Towering inferno

$30 billion

What is it? The cost of setting up a joint refinery, by state-owned companies — Indian Oil (IOC), Bharat Petroleum (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum (HPCL) — in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra, as per the agreement signed on Wednesday.

Why is it important? The refinery will be India’s largest, with a capacity of 60 million-tonne. Costing around Rs 2 lakh-crore, it will boost the country’s oil export potential, besides readiness to tackle demand at home. Being considered since 2015, the project faced land acquisition hurdles in 2016.

Tell me more: There will be a mega petrochemical complex to accompany the refinery at the site.




What is it? The number of Infosys overseas employees who earn above Rs 1 crore.

Why is it important? Employees hired abroad tend to earn more. Infosys is expected to face pressure on its cost as it is slated to hire 10,000 in the US in the next two years. Around 700 of the 1800 high earning overseas employees were hired after Sikka took over in 2014.

Tell me more: The number of India based Infosys employees who earn more than Rs 1 crore has come down from 113117 in FY15 to around 50 in FY17.



520 million

What is it? The number of 4G subscribers in India by 2022, as forecast by the latest Ericsson Mobility Report.

Why is it important? In the recent months, 4G migration got a boost with huge discounts from Reliance Jio. It also forced other players to bring down price. The report forecasts 740 million subscribers for 3G by 2022. In 2016, an April report by CLSA had put the combined subscription of 3G and 4G services at 120 million.

Tell me more: There are 1.17 billion wireless subscribers (April,  2017), which include increasingly unpopular technologies such as 2G and CDMA.




What is it? The number of people confirmed dead in the inferno in Central London on Wednesday.

Why is it important? The 24-story Grenfell Tower apartment block, was built in 1974 but was recently refurbished, and the fire spread through it at an unprecedented speed. Despite the presence of hundreds of firefighters, the fire could not be contained to evacuate everyone trapped in the tower. The disaster has called into question fire safety in high-rises, increasingly common in cities around the world. India has constantly been reminded of the shortfall in fire-preparedness of its high-rises, most recently by a CAG report on Maharashtra.

Tell me more: The tower block was home to 600 people, and the fire is being considered one of London’s deadliest.




What is it? The rise in India’s wholesale price index in May, 2017.

Why is it important? This is the slowest growth in the last five months. The trend was also seen in consumer price inflation at 2.18%. It was driven down by falling food prices, as wholesale vegetable price index fell by 18.51% in May.

Tell me more: The low growth in inflation has led businesses to call for rate cuts.

Read More

News in Numbers, Feb 28, 2017: Airports still in the red ✈


What is it? The percentage of stake in Hindustan Petroleum (HPCL) that will be transferred to the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) by the central government.

Why is it important? This will create an integrated oil company bringing together India’s largest oil producer, ONGC with HPCL, third largest refiner and retailer. This was one of the announcements made by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the budget speech.

Tell me more: The transfer will have to be followed by an open offer for another 26% shares from the open market.


200 million

What is it? The number of wallet users (transacting users) with Paytm, a mobile wallet and payments operator.

Why is it important? The largest mobile wallet service by reach has reaped the benefits of the cash ban. Its subscriber base increased by 50 million post November 8th last year, when demonetisation was announced. By the end of November, Paytm, like its competitors, had increased their advertising spends, by 300%, to tap an audience looking for ways around the cash crunch.

Tell me more: Paytm’s immediate competitor, Freecharge, has had a rougher ride, with its parent Snapdeal struggling to raise funding for it. Its CEO quit last week.


120 million

What is it? The number of shares of Apple Inc. that Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway bought in 2017.

Why is it important? This makes Apple one of the largest holdings of the investment wizard’s company. Berkshire, fuelled by Buffet’s acumen, is often considered a bellwether of the US stock market. It took its total shares of the iPhone-maker to 133 million. At about $17 billion in value, the stock is now among the top six of Berkshire’s holdings worth $10 billion and above.

Tell me more: In a media interview, Buffet reasoned with “Apple strikes me as having quite a sticky product.”


Rs 2 trillion

What is it? Amount of central government procurement each year(excluding defence) proposed under the ‘Buy Indian’ policy.

Why is it important? The policy, if implemented, will boost local manufacturing through price preference, and relaxation in turnover and experience conditions. It might increase cost of buying goods for central government, but has potential to create local jobs given the size of purchase.

Tell me more: The proposed policy will not violate international trade rules. WTO permits governments to have sourcing preference if it’s for own consumption.



What is it? The number of airports managed by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) that are profitable. AAI manages 125 airports in India.

Why is it important? Shows that traffic is not adequate to support the cost incurred, and AAI was not able to monetize non-aero revenues like the ones managed by the private sector in Delhi and Mumbai.

Tell me more: There was no traffic in 30 of the loss making airports managed by AAI.

Read More