In Ireland, A Win For Women


What is it? The number of constituencies in Ireland, out of 40, where the number of votes to legalise abortion in the country exceeded those against.

Why is it important? On Saturday, in a landmark referendum, the Irish voted—66.4% to 33.6%—to repeal the eighth amendment of its constitution that did not allow abortion since 1983 barring exceptional circumstances. In as many as 30 of the 40 constituencies, votes in favour exceeded 60% of the total votes polled.

Tell me more: The only constituency that didn’t vote in favour was Donegal, where the count was 48.1% in favour and 51.9% against.



What is it? The number of Lok Sabha seats for which bypolls will be held on Monday.

Why is it important? The electoral pitch is rising in the lead up to the next general elections, scheduled for 2019, and an emerging narrative is of the opposition coming together to take on the BJP. Of the four seats, the most-watched is Kairana in Uttar Pradesh, where three key regional parties— RLD, SP and BSP—are fielding a combined candidate against the BJP.

Tell me more: In addition, elections will also take place on Monday for 10 assembly constituencies across nine states.


Rs 35,000 crore

What is it? The amount that 36 companies are looking to raise via the initial public offering (IPO) route in the next few months.

Why is it important? This indicates the continued buoyancy in primary markets in 2018, after last year saw 36 main board IPOs raise Rs 67,147 crore, against 26 companies and 26,494 crore in 2016. Of the companies looking to take the IPO route, most plan to use the proceeds for business expansion and working capital.

Tell me more: Of the 36 companies in queue, 12 have received the market regulator’s approval. There have been 15 IPOs so far this year.


Rs 7,000 crore

What is it? The value of assets of diamond jeweller Nirav Modi the Enforcement Directorate (ED) seeks to immediately confiscate for which it will reportedly move a special court in Mumbai.

Why is it important? The ED plans to make this move, in what is perhaps the first instance, under the recently promulgated Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance 2018. The agency, which is empowered to enforce the new law, will seek an official declaration to categorise Modi as a ‘fugitive’ based on the first chargesheet filed by it last week in connection with the $2-billion Punjab National Bank scam involving the diamantaire and his associates.

Tell me more: The ordinance seeks to confiscate the properties of economic offenders who have fled India to avoid facing criminal prosecution. India has recently created a list of 91 people who it plans to prevent from leaving the country for their involvement with companies that have defaulted.



What is it? The number of times the Chennai Super Kings have won the IPL(Indian Premier League).

Why is it important? On Sunday, Chennai won their third title in the world’s richest T20 tournament, decimating the Sunrisers Hyderabad on a Shane Watson blitzkrieg. This brings them level with Mumbai Indians in terms of IPL titles, though Chennai missed the last two seasons less because of suspension.

Tell me more:So far, five teams have won the IPL in its 11-year history. The three teams yet to win are the Delhi Daredevils, Kings XI Punjab and Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Read More


“nothing but lies and deceit”

As Donald Trump and Pakistan ushered in new year, the latter got reprimanded by the leader of the world’s most powerful economy in his first tweet of 2018. Trump said that Pakistan had given them “nothing but lies and deceit”, as he laid out in his tweet, the quantum of funds US has given to Pakistan in last 15 years. Well, that’s some way to ring in the new year.

For more news in numbers, read on.


Rs 68,826 crore

What is it? The total amount raised by Indian firms via the initial public offering (IPO) route in 2017, according to Prime Database.

Why is it important? This is the highest amount raised through this route so far, indicating increased buoyancy in the Indian equity markets. This is likely to continue in 2018: 15 companies have Sebi (Securities and Exchange Board of India) approval to raise Rs 12,000 crore; another 10 companies, looking to raise Rs 19,000 crore, are awaiting regulatory consent; and more filings are expected in the near future.

Tell me more: According to SBI’s research report Ecowrap, the heightened IPO activity could spur credit growth in some sectors—as seen in previous years—even though there is no direct relation between the two.


119.2 million

What is it? The number of shares that Bandhan Bank is looking to offer to the public via its proposed initial public offering (IPO).

Why is it important? On Monday, the bank said it had filed a Draft Red Herring Prospectus (DRHP) with capital market regulator Sebi. Back in June 2015, Bandhan, which was then India’s largest microfinance company, was one of the two entities to receive a banking licence, the other being IDFC. Going public within three years, a statutory requirement, will mark another milestone in Bandhan’s transformation from a giver of small loans to a full-fledged bank.

Tell me more: The proposed Bandhan IPO will consist of a fresh issue of up to 97.6 million shares and an offer for sale of 21.6 million shares. As of September 30, 2017, the Kolkata-headquartered bank had 864 bank branches and 386 ATMs, and current account and savings account deposits of Rs 7,170 crore.



What is it? The rate at which India’s infrastructure output grew in November from a year ago.

Why is it important? This is the fastest in 13 months, which suggests a possible revival in Indian industrial production. The growth in eight core industries, which account for 40% of industrial production, is likely to boost India’s factory output (as measured by the Index of Industrial Production), which had slowed to a three-month low of 2.2% in October.

Tell me more: The growth in infrastructure output in October was led by double-digit growth in steel and cement. The eight core sectors cumulatively grew 3.9% between April and October of 2017-18, lower than the 4.9% growth in the same period a year ago.


$33 billion

What is it? The total aid the United States has given Pakistan over the last 15 years, according to a tweet by US President Donald Trump yesterday.

Why is it important? In a strongly-worded tweet, which is also his first in 2018, Trump accused Pakistan of harbouring terrorists and said it had given them “nothing but lies and deceit”. The US is reportedly considering withholding $255 million in aid to Pakistan to express its displeasure over the latter’s alleged role in abetting terrorism. This is likely to boost India’s efforts in isolating Pakistan, whom it has blamed for sponsoring terrorism.

Tell me more: Minister of state Jitendra Singh tweeted that the American stance on Pakistan has vindicated India’s stand on terror.



What is it? The number of seasons that Vidarbha have played the Ranji Trophy, the premier competition in Indian domestic cricket.

Why is it important? On Monday, playing their first Ranji final, unfancied Vidarbha trounced Delhi by nine wickets to win their first title. Only two teams have taken longer to win their first title: Gujarat (83 seasons) and Uttar Pradesh (72 seasons).

Tell me more: Vidarbha’s win was scripted by a young squad mentored by a team of Ranji veterans, including 39-year-old opening batsman Wasim Jaffer, who won eight titles with Mumbai, coach Chandrakant Pandit and bowling coach Subroto Banerjee.

Read More


Are Promoters Cashing Out?


A larger share of IPOs has gone to promoters and investors than to the companies this year. Several LEDs bulb brands are found to be non-compliant. Job growth is not keeping pace with that GDP’s.



What is it? The percentage of LED (light emitting diode) bulb brands, besides 70% of LED downlighter brands, sold across 200 outlets in India that were found to be non-compliant with the government’s consumer safety standards, according to a survey by market research firm Nielsen.

Why is it important? The report says this would impact energy efficiency in India, which is looking to replace over 200 million incandescent light bulbs with LED light bulbs under the Ujala scheme. This would pose safety hazards for consumers besides causing losses to the government as some of these brands are manufactured illegally and sold. The total LED market is reportedly worth Rs 10,000 crore, with LED bulbs and downlighters accounting for about 50%.

Tell me more: The Nielsen study was conducted in four cities: New Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad. Of these, the capital recorded the highest number of Bureau of Indian Standards violations, with nearly three-fourths of LED manufacturers being non-compliant.


5.18 million

What is it? The aggregate employment in 1,473 medium to large companies in 2016-17, against 5.07 million in 2015-16 and 5.01 million in 2014-15, according to a study by ratings agency Care Ratings.

Why is it important? The report makes a case for employment generation not being aligned with GDP (gross domestic product) growth. The annual growth in employment in the companies under review was 1.18% in 2015-16, against GDP growth of 8%. In 2016-17, growth in employment improved to 2.25%, while GDP growth slowed to 7.1%. This is also a worrying trend for the NDA-led government, which had swept to power in 2014 with employment generation as one of its key promises.

Tell me more: The study warns it does not include the small and medium sector, which plays a dominant role in employment generation. However, it claims to be “indicative of the trends witnessed in the last two years”.


1,000 km

 What is it? The length of the proposed tunnel that China is planning to build to divert water from Brahmaputra, one of India’s largest rivers.

Why is it important? The tunnel, which would be the world’s longest if built, could become another point of tension between the two Asian countries. Recently, India and China were locked in a 73-day military stand-off over the construction of a road by the latter in Doklam, the border tri-junction with Bhutan. The tunnel project involves draining of water from the river in southern Tibet, which is close to Arunachal Pradesh. India, a riparian state, has previously expressed concern over the number of dams being built by China on Brahmaputra; the Chinese say these are run-of-the-river projects and not used for storage purposes.

Tell me more: The tunnel is expected to drop from the world’s highest plateau in various sections connected by waterfalls and provide water to China’s Xinjiang region, a barren area in northwest China.



What is it? Number of seasons that House of Cards, the popular Netflix political drama series, will finish with. On Monday, Netflix announced the 2018 season, currently being filmed, would be its last.

Why is it important? The announcement comes a day after Kevin Spacey, one of the lead actors in the series, issued a public statement to allegations that he had made unwanted sexual advances on a 14-year-old boy in 1986. Kevin Spacey is the latest Hollywood figure to face a pushback after allegations of sexual abuse, following producers Harvey Weinstein and director James Toback.

Tell me more: Netflix maintained the decision to terminate the series—whose Season 1, aired in 2013, is ranked 33 in IMDb’s list of most popular TV shows—was made “months earlier”.



What is it? The share of initial public offerings (IPOs) in 2017 that has gone to promoters and investors of companies, as compared to the companies themselves.

Why is it important? This is the highest percentage since 2003. Seen another way, only one-fifth of the combined size of IPOs has come to companies as new capital, which they can channel into avenues of growth and business enhancement. This also means that promoters and investors are using the buoyancy in the market to cash in and unlock value.

Tell me more: The current IPO rush has also seen entirely new sectors debut on Indian bourses, notably insurance and mutual funds.


Read More

Scrapped Notes That Came Back

Rs 10,91,000 crore

What is it? The value of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes returned by the public during demonetisation that the Reserve Bank of India has since processed for numerical accuracy and authenticity.

Why is it important? In all, Rs 15,28,000 crore worth of notes were returned to the RBI following demonetisation. This means, nearly a year on, RBI has verified 71% of the value of returned notes, a pace for which it has been facing criticism.

Tell me more: November 8 will mark one year of demonetisation, and political parties are set to again raise the pitch over its merits and demerits.


5 months

What is it? Time taken in India to receive approvals to merge a 100% subsidiary with its parent, Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal said on Saturday.

Why is it important? Mittal was using this to make a case that this government was making doing business in India easier, but it needed to do more.

Tell me more: The World Bank is expected to release its Doing Business report on October 31, and India is projected to gain positions over its 2017 rank of 130 out of 190 countries.


Rs 58,000 crore

What is it? The amount the government can raise by trimming its stake in public sector banks to 52%, according to a report released by industry chamber Assocham yesterday.

Why is it important? Such stake sales can reduce the burden on government’s finances from the three-pronged Rs 211,000 crore plan to recapitalise public sector banks it announced last week.

Tell me more: There are 25 public sector banks where the direct holding of the Central/state Government, or other public sector banks, is 51% or more.



What is it? Number of balls that David Miller of South Africa took to score a century against Bangladesh yesterday.

Why is it important? This is the fastest century in international T20 cricket. Miller shaved off 10 balls from the record, previously held by countryman Richard Levi, and also nearly smashed six sixes in an over.

Tell me more: Across cricketing formats, this is the second-fastest international century, after AB de Villiers’ 31-ball master-class against the West Indies in a one-day match in 2015.



What is it? The number of companies managing mutual funds that could be listed by the first half of 2018, if all goes as planned for the HDFC Group.

Why is it important? On Saturday, HDFC chairman said they were planning a listing of the asset management business in 2018. A new-found acceptance from retail investors is spurring the business of mutual funds into a new trajectory, and some are looking to use the buoyancy in the market to list. For investors, a new sector is now available to invest.

Tell me more: Last week, the IPO of the company that runs Reliance Mutual Fund was over-subscribed 81 times.

Read More