Complete Denuclearization?


What is it? The number of points in the joint statement issued by the US and North Korea after the first meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un in Singapore on Tuesday.

Why is it important? The points cover retooling the relationship between the two nations and working towards peace, including in the Korean peninsula, where the goal is complete denuclearisation. While a meeting between the two leaders is a step forward, the lack of operational detailing means the jury is still out. Later, North Korea’s state news agency reported that Kim had accepted Trump’s offer of visiting the US.

Tell me more: The US and North Korea are among the nine countries in the world with nuclear weapons.


What is it? The percentage of Tesla’s workforce likely to lose their jobs in a restructuring announced by the company on Tuesday.

Why is it important? In spite of its CEO Elon Musk waiving off critics in recent months, Tesla is under pressure to achieve mass production of the Model 3, its first mass-market vehicle, and turn profitable. Tesla is yet to reach Musk’s goal of producing 5,000 cars a week, originally promised for end-2017. And these job cuts in Tesla’s 40,000-strong workforce appear to be a reaction to that. The Tesla stock gained 3.4% yesterday.

Tell me more:In the first quarter of 2018, Tesla posted a net loss of $784 million on revenues of $2.73 billion.


What is it? The rate at which India’s industrial production, as represented by the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), grew in April 2018 compared to April 2017.

Why is it important? This is marginally higher than the 4.4% growth recorded in March 2018, which followed four consecutive months of 7%-plus growth. In other data released by the government yesterday, retail inflation, as represented by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), increased to 4.87% for April 2018—its fastest rate in the last four months. These numbers could force the central bank to increase interest rates further.

Tell me more:In April 2018, mining grew 5.1% on a year-on-year basis, manufacturing 5.2% and electricity 2.1%.


What is it? The number of managers, among the last five, who have completed three seasons at Real Madrid.

Why is it important?On Tuesday, Read Madrid announced the signing of Julen Lopetegui, current head coach of the Spain national side, as their new manager on a three-year deal. Being the manager of Real Madrid is one of the most prestigious, and unforgiving, jobs in all of football. Among the last five, only Jose Mourinho completed three seasons.

Tell me more:The shortest tenures in this setof five were of Rafael Benitez (half a season) and Manuel Pellegrini (1 season).

20 months

What is it? The number of months the AT&T-Time Warner deal has been pending for want of regulatory clearances.

Why is it important? On Tuesday, it cleared its last hurdle, with a US court ruling that AT&T can proceed with its blockbuster $80 billion acquisition of Time Warner without any conditions. It marked a major defeat for US government regulators and set the stage for similar deals that could alter the media landscape.

Tell me more:The US government had opposed the deal, arguing that it would reduce competition in pay TV and lead to higher prices for consumers.

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News in Numbers, Jan 13, 2017: Lucky seven for Tata?


What is it? The number of years Natarajan Chandrasekaran, CEO of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), has worked in the company (his entire career).

Why is it important? Popularly known as ‘Chandra’, he was appointed as Tata Sons’ chairman on Thursday – the seventh chief of the holding company of the group.  The move is likely to end the uncertainty that gripped the $116-billion coffee-to-cars group present in around 100 businesses. Less than three months ago, the previous chairman Cyrus Mistry, whose tenure was the shortest in Tata Sons’ history, was ousted unceremoniously – this spiralled into one of the ugliest corporate spats in Indian history. Chandrasekaran was the unanimous choice of a five-member search committee set up in October, which was tasked to find the next head within four months.

Tell me more: Under Chandrasekaran’s leadership, the profits of TCS was up more than threefold to Rs 24,375 crore in 2015-16 from Rs 7,093 crore in 2009-2010. TCS accounts for 60% of the group’s market capitalization and contributes to around 70% of its revenue.



What is it? The percentage by which Index of Industrial Production (IIP), which measures growth in mining, manufacturing and electricity, grew in November 2016.

Why is it important? This is the fastest pace in 13 months (likely aided by the positive base effect) and compares with a contraction of 1.3% in the previous month and a contraction of 3.4% in November 2015. Also, this is the first set of industrial activity figures released after the government’s decision to demonetise high-value currency notes in November. However, its impact was felt on consumer prices inflation, which grew by 3.41% in December compared to 3.63% in the previous month, recording the slowest pace since November 2014.

Tell me more: Manufacturing grew at 5.5% in November 2016 compared to a contraction of 4.6% in the same period a year ago while electricity and mining grew at 8.9% and 3.9% in November as against 0.7% and 1.7% respectively in the corresponding period the previous year.



What is it? The increase in India’s annual haj quota by Saudi Arabia to 170,520.

Why is it important? This is the highest increase in nearly three decades and has renewed the debate on Haj subsidy. The government has set up a six-member committee to examine the viability of the subsidy and to explore ways to make it economical even without the subsidy. The Supreme Court in 2012 had asked the government to see how this can be phased out in 10 years. The setting up of the committee comes at a time when Uttar Pradesh elections are round the corner – a state where Muslim voters have about 20% share in its population.

Tell me more: In 2016, about 99,903 people from 21 embarkation points across India went to Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) for haj through the Haj Committee of India while 36,000 went for their annual pilgrimage through private tour operators.



What is it? The drop in the annual world food price index in 2016.

Why is it important? The world food price index, mapped since 1996, averaged 161.6 for the whole of 2016, falling for the fifth year in a row. Published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the index eased as promising harvests in staple cereals offset price rise in sugar and palm oil. Food price inflation softened despite the impact of adverse weather conditions such as El Niño (the occasional warming of waters in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean) on some crops like sugar.

Tell me more: Meat and dairy products also fell, and along with cereals fell by nearly 40% below their 2011 peak. But Abdolreza Abbassian, senior economist at FAO, warns, “Economic uncertainties, including movements in exchange rates, are likely to influence food markets even more so this year (2017).”



What is it? China’s annual fall in exports in 2016.

Why is it important? China’s exports affect a large number of countries as it is the world’s largest trading nation. Its December exports fell by 6.1%, owing to slowing global demand. Declines were seen in electro-mechanical and labour-intensive goods. Later this year, China could see heavy tariffs on its goods levied by the US under its new administration, led by Donald Trump if he follows through his campaign promise.

Tell me more: China’s trade surplus stood at $40.82 billion as imports grew by 3.1% on demand for coal and iron ore, while its 2016 trade surplus was at $509.96 billion.

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News in numbers, Jan 13, 2016: TCS Q3 revenue misses estimates, ShopClues’ valuation…




What is it? That’s how much spending on capital goods, a proxy of investment, shrunk in November 2015. This contributed to Index of Industrial Production (IIP) contracting by 3.2%.


Why is it important? Investment spending is crucial to support high growth rate and also for jobs creation. When Indian economy grew in excess of 9% for four years in previous decade, investment contributed to more than 50% of the growth.  


Tell me more: Retail inflation higher to 5.61% in December 2015, mainly because of increase in food prices.


Rs 75,000 crore


What is it? The amount disbursed under Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) so far till December 2015. The scheme aims to lend to small business units or non corporate entities without insisting on collateral.


Why is it important? Though banks and microfinance institutions have disbursed this much, they have refinanced only Rs 1,500 crore from the Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency or MUDRA so far. Mainly due to insistence by MUDRA that onward lending should be done at the base rate.


Tell me more: MUDRA refinances loans under PMMY at 6.72%.




What is it? Decline in quarterly profits measured in dollar terms for Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) during October- November 2015, as compared to July-October 2015.


Why is it important? India’s largest software services firm missed market expectations for the sixth consecutive quarters, with stock price down by 10% since September 2015. TCS now has to grow 5.7% sequentially in current quarter (dollar terms) to meet the annual target of 8% for 2015-16.  


Tell me more: TCS revenue was $ 4.14 billion in December 2015 quarter.  


$1.1 billion


What is it? Valuation of ShopClues after the latest round of funding from GIC Pte, a sovereign wealth fund, and private equity investors – Tiger Global Management and Nexus Venture Partners.


Why is it important? Show the willingness of the investors to bet on a fourth player in the e-commerce market dominated by Amazon India, Flipkart and Snapdeal. E-commerce in US and UK are dominated by one or two players who have dominant market share.


Tell me more: Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) – value of goods sold via the site – is expected to touch $ 1.2 billion in 2015-16. The valuation seems to have given close to 1X of GMV.  


Rs 2.82


What is it? The average electricity prices per unit during 2015 in the spot market, the lowest since 2010


Why is it important? Shows the positive and negative side of the state of electricity. The positives: increased connectivity between the northern and southern regions because of higher transmission capacity, and lower coal prices. The negative: state electricity boards not able to buy power because of their poor financial health.


Tell me more: Around 11,000 MW of coal-based capacity are lying idle because state utilities are purchasing from spot markets, instead of buying as per agreement signed with power companies, as per this report.

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News in numbers, Nov 13, 2015: Telecom firms’ call drop woes, vacant faculty posts at IITs…


What is it? Percentage by which the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), which measures growth in mining, manufacturing and electricity, grew in September.

Why is it important? Industry accounts for a fourth of India’s GDP. Fluctuating growth trends doesn’t reflect a steady recovery. More importantly, consumer non-durables shrunk by 4.6% in September, striking as an anomaly, given the ongoing festive season.

Tell me more: The manufacturing sector, which constitutes over 75% of the index, grew by 2.6% compared to 2.9% in the same month a year ago.


Rs 23.8 crore

What is it? Spicejet’s net profit in July-September quarter of 2015-16, as compared to a loss of Rs 310.4 crore in year-ago period.

Why is it important? This is the third successive quarterly profit posted by the airline, helped by lower fuel prices and its ability to fill seats. Nearly a year ago, the airline was near bankruptcy – there was a sudden reduction in fleet size, flights were cancelled and huge debts remained unpaid.

Tell me more: The airline, whose net worth is still in the negative, has been looking to raise funds including strategic investment.  


Rs 800 crore

What is it? Telecom companies’ cost implications for providing compensation to mobile users for call drops per year, according to estimates by the telecom regulator.

Why is it important? Highlights the stand-off between the regulator and the mobile service providers. The Cellular Operators Association of India and the Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India have conveyed to the regulator that this rule would force them to increase mobile service rates to cover costs. Also, estimates by these organisations are way higher at Rs 10,000 crore – Rs 54,000 crore (if 10%-50% of subscribers claim compensation for call drops).

Tell me more: Under the new norms introduced by the regulator last month, mobile users would get Re 1 for every call dropped for a maximum of three calls dropped per day, effective from January 1, 2016.  



What is it? Number of railway stations that would be made disabled-friendly by next July.

Why is it important? This would help the 2.7 crore population with disabilities – by providing them with better accessibility in not only the railway stations but in all the international airports and 5,000 public buildings where plans are on to make them disabled-friendly. The Accessible India campaign would be formally launched by the government on December 3. Hopefully, this would increase awareness about the difficulties faced by people with disabilities, encouraging the private sector also steps up to make their premises disabled-friendly.

Tell me more: The Indian government has started auditing 27 international airports and 75 railway stations to check accessibility and identify areas to be improved and made disabled-friendly.



What is it? Share of vacancies of faculty posts across the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in 2014-15, according to data shared in response to an RTI query.

Why is it important? A consistent problem among the premier institutions in the country, 37% of faculty posts at the 16 IITs are vacant. This is a likely indicator for compromised quality in research and training and raises concerns if the move by the Indian government to set up five more IITs is a good idea.

Tell me more: IIT-Delhi, which entered the Quacquarelli Symonds’ (QS) list of top 200 universities globally for the first time, has a faculty shortage of 33.1%.

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