Towering inferno

$30 billion

What is it? The cost of setting up a joint refinery, by state-owned companies — Indian Oil (IOC), Bharat Petroleum (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum (HPCL) — in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra, as per the agreement signed on Wednesday.

Why is it important? The refinery will be India’s largest, with a capacity of 60 million-tonne. Costing around Rs 2 lakh-crore, it will boost the country’s oil export potential, besides readiness to tackle demand at home. Being considered since 2015, the project faced land acquisition hurdles in 2016.

Tell me more: There will be a mega petrochemical complex to accompany the refinery at the site.




What is it? The number of Infosys overseas employees who earn above Rs 1 crore.

Why is it important? Employees hired abroad tend to earn more. Infosys is expected to face pressure on its cost as it is slated to hire 10,000 in the US in the next two years. Around 700 of the 1800 high earning overseas employees were hired after Sikka took over in 2014.

Tell me more: The number of India based Infosys employees who earn more than Rs 1 crore has come down from 113117 in FY15 to around 50 in FY17.



520 million

What is it? The number of 4G subscribers in India by 2022, as forecast by the latest Ericsson Mobility Report.

Why is it important? In the recent months, 4G migration got a boost with huge discounts from Reliance Jio. It also forced other players to bring down price. The report forecasts 740 million subscribers for 3G by 2022. In 2016, an April report by CLSA had put the combined subscription of 3G and 4G services at 120 million.

Tell me more: There are 1.17 billion wireless subscribers (April,  2017), which include increasingly unpopular technologies such as 2G and CDMA.




What is it? The number of people confirmed dead in the inferno in Central London on Wednesday.

Why is it important? The 24-story Grenfell Tower apartment block, was built in 1974 but was recently refurbished, and the fire spread through it at an unprecedented speed. Despite the presence of hundreds of firefighters, the fire could not be contained to evacuate everyone trapped in the tower. The disaster has called into question fire safety in high-rises, increasingly common in cities around the world. India has constantly been reminded of the shortfall in fire-preparedness of its high-rises, most recently by a CAG report on Maharashtra.

Tell me more: The tower block was home to 600 people, and the fire is being considered one of London’s deadliest.




What is it? The rise in India’s wholesale price index in May, 2017.

Why is it important? This is the slowest growth in the last five months. The trend was also seen in consumer price inflation at 2.18%. It was driven down by falling food prices, as wholesale vegetable price index fell by 18.51% in May.

Tell me more: The low growth in inflation has led businesses to call for rate cuts.

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News in numbers, Jan 14, 2016: Revamped crop insurance scheme, India’s diaspora population…



What is it? Premium, as a percentage of insured value, to be paid by farmers for insuring kharif crops under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, a revamped crop insurance scheme. It will be 1.5% for rabi crops and 5% for commercial or horticultural crops.


Why is it important? The revamped crop insurance aims to derisk farming by capping the insurance premium, with government subsidising the remaining cost. The type of losses covered are also being widened. Farmers will now be encouraged to diversify into non-food crops as most of their losses could be covered and premium to cover that will be only 5% of insured value. Horticultural crops don’t have minimum price support.


Tell me more: Only 27% of farming households are covered under existing crop insurance schemes.  


Rs 1.40 per litre


What is it? Increase in price of petrol to implement the BS VI emission norms, which will come into effect from 2020. In the case of diesel, the impact would be Rs 0.63 per litre.   


Why is it important? Car makers have complained about lack of quality fuel as hindrance to implement emission norms. Now, Indian Oil Corporation, India’s largest oil refiner, will invest Rs 21,000 crore to upgrade its fuel by 2020. Diesel passenger vehicles will cost 20% more, but petrol vehicles will increase by only 2% to meet the BS VI norms.  


Tell me more: India’s BS VI norms is equivalent to Europe’s VI standards, which is in practice from 2014.  




What is it? Luxury tax imposed by Bihar government on common Indian sweets and savouries like samosas and kachori if the price is above Rs 500 per kg.


Why is it important? With the ban on sale of alcohol from April this year, the state government is looking at ways to increase or levy new taxes to compensate for the loss of tax on alcohol. This will increase the cost of food and other items in the state.    


Tell me more: Bihar estimated to collect Rs 4,000 crore as excise duty on alcohol in 2015-16. This is around 12% of the state’s tax collection.


16 million


What is it? Size of India’s diaspora population in 2015. India has the world’s largest number of people living outside the country where they were born.  


Why is it important? Migration is beneficial as remittances help in bridging trade deficit. India received $ 70 billion of remittances in 2014, around 22% of India’s export in 2014-15.    


Tell me more: International migration increased by 41% between 2000 and 2015. This also includes 20 million refugees.


4 billion


What is it? The number of people who still don’t have access to internet as against 3.2 billion (or 60% of world’s population) who have access. 2 billion people don’t use mobile phones.


Why is it important? Of the 4 billion, more than 1 billion are in India. Shows the digital divide, if left unaddressed, will lead to a new underclass, says the World Bank. Offline investments in education, technology and infrastructure are key to bridge this divide.  


Tell me more: 500 million across the world live in areas where there are no mobile signals.

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