News in Numbers, Aug 5, 2016: Gujarat’s ordinance quashed, April 2017 target for GST…

50%

What is it? The maximum reservation a state can set aside for economically and socially backward groups, per Supreme Court order in 1963.

Why is it important? This has come in the way of Gujarat government’s ordinance to provide 10% reservation in educational institutions and government jobs for the economically backward among the unreserved category – a move which was seen as a way to pacify the Patidar community that organised a statewide agitation demanding the Other Backward Class (OBC) status. The High Court quashed the ordinance and held that it to be inappropriate and unconstitutional as the Constitution allows reservations to be given only for the socially backward and the Scheduled Castes/Tribes and not on the basis of economic criteria.

Tell me more: The BJP government has said it would challenge the High Court decision. On the other hand, Hardik Patel, the leader of the Patidar agitation welcomed the order and said that they would continue their demands to be included under the OBC category.

 

60,000

What is it? The number of revenue officials to be trained on rules related to Goods and Services Tax and IT infrastructure framework by April 2017.

Why is it important? This will help meet the Indian government’s target of rolling out GST, which would replace the existing indirect taxes and be implemented as a single tax rate, by April 1, 2017. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said they would work quickly and try and meet the deadline. A total of 16 states (BJP is in power in 13) need to ratify the bill and they have been asked to do so within 30 days of the President’s assent of the legislation.

Tell me more: The government hopes that all the necessary bills related to the GST would be passed in the Winter Session of the Parliament and that the back-end and front-end IT systems required for the rollout would be ready by the end of the year.

 

Rs 15 crore

What is it? The pay package of Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries in 2015-16.

Why is it important? The richest man in India has not taken a pay hike for the last eight years – a voluntary move by the elder Ambani brother. The other senior management personnel, however, got remuneration hikes. In the same period, Reliance Industries’ net profit nearly doubled from Rs 15,296 crore in 2008-09 to Rs 27,630 crore in 2015-16. In 2014-15, Ambani’s salary was 205 times that of the median employee remuneration.

Tell me more: The Reliance Industries chairman was ranked as the 36th richest man in the world with a total net worth of $19.3 billion by Forbes annual ranking for 2016. Until 2007-08, Ambani was the highest paid executive in the country with a pay package of Rs 44 crore per annum.

 

Rs 384 crore

What is it? The amount taxi-hailing app Ola, run by ANI Technologies, had raised in December from Vanguard Group, a US-based investment management firm, as per the company’s recent disclosure.

Why is it important? The investment by the Pennsylvania firm will draw further attention to Ola’s valuation (was around $5 billion last November) as it has to disclose the status of its portfolio to the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Vanguard has also invested in some of the bigger technology firms such as Facebook, Alphabet, Amazon.com and Flipkart. It was in news in India after Flipkart’s valuation was marked down by Vanguard and its peers from around $15 billion last July to about $10 billion now.

Tell me more: India’s third most valuable startup is reportedly in talks existing and new investors to raise more funds as it looks to compete with cash-rich Uber in India’s cab-hailing market.

 

24

What is it? The number of flights Air Costa, a regional airline, had suspended on Thursday due to problems with its aircraft lessors. It said it would resume operations as scheduled from today.

Why is it important? This comes a few days after another regional airline Air Pegasus suspended its operations (on July 27) after its lessors repossessed its aircraft due to non-payment of dues. This raises questions about the viability of the business models of regional carriers at a time when the government has unveiled the new civil aviation policy, which aims to boost regional connectivity and attract first-time flyers from small towns.

Tell me more: The government says it would help both the airlines, if feasible and if they approach them for help. The flight route of Air Costa includes cities such as Vijayawada, Bengaluru, Chennai, Tirupati, Coimbatore and Jaipur.

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News in Numbers, June 8, 2016: India closer to its NSG aspirations, Amazon’s India push…

$21.3 billion

What is it? The estimated cost of delay and additional fuel consumption due to freight vehicles being stopped at check posts and/or state borders, long queues at check posts, poor road conditions etc., according to a study.

Why is it important? Underscores the need for Goods and Services Tax – which would bring in a single tax rate in place of the myriad existing ones, and reduce paperwork at checkposts and state borders. This would cut some costs. However, it would also need better infrastructure – wider roads and focus on multi-modal transportation – and action against unnecessary police intervention.

Tell me more: The study by IIM-Calcutta and logistics firm Transport Corporation of India gave the break up of the cost incurred due to delays and cost of fuel consumption due to such delays: $6.6 billion and $14.7 billion respectively.

 

35

What is it? The total number of member-nations of the Missile Technology Control Regime, an international anti-proliferation grouping, with the latest addition being India.

Why is it important? This would help India to buy high-end missile technology and also bring it closer to becoming a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a body that controls global nuclear trade. Though India has received support from the US for India’s entry into this coveted group, China has been against this and favouring Pakistan’s membership.

Tell me more: India has the capabilities of exporting nuclear fuel such as thorium and supply nuclear technology in the future but it cannot do so until it is a member of the NSG. India’s entry into this group will also give it a strategic victory over Pakistan as it can block it from joining the NSG.

 

6.5%

What is it? The present Repo rate – the rate at which the central bank lends to the banks.  It was kept unchanged by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday.

Why is it important?  RBI holding the rates was expected, but it comes at time when there is debate – fuelled primarily by Rajya Sabha member Subramanian Swamy – on whether the central bank is too reluctant to bring down rates, which might help small and medium industries.

Tell me more: The RBI has cited concerns about an upside in inflation risks mainly due to increase in international commodity prices, especially oil, and the implementation of the Seventh Central Pay Commission. The central bank may not go for any interest rate cuts this year as RBI’s survey of professional forecasters have assigned the highest probability of 49% for average inflation to be 5-5.9% in 2016-17 against its target of containing it within 5%. The RBI also left the cash reserve ratio, the portion of their deposits that banks have to keep with the central bank, at 4%.

 

Rs 404

What is it? The amount a passenger would have typically got as refund, if they had cancelled a Delhi-Mumbai ticket costing Rs 2,419 (base fare: Rs 1,559) booked on June 7.

Why is it important? Highlights how cancellation charges can sometimes exceed the base fare amount (in this case, it is 1.29 times the base fare). India’s aviation regulator will reportedly announce new rules barring airliners from levying cancellation charges exceeding the base fares.

Tell me more: A couple of months ago, airlines in India offered discounts and brought down airfares but increased the cancellation charges up by 50-100%.

 

$3 billion

What is it? Additional investment commitment by Amazon in India.

Why is it important? This is likely hit Indian e-commerce firms such as Flipkart and Snapdeal, which have been struggling to raise funds to keep up in the race as competition intensifies. It also shows how badly Amazon needs to win in India, after losing out to Alibaba Group Holding in China. In July 2014, the company had announced a $2 billion investment in the country, which it spent in less than two years.

Tell me more: With the additional funds coming in, Amazon’s total pledged amount would exceed $5 billion (over Rs 33,000 crore) in India.

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News in Numbers, Jun 7, 2016: Wipro’s automation move, India gets back 200 artifacts…

3,300

What is it? The number of computer engineers who will be freed up this year due to Wipro’s use of its artificial intelligence platform Holmes. The platform Holmes would be used to automate some tasks of fixed-price projects.

Why is it important? An early indicator of how automation can impact jobs in one of the highest paying sectors in the country. For the companies it can cut down labour costs – the move will save Wipro up to $46.5 million. Other IT firms TCS and Infosys are also working with their artificial intelligence systems to boost revenue per employee and profitability figures.

Tell me more: Wipro plans to sell the platform to existing and new clients to earn about $60-70 million.  

 

$159

What is it? Median monthly generic drug price in India, according to a study of cancer drug prices in seven countries.

Why is it important? While this is among the lowest in the world, in terms of affordability, it is among the most expensive. The cost of generics as a percentage of domestic product per capita at purchasing power parity is 33% in India. Cancer drug prices are the highest in the US where the median monthly price for generics is $654 or 14% of wealth adjusted for cost of living.

Tell me more: In case of branded drugs, the situation is even worse in India. The median monthly price of branded drugs is $1,515 , which is 313% of domestic product per capita at purchasing power parity.

 

Rs 30,000 crore

What is it? State owned NTPC Ltd’s proposed investment in 2016-17, part of which would go towards stepping up its renewable energy generation.

Why is it important? It is likely to help the country achieve its target of meeting 40% of its energy demands from non-fossil fuels (such as nuclear, wind, water and solar) by 2030. NTPC is reviewing its long-term plans of achieving 128 GW of capacity by 2032, of which over a tenth is to be accounted for by renewable energy.

Tell me more: NTPC, which accounts for a sixth of India’s power capacity, plans to add 1,000 MW of wind power in the current fiscal and to produce 10% of India’s target of installing 100 GW of solar capacity by 2022. NTPC will raise Rs 20,000 crore in debt, of which Rs 7,000 crore would be from overseas lenders.

 

2.18 acres

What is it? The area of land Indian government has allotted for the development of a naval detachment on Bitra island in Lakshadweep.

Why is it important? It will help government increase its military presence on the eastern and western coasts as it jostles with China to exert greater influence over the important Indian Ocean region and protect its maritime interests. Both the countries are improving their infrastructure and bettering their relations with smaller countries such as Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka, which also have strategic interests in the region.

Tell me more:  It is also establishing/upgrading its naval detachments on remote islands such as Kavaratti, Minicoy and Agatti and setting up military bases at Tuticorin (Tamil Nadu) and Paradip (Odisha).

 

200

What is it? Number of stolen artifacts the US returned to the Indian government on Monday.

Why is it important? Most of them were recovered from a decade-old ‘Operation Hidden Idol’, which led to the arrest of six people and recoveries of items worth $100 million. The artifacts, some of them that date back to 2,000 years, were stolen from India’s most valued religious sites.

Tell me more: The US has returned over 7,500 artifacts to different countries in the last 10 years.

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

 

-24.4%

 

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%.

 

-0.3%

 

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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