India’s heavyweight in space 🚀

3,136 kg

What is it? The weight of the GSAT-19 satellite scheduled for launch by Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) on Monday.

Why is it important? It is India’s heaviest satellite yet, to be carried by the GSLV Mark III rocket, India’s heaviest rocket so far. The communication satellite, to be launched from Sriharikota, will improve Internet speed and data connectivity across the country.

Tell me more: The launch vehicle can carry up to 4,000 kg of payload and will be placing the satellite at a distance of 36,000 km from the Earth.



What is it? The Wipro Chairman Azim Premji’s compensation in the 2016-17 fiscal.

Why is it important? It has dropped 63% from $292,991 from FY 2016, even as Wipro’s profit decreased 4.7% to Rs 84.9 lakh-crore.  As IT sector faces rough weather, complaints about compensation to its leaders have been growing too. CEOs of Infosys, Cognizant and Genpact took pay cuts recently.

Tell me more: Former Infosys chairman NR Narayana Murthy, in an interview, called for senior IT executives to cut down their compensations to stop lay offs.



What is it? The number of arrests British police have made following Saturday evening’s terror attack in London.

Why is it important? The attack, claimed by terror group Isis and which killed seven, comes close on the heels of 23 May’s attack in Manchester, considered the second deadliest terror attack in the UK. West European countries have seen a marked rise in terror attacks since 2014.

Tell me more: The modus operandi was similar to the March attack in Westminster, that of the assailant(s) ramming a vehicle into pedestrians and then wielding weapons to attack passersby. The arrests were made in east London.


$7 billion

What is it? The additional capital SoftBank is in talks to raise for its Vision Fund.

Why is it important? If it succeeds, it will be the world’s first private equity fund to cross $100 billion mark. With $93 billion in commitments, it’s already the world’s largest PE fund. It will drive investments in technology, especially in emerging areas such as artificial intelligence.

Tell me more:  The current backers include Apple, Qualcomm, Foxconn and Saudi Arabia’s PID public fund.  The group is talking to investors in Canada and West Asia, according to reports.


Rs 5,000 crore

What is it? The estimated amount to be raised in initial public offerings by four companies in June.

Why is it important? This would be around 25% of the minimum value of Rs 20,000 crore expected to be raised in FY17 through IPOs. In 2017, so far, eight companies have raised Rs 6,335.83 crore. The stir in IPOs had made India one of the busiest in the region spanning Europe, West Asia, India and Africa in the first quarter of 2017.

Tell me more: Twenty-six companies had raised Rs 26,493.84 crore in IPOs in 2016. Tejas Networks, CDSL, Eris Lifesciences and Au Small Finance Bank are expected to list in June.

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PoS-itive additions 💳📊

1.4 billion

What is it? The amount e-commerce firm Flipkart raised from eBay, Microsoft and Tencent

Why is it important? It’s the biggest amount raised in a single funding round by an Indian start-up. It came at a pre-money valuation of $10.2 billion, signalling the confidence investors have showed in the company that saw a series of markdowns in the last couple of years. The funding – and acquisition of eBay India, that was a part of the deal – will strengthen Flipkart as it fights its aggressive and better endowed competitor Amazon.

Tell me more: There have also been talks that Snapdeal, the third largest commerce player in the country will be merged with Flipkart, along with additional funding from SoftBank.



What is it? The share of the Europe, Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA) region in the global IPOs (initial public offerings) in first three months of 2017.

Why is it important? India with 26 IPOs accounted for nearly 34% of the region’s activity that ranked it second to Asia-Pacific in IPO numbers. EMEIA ranked third with 15% share in global proceeds, behind Asia-Pacific and the Americas.

Tell me more: The EMEIA region had 77 IPOs, raising $5.2 billion in all in Jan-Mar, 2017.


>2.5 million

What is it? The number of point-of-sale (PoS) machines at merchant establishments/shops.

Why is it important? PoS machine availability in India trails that of BRIC nations such as Brazil and China where per capita PoS availability for swiping plastic money is higher. Demonetisation had brought the scarcity into focus as people had to do less cash transactions. The numbers inched from 1.5 million swipe machines in October, 2016, to 1.7 million in December, 2.2 million in February, 2017, to over 2.5 million now. SBI has led with installation of 124,000 machines.

Tell me more: The count, shared by a National Payments Corporation of India official, is a little less than Niti Aayog’s estimate of 2.8 million PoS machines in February.


17 days

What is it? The time the UK-to-China freight train would take to reach its destination in Zhejiang, travelling along the ancient ‘Silk Road’ route.

Why is it important? The time taken by the train between the two countries, spanning a route along seven other countries, is still half the duration at sea. It is also cheaper than sending goods by air. While the train had brought household items, clothes, and consumer fashion goods from China, it is transporting soft drinks, baby products and pharmaceuticals on the maiden return journey.

Tell me more: Chinese premier, Xi Jinping’s 2013 “One Belt, One Road” policy to revive land-routes for trading with the West, has made London the 15th European city with a direct rail connection.


$50.9 billion

What is it? Tesla’s market cap at the end of trading on Monday

Why is it important? It is now the most valued car company in the US, beating General Motors, the 108 year old giant, by 64 million dollars. Tesla’s position is seen more as a reflection of investors’ faith in Elon Musk’s vision for the future of electric cars, than the present financials of the companies. GM earned $9 billion in 2016, and Teslalost $674 million. GM sold nearly 10 million vehicles, and Tesla sold 80,000 globally.

Tell me more: Toyota, with its  $172 billion market cap, is the biggest carmaker by market value at present. Volkswagen, with a sale of 10.31 million vehicles in 2016, is the largest carmaker by sales volume, closely followed by Toyota.

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News in Numbers, Oct 14, 2016: The Times They Are a-Changin’…

Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for Literature got mixed reactions: some totally excited, some surprised while others critical. One of the numbers in today’s edition is interesting as it indicates the kind of influence he wielded through his songs. To those questioning the decision to award him this honour, ‘How many songs must he sing for you before you call him worthy of this?’ ‘The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind’!

Just kiddin’!

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What is it? The number of references to American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan’s lyrics in medical papers, according to a study.

Why is it important? It is an indicator of his influence. His songs not only reflected American culture but also helped shape it. According to a 2012 study, Dylan has been cited the most by judges at all levels in the country’s judicial system. He is the first singer-songwriter to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Some have questioned the decision.

Tell me more: Some of his songs include: “Blowing’ in the Wind”, “Subterranean Homesick Blues”, “Like a Rolling Stone” and “The Times They Are a-Changin’”.


What is it? Retail inflation rate in September, down from 5.05% in August.

Why is it important? This is the lowest in 13 months. This is due to a sharp fall in food prices (vegetables, fruits and pulses) – food inflation fell to 3.88% in September from 5.91% in the previous month. With strong crop sowing due to good rains, food prices are expected to be moderate in the coming months and it remains to be seen if this prompts the apex bank’s recently constituted monetary policy committee to go for another rate cut this financial year.

Tell me more: The committee cut repo rate (the rate at which the central bank lends to other banks) by 25 basis points (one-hundredth of a percentage point) to 6.25% earlier this month.


$1.05 billion

What is it? The investment into venture-backed capital companies in India in the July-September quarter this year, according to a report.

Why is it important? This is 69% lower than the investments recorded in the same period a year ago – $3.41 billion across 156 deals. However, the investments in the September quarter were nearly double than those in the previous quarter ($584 million). Though investments have declined compared to a year ago, investors have focused on companies with “clear business models” and “greater profitability potential”, according to the report.

Tell me more: Globally, venture-backed capital companies raised$24.1 billion across 1,983 deals, which was at a two-year low, as per the report by KPMG International and CB Insights. Compared to 25 companies that were valued at a billion dollars (popularly known as unicorns) between July and September 2015, just eight companies touched or crossed that level in the last quarter.


Rs 19,379.1 crore

What is it? The amount 21 companies have raised via initial public offerings (IPOs) in the January-September period of this year.

Why is it important? This is the highest amount raised during this period since 2007 when companies raised Rs 28,993.65 crore across 81 IPOs. The positive sentiment seems to be a result of a good monsoon after two years of successive drought, slowing inflation rates, expected boost to consumption demand due to pay and pension hikesto former and current government employees and the possibility of a faster economic growth than the 7.6% (which was at a 5-year high) recorded in the previous financial year.

Tell me more: The amount raised in the first nine months of 2016 is about triple the amount (Rs 6,346.01 crore) raised by 15 companies in 2015 and nearly 23 times that raised (Rs 850.51 crore) by four companies in 2014.


2.8 million

What is it? The number of new tuberculosis (TB) patients in India in 2015, higher than 2.2 million in 2014, according to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Why is it important? This is higher than any other country and accounts for over a fourth of the global estimates. The WHO increased India’s estimates from 1.7 million and 1.6 million new and relapse cases in 2015 and 2014 respectively. The change in estimates reflect the difficulty in getting accurate numbers. India is planning to conduct a prevalence study over the next three years to get a better picture. It is looking to provide free medicines and diagnostic tools to patients under private medical care just as it does for patients getting assistance from government-run programmes.

Tell me more: India’s estimates, which have been revised, have impacted the global figures: there were estimated 10.4 million new TB patients in 2015. The low estimates in India seems to be due to underreporting of cases in the private sector. The disease, which has been curable for decades, claimed the lives of an estimated 1.4 millionin 2015.

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News in Numbers, Oct 7, 2016: The raging storm…


What is it? The percentage of airwaves that the government sold to telecom players in its latest spectrum auction. It had put up 2354.55 MHz for sale, and sold 965MHz at the end of five day sale.

Why is it important? The government raised Rs 65,789.12 crore in revenue, even though it’s only a fraction of what it hoped to raise (Rs 5.6 trillion). Rs 32,000 crore will be paid upfront, which is about half the amount estimated in the Union Budget earlier this year. Two bands, 700 MHz and 900 MHz, remained unsold as the bidders felt the base amount was too high.

Tell me more: Vodafone reportedly spent Rs 20,000 crore on the auction. Airtel, Jio and Idea bought telecom bands by paying Rs 14,244 crore, Rs 13,672 crore and Rs 12,789 crore respectively.


88,537 MW

What is it? The targeted capacity addition under the 12th five-year plan, of which thermal power, hydropower and nuclear power constitute 72,340 MW, 10,897 MW and 5,300 MW respectively.

Why is it important? The government is likely to achieve its overall power generation target by end of the current five-year plan period after having missed its targets in the previous two plan periods. Currently, it has achieved 99.4% of its target and the 12th five-year plan ends by March 2017. However, this is mainly because of capacity increases by private and state thermal power producers (they have exceeded their targets by nearly 15%) while hydroelectric and nuclear projects are nowhere near achieving their targets.

Tell me more: India’s current installed capacity is 305,554.25 MW as of August 2016.



What is it? The number of Indian airports in four states and Delhi that have been warned of a possible terror by intelligence agencies. These include all four border states: Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat and Punjab.

Why is it important? There are concerns about possible terror attacks after the Indian government claimed to have conducted surgical strikes (intended to cause damage to military target with no or minimum collateral damage to surrounding areas) targeting terrorist launchpads in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir last week. A couple of days ago, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval reportedly informed the Cabinet Committee on Security, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, that 100 militants are gearing up to cross the Line of Control and launch attacks on India.

Tell me more: Inputs from intelligence agencies and the military reportedly suggest that militants are to launch attacks on security forces and rekindle violence in the Kashmir Valley, which is already simmering with tension after Hijb-ul-Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani was killed on July 8.


$5.8 billion

What is it? The amount Indian companies are expected to raise through initial public offerings (IPOs) this year, according to a report.

Why is it important? This would be the highest in six years as the capital raised so far by Indian firms via this route has already touched $2.93 billion – higher than the $2.18 billion raised in 2015. Upcoming IPOs of $2.9 billion are in the pipeline, as per data on September 22. Companies are expected to raise a similar amount in 2017 as well with financial and telecommunications firms likely to raise $3.98 billion and $3.12 billion over the next 12 months or so.

Tell me more: The expected capital to be raised this year is 31.5% lower than the $8.47 billion raised in 2010 by way of 64 IPOs. The estimates are by a global law firm Baker and McKenzie.



What is it? The number of people killed by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti.

Why is it important? This is the strongest hurricane in the Carribean since Felix hit in 2007 and the strongest to hit the island nation in over 50 years. Haiti, which had an estimated population of 10.6 million in 2015, is vulnerable to disasters as over half of the city-dwellers live in congested shantytowns and other factors including deforestation, political instability and corruption have not helped. It ranks 163rd out of 188 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index.

Tell me more: Hurricane Matthew, now classified as Category 4 storm (on a scale of 1 to 5 with three or more having the potential to cause loss of lives and damage), is projected to be Category 3 by the time it hits central Florida. This is said to be the strongest storm in the US in 12 years and likely to be the most powerful to strike northeast Florida in 118 years.

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