News In Numbers: August 18
211 vs 175
India’s largest airlines by market share, IndiGo, has placed an order to purchase 250 Airbus A320neo aircraft, in a deal worth $26.55 billion at list prices. This is the largest-ever order for Airbus in terms of number of planes. The IndiGo order will help Airbus open its lead over rival Boeing in the Indian market. Data from the aviation regulator shows Airbus had 211 aircraft in operation in India, against Boeing’s 175. Globally, though, with revenues of $233 billion in 2014, Boeing was bigger in size than Airbus ($175 billion), primarily because the former’s sales include bigger and more expensive airplanes.
Rs 7,957 crore
The extent to which power distribution companies in Delhi reportedly overstated accumulated losses over the years. The estimate has been arrived at by the auditor to the government in a forthcoming report. If true, the report is a major boost to the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi, which made high power charges in the national capital one of the main points in its electoral campaign. The report gives room to the AAP government to press for a reduction in power rates. According to the report, the three discoms, two from the Anil Ambani Group and one from the Tata Group, bought costly power, ‘suppressed’ revenue and gave undue favours to group firms.
The amount the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has committed to invest in India as part of an infrastructure fund created by the two countries. This fund seeks to invest and expand India’s network of railways, ports, roads, airports and industrial corridors. The two countries also plan to increase their trade by 60% in the next five years. India received $239 million as foreign direct investment (FDI) from the UAE in 2013-14, and $1.31 billion between 2009-10 and 2013-14. India received $34 billion as FDI in 2014.
The number of verticals that are reportedly being created by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) to implement the proposed Goods and Services (GST) Bill. Besides these two verticals (one for performance management and the other for taxpayer services), there are various sub-groups working under the CBEC, and state officials are working on the law and procedures. The GST Bill, which is supposed to merge all central and state taxes into a single tax rate, was passed by the Lok Sabha but not by the Rajya Sabha, where the NDA is in a minority. A few media reports, quoting anonymous sources, say the government is considering a special session of Parliament in September to pass the GST Bill.
Rs 143 crore
The Supreme Court has asked the Central government to update it about the three-member committee it had asked to constitute to ensure the implementation of its order on government advertisements. This May, the court laid down certain guidelines for government advertisements to avoid misuse of public funds for glorifying the ruling party, and had suggested only the photographs of the President, Prime Minister and Chief Justice of India be used in government advertisements. An NGO had filed petitions in the Supreme Court in July to initiate contempt of court proceedings against the Delhi government (alleging it had earmarked Rs 526 crore for government ads in 2015-16) and the Tamil Nadu government for putting out ads that glorified their respective leaders. Previously, the Congress-led UPA government spent Rs 143 crore to place 84,733 advertisements in print publications between 2008-09 and 2012-13 related to the birth and death anniversaries of 15 leaders.
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