the severance packages given to Rajiv Bansal, former CFO, and David Kennedy, former compliance officer and the appointment of Punita Sinha, wife of Union minister Jayant Sinha, as an independent director.

Tell me more: Vishal Sikka’s $11 million package is linked to Infosys achieving $20 billion revenue target. Rajiv Bansal received a severance package of Rs 17.38 crore in 2015, while Kennedy received $868,250 when he quit end of last year.

Rs 16,200 crore

What is it? The detected amount of black money stashed away by Indians in foreign accounts, following revelations by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)

Why is it important? Demonetisation revived questions about efforts to recover illegal funds squirrelled away in accounts abroad. The government shared the total illegal money tracked so far, even though it could not estimate the total quantity.

 

Tell me more: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley mentioned the government could track Rs 8,000 crore worth of credits in offshore accounts by Indians named in the ICIJ report, while in about two years through systematic investigations, it could bring to tax Rs 8,200 crore in black money deposited abroad in secret bank accounts in HSBC.

 

96%

What is it? The record disposal rate of grievances of the Income Tax department.

Why is it important? The IT department proved to be more technologically savvy than many of its peers. It has redressed over 20,000 complaints last year since the launch of its ‘e-nirvan’ service for taxpayer grievances.

Tell me more: The resolved complaints between July and September, 2016 were 9,444 while in October-December, 2016, they were 11,345, making organisation the most efficient on the government’s Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System.

 

101

What is it? The number of foreign satellites Indian Space Research Organisation’s (Isro) will launch next week (February 15), mounted on its trusty PSLV-C37 rocket.

Why is it important? As private players increase their play in space exploration around the globe, costs will play a crucial part as government funding won’t remain the main source. Isro, even though a government agency, has one of the lowest price tags for services that other countries can avail. Elon Musks’ SpaceX’s Falcon-9 satellite launch can cost $60 million, low by global standards, but Isro’s PSLV can be launched at one-third the cost.

 

Tell me more: In addition to three Indian satellites mounted on the rocket, the 101 foreign nano-satellites, taking up 600 kgs on the rocket, will earn the space agency half of the total cost for the launch. Isro has been earning foreign exchange by accommodating other countries and till July, 2015, it had earned Rs 637.35 crore. In June, 2016, it had launched another 17.

 

20

What is it? The number of days of paid leave Facebook workers will get to bereave a family member

Why is it important? This comes at a time when conversations on paid leave in US are mostly around births, and not deaths. Only 60% of private companies in the US give paid leaves for mourning, and only for a few days, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO wrote in the social networking site. Given the influence Facebook has, it could lead to other companies following its footsteps

Tell me more: Facebook employees will have 20 days to mourn the death of an immediate family member, and 10 to mourn the death of an extended family member. They will also have up to  six weeks to take care of a sick relative, (and three days off in case of short term illnesses).

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News in Numbers, Jan 20, 2017: Tesla’s triumph on Autopilot

40%

What is it? The drop in automobile crash rate after installation of Tesla’s semi-autonomous Autopilot, according to an investigation by U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Why is it important? This is big boost for Elon Musk-led Tesla as the finding indicates that driving its cars is a safer option. The study found there was a drop in crash rates from 1.3 per million miles in 2014 to 0.8 in 2016, post installation of the autopilot feature. US average crash rate is about 1.85 crashes per million miles.

Tell me more: The investigation followed a fatal crash involving a Tesla autopilot feature last year. A negative ruling – such as demanding Tesla to recall the vehicles – would have hurt the company considerably.

25

What is it? The estimated death toll of a head-on collision between a truck and school bus, including 18 children, in Uttar Pradesh’s Etah district.

Why is it important? It is a grim reminder of India’s unsafe roads which claimed 5% more lives in 2015 in accidents with 148,707 deaths than in 2014. UP’s deadly roads accounted for 12% of the fatalities. School buses are no exceptions to rash driving, with school children bearing the brunt. In this accident, most of the kids were less than 10 years of age.

Tell me more: The school running the bus was open despite the district magistrate’s order of shutting schools for three days due to severe fog.

11.5%

What is it? The interest the Debt Recovery Tribunal in Bengaluru directed the group of lenders led by State Bank of India to levy on Vijay Mallya and his companies.

Why is it important? The directive for the consortium of 17 banks, which had moved the DRT in 2013, may signal an end to the legal battle with the absconding businessman, but actual recovery might prove tricky. Attempts to recover dues by selling Mallya’s or his businesses’ properties have not found buyers so far. Recovery of his $40 million severance-pay from Diageo, too, remains elusive.

Tell me more: The DRT included assets of all of Mallya’s companies like UBHL, Kingfisher Airlines and Kingfisher Finvest and is likely to attach his private properties for recovery as well. DRT said the 11.5% interest rate is to be charged from July 26, 2013, and be recovered along with Rs 6,203 crore.

>100

What is it? Number of coal-fired power projects China’s National Energy Administration suspended across 11 of its provinces

Why is it important? These constitute over 66% of the coal-fired power projects capacity (150 GW) China was targeting to stop or delay between 2016 and 2020. Severe air pollution given its voracious appetite for coal has led China to try and limit use of fossil fuels.

Tell me more: Such measures will be accompanied by a focus on renewables such as the 130 GW of solar and wind power slated for installment by 2020.

-6.5%

What is it? The change in Axis Bank’s share price in early trade on Friday, as it reported lower-than-expected quarterly earnings.

Why is it important? The third-largest private bank in India has come under fire for its monitoring of its asset quality which has dragged earnings down 73% to Rs 579.57 crore. As much as 43.4% of its slippages or Rs 1,980 crore in the third quarter was from outside its watchlist. It has been unable to effectively identify defaulting accounts leading to larger-than-expected slippage and impact on earnings.

Tell me more: Seventy per cent of the slippages were in sectors like iron and steel, infra-construction and textiles, both on its watchlist and outside it.

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