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.

 

$108,026

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.

 

12

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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Mayday Mayday

Rs 2,313.66 crore

What is it? The consolidated loss before tax of Ola, the Indian cab-hailing app in FY16.

Why is it important? Nearly three times more than FY15’s loss, this is being seen as Ola’s cost to remain a block ahead of Uber, its American rival. Revenue increased seven times to Rs 758 crore, but a four-times rise in advertising (Rs 385.5 crore) and over five-times increase in employee costs (Rs 379 crore), have ensured the losses pile up.

Tell me more: Ola-parent, ANI Technologies’ standalone operating revenue was Rs 383.44 crore, with which Uber India was almost neck and neck at Rs 374.79 crore.

 

352

What is it? Number of civilians killed in Iraq and Syria by US strikes against Isis targets since 2014, according to the Pentagon.

Why is it important? The Pentagon number is far less than the estimates of non-profit monitoring groups. Airwars, for example, puts coalition-led civilian deaths in Libya and Syria at 3,164 people atleast. High civilian deaths have remained the coalition fighting Isis’ Achilles heel, as human rights organisations have often criticised them for indiscriminate targeting.

Tell me more: Pentagon further said it was assessing the deaths of 42 people reported recently.

 

13

What is it? The number of states that have notified rules for the new Real Estate Act.

Why is it important? The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act , 2016, which promises transparency and protection of consumer rights, comes into effect on 1st May. The act was passed by both houses of parliament last year, and being a model law, it leaves the state governments to pass their own specific rules. The low number indicates the states are not prepared, but might face public pressure to notify rules.

Tell me more: Among other guidelines, the real estate act mandates developers to separately deposit 70% of the funds collected exclusively for construction.

 

10%

What is it? Import duty on gold at present.

Why is it important? Indian government is reportedly looking at bringing import duty down ahead of Goods and Services Tax (GST) rollout. Think tank Niti Aayog had suggested reducing the duty to make more gold available for small and medium firms, which in turn can increase jewelry exports. Lower duties also tend to bring down smuggling.

Tell me more: GST of 12% plus the current import duty is likely to make gold more expensive, according to industry players.

 

$1 billion

What is it? The cost of the anti-missile system called Thaad (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) , deployed by South Korea.

Why is it important? US President Donald Trump’s recent remarks of South Korea footing the bill for Thaad, which the US military built and deployed to South Korea, had put it in a spot. The US has now reassured it will pay for it. The anti-missile system installed as its neighbour, North Korea, lines up more missile and nuclear tests, has stirred up quite a few problems for the Asian country. They include China’s disapproval and political opposition in the ongoing presidential race in its country. The reassurance will bring some relief to South Korea.

Tell me more: North Korea test-launched another missile on Saturday, which was unsuccessful.

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We wanted flying cars, instead we got…

unnamed

 

600

What is it? The number of employees reportedly fired by Wipro after its annual performance appraisal.

Why is it important? Observers comment on the timing, amidst the uncertainty surrounding sending employees to their revenue-earning countries on temporary work visas. Not just the US with its H1-B visa but other countries such as Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, are tightening work visa rules as well. This leaves Indian IT companies to mull ways of keeping operational costs in check when hiring local talent and artificial intelligence for their client sites, while pruning a large domestic employee bench in India.

Tell me more: Wipro had over 179,000 employees at the end of December, 2016. It insists it is performing its ‘rigorous performance appraisal’ which is undertaken on a regular basis and is not a one-off, without confirming thenumber of people fired.

 

$186 million

What is it? The amount (Rs 1,200 crore) earned by the government through a 9.2% stake sale in National Aluminium Co (Nalco).

Why is it important? The asset sale kicks off this year’s disinvestment programme of the government. It plans to raise Rs 72,500 crore ($11.26 billion) in all, though the initial investment target is seldom met, with the central government often revising it lower through a fiscal.

Tell me more: Last year, it managed to earn Rs 46,247 crore through disinvestment. Nalco’s share sale was oversubscribed 1.43 times.

 

3

What is it? The number of casualties (one death and two injuries) in the central Paris shooting  attack by an Isis terrorist on Thursday night.

Why is it important? This is the latest in a slew of militant attacks in France, mostly perpetrated by Islamists from France and Belgium, killing more than 230 people since 2015. The attack on Champs Elysees has occurred just a few days from the presidential elections (Sunday).

Tell me more: Tourists and locals were cleared of the area. It is reported there was intimation of a dangerous individual coming into France from Belgium, though whether it is the same terrorist, now killed, is unclear.

 

$4.1 billion

What is it? Royalty payments outflow from India in 2012-13.

Why is it important? Regulation of royalty payments could turn out to be one of the levers India might pull in response to US president Donald Trump passing an executive order which placed curbs on H1B visas, used primarily in Indian IT companies. Commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman, speaking at an event on Thursday said, “it is a situation which is not where only the Indian companies have to face the US executive order.”

Tell me more: Finance minister Arun Jaitley, who is on a visit to US, has also raised H1B visa issue with US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross.

 

$1.3 million

What is it? Starting price of flying car, from AeroMobil, a Slovakia-based startup.

Why is it important? While the company is expected to ship the cars only in 2020, it is all set to take pre-orders from customers. Two other flying car companies, Terrafugia and Pal-V Liberty are also taking reservations for their products. This might put to rest some complaints about startups that they are not living up to their promise of delivering transformational products, underlined by Peter Thiel’s famous comment, “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.”

Tell me more: AeroMobil’s car can transform itself into a flight in about 3 minutes, and has a flight range of about 750 kms. It’s top ground speed is 160 kmph and flight speed of 360 kmph. Fictional spy James Bond has used a flying car in The Man with the Golden Gun.

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News in Numbers, Feb 20, 2017: The cost of a Tirupathi Laddu

Rs 2,500 crore

What is it? The estimated cost of re-verification of existing mobile subscribers through Aadhaar-based electronic know-your-customer process.

Why is it important? The attempt to weed out fake or forged identities used to secure telecom connections, especially wireless ones, will be a costly one. In January, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) proposed the e-KYC for Aadhaar-based ratification of users, and suggested incentives to help it.

Tell me more: In a letter to the Telecom Department, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) estimates that not just the cost, but the process would also require resources to rope in about 1,000 million subscribers.

 

26

What is it? The number of army personnel that died in the first 50 days of 2017.

Why is it important? The unrest in Kashmir from summer last year continues this year, triggering more counter-insurgency measures that claimed six soldiers in 2017. The rest of the security forces were killed in avalanches in the valley, a result of global warming. These deadly 50 days follow a year with the highest death count of 82 among the J&K forces since 2008.

Tell me more: But the counter-insurgency operations led to the death of 22 militants, the highest since 2010.

 

-$1,020 million

What is it? The difference in income of terror group, Islamic State, between 2014 and 2016.

Why is it important? The effects of political moves against ISIS, such as Operation Tidal Wave II, reduction in cross-border smuggling in Turkish and Kurdish-controlled areas in Iraq etc. and military opposition to its expansion are starting to show. Unlike other terror groups, donors play a negligible part in ISIS’ finances. Its territories yield natural resources, and properties, businesses and people to pillage and tax, for its to extract revenue from. But a shrinking territorial grasp has hit its coffers too.

Tell me more: Its biggest source of money — looting, confiscations and fines — have declined from 52% of its income of $970-1,890 million in 2014 to 22% of its  $520-870 million income in 2016, according to a report by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence .

 

Rs 140 crore

What is it? The annual loss to Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam, the trust that manages the famous Tirumala temple in Andhra Pradesh, on account of laddus, an offering made to the deity of the temple, and sold at subsidised rates or given away free to the pilgrims.

Why is it important?  It costs Rs 32.50 to make a laddu and it’s sold for Rs 25 for the pilgrims in general, at Rs 10 for those who opt for free entry into the temple, and for free to those who walk up the hill. About 70 lakh people reach the temple every year by foot. About 4 crore to 5 crore people visit the temple annually.

 

Tell me more: TTD earns over Rs 2000 every year, primarily from hundi collection.

 

~ 50%

What is it? The share of coal in total exports of North Korea to China.

Why is it important? China has banned coal imports from North Korea following the country’s claim that it has successfully tested ballistic missiles recently. China also accounts for over two thirds of North Korea’s exports. The move is expected to cause a shock to the struggling North Korean economy under Kim Jong-un and aimed to increase pressure on the country to stop its nuclear programme.

Tell me more: North Korea tested a medium long range ballistic missile on February 12, which landed in the Sea of Japan. China has been reducing trade with North Korea partly due to local economic compulsions and partly because of international pressure to impose trade sanctions on the country.

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