Locking in home-loan borrowers

3 years

What is it? The numbers of years of lock-in before home loan borrowers can transfer their outstanding amount to another lender. A demand made by mortgage loan lenders to the regulator, National Housing Board.

Why is it important? If accepted, borrowers won’t be able to transfer their loan balance to take advantage of falling interest rates. In the last six months, lending rates has dropped by 120 basis points (one basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point). Lenders say a lock-in will reduce churn in their portfolio, and better manage their borrowing and lending costs.

Tell me more: Housing loans is estimated at Rs 1,063,225 crore as on March 2015, much higher than total credit outstanding of scheduled commercial banks.



Rs 1.42 trillion

What is it? The direct taxes collected in April-June of 2017-18 financial year.

Why is it important? It is 14.8% more than the net collection last year in the same quarter and is 14.5% of the Rs 9.8 lakh-crore target for direct taxes in 2017-18.

Tell me more: The advance tax collection stood at Rs 58,783 crore in the quarter. It comprised a jump of 40.3% in personal advance tax and a corporate advance tax of 8.1%.




What is it? The Fifa rank of the Indian men’s football team.

Why is it important? The national football team ranked its second-best in the Fifa (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) listing, after 1996’s 94th spot. The team has 341 points and has won 13 of their last 15 matches, remaining unbeaten in the last eight.

Tell me more: The football team had to climb 77 spots from 173rd in March, 2015 to reach here.



1,155 cubic km

What is it? The volume of ice that is set to break away from the Antarctic ice shelf.

Why is it important? This is going to produce one of the largest icebergs in the South Pole. It is one of the alarming fallouts of global warming, ie. rising temperature. The rift in the Larsen C ice shelf is now within 5 km of breaking all the way, and is already 200 km-long.

Tell me more: The iceberg, thus adrift, could pose a hazard for sea traffic. The free-floating ice shelves also prevent ice from land to flow into the sea. But if these break apart then land-based ice could result in raised water levels of the oceans and seas.



Rs 6,000 – Rs 7,000 crore

What is it? The likely amount SBI Life Insurance Co. Ltd is expected to rise from selling 12% equity stake through an initial public offering (IPO). The private insurer got the approval from the insurance regulator recently.

Why is it important? If successful, SBI Life will be the second life insurance company to list the shares in the stock markets. At Rs 7,000 crore for 12% stake, SBI Life’s market capitalization will be around Rs 58,000 crore.

Tell me more: ICICI Prudential, the number one private life insurer, sold Rs 6,057 crore of shares through an IPO, and is currently valued Rs 70,239 crore.

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Americans’ insurance loss


What is it? The estimated percentage of traders who don’t have access to computers, according to the Confederation of All Indian Traders (CAIT) – a trade body.

Why is it important? Traders with turnover above Rs 20 lakh per year are required to file returns online – thrice a month – under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime that will be rolled out from July 1. CAIT estimates 35 million out of the 60 million small firms will be eligible to file returns under GST.

Tell me more: Traders whose turnover is between Rs 20 lakh and Rs 75 lakh can opt for composition scheme and can file returns once a quarter.




What is it? The growth in disbursements of housing loans below Rs 10 lakh during last financial year ended March 2017. In comparison, loans above Rs 25 lakh shrunk by 1%.

Why is it important? Growth in disbursements of loans below Rs 10 lakh is an indicator of people taking advantage of government’s credit linked subsidy scheme for families earning less than Rs 12 lakh per annum. Central government is pushing affordable housing to meet the unmet housing needs in both rural and urban areas.

Tell me more: Under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, people earning upto Rs 12 lakh per annum will get interest subsidy of 4% on their home loans. Mortgage loans below Rs 10 lakh account for only one-fourth of the total loan portfolio in 2015.



22 million 

What is it? The number of Americans who will lose health insurance if the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, which is pushed forward by the Republican party. Better Care will replace Affordable Care Act, which reduced number of uninsured from 50 million to less than 27 million in 2016.

Why is it important? 49 million Americans (or 15% of US population) will not have health insurance by 2026. US is the only developed economy that does not have a universal health coverage.

Tell me more: Health expenditure per capita in US is $ 7,900 as compared to $ 3,233 in other developed economies, and $ 132 in India. Numbers are in purchasing power parity basis.



Rs 85.03 crore

What is it? The amount of money returned to Sahara India’s bondholders by market regulator, the Securities Exchange Board of India till March 2017.

Why is it important? Five years have passed after the SEBI passed an order asking Sahara to refund money to the bondholders. Subsequently, the Supreme Court had asked Sahara to deposit the same with the market regulator. So far, Sahara has deposited Rs 11,798 crore and SEBI has been able to refund only Rs 85 crore.

Tell me more: Sahara had raised the money without the approval of SEBI, which asked the company to refund the entire amount. Sahara had claimed it has refunded 95% of the bondholders.




What is it? Market share of scooters in the domestic two-wheeler market during 2016-17.

Why is it important? Indicates increasing preference towards scooters, which is outpacing motorcycle sales in India – the world’s largest two-wheeler market. Scooter sales expanded by a fourth in the first two months of current fiscal as compared to 4% growth for motorcycle sales.

Tell me more: 17.5 million two-wheelers were sold in 2016-17, as compared to 13.4 million in 2011-12.

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News in numbers, Jan 15, 2016: Punjab’s opioid problem, expected average pay increase in 2016


500 kg

What is it? Amount of gold mobilised under the Gold Monetisation Scheme, which aims to convert the yellow metal lying idle in households into the banking system.


Why is it important? Indicates increased acceptance for the scheme, which received poor response in the first month after the launch in November last year where only 500 grams worth of gold was deposited.  


Tell me more: At 500 kg or half tonne, it is a small fraction of estimated total stock of 20,000 tonnes of gold held by individuals and institutions in India, and around 1,000 tonnes of annual import.



What is it? Number of tourists visiting India who have availed the e-tourist visa in calendar 2015, as compared to 39,046 in 2014.     


Why is it important? Though the growth is high, the number of tourists availing e-tourist visa is only 5.5% of around 8 million tourists who visited India last year. The overall tourist arrivals increased by 4.4%, even as the world’s second largest population attracts less than 1% of world’s tourist arrivals.   


Tell me more: Tourists from 114 countries can get tourist visas online, without visiting the Indian consulates, under the e-Tourist visa scheme.  


Rs 7,500 crore


What is it? Estimated value of opioids consumed in Punjab each year. The state now has 2.3 lakh (or 0.84% of state’s population) opioid dependent people. This number does not include money spent by opioid users who are not dependent on drugs.  


Why is it important? The extent of socio-economic problem is revealed by the fact that three-fourths of the opioid dependent users are in the age group of 18 to 35 years, 54% are married and 56% of them live in rural areas.   


Tell me more: Total number of opioid users like heroin is estimated at 8.6 lakh, though the main aim of the study done by AIIMS, Delhi and Society for Promotion of Youth and Masses was to estimate drug dependency.


Rs 100,000 crore


What is it? Amount of housing loans disbursed by ICICI Bank, which became the first private sector bank to cross this milestone.  


Why is it important? With corporate lending slowing down, banks are looking at mortgage lending to boost their disbursals. For ICICI, home loans account for 25% of its total lending and 50% of its retail loans.      


Tell me more: Total market size is estimated at Rs 7 lakh crore, with state-run State Bank of India and HDFC having around Rs 1.7 lakh crore disbursements each. HDFC is a non-banking finance company, focussing on home loan finances.  



What is it? Average increase in base pay expected in 2016, which is same as last year.


Why is it important? Expected salary increase can be seen as a proxy of how companies perceive prospects for their sector this year. Life sciences, information technology and chemical industries firms expecting more than 11% pay increase. Salary forecasts are lower for the consumer, auto and services sectors.


Tell me more: Nearly half of 691 firms surveyed plan to increase headcount.

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News in numbers, Oct 9, 2015: Bombay HC rules in favour of Vodafone, right to privacy in India…


Rs 8,500 crore

What is it? The amount by which Vodafone India’s tax liability has come down, thanks to a Bombay High Court ruling. This relates to sale of its call centre business to Hutchison and assignment of call options (sale of assets at an agreed price) to Vodafone International – and concerns around transfer pricing. (Transfer pricing is setting of price of goods and services sold between two divisions/legal entities under the same group.)

Why is it important? This could spell good news for other companies such as IBM Corp., Royal Dutch Plc and Nokia Oyj that are fighting transfer-pricing cases in India. It could even set a new precedent or result in clearer tax policies and regulations, something that foreign investors have been seeking for.

Tell me more: This is just one of the cases Vodafone battling with the Indian tax authorities. Last year, the Bombay High Court had ruled in favour of Vodafone’s Indian unit in a Rs 3,200-crore dispute where the tax department had accused the company of under-pricing shares in a rights issue to its parent firm. Vodafone, which bought Hutchison’s business in 2007, has also been held liable for capital tax gains on that deal. That is yet to be resolved.


~ 100,000

What is it? The number of people Accenture is looking to hire in September 2015 – August 2016.

Why is it important? This would help Accenture maintain its lead position over TCS, which is considered to be an aggressive recruiter. Recently, the company which has around 336,000 people, shot past TCS (319,656) in headcount. And, TCS is planning to hire about 65,000 people in the current financial year (April 2015 – March 2016).

Tell me more: The company is planning to spend about $1 billion on acquisitions in 2015-16. It is planning to focus on three ‘new’ technologies – digital, cloud and cyber security, which contribute to a third of its overall revenue.  



What is it? The upper limit of the percentage of house price that RBI allows banks to lend for loans of up to Rs 30 lakh.  

Why is it important? The limit on loan value is up 50% from Rs 20 lakh earlier. This reflects rising house prices – and would help more people to consider buying a property. Might help revive real estate sector, which has been faced with high unsold inventory and tepid sales.

Tell me more: The central bank has also relaxed the risk weights (the capital to be set aside by banks) for individual housing loans.


61 years

What is it? The number of years since Supreme Court said right to privacy is not fundamental.

Why is it important? It might change now. The Supreme Court on Thursday has set up a Constitution Bench to re-look at the issue. Making it a fundamental right will warrant changes in certain government laws/policies. This question has sprung up now because of the Aadhaar card enrolment process, which involves parting with information such as fingerprints and iris signatures.

Tell me more: A petitioner against the Aadhaar scheme has raised concerns about the government owning personal data of individual citizens, which could be misused for ill-gains.


55.56 – 157.14%

What is it? The increase in prices of some vegetables such as pointed gourd, pumpkin, bitter gourd and brinjal in three weeks (between September 16 and October 8).

Why is it important? Overall, though wholesale and retail inflation have been falling, the increase in food prices, especially those of vegetables and pulses is worrying. In August, vegetable prices increased by 8.5% from July prices while pulses and related products saw the highest rate of increase among all the product groups.

Tell me more: The top three reasons given for the price rise are delayed monsoons and deficient or excessive rains in some areas.



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