Farms_and_Forest,_Martali_village,_Eastern_India_2012

Rise in Forest Cover?

 

 

80.2 million hectares

What is it? India’s forest and tree cover, which is 24.39% of the country’s total geographical area (GA), according to the India State of Forest Report 2017 released by the government on Monday.

Why is it important? This is an increase of 8,021 sq km from 2015, or about a 1% increase. But this increase should be taken with a caveat: the Forest Survey of India defines ‘forest cover’ in an expansive way, and ends up including urban parks, orchards and plantations, among others, as well.

Tell me more: In 2015, the total forest and tree cover was 79.42 million hectare, representing 24.16% of India’s total GA. This indicates the country has an uphill task of having 33% of its GA under forest cover. However, 15 states and union territories have over 33% of their GA under forest cover, of which seven have more than 75% forest cover.

 

2

What is it? The number of companies, ArcelorMittal and Numetal Mauritius, that have reportedly submitted binding financial bids for bankrupt Essar Steel as the deadline closed on Monday evening.

Why is it important? Other potential bidders such as Tata Steel and Anil Agarwal of Vedanta Resources have reportedly withdrawn as Numetal, a special purpose vehicle backed by a consortium of Russia’s VTB Capital and the Ruia family, has entered into an agreement to purchase a key pipeline that supplies raw materials to Essar Steel’s Odisha plant due to which competing bidders may find the acquisition of Essar Steel to be less attractive.

Tell me more: However, it remains to be seen if Numetal’s application is accepted as the Ruia family (also, the promoters of Essar Steel) is present in the consortium, which goes against the recent changes made to India’s bankruptcy laws that bar defaulting promoters to bid for distressed assets.

 

1 billion euros

What is it? The total income in 2015-16 of Oxfam, the United Kingdom-based confederation of 20 non-government organisations that has been rocked by a sexual misconduct scandal involving some of its employees.

Why is it important? On Monday, it emerged that some government institutions and corporates were reportedly reviewing their funding to Oxfam following revelations that senior Oxfam aid staff used sex workers in Haiti and Chad, and that designated employees elsewhere in the organisation reportedly either sought to cover this up or failed to crack down on.

Tell me more: On Monday, Oxfam’s deputy chief executive Penny Lawrence resigned from her position. Lawrence was Oxfam’s international programmes director when concerns about sexual misconduct were first reported.

 

Rs 565 crore

What is it? The amount raised in equity funding by Lendingkart Technologies, a fintech startup that provides online loans to small businesses. The latest fund raise, announced on Monday, takes the total amount raised by the Lendingkart Group to Rs 1,129 crore.

Why is it important? It continues the robust flow of funds into fintech startups, several of which are rewiring the loans space, either with their choice of targeted customers (for example, less-served small businesses) or product offerings (for example, peer to peer lending, or collateral-free loans).

Tell me more: Lendingkart’s latest funding round was led by Singapore’s Fullerton Financial Holdings, and also saw participation by existing investors, namely Sistema Asia Fund, Bertelsmann India Investment, Mayfield India, India Quotient and Saama Capital.

 

5.07%

What is it? The increase in retail prices, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), for the month of January.

Why is it important? This is marginally lower than the December 2017 reading of 5.21%, which was a 17-month high. Yet, it remained above the central bank’s medium-term target of 4%—the third consecutive month it has done so, thus all but ruling out the prospect of an interest rate cut in the near term.

Tell me more: Among sub-categories in food and beverages, inflation in vegetables remained high, while that in pulses and products fell sharply.

 

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News In Numbers – July 15

News In Numbers: July 15 

Rs 64.3 crore

The amount raised by the Aam Aadmi Party from public donations since 12 December 2013, shortly after the first elections it fought. On Tuesday, a day after party chief and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal made an emotional pitch for donations as it was close to running out of funds, AAP witnessed a renewal of interest and raised about Rs 12.3 lakh from 909 donors. Since December 2013, the only Indian political party that makes its entire donor list public has contested a national election and a state election, and expanded beyond its roots in Delhi.

 

Rs 250 crore

Bank of India’s exposure to Essar Steel, which has been classified as a bad loan by the bank’s auditors. If the principal and/or interest component of a loan are not repaid within 90 days of the due date, the bank has to classify it under the bad loans category, which attracts nearly 38 times the provisioning done for standard assets. In this case, the steel company paid its dues a few days after the stipulated period, and most banks treated loans to it as standard, but the auditors of Bank of India had insisted on going by the rulebook, prompting the bank to write to the Reserve Bank of India about this case. The bank posted a loss of Rs 56 crore in the March-end quarter, its first quarterly loss since 2001, mainly on account of higher provisioning and expenses.

 

0.4-0.6%

Lower oil prices could boost India’s GDP by 0.4-0.6% over the next two years. The agreement struck by Iran and six world powers (US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany) on Tuesday will see the middle-eastern nation curb its nuclear programme in return for removal of international sanctions. The increase in oil supply from Iran is likely to result in lower crude oil prices, with the pace and quantum depending on how fast it can ramp its oil production. This is good news for India, which meets about 70% of its crude oil requirements through imports.

 

Rs 350 crore

The potential revenue loss that Chennai Super Kings, the best-performing Indian Premier League franchise on the cricket field, is facing following its suspension, along with Rajasthan Royals, from the league for two years. On the cost side, the approximate value of all players in the CSK team is $15 million (around Rs 95 crore). The brand value of both teams is also expected to erode.

 

2.40%

Wholesale inflation fell 2.40% in June, its eighth consecutive month of decline. Yet, this may not prompt the Reserve Bank of India to cut interest rates as retail inflation, the numbers for which were released a day earlier, was at an eighth-month high in June. The one point of convergence in the two rates was food prices. In June, the price basket of food items in the wholesale index rose 1.3%, mainly due to an increase in the prices of pulses, poultry chicken and tea.

 

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