Darjeeling: More force to keep calm

1,400

What is it? The number of paramilitary personnel deployed in Darjeeling by the Centre.

Why is it important? They will help the West Bengal government in tackling the protests in the town. The protests, triggered by the West Bengal government’s decision to make Bengali compulsory in schools across the state, soon flared up into the longstanding demand for a separate state, spearheaded by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.

Tell me more: The unrest has resulted in violence in the last few days. Protesters clashed with police and torched an outpost.

$6 billion

What is it? The amount Reliance Industries (RIL) and BP will invest in three projects, including  the development of deepwater gas fieldsand other areas downstream areas in India.

Why is it important? India’s energy use is expected to skyrocket with energy consumption set to more than double by 2040 to 1,908 mn-tonne. Oil companies are moving now to be ready for the demand. Both private companies such as RIL and BP and state-owned companies such as IOC, BPCL and HPCL are investing in increasing capacity.

Tell me more: BP, the British petroleum company, intends to set up fuel stations along with RIL.

 

$13.84 billion

What is it? India’s trade deficit, difference between the value of total exports and imports, in May, 2017.

Why is it important? The gap has been widening for the third straight month, and is the highest in two and a half years. Gold imports of nearly $5 billion widened the deficit.

Tell me more: Gold import had fallen right after demonetisation and its impact on trade deficit seen in January and February, 2017.

 

146

What is it? The number of districts identified as having total fertility rate (TFR) of more than three children born per woman.

Why is it important? These districts, 145 of which were identified in 2016, are in the high TFR states — Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Assam — that make up 44% of the country’s population. The government has devised an initiative, Mission Parivar Vikas, to impart awareness and intensive family planning services in these places to control population growth.

Tell me more: High TFR in these districts also lead to unsafe conditions for mother and child, accounting for 25-30% of maternal deaths and 50% of infant deaths, as reported.

 

104

What is it? The tiger count in the national park of Kaziranga and Burachapori in Assam.

Why is it important? It shows an increase of 21 tigers since 2014. Last year and the start of 2017 seem to have been ominous for India’s tiger population, and this is a ray of good news. While 99 wild tigers died in 2016, 21 Royal Bengal tigers died in Jan-Mar this year.

Tell me more: The last official census was of 2,226 tigers in the wild, though widely contested by wildlife experts.

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Mother of all bombs? 💣

7.4%

What is it? The rate at which Infosys revenues grew in the fiscal year 2016-17.  It closed the year with $10.21 billion in revenue.

Why is it important? The growth rate disappointed the market and its stock price fell by over 3% in trading on Thursday. Volume growth for the quarter was 7.7%, down from 15.39% in the same period last year, essentially bringing it closer to the growth rates when Vishal Sikka took over as CEO.

Tell me more: Infosys, which was in the news recently after the company founder NR Narayana Murthy publicly expressed his displeasure over compensation given to top managers, has also appointed Ravi Venkatesan as co-chairman along with R Seshasayee. The company also said it will payout Rs 13,000 crore via share buyback or as dividends.

 

67%

What is it? The increase in the number of corruption complaints against government departments by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC).

Why is it important? The bulk of the complaints, 11,200 out of a total of 49,847, were against the Railways, one of the largest-consumer facing government institutions. Other departments which attracted large number of corruption complaints were mostly consumer-facing such as banking and the IT department, or overseeing highly-regulated sectors such as the Ministry of Petroleum, Telecommunications. But data shows the CVC has been passing on less cases against senior government officials to the CBI or Central Vigilance Officers for investigation, referring only 0.16% in 2014 and 0.001% in 2017 of all such cases, down from 1.88% in 2014.

Tell me more: In the year 2015, complaints had declined by 50% than in 2014, at 29,838. The news about the rise in complaints comes after just a few weeks of the CVC’s portal’s crash when data against corrupt officials were reportedly deleted.

 

9,797 kg

What is it? The weight of the GBU-43 bomb dropped by US on a cave and tunnel complex used by Islamic State  in Afghanistan.

Why is it important? It is one of the largest non-nuclear bombs in the US military arsenal, officially called Massive Ordnance Air Blast, or Moab, and unofficially referred to as “the mother of all bombs”.  US President Donald Trump, who had vowed to wipe out Isis in his election campaign, called it “a very successful mission”. The US didn’t didn’t disclose the number of deaths caused by the bomb – militants or civilian. Some experts have said the bombing was symbolic, rather than tactical, and might not alter the course of the war, now in its 16th year.

Tell me more: Originally developed for the invasion of  Iraq in 2003, Moab is 30-feet long, and was dropped from a cargo plane. This is the first time the bomb was used.

 

$10.4 billion

What is it? The foreign trade deficit of India in March, 2017.

Why is it important? The trade deficit, after decreasing, to less than $10 billion, for two consecutive months in Jan-Feb, on strong exports, sprang back to a wider gap than Oct-Dec, in March. Even though exports continued to strengthen, growing at 27.59% year-on-year, the rise in crude oil (101.43% rise) and gold imports widened the deficit.

Tell me more: The trade deficit for the whole of FY17, however, narrowed by 11% from a year ago, to $105.7 billion.

 

Rs 1,675 crore

What is it? The latest funding raised by Ola, the Indian cab-booking app, from SoftBank, the Japanese telecom and Internet company.

Why is it important? While all eyes are on Softbank’s next move with its other major Indian investment, Snapdeal, its fresh funds worth $250 million for Ola, closed last year, has now been made public. However, Ola, like other Indian unicorns, reportedly raised the money at a valuation lower than the last round of funding, from $4.5 billion to $3 billion.

Tell me more: SoftBank’s subsidiary SIMI Pacific made the investment in Ola’s parent company ANI Technologies, before it had floated its new investment vehicle in India, Vision Fund.

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News in Numbers, Feb 16, 2017: 💸 Investment bankers get an idea

$9,840.91 million

What is it? The trade deficit in January, 2017.

Why is it important? The trade deficit, or the difference in value of exports and imports, shrank to its lowest in four months. It was brought about by growth in exports for the fifth straight month, buoyed by petroleum products and engineering goods. The shrinking trade deficit also showed the impact of decreasing gold imports which shrank by 30%.

Tell me more: Demand in US, Europe and Japan led to the 4.32% increase in exports.

 

3

What is it? The number of Taiwanese parliamentarians in the delegation that visited India this week

Why is it important? It drew a diplomatic protest from China which objected to India hosting anyone from self-ruled Taiwan. China blocks Taiwan’s right to diplomatic relations with others as it considers it to be one of its own provinces. It also resists attempts of other countries with ties to it from acknowledging official institutions of Taiwan, encouraging, instead, the ‘one China’ principle. The complaint marks another entry in the uneasy Indo-China relations, plagued by border disputes and conflicting stands on the fight against terrorism.

Tell me more: India has termed the visit as informal and nothing unusual, for purposes of business, religion and tourism.

 

$40 million

What is it? The estimated fee for investment banks advising on the Vodafone India and Idea Cellular merger.

Why is it important? A deal that would create India’s largest telecom operator with around Rs 78,000 crore ($12 billion) sales would generate almost 10% of last year’s total investment fees earned by investment banks in India. Hence, quite a few banks are vying for a slice of the pie.

Tell me more: Banks in the fray reportedly include BofA Merrill Lynch, UBS, Standard Chartered and Rothschild, while Morgan Stanley has already been appointed.

 

Rs 37 trillion

What is it? Asset base of State Bank of India (SBI) post merger with five of its subsidiaries.

Why is it important? The cabinet approved the merger on Wednesday. State Bank of India is already the largest bank in the country, and the merger will push the bank into the top global 50 list in terms of assets (It’s at number 52 now). The merger is also expected to create operational efficiency, saving the bank Rs 10 billion in the first year.

Tell me more: The banks to be merged with SBI are State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore , State Bank of Patiala and State Bank of Travancore. All put together, SBI will have 22,500 branches, 58,000 ATMs and over 50 crore customers.

 

$300 million

What is it? The amount Yahoo and Verizon have reportedly decided to lop off from the $4.8 billion acquisition deal

Why is it important? The reduction in the value comes after Yahoo disclosed two security breaches in the second half of 2016. The hack had compromised millions of Yahoo Users, and occurred in 2013 and 2014. The disclosure came after Verizon agreed to acquire Yahoo for $4.8 billion in July 2016 – and raised concerns about digital security, and the responsibility of tech firms that handle user data when a breach happens to various stakeholders including users and investors.

Tell me more: The first breach, in August 2013, affected over a billion accounts, and the second, in late 2014, affected over 500 million accounts.

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News in Numbers, Dec 16, 2016: Will the lottery system work?

 

Rs 340 crore

What is it? The estimated cost at which Niti Aayog, the government think-tank body, is implementing two schemes (Lucky Grahak Yojana for consumers and Digi-dhan Vyapar Yojana for merchants).

Why is it important? These schemes, probably the first of their kinds announced by the government, are aimed encouraging customers to go for digital payments by incentivising them. Under the first scheme, lucky draws would enable 15,000 winners to get cashback prizes of Rs 1,000 each day for a 100-day period starting December 25 besides weekly awards worth Rs 5,000, Rs 10,000 and Rs 1 lakh. The second scheme would offer weekly prizes worth Rs 2,500, Rs 5,000 and Rs 50,000 for merchants. Currently, an estimated 5% of Indians use digital payment modes and point-of-sale transactions saw an increase of 95% since November 8.

Tell me more: The National Payment Corporation of India will implement these schemes, which will cover transactions between Rs 50 and Rs 3,000 done through UPI, USSD, Aadhaar Enabled Payment System and RuPay Cards. These would not be applicable for transactions done through private credit cards and e-wallets of private companies.

 

Rs 5 lakh crore

What is it? The amount that has been supplied to the market in new currency notes since November 8 (the date when the demonetisation move was announced).

Why is it important? This is about 32.5% of the Rs 15.4 lakh crore that was taken out of circulation when high denomination currency notes (Rs 500 and Rs 1,000) were withdrawn. The government says that by the end of this month, this number would reach at least 50% of the demonetised amount – in new and existing denominations. However, according to a calculation based on India’s printing capacity of currency notes and the need for notes in smaller denominations, it would take up to April 2017 to introduce Rs 9 lakh crore (58.4% of the demonetised amount) – the main problem being the inability of the presses to print Rs 500 notes.

Tell me more: The Reserve Bank of India had said that Rs 12.44 lakh crore has been deposited in banks as of December 10 but the government has expressed doubts about this figure and has asked it to countercheck to weed out discrepancies that might have creeped in due to double counting.

 

Rs 3,000 crore

What is it? The amount sought by Nusli Wadia, an independent director on the boards of three Tata Group companies, in damages. He has filed a defamation suit in the Bombay High Court on Thursday against chairman emeritus Ratan Tata and Tata Sons.

Why is it important? Suggests that the Tata Sons-Cyrus Mistry corporate battle is getting uglier and is showing no signs of abatement. His defamation suit comes after Tata Sons had said that he was working in concert Mistry, the ousted chairman of Tata Sons, and against the interests of the Tata companies and shareholders, and moved a resolution seeking to remove him from the boards of Tata Motors, Tata Steel and Tata Chemicals. Wadia asked the company to prove the charges levelled against him and served three legal notices to Tata Sons in November asking them to withdraw the allegations but the group failed to do so. This has been followed by the Rs 3,000-crore defamation suit.

Tell me more: The High Court is expected to take up the matter on December 19 and Wadia faces a shareholders’ vote on December 23 after the group’s holding company moved the resolution to remove him as an independent director.

 

$13 billion

What is it? India’s trade deficit (excess of imports over exports) in November.

Why is it important? This was the highest in the last 16 months and sharply wider than the $10.41 billion recorded the previous month. Though exports rose for the third straight month in November on a year-on-year basis, it was lower than that in October – a likely impact of demonetisation and US Fed Reserve’s imminent decision to hike interest rates (it did so on Wednesday). The currency reset could have also resulted in a spike in gold imports (a 25.7% increase month-on-month and 23% from a year ago), which in turn, pushed up the trade deficit.

Tell me more: Of the 30 major product groups, 20 registered positive growth in November.

 

$14.6 billion

What is it? The amount media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox has agreed to pay to gain full control over London-based Sky Plc.

Why is it important? This is Murdoch’s second attempt at gaining control after his previous bid was thwarted in 2011 over a phone-hacking scandal at his UK newspapers. However, this takeover attempt may not be a smooth one as minority shareholders have expressed concern at how the pay-TV company’s independent directors accepted the offer at seemingly low share price levels. Besides, there are also fears that this acquisition would threaten media plurality in the UK.

Tell me more: The deal values Sky at and Fox, which is the founding shareholder of Sky, currently owns 39.1% of the company’s shares.$23.4 billion.

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