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$5.4 billion

What is it? The value of the stake in seven publicly-held companies that government plans to sell this fiscal.

Why is it important? The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management has sought bids to manage the sales, as part of the disinvestment programme of the central government. Through strategic stake sale in publicly-held companies and minority stake sale in private companies, the government plans to raise Rs 72,500 crore ($11.26 billion) this year. It would help plug the 3.2% fiscal deficit of GDP for the year.

Tell me more: The companies include large entities such as Indian Oil, NTPC and Steel Authority of India. The initial disinvestment target is seldom met, with the central government often revising it lower through a fiscal. Last year, it managed to earn Rs 46,247 crore through disinvestment.

 

Rs 15 lakh

What is it? The penalty Air India proposes to levy on unruly passengers delaying flights for over two hours.

Why is it important? The national carrier, tasked with transporting government employees and ministers, has had a spate of such incidents, the latest ones involving parliamentarians. Shiv Sena’s Ravindra Gaikwad and Trinamool Congress’ Dola Sen held up flights and misbehaved with the staff. Depending on the delay caused by unruly passengers, the fine would get levied: Delays upto an hour would attract Rs 5 lakh, between one and two hours Rs 10 lakh and beyond two hours Rs 15 lakh.

Tell me more: The proposal also has advice on tackling such situations which include an immediate filing of police complaint.

 

199,000

What is it? The number of H1B visa applications filed by employers for 2018 with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Why is it important? This is the first time the total number of applications fell. Even though it is over two times the available visa quota of 85,000, the number of applications dwindled compared to last year and earlier. Last year, there were 236,000 applications filed by employers. It shows their apprehensions about the H1B visa programme, meant for hiring highly-skilled workers from out of US, after the Trump administration proposed restrictions.

Tell me more: The Indian IT majors have spoken of looking at more local hiring than sending Indian employees to client sites.

 

Rs 39,000 crore

What is it? The declared value of Sahara’s Aamby Valley property

Why is it important? The Supreme Court has now ordered to sell the property, spread over 10,000 acres, because Sahara failed to deposit Rs 5000 crore as required by the court’s earlier order. Sahara Group, through two firms, had raised Rs 24,029 crore from investors in 2009-10, flouting public issue norms. Market regulator Sebi asked Sahara to return the money to investors in 2010. It has paid about Rs 11,000 crore so far. Pending amount is Rs 14,779 crore.

Tell me more:  In February, the court had attached Aamby Valley, on concerns that Sahara is dragging its feet to return the money. Sahara chief Subrata Roy, who was arrested in 2014 over the case, is at present out on a bail.

 

$7.8 million

What is it? The fine amount Google will pay to settle an antitrust case related to Android operating system in Russia

Why is it important? The case indicates the dominance of the search engine giant, which in some ways mirrors the dominance of Microsoft’s operating system in the computer market and the antitrust case it triggered over 15 years ago. Google has also agreed to remove restrictions on pre-installed applications on Android platform. It could potentially become the norm in other markets too.

Tell me more: This is the culmination of a two year old legal battlethat started with a complaint by Yandex, Russia based search engine that said Google is using its dominant position in the market to stifle competition through restrictions on pre-installed apps that come with the phone.

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News in Numbers, Mar 20, 2017: The Wall (not Trump’s)

$130,000

What is it? Minimum wage for a H1B visa holder, as proposed in High Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act, introduced by Congressperson Zoe Lofgren of California earlier this year.

Why is it important? It’s one of the visa reforms being sought by some United States politicians, concerned about foreign nationals taking away American jobs. This bill was expected to impact the way Indian IT companies operate. One of the first signs of change on ground is a decision reported to have taken by Infosys not to apply for H1B visas for junior staff.

Tell me more: The introduction of the bill is potentially acting as a catalyst for IT companies even as they tweak their operating models so they are less dependent on H1B visas (and human resources in general).

 

139 days

What is it? The number of days Manipur was under economic blockade.

Why is it important? United Naga Council, which had imposed the blockade on the north eastern state to protest against the creation of Sadar Hills and Jiribam into full fledged districts, has called it off effective Sunday midnight.

Tell me more: It’s a win for the BJP-led coalition, which is awaiting a floor test in the State Assembly. In the recent elections, Indian National Congress emerged as the single largest party. BJP joined hands with smaller parties to claim the right to form the government.

 

47

What is it? The number of people who were sworn in as ministers in Uttar Pradesh government under chief minister Yogi Adityanath and deputy chief ministers Keshav Prasad Maurya and  Dinesh Sharma.

Why is it important? The focus of everyone’s attention was Yogi Adityanath himself, who is known for provocative and often divisive speeches, and controversial statements. His selection as the country’s largest state came as a surprise to many who thought of recent election results as a mandate for development.

Tell me more: The newly formed government has 21 ministers in cabinet rank. BJP won 312 of the 384 seats it contested (and of 403 available) in the recently held assembly elections. Samajwadi Party won 47 seats and Bahujan Samaj Party won 19.

 

~ 400 million

What is it? The number of customers that telecom players Vodafone and Idea will have as a merged group.

Why is it important? That would mean a 35% market share by number of users. While there were talks about Vodafone – Idea merger for some months now (especially after the launch of Reliance Jio), the companies acknowledged they were in talks last month, and formally announced it after Idea board approved the merger on Monday.  The merged entity will control over 40% of revenue market share, and a quarter of all the spectrum available in the country.

Tell me more: Vodafone will own 45.1%, and Idea promoters will own 26% in the new company.

 

525

What is it? The number of balls faced by Cheteshwar Pujara against Australian cricket team at Ranchi in the ongoing test series.

Why is it important? It is the longest innings ever played by an Indian, and beats Rahul Dravid’s record of 495 balls against Pakistan, in which Dravid scored 270 runs. Pujara scored 202. This is the third test in India – Australia series. The match ends on Monday.

Tell me more: The others in the top five list (of Indian players) who stayed longest on crease by number of balls faced) are Navjot Sidhu, Ravi Shastri and Sunil Gavaskar.

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News in Numbers, Mar 14, 2017: 🎓 IIM-A where A = Amazon

18

What is it? Number of job offers from Amazon at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad for the class of 2017.

Why is it important? This makes the e-commerce player the top recruiter at the premier institute, reflecting the growing power of new-age companies, overtaking conventional sector such as FMCG, consulting firms and finance. The second highest number of offers from a single company was 15, from McKinsey & Company.

Tell me more: Even when companies are hit by adverse economic conditions, recruitment at IIM-A remains largely unaffected.

 

4th

What is it? The world test batting rank of Indian captain, Virat Kohli.

Why is it important? Kohli slipped further one rank after his lacklustre performance in the last four innings, with rating points of 847. At the end of the second test against Australia, he had dropped to the third spot. Earlier, Kohli had to cede the second spot he had occupied to England’s Joe Root. Kohli is 53 rating points ahead of Australia’s David Warner.

Tell me more: The same set of matches, however, helped R Ashwin regain the top spot among allrounders. He replaced Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan and is 31 rating points ahead (with 434 points).

 

$15.3 billion

What is it? The amount US chip company, Intel, will pay to buy Israeli tech firm, Mobileye, creators of a driverless technology.

Why is it important? Not only is it the largest purchase of an Israeli high-tech company, but is also the largest acquisition of a company specialising only in driverless technology and anti-collision systems. In the emerging space of driverless assistance, that large tech Silicon Valley companies are already competing in, chip companies are under pressure to consolidate their hold as they are an integral part of it. Intel itself collaborated with the $10.6 billion Mobileye for BMW’s fleet of self-driving test vehicles.

Tell me more: Qualcomm made a $47 billion deal to buy NXP, the biggest automotive chip supplier, to create the largest cluster of sensors, chips, networking needed for autonomous driving.

 

16.7

What is it? Trailing price to earning ratio (P/E ratio) of top five IT companies. P/E ratio is an indicator of investors’ expectation of growth and earnings of a company.

Why is it important? Given IT companies’ high profit margins and revenue growth, it  has always been higher than the P/E ratio of the Sensex. Now, Sensex P/E ratio is 22.1. The gap indicates the tough times faced by IT companies because of changes in business, technology and political environment, especially the American president Donald Trump’s stand against outsourcing.

Tell me more: About half a dozen bills have been tabled in the United States congress, arguing that H1B visa programme is stopping American citizens from getting jobs.

 

-62%

What is it? North-east monsoon deficit in Tamil Nadu this season.

Why is it important? The deficit is seen across southern states, and indicates that Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are likely to face water shortages in the coming months. The water levels in the reservoirs, especially in Tamil Nadu, are at low levels.

Tell me more: The North East monsoon deficit was -61% in Kerala and -63% coastal Karnataka. South east monsoon deficit stood at -19% in Tamil Nadu, -34% in Kerala and -21% in coastal Karnataka.

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News in Numbers, Feb 01, 2017: Notes-ban drag down GDP

0.25-0.5%

What is it? The effect of the notes-ban on GDP growth in FY17, as estimated in the Economic Survey presented to the Parliament on Tuesday.

Why is it important? The first official acknowledgement of demonetisation’s impact on the economy revises a baseline growth of 7% down to 6.5-6.75%. The Central Statistics Office had not figured in the cash-crunch when giving out its estimate of 7.1% earlier this month. The government took potshots at and challenged unofficial estimates, as most have factored in a larger impact of demonetisation on GDP. It included the IMF, which forecast the withdrawal of 86% of the currency value in November would result in a growth of 6.6%, down a full percentage from its October estimate.

Tell me more: GDP growth in FY18 is expected to be between 6.75 and 7.5%, still lower than FY16’s 7.6%. The government also admitted the GDP estimate would not capture the effect of the cash shortage on the informal sector, the largest employer in the country.

 

>$130,000

What is it? The salary level an H1B visa-dependent employer will have to meet if the High-Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act of 2017 in the US House of Representatives goes through.

Why is it important? It has sent shivers down stocks of Indian IT companies, who send employees for onsite work using the visa. By removing the H1B minimum wage of $60,000, constant since 1989, and more than doubling it for the employer to be exempt from non-displacement and recruitment assessment requirements, the act could strain the coffers of US-based IT clients. It would lead to not just a rethinking of how many local employees to replace with onsite Indian staff, but also see IT companies mull more expensive US hires or digital delivery from India. Major IT stocks including the big four, fell by 2-4.5% while the Sensex dropped 2.96%.

Tell me more: The act would also reserve 20% of the annual H1B visas for small and start-up employers, while removing the ‘per country’ limit for employment-based immigrant visas.

 

5%

What is it? Rise in the share price of US’ Iconix Brand Group, on news of its plans to sell majority stake in the beloved franchise Peanuts Worldwide, which includes cartoon strip characters such as Snoopy and Charlie Brown.

Why is it important? Even though the iconic characters generate around $30 million, licensed in over 100 countries, Iconix’s decision to sell could be the result of a large customer — US insurance company Metlife —  dropping them after 30 years of use as mascots. This could be a major opening into the over-$-144-billion US licenced merchandise market (the biggest in the world) for keen investors. Peanuts, created by Charles Schulz, still counts Nestle, Zara and Hallmark as its licensees.

Tell me more: The deal could ease the debt burden on Iconix which bought its 80% stake in Peanuts in 2010, while the remaining 20% is owned by Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates, controlled by the creator’s family.

 

18 lakhs

What is it? The number of people whose cash deposits after demonetization do not match their taxpayer profiles as identified by the Income Tax department

Why is it important? Indian government hopes that the exercise, a follow up on large scale currency reform in November, will result in a higher tax collection rate. Economic Survey pointed out that India is among the countries that perform poorly on this metric – just seven direct tax payers for every 100 voters. The Income Tax department has identified over 10 million accounts with deposits exceeding Rs 2 lakh, and would start by scrutinizing those who have deposited over Rs 5 lakh.

Tell me more:  The queries by income tax department can be answered via its online portal.

 

78.3 million

What is it? The number of iPhones sold by Apple in the last quarter.

Why is it important? This is the largest number of phones sold by Apple in a quarter since the launch of iPhone in 2007, and comes after three consecutive quarters of decline in sales, defying industry expectations. The sales helped push Apple’s total revenue by 3% to $78.4 billion. It will also restore some faith in its CEO Tim Cook, who has been losing sheen following the decline of iPhone sales and the absence of any other product in its stable to match iPhone’s success.

Tell me more: iPhones accounts for two-thirds of Apple’s sales. The boost comes after the launch of iPhone 7 / 7 Plus in September 2016. While the lower priced iPhone 7 is the best selling model, the bigger ‘Plus’ version performed better than the previous larger sized models launched by the company.

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