News in numbers, Feb 5, 2016: Reliance-Birla deal, India’s estimated exports in FY16…


Rs 4,800 crore

What is it? Amount for which Reliance Infrastructure has agreed to sell its cement assets to Birla Corp.

Why is it important? This would help Reliance Infrastructure reduce some of its debts (total is Rs 16,000 crore). And for Birla Corp., this would mean its capacity would go up to 15 million tonnes from 9.3 tonnes and may be, quicker than it intends to.

Tell me more: Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group is counted among the top 10 indebted groups in India according to a Credit Suisse report, with total debt of Rs 1.14 trillion.

Rs 15,000 crore

What is it? Amount the Petroleum Ministry has sought from the Finance Ministry to shore up India’s second phase of strategic oil reserves.

Why is it important? Crude oil is stored in underground rock caverns that can be used in case external supply is cut off. India imports around 80% of its oil needs and this is expected to go up to 90% in the next 20 years, according to an India Tech-PwC report.

Tell me more: India is spending nearly Rs 5,000 crore “towards crude filling costs” in three storage facilities – Vishakapatnam, Mangalore and Padur – which can hold over 5.1 lakh truck-tanker loads of crude oil. This can power India for about 13 days as against strategic oil reserves of 90 days of net oil imports, the global standard set by the International Energy Association.

$265-270 billion

What is it? India’s estimated exports in 2015-16, according to the Federation of Indian Exports Organization (FIEO). This is 13-15% lower than the exports recorded in 2014-15.

Why is it important? Lower commodity prices account for a large portion of this fall, but export volume too is shrinking. Nearly half of 76 commodities for which volume data is available registered a drop in quantity sold in April – October 2015. These 76 commodities account for 44% of exports.

Tell me more: Job creation fell by a net 43,000 in April-June 2015, of which export-oriented companies reported a decline of 26,000.


What is it? Projected growth of India’s IT and software services export revenue to about $121 billion in 2016-17 by industry lobby Nasscom.

Why is it important? Software industry employs 3.7 million people and lower growth rate would mean hiring would stagnate at 200,000 in next financial year. In comparison, nearly 1.6 million engineers graduate each year, and most of them vie to gain employment in the software industry.

Tell me more: The growth forecast of 12-14% in the current fiscal and also, the third consecutive year in which there is a decline in projections. The lower end of the projection for next fiscal is the lowest in five years.

$120 million (over Rs 800 crore)

What is it? Amount 400 food delivery startups in India have raised from venture capital firms and other investors in the last three years.

Why is it important? Despite all the funding, the startups have failed to replace the traditional delivery networks that have been in existence since the 1890s. The famous Mumbai’s ‘dabbawalas’ (colloquial term for those who deliver the meal boxes) provide approximately 200,000 lunch boxes from central kitchens and cooks’ homes every day. The biggest food startups in India including FoodPanda, TinyOwl and Zomato have had to let go of people and scale down operations in the last few months.

Tell me more: Mumbai’s dabbawalas have been popular for their low error rate (of meal boxes going astray) despite being run by a group of semi-literate people who use no technology and charge a nominal amount of Rs 400-1,200 per month depending on the distance and time taken.

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News in Numbers – June 15, 2015


40,000 tonnes

This number denotes the quantity of foodgrains damaged at the godowns of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) in the last two years. In 2014-15, Odisha saw the highest quantity of foodgrains destroyed (mainly due to cyclone Phailin), followed by Jammu and Kashmir (because of the floods in September 2014). Under the National Security Food Act, 2013, each beneficiary of the public distribution system is entitled to 5 kg of cereals per month. Going by that, the quantity of foodgrains wasted in two years could have benefited around 80 lakh people in one month (4,00,00,000 / 5).


India has received 5% more rainfall than the normal level so far from June 1 but this is not exactly good news because this is mainly because eastern and north-eastern parts of the country received an excess of 22% rainfall. The other regions- northwest, central and southern India received less than normal rainfall – a deficit of 10%, 6% and 4% respectively. This is significant because over 60% of agricultural land in India are dependent on the rains for irrigation. The All-India Daily Mean Rainfall forecast made on June 14, 2015 for the following week shows the rainfall received would be around 23% lower than the observed normal except on June 21, 2015, when it is expected to cross it by a margin.

Rs 75,000 crore

Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), owned by the richest Indian Mukesh Ambani, has big-bang plans of launching 4G telecom services, expand its network of retail stores to 900 cities this year and build an e-commerce platform. This involves an investment of about Rs 80,000 crore in the next 15 months. It would be interesting to see how it manages its financials when it already has a debt of Rs 75,000 crore (as on March 31, 2015) – quite an increase if you consider its previously debt-free status.

Rs 17.77 lakh crore

That’s how much the Indian government is likely to spend in the current financial year. The Finance Ministry has asked the ministries to start spending, the only condition being that the focus should be on capital expenditure in areas including roads, shipping, rural development and agriculture. A pickup in indirect tax revenue has given the finance ministry better room for spending. The government has already spent 8.7% of FY15 budget allocation in April (the highest in two decades). The corresponding figures for the previous two financial years were 6.8% (first year of NDA government) and 6.1% (last year of UPA-II government).


That is the number of gold smuggling cases registered in India in 2014-15 – about 4,480 kg of gold worth Rs 1,120 crore were seized in these cases and over 250 people arrested. This is about 1.6 times the number of gold smuggling cases registered in 2013-14 (2,700 cases where 2,760 kg of gold worth Rs 690 crore was seized). In 2012-13, there were 870 such cases, about five times lesser than those registered last year. The World Gold Council estimates the annual smuggling volumes to be around 175 tonnes in 2014, which is about 39 times the gold seized by the Indian authorities in 2014-15.


Twitter: @Howindialives

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