Indian_Space_Research_Organisation_Logo.svg

ISRO Offers Battery Tech

0.25%

What is it? The rate by which the Federal Reserve increased lending rates on Wednesday. The benchmark overnight lending rate was increased to 2%, from 1.75%.

Why is it important? This is the second time the US central bank has increased the rate, and has indicated to increase twice again in 2018. Apart from higher borrowing rates for mortgages and credit cards, the move will also impact Indian markets as more foreign portfolio investors will pull their money out of India because of higher returns in US.

Tell me more: Inflation registered at 2.2% and has passed the level that the Federal Reserve considers healthy. The policy statement did not mention the discussions surrounding the Trump administration’s trade policies on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico. Wednesday’s increase was the 2nd this year and only the 7th since the end of the Great Recession.

6

What is it? The number of Apache AH-64E helicopters the United States has approved to sell to India.

Why is it important? Apart from 6 Apaches, the Pentagon has agreed to sell Hellfire and Stinger missiles, control radars, night vision sensors and inertial navigation systems to India for $930 million. The announcement of the deal comes ahead of the first 2+2 dialogue between Indian external affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj, defense minister Nirmala Sitharaman and their American counterparts.

Tell me more: Bilateral defence trade between the US and India has now reached $15 billion from near zero in 2008. In 2016, India was accorded the status of a US major defense partner which allowed India to receive license-free access to a wide range of military and dual-use technologies regulated by the Department of Commerce. The lead contractors are Lockheed Martin SA, General Electric Ltd and Raytheon.

45

What is it? The number of employees at mobile payments startup Chillr who will be joining Truecaller post the acquisition.

Why is it important? This is Truecaller’s first ever acquisition in India. Truecaller, which started as mobile directory, is now betting on mobile payments space via the Unified Payments Interface, a real-time payment system for inter-banks transactions in India. The value of the deal between the two companies – which had Sequoia as a common investor – was not announced.

Tell me more: With this deal, Chillr will have access to Truecaller’s 150 million Indian customers in its fight to capture the online payments market.

2

What is it? The number of days before the FIFA World Cup that Spain sacked its National team coach.

Why is it important? The move by the Spanish Football Federation (SPF) – two days before the first match against Portugal – comes after Julen Lopetegui was selected as manager of Real Madrid club. SPF claims it was a breach of trust, as the coach did not keep the association informed about this move to Real Madrid.

Tell me more: Lopetegui was appointed Spain’s coach in July 2016 and has never tasted defeat since, leading the team through 20 unbeaten games ahead of the World Cup. Also, for the first time since 2006, the Spanish national team has more players in the team in a major tournament from Real Madrid (6) than any other club.

1 crore

What is it? The one-time fee that ISRO will charge to transfer its in-house technology of Lithium-ion cells non-exclusively to a qualified production agency

Why is it important? ISRO, through its rocket sciences node, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre has invited an RFQ (Request for quotation) for a contract that will allow Indian industry to manufacture indigenously made lithium ion batteries on a large scale. This will help realize India’s plan of shifting to electric vehicles and will help automotive companies reduce battery costs.

Tell me more: ISRO uses lithium-ion batteries to power satellites and launch vehicles. Lithium-ion batteries were used last week to power the launch of GSLV-Fo8. This lithium-ion technology can be used to produce cells of varying size, capacity, energy density and power density thereby catering to the entire spectrum of power storage requirements including electric vehicles.

Read More

indian-2405928_1920

4 Accidents, 12 Hours, 7 Deaths, And One Institution

 

Four accidents in 12 hours, that translates to an accident every 3 hours. That’s Indian Railways for you these days. One year after demonetization, government is cracking down on ‘benami’ transactions significantly. India is seen bolstering its coastal security after the deadly 26/11 attack in Mumbai in 2008. And, in Nepal, after two decades, the war torn country has held elections in its last effort to move towards a federal democracy.

 

Rs 15.9 crore

What is it? The value of cash deposits made at a bank in Delhi after demonetisation was announced last November that has been declared to be ‘benami’ by a special court.

Why is it important? This is among the first five adjudication cases under the amended Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016 that came into effect from November 1, 2016. This is one of the measures taken by the government against black money. The income tax department recently said it had attached benami assets worth Rs 1,833 crore, and had made 541 attachments and issued 517 notices. Violations of the Act could lead to up to seven years of jail time and a monetary fine of up to 25% of the fair value of the benami property.

Tell me more: Both the depositor and the beneficial owner in this case remain untraceable.

 

1,000

What is it? The number of transponders to be provided by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) by March 2018 to track suspicious vessels and boats through satellite imagery.

Why is it important? This is to prevent a 26/11 kind of attack, when terrorists entered Mumbai through the Arabian Sea, killing 166 and injuring over 300 in 2008. An automatic identification system would monitor boats above 20 metres while satellite monitoring would handle those under 20 metres. As many as 46 coastal radars and 74 automatic ID systems have been installed to strengthen infrastructure to monitor suspicious sea activities. India is considering setting up a coastal security force.

Tell me more: Officials claim there is improved coordination between various agencies and the police to check preparedness to defend the seas, though there have been a few incidents that have breached India’s coastal security in the last few months.

 

18 years

What is it? The number of years after which Nepal held elections to its Parliament and provincial assemblies. The first phase of elections was held on Sunday, recording a 65% turnout, and the second phase will be on December 7.

Why is it important? These elections are being seen as the last step in Nepal’s transition to a federal democracy after the end of a decade-long civil war in 2006, the abolition of monarchy in 2008 and the scripting of a new Constitution in 2015.

Tell me more: Besides the people of Nepal, there is also interest among external actors in these elections, notably the country’s two neighbours, India and China.

 

4

What is it? The number of train accidents recorded in a 12-hour period between Thursday night and Friday morning.

Why is it important? This again brings to fore the urgent need to stepping up safety measures in Indian Railways. Two of these resulted in the deaths of seven people. In a recent report submitted to the Railway Ministry, the World Bank has found the current system of investigating accidents by the Commission of Railway Safety to be inadequate. It has also recommended that an independent rail safety regulator and investigator be setup to prevent accidents.

Tell me more: In the last five years, 60% of rail accidents have occurred due to mistakes by or negligence of railway staff, according to a study by government think-tank Niti Aayog.

 

10

What is it? The number of times that France has won the Davis Cup, following its 3-2 defeat of Belgium on Sunday for the 2017 title.

Why is it important? This win brings France level with Britain to be joint third in title wins. Only the United States (32) and Australia (28) have more titles in the premier team competition in men’s tennis since 1900.

Tell me more: So far, 22 nations have played the finals of the Davis Cup. US has the maximum number of appearances (61), followed by Australia (47). India has reached the finals thrice, but never won.

 

Read More

Indians’ debt quagmire

10.25 lakh

What is it? The number of farmers in Punjab who would benefit from the loan waiver announced by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday.

Why is it important? In the season of farm loan waivers, Punjab is the third state, after Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, to announce one. However, even if over 55% of Punjab’s farmers would benefit from the waiver for small and marginal farmers, the amount the state will have to write off is yet unclear.

Tell me more: Farmers tilling up to 5 acre of land will get waivers of up to Rs 2 lakh, while other marginal farmers will get a flat Rs 2 lakh waiver. Uttar Pradesh’s move has set off demands across states, often turning violent as in Madhya Pradesh for farm loan waivers.

 

1,000 Earth-days

What is it? The time India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spent in its orbit.

Why is it important? MOM, launched in November, 2013, has remained active beyond its expected life span of six months (180 days). Lauded for its low-cost Rs 450-crore Mars spacecraft, Isro says extra fuel has led to its extended life span after it successfully entered the Mars orbit in September, 2014.

Tell me more: The spacecraft is studying the Martian surface and atmosphere and sending back images. Isro had saved Rs 2.61 crore of the budget and returned to the Union government.

 

75 million pound

What is it? The money Sahara Group advocate, Kapil Sibal, says will be brought to India towards refunding the Rs 24,000 crore to investors.

Why is it important? It amounts to around Rs 615 crore and Sibal has sought permission to transfer the amount to the Sebi-Sahara refund account. Sahara needs to pay this to Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi). Its promoter, Subrata Roy, was arrested on a court order for failing to refund the dues earlier. Sahara is scrambling to meet the court order of payment of Rs 2,000 by July. It paid Rs 790.18 crore on Monday.

Tell me more: The current amount is a result of Sahara selling its stake in Grosvenor House Hotel in London and refinancing funds related to The Plaza Hotel and Dream Downtown Hotel in New York.

 

Rs 200 crore

What is it? The amount raised by the Pune Municipal Corporation in its bond issue.

Why is it important? This is the biggest municipal bond issue in India. The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation was the first to issue such bonds, worth Rs 100 crore, in 2002. With these funds, Pune aims to fund its Smart City plans.

Tell me more: The bonds were rated AA+, promising returns of 7.59%, higher than bonds of state governments.

 

Rs 29.8

What is it? The stock price of Bank of Maharashtra on Monday.

Why is it important? The stock fell 3.4% in a day after news broke of the Reserve Bank of India initiating Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) against it over the weekend. A high level of bad loans (non-performing assets or NPAs) and a negative return on assets led to the move. It is the sixth state-owned bank face PCA, following Indian Overseas Bank (2015), IDBI, UCO Bank, Dena Bank and Central Bank of India (all in 2017).

Tell me more: The lender had net NPA ratio of 11.76% and a negative return on assets at -1.09%, end of FY17.

Read More

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.

Read More