Realty starved of pvt equity


What is it? The rate of growth of core sectors in March, 2017, which contribute 37.9% to the Index of Industrial Production.

Why is it important? This is faster growth than seen in February, at 1% year-on-year. Output of steel, coal, and natural gas prices spurred the increase.

Tell me more: However, the growth was slower than last year’s March, when the eight core sectors together grew at 9.3%.



What is it? The number of local hires by Infosys in the US over the next two years.

Why is it important? This is part of its plans to work around the visa restrictions the US is levying after the new administration came into power. North America (includes Canada) accounts for over 60% of Infosys’ revenues. It joins Wipro in having announced plans for local hires in the US.

Tell me more: Infosys will also set up four technology and innovation hubs in the US. The first hub will be operational from 2021.


Rs 3,326 crore

What is it? The private equity investment in residential realty projects in the first quarter of 2017

Why is it important? It is a 42% decline from the previous quarter of Oct-Dec, 2016, at Rs 5,725 crore. PE investors stayed away as sales were slow and new launches were far and in between. Sales had slowed down as buyers waited for the imminent launch of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2017. The act also calls for stricter measures against builders who do not complete projects or divert buyer’s money to other projects. Cushman & Wakefield who published the PE numbers, says builders were also seeking less funds to focus on completing existing projects.

Tell me more: Lower security of new investments in builders who were over-leveraged also made PE investors stay away.


Rs 235 crore

What is it? Cost of South Asia satellite to be launched on Friday.

Why is it important? Indian Space Research Organisation’s communication satellite is billed as India’s gift to neighbours, including Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Afghanistan. It would help in access to education, healthcare and disaster relief infrastructure.

Tell me more: The 2230 kg satellite will be launched by ISRO’s GSLV Mk-3 from Sriharikota on May 5th.



What is it? The number of robots being deployed by Credit Suisse within the bank.

Why is it important? Robots, usually associated with with large factories, are making inroads into services sector, raising fears about job losses among some sections, even as banks look to automation to maintain growth and profits. These robots will help Credit Suisse employees with regulations and compliance queries, much like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa (except that Siri and Alexa are generalist).

Tell me more: It’s not clear if these robots are hardware or only software. “Non-industrial robot revenues are likely to grow 10-fold within [next five years], and with the development of AI, Big Data Analytics and the Internet of Things we will start to perceive robots not only in hardware, but also in software terms,” an article published in Credit Suisse site last year said.

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India’s big military spends

$55 billion

What is it? The estimated expenditure by India on military resources.

Why is it important? The amount made it the world’s fifth-largest spender on defence, ahead of one-time military heavyweights such as UK, Japan and Germany. China’s spends, at the second spot after the US, was nearly four times of India’s, a key force in Asia’s geopolitics and sharing with India both border issues and friendly trade.

Tell me more: India was the seventh highest spender in 2015, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.



What is it? The number of personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force, the main counter-Naxal task-force, killed in the latest Naxal attack, in Chhattisgarh .

Why is it important? The toll, which might rise, makes the attack one of the deadliest by the Naxals. The encounter between 150 security personnel and 300 Naxal fighters started at noon in the notorious Sukma district.

Tell me more: The battalion was providing security cover for road construction.



What is it? The share of the 2,000 notices sent by the Income Tax department which have bounced back.

Why is it important? Following the drive against black money and demonetisation, the IT department had identified nearly 1.8 million people with suspicious cash deposits, or having bought paid for expensive goods with cash. While the goal was to sent notices to all, the large swathe of 1,200 notices, from those already sent, bouncing back reiterates the IT department’s suspicions. It shows people provided fake addresses and email ids to escape detection.

Tell me more: The department has a special team to investigate such cases further.



What is it? The number of children in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi on whom a new malaria vaccine, RTS,S, will be tested.

Why is it important? The vaccine, which prepares the immune system to fight malaria parasite, has the potential to save thousands of lives. Malaria claims 400,000 lives every year globally.

Tell me more: In India, over 1 million people contract malaria every year. 80% of malaria cases are reported in sparsely populated areas that account for less than 20% of the population, underlining the difficulty in treating them.


175 kg

What is it? The possible payload weight for India’s proposed Venus mission.

Why is it important? The payload weight is an indicator of the functional ambitions of a space mission. While 175 kg suggests modest goal, the key is the destination. After Mars mission in 2014, this is the second planet ISRO is looking at.

Tell me more: Indian Space Research Organisation has invited proposals for experiments that can be done as a part of the mission.

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Deadly mountain roads

Rs 7,400 crore

What is it? The worth of 30 properties of the Sahara group, many of which conglomerates have evinced interest in buying.

Why is it important? The auction, reportedly in its early stage, will not appease the Supreme Court, even if the entire money raised is deposited with it. The court turned down the proposal and insisted on the group selling its expansive Aamby Valley project as it had failed to meet the apex court’s timeline for depositing Rs 5,000 crore. Aamby Valley’s value is reportedly between Rs 34,000-39,000 crore, while the Sahara group says it is over Rs 1 lakh-crore. The 30 properties, which includes Lucknow’s Sahara Hospital, would fetch around 50% (Rs 14,779 crore) of the amount still owed to investors as per Sebi’s instructions if not sold in a hurry, and less if they are.

Tell me more: Knight Frank, the realty consultants, in India, has been tasked with carrying out the sale. The interested buyers include Tatas, Godrej, Adani, Patanjali, realty developers Omaxe, Eldeco, Indian Oil and Apollo Hospital.



What is it? The death toll in the bus crash near Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.

Why is it important? India’s killer roads become deadlier with altitude. The bus veered off a mountain road and plunged into a river, killing those onboard. In 2015, as many as four hilly states figured among 10 states with the highest severity (deaths in every 100 accidents), even though compared to cities and metros in other densely-populated states, traffic is less in such states. Himachal Pradesh had 36.4% severity while neighbouring Uttarakhand 59.9%.

Tell me more: Two people travelling on the bus were able to escape by jumping off before the bus fell.



What is it? The number of places in Arunachal Pradesh for which China has announced its own names and spellings – in Chinese, Tibetan and English.

Why is it important? This is being seen as China’s retaliation for theDalai Lama’s visit to the Indian state. China’s foreign ministry spokesperson mentioned the move as reflecting and explaining its claims on ‘Southern Tibet’, China’s name for Arunachal Pradesh. While India is yet to respond to the reaffirmation of China’s territorial claim, it had refuted the latter’s objections to Dalai Lama’s, the Tibetan spiritual leader visit, saying there was no political motive to it and was religious.

Tell me more: It was the Dalai Lama’s second visit to the state that stirred up such a storm.


1.6 million

What is it? The number of voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) units to be bought by Election Commission.

Why is it important? The election commission wants to ensure that by 2019 general elections, all polling stations have electronic voting machines with VVPAT units, which will confirm to the voters that their votes were registered accurately. The machines will cost Rs 3,173 crore. The cabinet approved the funding on Wednesday.

Tell me more: These machines will be manufactured by state owned Bharat Electronics and Electronics Corporation of India.


4,000 kgs

What is it? The weight of payload that can be carried by Indian Space Research Organisation’s new rocket GSLV-Mk III.

Why is it important? It’s almost double the weight of the heaviest payload that Indian rockets launched so far. The first developmental flight of GSLV-Mk III (D1) is scheduled to take place next month. The second developmental flight is likely to happen a year from now. It would reduce India’s dependence on other countries to launch heavier satellite, besides creating more opportunities for revenue generation.

Tell me more:  The first developmental flight will take communication satellite GSAT 19, which will also monitor the effect of radiation on the satellite and electronic equipment.

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Isro’s commercial boosters

This piece originally appeared on


The Indian Space Research Organization (Isro) is all set to launch 104 satellites in one go aboard its trusted rocket, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), on Wednesday—a world record for the most satellites launched in a single mission. Of the 104, 101 are foreign satellites, which will bring revenue to the government agency. Till 2016, Isro had launched 75 foreign satellites, out of a total of 121. Forex revenues of Isro’s commercial arm, Antrix Corporation, rose 204.9% in 2015 (see chart 1) on the strength of foreign satellite launches. In 2015-16, commercial launches brought in Rs 230 crore, which was 4% of Isro’s average spending over the previous three years (see chart 3).

Isro’s low prices are drawing foreign clients. Private space programmes such as Arianespace and SpaceX are yet to equal its cost-effectiveness. Besides, Isro has a 100% success rate in foreign satellite launches. While a satellite launch on Arianespace’s rocket will cost about $100 million after subsidies, SpaceX will charge $60 million. In contrast, Isro charged an average $3 million per satellite between 2013 and 2015 (see chart 2).

isro 1


isro 2


isro 3


isro 4

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