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A Big Bang I-T Raid

 

The government is sitting hawk-eyed on black money peddlers. The IT department unraveled a nexus between doctors and medical labs that was worth a 100 crore rupees. In the tech world, Infosys got its sixth CEO. Virat Kohli is unstoppable, scored another double century yesterday. And Serious Fraud Office is probing companies for suspicious transactions after demonetization.

 

6

What is it? Indian IT major Infosys gets its CEO number six in the form of Salil Parekh, with the company making the announcement on Saturday.

Why is it important? In the 37-year history of Infosys, Parekh will only be the second CEO outside the promoter group. He follows Vishal Sikka, who resigned this August after finding himself on the wrong side of some founder-promoters, notably NR Narayana Murthy, over a series of business decisions and approaches. Although these founder-promoters did not have a board presence then, Murthy was particularly vocal in his displeasure, resulting in Sikka quitting.

Tell me more: Parekh, 53, will join Infosys from January 2 on a five-year term. He joins from Capgemini where he was a member of the group executive board, thus ending a three-month search.

 

Rs 100 crore

What is it? The undisclosed amount detected by the Income Tax (IT) officials after they unearthed a nexus between some doctors and medical centres in Bengaluru.

Why is it important? It highlights the unethical measures adopted by some medical professionals at the cost of patients’ health and money. The IT department conducted a three-day search in two in-vitro fertilisation centres and five diagnostic centres, and found that doctors were being paid a commission to refer their patients to these centres for tests. The Health Ministry has asked all states to adopt and implement the Clinical Establishment Act, 2010, under which action can be taken against medical institutions indulging in unethical practices.

Tell me more: According to the IT department, the commission varied from lab to lab, but the median rate was 35% for MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans and 20% for CT (computed tomography) scans and other tests. These payments to doctors were accounted for under the head of ‘marketing expenses’.

 

6

What is it? The number of double centuries scored by Virat Kohli in his test career so far. In the ongoing series against Sri Lanka, Kohli yesterday scored 243 runs, following a 213 in the previous test.

Why is it important? With his latest double hundred, Kohli created or matched a series of records: most double centuries by captains in tests, beating Brian Lara who had five; sixth batsman to score consecutive double hundreds in tests; and fifth captain to hit multiple double tons in a series.

Tell me more: Kohli’s 243 against Sri Lanka is his career best. This is the 14th time he has bettered his highest score—the maximum number of times any player has done so. He now matches Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag in double hundreds.

 

18

What is it?  The number of companies the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) will probe for alleged suspicious transactions involving large sums of money during demonetisation.

Why is it important?  News of this probe follows a series of government steps aimed at checking black money in the Indian economy. The government had recently removed the names of approximately 2.24 lakh companies for being dormant for a long time and removed 2 lakh directors of such companies.

Tell me more: In its preliminary enquiry, the government was focusing on 35,000 companies involving 58,000 bank accounts where an amount of about Rs 17,000 crore was deposited and withdrawn post-demonetisation.

 

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Mission: Nab Tax Evaders

 

It’s mission ‘catch tax evaders’ for the income tax watchdog. And justifiably so, as the number of tax evaders have doubled in the first half of 2017 over last year. TRAI is backing the open and free internet. Over 10% of all the medical products sold in low and middle income countries fail due to substandard quality, says a WHO report. And, in the golfing world, master golfer Tiger Woods is back in action, again.

 

1.16 lakh

What is it? The number of individuals and firms who have received income tax notices for having made cash deposits of above Rs 25 lakh in bank accounts post-demonetisation but failing to file returns.

Why is it important? The number of people violating income tax laws have more than doubled to 609 in the first six months of 2017-18, from 288 in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal. The number of convictions of those violating tax rules has gone up from 13 to 43 in the same period. Earlier this year, the department had decided to launch a large-scale data project by matching information in different databases to nab tax evaders.

Tell me more: A total of 2.4 lakh people who have made deposits of Rs 10-25 lakh and not filed returns are set to receive similar notices in the second phase.

 

11

What is it? The number of months since the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) released a consultation paper seeking to establish a net neutrality framework in India.

Why is it important? On Tuesday, the telecom regulator published a set of recommendations supporting the basic principles of open and free Internet. Its suggestions include prohibition of discriminatory content, excluding content delivery networks (telecom firms providing content within their network without accessing the public Internet) from regulation and the setting up of a watchdog to enforce net neutrality.

Tell me more: The International Telecommunication Union, a specialised agency of the United Nations, has formed a group of experts to look into the issue of net neutrality. Recently, the Federal Communications Commission in the United States released a proposal to end net neutrality regulations championed by former President Barack Obama.

 

10.5%

What is it? The rate of failure in all medical products used in low-income and middle-income countries, according to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Why is it important? A model developed by the University of Edinburgh estimates that 72,000 to 169,000 children may be dying each year due to the use of substandard and falsified antibiotics, while another estimates that substandard and falsified anti-malarials account for 116,000 additional deaths per year from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. About 3.16% of drugs sold in India were found to be ‘not of standard quality’ while 0.0245% were found to be spurious, according to the first such survey carried out by the health ministry recently.

Tell me more: In the last four years, WHO has received 1,500 reports of cases of substandard or falsified products, of which antimalarials and antibiotics were the most common ones.

 

3

What is it? The number of chairpersons that Air India has had in 2017. On Tuesday, the government announced Pradeep Singh Kharola would be replacing incumbent Rajiv Bansal as the new chairman and managing director of the state-run airline.

Why is it important? The recurrent change at the top is the exact opposite of continuity, which a business on the comeback trail needs. But the government move could also be planned with the objective of executing the complex task of privatising Air India, which it announced earlier this year and has commenced work on.

Tell me more: Kharola, 56, is an IAS officer from the 1985 batch and Karnataka cadre. An engineer by education, Kharola has had 27 stints since joining the civil services in August 1987. His last posting was Managing Director at the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation.

 

9

What is it? The number of months after which Tiger Woods will return to competitive golf, in yet another effort to return from yet another surgery. On Thursday, Woods, 41, will tee off at the Hero World Challenge, a tournament where his charity foundation is a key beneficiary.

Why is it important? His last comeback effort, in February, ended after just 18 holes. Once on pace to become the most decorated golfer ever in terms of number of majors, Woods has been beset by marital, legal and injury problems. A mellowed Woods, who has been seen on team managerial duties during this absence as a player, has confessed he has little idea on how effectively he might return from injury.

Tell me more: Woods has 14 majors, the second most in the history of golf, after Jack Nicklaus (18 majors). The last time Woods won a major was in 2008.

 

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In The Making: The Largest Ever Tech Takeover

 

Broadcom has offered to acquire smartphone chipmaker Qualcomm. The average surface temperature is above that of pre-industrial era’s now. Telangana government has decided to supply electricity to the farm sector for the whole day for 4-5 days.

 

$105 billion

What is it? The value of the offer in cash and stock by Broadcom to acquire smartphone chipmaker Qualcomm.

Why is it important? If it goes through, it would be the largest-ever takeover in the technology sector, and Broadcom would become the third-largest chipmaker after Intel and Samsung. However, Qualcomm, which is in the midst of a $38.5 billion takeover of NXP Semiconductor, is likely to reject the bid on the argument that it undervalues the company. Further, this deal would face tough anti-trust scrutiny.

Tell me more: Including debt, the total transaction value would be $130 billion. Qualcomm is currently fighting a legal battle with Apple and facing an anti-trust investigation in Europe.

 

1.1° Celsius

What is it? The amount which the average surface temperature was above the pre-industrial era from January to September 2017, according to the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization.

Why is it important? This has set 2017 to be on course to be among the three hottest years on record, which means many high-impact events such as floods, catastrophic hurricanes, heatwaves and droughts. The warning signs for governments to act couldn’t be more compelling as long-term indicators of climate change worsen, including a rise in sea levels, and increasing carbon dioxide concentrations and ocean acidification.

Tell me more: As many as 200 countries began discussions in Germany on Monday to strengthen a global climate accord even as the United States plans to quit.

 

714

What is it? The number of Indians whose names figure in the ‘Paradise Papers’, a global investigation that reveals financial dealings in tax havens of some of the world’s most powerful people and companies.

Why is it important? The income tax department and the capital market regulator said on Monday they would investigate if any of these people were involved in illegal transactions. The Central Board of Direct Taxes has asked its investigation arm to re-check tax returns filed by individuals and companies named in the Paradise Papers. And the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) will seek information from stock exchanges on listed companies’ offshore entities, which will be matched with statutory disclosures.

Tell me more: Of the 180 countries featured in Paradise Papers, India ranks 19th in terms of number of names.

 

24 hours

What is it? The number of hours a day the Telangana government is aiming to provide power supply to the farm sector for “five to six days” this week, beginning Monday.

Why is it important? This dry run of sorts is a precursor to its goal of 24×7 power being available to all 31 districts from March-April 2018. Usually, state governments have focused on subsidising power to the farm sector, whereas Telangana, on the face of it, is strengthening delivery.

Tell me more: In the April to September 2017 period, Telangana registered a 25% increase in power generated on a year-on-year basis, which was next only to the much-smaller states of Sikkim and Meghalaya.

 

$9.75 million

What is it? The interest payment on a dollar-denominated debt instrument that Reliance Communications missed on Monday.

Why is it important? This is the first debt-related default in a foreign currency by the Anil Ambani-owned company, whose telecom business lies in shambles, and which is now dependent on asset sales and lender restructuring to salvage an exit.

Tell me more: Elsewhere, it was a red-letter day for a part of Ambani’s financial services business: the company that manages his group’s mutual fund business listed yesterday and closed at a 13% premium to its issue price.

 

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News in Numbers, Oct 3, 2016: Black, the colour of the season…

Rs 65,250 crore

What is it? The value of assets declared under the Income Disclosure Scheme, 2016.

Why is it important? This is said to be the biggest black money disclosure and would fetch the government over Rs 29,000 crore in taxes. This might take some sting away from the criticism that NDA government was going too slow on black money. One of its main poll promises was to crack the whip on tax evaders. Under this scheme, there were 64,275 declarants with an average disclosure of more than Rs 1 crore.

Tell me more: The government had given a four-month window for people to declare their undisclosed assets, which closed at midnight on Friday. The taxpayers could escape prosecution by paying tax at 30%, a penalty at 7.5% and a surcharge at 7.5%, taking the total to 45% of the undisclosed income. In comparison, the income declared under the Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme, 1997, was over Rs 33,000 crore.

 

Rs 53,531 crore

What is it? The value of bids received by the government from telecom companies on day 1 of the latest spectrum auction.

Why is it important? This is India’s biggest spectrum auction and is expected to help the firms in providing better quality services amidst intensifying competition, especially with the entry of Reliance Jio’s 4G services at competitive rates. However, there were no takers for the 700 megahertz (MHz) band of airwaves, which has been put on sale for the first time and is considered to be the most efficient for offering high-speed broadband services. The reserve price – at Rs 11,485 crore per MHz – is considered expensive by the bidders.

Tell me more: Seven telecom firms – Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Tata Teleservices, Idea Cellular, Reliance Communications, Reliance Jio Infocomm and Aircel – are bidding to acquire airwaves in seven bands (700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 Mhz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz and 2,500 MHz).

 

Rs 21,000 crore

What is it? The divestment proceeds collected by the Indian government between April and September this year.

Why is it important? This is over 37% of the total disinvestment target of Rs 56,500 crore for 2016-17. It has also exceeded the previous high in the first six months of 2015-16 by over Rs 8,000 crore. This indicates that 2016-17 may be the year when it either achieves its targets or comes closer in reaching them, after having missed it for the last six years straight and for the 16th time last year in the disinvestment’s quarter-century history.

Tell me more: Of the total raised so far this year, Rs 16,500 crore is from buybacks initiated by five public sector units.

 

500,000

What is it? The number of products Flipkart said it sold in the first hour on the first day of its special Big Billion Days sales event on Sunday. Amazon said it sold 100,000 units on the first half hour of its Great Indian Festival sales, which started a day earlier.

Why is it important? This highlights the stiff competition between the two players as they try to capture India’s e-commerce market. Amazon India has the financial backing of its parent in America. Flipkart is reportedly in talks with Wal-Mart for a billion dollar investment in the company. The sales metrics the companies shared underscored the difficulty is assessing who is ahead in the race.

Tell me more: Snapdeal, the third big player in the market, said more than 2 million users logged on during the first hour of sale.

 

18

What is it? The number of years US presidential candidate Donald Trump might not have paid any income tax, according to a New York Times story

Why is it important? Trump’s finances has become an important issue in the ongoing election campaign in the US, because he hasn’t yet released his tax returns yet, defying a norm among the presidential candidates. His tax returns for 1995 showed a loss of $195 million, which “could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years,” the newspaper said. The revelation is likely to help Hillary Clinton, and there are speculations that releasing his returns could be devastating for Trump’s campaign.

Tell me more: According to Forbes magazine calculation, Donald Trump’s net worth is $3.7 billion, primarily from the real estate properties he owns or has a stake in.

 

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