A truck 🚛 shortage for cars 🚗

7 years

What is it? The number of years for which start-ups will be eligible to receive tax benefits under Startup India Scheme. Start-ups can avail tax exemption for three years within seven years of incorporation.

Why is it important? The move could help bring more start-up under the Startup India Scheme, which has seen limited success so far. Till April 2017, only 10 startup have availed tax benefits under the scheme. Government has removed the requirement to get a certificate from an incubator or industry association to be eligible for tax benefits.

Tell me more: Finance Bill 2017 had proposed the same but said the implementation will be from April next year. Industries Ministry has not spelt out from when the change would be rolled out.



What is it? Net migration number for UK in 2016.

Why is it important? The number, a difference between how many immigrated and emigrated from the island nation, has fallen by 84,000 from 2015. It was mainly driven by 115,000 European Union citizens who emigrated in 2016, as compared to 31,000 in 2015.

Tell me more: In June last year, UK voted to move out of the European Union. The status of EU citizens in UK is still not clear, as UK wants to extract reciprocal rights for its citizens.



What is it? The supply gap in new automobiles created by a shortage of car carriers.

Why is it important? The supply crunch, estimated to last for 45-90 days, is a result of car carriers, or the large trucks transporting new cars from factories to warehouses and showrooms, reducing their length to meet new regulation. New Central Motor Vehicles Rules stipulate car carriers to measure no more than 18.7 metre. Around 15,000 such trucks are in line to be modified from their usual size of 22 metre or longer, leading to the shortage.

Tell me more: The smaller carriers would also mean more trips for each as their carrying capacity would be cut by 20%. The rule came into effect from April this year, doing away with illegal sizes of car-transporter trailers.



What is it? The number of ideas generated by the ‘Zero Bench’ at Infosys.

Why is it important? ‘Zero Bench’ a coin termed as part of Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka’s Zero Distance initiative, is geared to keep the software giant’s 8,500-employee-strong bench motivated. Roped in for its innovation and problem-solving drive, the bench, comprising engineers not assigned a project at the time, have implemented 2,000 ideas and generated 9,500 master projects.

Tell me more: The engagement involves over 4% of Infosys total employee strength (200,364 as on March, 2017).


50 metre

What is it? A draft coastal regulation zone proposal aims to reduce the no-development zone in rural areas to 50 metre from the high tide line, as compared to 200 metre at present.

Why is it important? This could fuel economic activities alone India’s 7,500 km-long coastline, but environmentalists fear such a move would damage marine environment. The draft permits housing and basic infrastructure for local population after 50 metre from the high tide line, from 100 metre as of now.

Tell me more: Coastal Regulation Zone notification was first issued in 1991 to limit industrial activities. Since then, it has been amended 25 times.

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News in Numbers, Mar 30, 2017: Bills and losses

14 paise/minute

What is it? The least possible retail price for calls according to leading mobile players Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular.

Why is it important? Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has rejected the claim. This puts a spanner in the works of embattled telecom players. They had rallied around to protest call charges lower than the interconnect charge of 14 paise a minute. This is paid by the operator on whose network a call originates to the recipient network operator. At the centre of the storm is Reliance Jio, whose pricing is being termed as predatory as its ‘free’ consumer offers involves paying other networks the interconnect charge. It has ardently lobbied for dropping of even the interconnect charges to be able to price its products even lower. But it would hit the income of other networks for connecting Jio’s calls.

Tell me more: Trai will present its argument of rejecting interconnect charges as the minimum retail price to the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal this week.


213 megawatts

What is it? India’s net exported power in April-February, 2017, turning it into a net exporter for the first time since exports began the mid-80s.

Why is it important? Even as states like Bihar continue to reel from scarce power supply, India turns net exporter, after commissioning new power lines through parts of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Nepal. It exported 5,798 megawatts to Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar, and imported 5,585 megawatts from Bhutan.

Tell me more: India started exporting electricity in the mid-80s but remained a net importer so far. More cross-border linkages with higher voltage will raise the quantity.



What is it? The number of money bills, part the last GST-related statutes batch, passed by the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, during the ongoing budget session of the Parliament.

Why is it important? The seminal tax reform, Goods and Services Tax, could now see the light of day as early as July 1, across India. GST will create a uniform indirect tax structure and making the states and Centre equal stakeholders in it through the GST council. With the last four bills — central GST bill, the integrated GST bill, the Union Territory GST bill, and the GST (compensation to states) bill — passed by the lower house, the Rajya Sabha has 14 days to make recommendations only on the laws (money bills).

Tell me more: Between April and May, the GST council will have to categorise goods and services in the four taxation slabs for GST — 5%, 12%, 28% and 28%.



What is it? The number of amendments with which the finance bill was passed in Rajya Sabha.

Why is it important? The amendments included those relating to additional powers to income tax officials and political funding by companies. These moves by the government were not only criticised for giving too much power to tax officials and reducing transparency, they were also criticised for using Finance Bill to pass far reaching reforms. Rajya Sabha has limited power over Money Bill, it can suggest changes, but Lok Sabha need not accept them. BJP has a majority in Lok Sabha.

Tell me more: Three amendments were moved by Digvijaya Singh of Congress and the remaining two by Sitaram Yechury of CPI(M)


Rs 12,000 crore

What is it? The projected loss to automobile sector, including manufacturers and dealers, if the sale of BS-III (those complying to Bharat Stage 3 emission norms) vehicles are stopped from April.

Why is it important? Supreme court banned the sales of all the BS-III vehicles effective April, saying emissions from these vehicles impact the health. Manufacturers still have 8.24 vehicles that comply to BS-III norms, and junking them would result in the losses. However, the Supreme Court said the deadline was set 6 years ago, and the industry was given enough time to prepare for the transition. The vehicles in stock include 96,724 commercial vehicles, 6,71,308 two-wheelers, 40,048 three-wheelers and 16,198 cars. They are now rushing to clear these inventories now.

Tell me more: BS III corresponds to Euro III norms. BS IV – corresponding to Euro IV – is slated to be imposed from April 1st 2017, and BS VI, with even higher standards is expected to come into force by 2020.

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News in Numbers, Mar 22, 2017: Who moved my cash 💸

Rs 640.75

What is it? The closing price of Avenue Supermarts on the first day of its trading at the bourses.


Why is it important? That’s more than double its issue price, when it went for initial public offering earlier this month. Avenue is the holding company of D-Mart retail chain and operates in a segment rife with growth, margin and business model issues.

Tell me more: Avenue Supermarts is part of a busy IPO season which continues in 2017, after a good year in 2016.


Rs 2 lakh

What is it? The limit to a single cash transaction (or multiple cash transactions related to the same event) if the amendment to the Finance Bill, 2017 gets passed in the Lok Sabha.

Why is it important? This is a further reduction from earlier cap of Rs 3 lakh suggested in the Union Budget for 2017-18. A cap on cash payments will push the public towards more digital payments and potentially increase tax collections. Norway, Sweden and Denmark, the countries that score high on human development, have a tax revenue to GDP ratio of around 50%. For India it is around 17%.

Tell me more: This is a part of the record 40 amendments proposed for the finance bill.


$1 billion

What is it? The fall in US President Donald Trump’s net-worth compared to March, 2016.

Why is it important? The first billionaire president of the United States, Trump’s fortune dwindled to tie him with 19 others as the 544th richest billionaire. He dropped 220 spots on the Forbes billionaire list as prices dropped in a part of New York’s real estate market where 40% of his wealth is tied up.

Tell me more: Trump’s business had also donated $66 million to last year’s presidential campaign.



What is it? The number of greenfield airports that have received government approval

Why is it important? About Rs 30,000 crore will be invested in building these airports, to be set up mostly in the smaller cities and towns. It is likely to help push investments in more centres, and eventually align with the government’s multi-modal logistics hubs initiative that aims to bring down the logistics cost for companies by strengthening infrastructure.

Tell me more: Mopa (Goa), Navi Mumbai, Shirdi and Sindhudurg (Maharashtra), Bijapur, Gulbarga, Hassan and Shimoga (Karnataka), Kannur (Kerala), Pakyong (Sikkim), Karaikal (Puducherry), Dholera (Gujarat) and Bhogapuram (Andhra Pradesh) are among the places that will get new airports if the projects go through.


Rs 5092.6 crore

What is it? The amount Sahara Group has to deposit in SEBI-Sahara refund account by April 17, 2017.

Why is it important? Supreme Court has now warned that it would auction the group’s Aamby Valley project, worth Rs 39,000 crore if it doesn’t deposit the amount on time. The court refused to extend the deadline. Last month, it had said the group had to pay the amount by the deadline to keep its chief Subrata Roy out of jail.

Tell me more: Securities and exchange board of India has been struggling to get Sahara Group return Rs 24,000 crore plus interest to investors through a long drawn court battle.

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News in Numbers, Feb 10, 2017: How safe are your debit cards?

3.2 million


What is it? Bank customers whose debit card data was stolen in 2016 due to the hacking of Hitachi Payment Services that manages ATMs of certain banks.


Why is it important? While millions of users were stricken between May and July of 2016 and had their money stolen, Hitachi Payments only now admitted on Thursday it still does not know the amount of user data compromised. The hacking, detected in September, led to an audit of Hitachi Payments, whose ATMs for banks like ICICI Bank, Yes Bank, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, SBI were affected the most.


Tell me more: The audit results, now out, by SISA Information Security and commissioned by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), tells of a sophisticated malware that concealed its tracks and was able to delete them. Hitachi in its admission says containment measures have been deployed.





What is it? The productivity of the Lok Sabha in the first phase of the Budget session for 2017.


Why is it important? The phase which saw the Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Bill or the bill on demonetisation, along with others such as the Finance Bill, Payment of Wages (Amendment) Bill, passed, saw the Lok Sabha accomplish 13% more work than scheduled. This was less than the first phase productivity of 2016’s Budget session (123%). While the data was shared by the Parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar, it reiterates a study by think-tank PRS Legislative Research which showed having a majority in the lower house helped keep up Budget session productivity levels for this government. While productivity hovered between 49-89% in 2010-2013 Budget sessions, 2014 onwards, it was at 103-121%.


Tell me more: Rajya Sabha productivity in the first phase of the ongoing session was 97%.



>3 million


What is it? The number of people forced from their homes by the civil war going on in South Sudan, the world’s youngest country.


Why is it important? The United Nations now says the fighting between the government and rebel forces is reaching “worrying proportions”. Aid workers have had to be evacuated and military supplies and reinforcements find their way to the country.


Tell me more: South Sudan’s brief history has been fraught with the ongoing civil war leading to a humanitarian crisis, rife with displacement and food insecurity. A tentative peace agreement struck in 2015 is still to be acted upon.



$ 250 billion


What is it? The amount analysts expect India to spend on defense modernisation over the next 10 years


Why is it important? With this large budget, it hopes to get manufacturers shift their production facilities to India, boosting its Make in India campaign. Its deal with Lockheed Martin to make its F-16 combat jets in India was in this direction. However, the defense firm has now said US government under Trump might take a fresh look at the deal, which could be a setback for Make in India efforts.
Tell me more: One of the key campaign promises of Donald Trump was to bring back jobs to America, and the indications are that he will try protectionist measures to achieve that.



2 million


What is it? The number of users Twitter added in the last quarter of 2016. It now has 319 million monthly active users.


Why is it important? In contrast, Facebook, its rival in the social media space, added 72 million users. It came during the height of American presidential campaign, with Donald Trump making his most impactful statements on Twitter. The user growth, as well as the merely 1% increase in quarterly revenues hammered the stock price down by 11%.


Tell me more: Despite this, Twitter suggested its users are getting more addicted to the platform pointed to the growth (11% quarter on quarter) in daily active user numbers.

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