News in Numbers, Oct 24, 2016: The power of Five


This February is likely to see a lot of action: the Union Budget is expected to be announced and five states likely to go for polls. The situation in each of the five states seems interesting: in Punjab, the ruling BJP-SAD alliance is looking to retain power even as Congress and new entrant AAP are looking to dethrone the alliance after two successive terms. Goa has a similar situation: BJP wanting to be back in power and up against the same two parties. In Uttarakhand, the Congress, which reclaimed power after a brief President’s rule, is all set to battle it out with the BJP. In Manipur, BJP is looking to strengthen its northeastern presence while the Congress is trying to hold on to its authority. The battle in Uttar Pradesh is getting more and more interesting by the day: the BJP is trying to re-create the magic it weaved during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections (it won 71 of the 80 seats), SP is dealing with its own set of problems while BSP is trying to get the better of both. Here’s to interesting times ahead.




What is it? The number of states – Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Punjab – likely to go on polls simultaneously in February-March.

Why is it important? The results in the five states would be an indicator of BJP’s popularity (which swept the 2014 Lok Sabha elections) and how people perceive its performance at the Centre whereas for the Congress, it would be a way to gauge if the party can see a revival as just 6% of India’s population live in Congress-ruled states – the lowest since Independence. For Aam Aadmi Party, it would indicate the progress it has made outside Delhi even as it nurtures ambitions to grow into a national party.

Tell me more: The Indian government has reportedly approached the Election Commission to seek its permission to present the General Budget in the Lok Sabha on February 1 in order to avoid violating themodel code of conduct that would kick in from the day the election schedule is announced until the results are declared.


Rs 1.25-1.5 lakh crore

What is it? The quantum of stressed assets Indian banks are reportedly looking to recover in the next few months.

Why is it important? After having identified the extent of bad loans and having provided capital for them, banks are now progressing to the next step of recovery. Last week, Essar Group sold 98% stake in its oil unit and other assets (largest debt reduction exercise by an Indian business) and three banks – ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and StanChart – got back an estimated $2.5 billion (around Rs 16,750 crore) as part of the first payment for their loans to the group. This is expected to give a boost to the recovery process initiated by the banks.

Tell me more: The lenders are hoping to recover the loans through resolution methods such as sale of assets, transfer to asset reconstruction companies and strategic debt restructuring (allows creditors to convert debt into equity and take over the management of defaulting companies).


Rs 3,050 crore

What is it? The penalty recommended to be imposed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular for not providing sufficient interconnect points to Reliance Jio.

Why is it important? This brings an end to the three-month long dispute between the three incumbents and the new entrant Reliance Jio. The telecom regulator ruled that the three firms deliberately blocked the calls made from Reliance Jio’s network, a move considered to have been done with the intention of stifling competition. This was in response to Reliance Jio’s complaint that 75% of the calls made on its network were failing as the incumbents were not providing it with adequate points of interconnection necessary to complete the calls.

Tell me more: For Airtel and Vodafone, the regulator has recommended a penalty of Rs 50 crore per circle for 21 service areas while for Idea Cellular, it is Rs 50 crore for 19 service areas. The regulator has floated a consultation paper that aims to review the existing provisions for interconnection. Interconnection is thearrangement under which telecom firms connect their networks, equipment and services to enable their subscribers to get access to the subscribers, services and networks of other telecom firms


$85.4 billion

What is it? The deal size of US telecom giant AT&T buying out entertainment group Time Warner.

Why is it important? If approved by the regulators, this would be the biggest deal in the world this year. The deal would help the third largest cable TV provider in the US (owns mobile phone, broadband and cable TV networks) to transform itself into a full service media provider – owning content would help provide a competitive advantage over the others. This is likely to spark industry consolidation and bring in changes in the way people consume content.

Tell me more: However, it remains to be seen if the deal is allowed to happen as US lawmakers and both the presidential candidates have raised questions about it – the acquisition is considered to be anti-competitive by some. A Senate sub-committee, which is responsible for competition, will hold a hearing in November.


$1.7 billion

What is it? The amount Chinese consumers spent on Apple-sanctioned apps in the July-September quarter this year, according to a report.

Why is it important? With this, they have exceeded the spend by Americans (nearly $1.45 billion) by 15% in this period. Chinese consumers spent five times more on Apple apps in the third quarter of 2016 than what they spent two years ago. The report noted that China is likely to drive the largest absolute revenue growth for any country by 2020. Apple recently announced the opening of its research and development centre in China even as it saw its year-on-year revenues fall by 33% in Greater China in its fiscal third quarter.

Tell me more: In terms of market share, domestic firms – Huawei, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi – command a 56% market share in China, pushing Apple to the fifth position (8% market share), according to research firm IDC.

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News In Numbers – July 22

News In Numbers: July 22



Share of revenues from areas other than voice calls for telecom company Idea Cellular in the April to June quarter. This is a marked increase from the 17.8% share of non-voice revenues for Idea in the corresponding quarter a year ago, underscoring the voracious data consumption via mobile that is providing a fillip to telecom companies in India. The Idea results declared yesterday showed that, on an average, its 37.2 million subscribers who have data services on their mobile used 600 MB of data, a near 50% increase over a year ago. Yesterday, shares of Bharti Airtel, the leader in India by market share, also hit a six-year high.



The loan-to-value (LTV) ratio currently followed by non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) engaged in financing against gold jewellery, where ‘value’ is computed as the average of gold prices in the last 30 days. In global markets on Monday, gold prices fell to a five-year low, prompting lenders who provide loans against the yellow metal to start asking their customers to make part-payments of their loans. In January 2014, the central bank had allowed NBFCs to offer loans of up to 75% of the pledged gold/jewellery. The maximum LTV permissible, fixed by the Association of Gold Loan companies, is Rs 1,818 per gram (against value of gold jewellery worth Rs 2,423) until the end of this week (July 25).



The number of defamation cases filed by AIADMK, one of the major regional parties in India, against media and political rivals. The latest is a criminal defamation case against BJP leader Subramanian Swamy for a tweet on the health of J Jayalalithaa, Tamil Nadu chief minister and AIADMK leader. Earlier, Swamy had challenged Sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code, arguing that these sections, which allow the initiation of criminal proceedings for defamation, restrict freedom of speech and expression. Last week, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre why these IPC provisions cannot be diluted to remove the perception that it violated the fundamental right to free speech.


4.6 million

The number of unique entries in the caste field thrown up by the caste survey of 330 million Indian households. The Niti Aayog now has the onerous task of matching this database of 4.6 million entries with the correct caste to table India’s population by caste. Political parties have been demanding the release of the caste data, documented as part of the Socio Economic and Caste Census, commissioned in 2011. The Central government recently said it would release the data after rectifying errors in 14.6 million cases.


Rs 35 crore

The cost of scrapping a contentious 5.8 km bus rapid transit (BRT) corridor in New Delhi, according to Delhi government’s estimates. This is about a quarter of what it cost to build the corridor. A pet project of the erstwhile Congress government in Delhi and one that was to serve as the model for 26 more such corridors in the city, it attracted criticism for causing traffic snarls and pedestrian deaths. According to one study, the number of accidents and accident-related deaths on the stretch increased by 40% and 48%, respectively, after the BRT became operational. Yesterday, the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi decided to scrap the corridor.
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