The dirty dozen


What is it? The number of loan defaulters identified by Reserve Bank of India for bankruptcy proceedings.

Why is it important? Each of these accounts has more than Rs 5,000 crore of outstanding loans, at least 60% of which are non-performing. Together, they account for more than a fourth of bad loans in the banking system. The move – to direct banks to file for insolvency proceedings under Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 – underlines the seriousness with which the central bank sees the bad loans problem facing India’s banking system, especially public sector banks.

Tell me more: Former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan who kickstarted the bad loans clean-up process with the seriousness it deserves had said it demanded a ‘deep surgery.’

14.4 million

What is it? The number of obese children (aged 2-19 years) in India, according to a study.

Why is it important? That makes India second only to China. In all, the study found 180 million Indians to be obese.  Obesity is increasingly considered to be a public health crisis, and is associated with life threatening diseases including heart attacks and cancer. It played a role in 4 million deaths in 2015.

Tell me more: The study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, also categorised more than 10% of the world’s population as obese. It covered 195 countries.

$12-$14 billion

What is it? The estimated cost of Diamer-Bhasha dam that Pakistan plans to construct in Gilgit-Baltistan region.

Why is it important? The region is a part of disputed Kashmir, and India had objected to infrastructure projects there, keeping international institutions such as World Bank and Asian Development Bank from funding the project. Now, Pakistan is looking to China to fund it, encouraged by the partnership between the two countries for China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a set of infrastructure projects connecting the two countries.

Tell me more: The Diamer-Bhasha dam is expected to generate 4,500 megawatts of electricity and regulate water to farm lands. It will also displace 4200 families.


What is it? Global energy consumption growth in 2016, according to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy.

Why is it important? It’s lower than 10 year average of 1.8% a year, and in pace with last two years growth (0.9% in 2015 and 1% in 2014). It’s an indicator of sluggish global economic activity. On the positive side, greenhouse gas emissions growth was also muted in 2016, even though the emissions are much higher than the target set by Paris accord.

Tell me more: The energy demand is being driven by the developing countries, especially China and India. Renewables accounted for almost 40% of the growth in global power generation in 2016.


What is it? The number of countries that have formal diplomatic relationship with Taiwan.

Why is it important? In the 90s, this number about 30. It has been dwindling. The latest to cut ties with the self-ruled state is Panama, in a move considered to be a diplomatic coup for Beijing. China considers Taiwan a rebel region of China, and has been consciously weaning its allies away.

Tell me more: Panama, which was recently in news as a tax haven, is of strategic importance to trading countries, as it lies at the intersection of Atlantic and Pacific oceans and north and south American continents. China is the second biggest user of Panama canal. The Asian giant’s concern about Taiwan has increased after the election of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen who is pushing for its independence.

Read More

News in Numbers, Mar 06, 2017: ⚡ More power to railways 🚂

Rs 41,000 crore

What is it? The amount Indian Railways expects to save on energy bills in the next 10 years.

Why is it important? Indian Railways is the single-largest consumer of electricity in the country, consuming around 17.5 billion units a year. The railway ministry has prepared an action plan to achieve this savings. The initial results of the plan has led to Rs 4,000 crore savings on energy consumption, according to the Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.

Tell me more: Indian Railways passenger and other coaching services racked up losses of Rs 33,490.9 crore in FY15.



What is it? The estimated increase in number of recruitments over last year at Flipkart, one of the top two Indian ecommerce companies.

Why is it important? Flipkart appears to have bucked the hiring slowdown/freeze in Indian start-ups as funds run dry. It had denied firing more employees after letting go of 1,000 people in July, 2016 for underperforming. While rival Snapdeal recently fired 600 employees, and Flipkart itself faced devaluations by existing investors, its hiring plans seem to be intact under the new CEO, Kalyan Krishnamurthy.

Tell me more: In 2016, Flipkart reportedly hired 1,500 employees, and 10,000 temporary staffers for last year’s festive season.


~Rs 2,300 crore

What is it? The combined value of the initial public offerings slated to open this week: Radio City FM channel operator Music Broadcast and D-Mart chain of supermarkets-owner Avenue Supermarts.

Why is it important? The twin IPOs would account for 8.5% of the total IPO funding raised in 2016, at Rs 26,493 crore. While Avenue Supermarts is looking to raise Rs 1,870 crore starting March 8, Music Broadcast will be raising up to Rs 400 crore starting March 6.

Tell me more: Music Broadcast raised Rs 146.5 crore from anchor investors on Friday. Over a dozen more IPOs are in the pipeline, having obtained the approval of the capital market regulator including those of Aster DM Healthcare, Hinduja Leyland and GVR Infra Projects.



What is it? The percentage of households in Punjab under debt.

Why is it important? The average indebtedness per household in the state, which has 10.53 lakh households, is Rs 8 lakh, according to a study. Farm debts have accounted for three out of every four suicides in the agrarian state, and most of them are cotton growers. They were hit by whitefly attacks and low international prices earlier part of this decade. In 2015, Punjab stood second in the country by number of suicides.

Tell me more: The study – spanning every farm household in the state – was conducted by Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar and Punjabi University, Patiala, and the final report is expected in the next two weeks. Meanwhile, the legislative assembly poll results for the elections that took place in February, is to be announced on 11 March.


268.9 million

What is it? The number of new internet users in India in the last three years.

Why is it important? It reflects the growth of smartphones and affordable data plans in the country. A lot hinges on the digitally connected Indians – from government initiatives that want to leverage universal bank accounts, mobile phones and digital identity to reform state services; to private companies that see immense business opportunity in the new digital immigrants.

Tell me more: Globally, the number of new internet users went up by over 500 million, including 97 million new users in China and 35 million new users in Brazil, according to Adobe Digital Insights.

Read More