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2.18%

What is it? The retail price inflation in May, 2017.

Why is it important? The consumer price inflation growth was the lowest since India started publishing it in 2012. This might increase the pressure on the central bank to cut the key rate of repo, on hold since October, 2016, at 6.25%. Rate cuts, however, depend on how RBI sees inflation moving in the quarters ahead.

Tell me more: Food prices in retail markets decreased by 1.05% in May, leading to the low overall price rise. Another government indicator, the quick estimate of industrial production, showed a positive trend of 3.1% growth in April, higher than in February and March, 2017.

 

28.6%

What is it? The percentage of tobacco users (in all forms) in India in 2016-17, according to World Health Organisation’s Global Adult Tobacco Survey.

Why is it important? The prevalence of tobacco users has gone down by 6 percentage points from 34.6% in the same study in 2009, a positive outcome as tobacco contributes to poverty. It translates to a reduction of 8.1 million less tobacco users in the country, which is the second-largest consumer of tobacco products in the world.

Tell me more: Between 54-62% of smokers of bidis and cigarettes have thought about quitting on seeing the warning labels on the packets, while it was 30-38% in 2009.

 

$25 million

What is it? The investment Tata Motors’ Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) will make in the US ride services company, Lyft, to develop self-driving cars.

Why is it important? The mobility services arm of JLR, InMotion, will make the investment as other automakers such as General Motors, Ford, Tesla, Mercedes, BMW and tech companies such as Alphabet and Intel are scrambling to help get the first self-driving prototype out in the market. Car-sharing and hiring apps like Lyft and Uber, too, are conducting their own R&D.

Tell me more: JLR will provide its cars to Lyft for the research and development. Self-driving cars, which saw increased focus from 2016 onwards, is expected to change the way customers buy cars and reduce cost of ride services as well.

 

10%

What is it? The percentage by which pharmaceutical companies can increase the price of non-scheduled drugs every year, according to Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) 2013.

Why is it important? The companies want the cap to be increased to counter the increase in taxation with 12% from 9% for 80% (non-essential) of drugs, under the imminent Goods and Services Tax (GST) system.

Tell me more: Life-saving or essential drugs will have a tax rate of 5% under GST.

 

11,761

What is it? The shortage in Delhi police staff in the lower-middle ranks.

Why is it important? Delhi Police has been plagued by a top-heavy structure, with more senior staff than sanctioned strength but with most of the lower positions remaining unfilled. When nearly 26,000 constables and assistant sub-inspectors were promoted last year, it left a lacuna in the lower ranks. The current requirement is for over 14,000 personnel, from around 81,000.

Tell me more: Last November, there were 76,237 policemen and women in Delhi, against the sanctioned 82,378 posts. The working strength came down from 77,117 the year before, an RTI revealed.

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News in Numbers, June 24, 2016: CNG-powered two-wheelers in India, voters say yes to Brexit…

10

What is it? The number of popular iconic places that will be cleaned up/maintained to international standards. It includes Taj Mahal, Jagannath Temple, Tirupati and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.

Why is it important? If successful, it would provide a fillip to tourism, to the Indian government’s Swachh Bharat Mission and could have a trickle-down effect on the other monuments and religious structures. At a two-day workshop next month, experts would be consulted to make site-specific plans, fix international standards and decide on the timeline and financial resources required. The World Bank would provide technical assistance for the same.

Tell me more: Besides these iconic places, the government is working on creating standard operating procedures to improve cleanliness in popular national parks, sanctuaries and tiger reserves including Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary, Gir Wildlife Sanctuary and Flamingo Sanctuary.

 

$1.17 billion

What is it? The amount Tata Sons has been ordered by the London Court of International Arbitration to pay to Japan’s largest mobile-phone carrier NTT Docomo for breach of an agreement over Tata Teleservices.

Why is it important? This is a victory for Docomo, though it’s unclear if Tata Sons would make the payment. In 2014, Docomo had exercised its right to ask Tata Sons to find a buyer for its stake at a fair price of 50% of the acquired cost (whichever was higher). However, Tata failed to find a buyer and India’s central bank did not allow it to buy the stake due to a rule that prevents foreign buyers from selling their stakes in Indian companies at a predetermined price.

Tell me more: Docomo paid $2.6 billion in 2009 and 2011 for a 26.5% stake in Tata Teleservices.

 

50

What is it? The number of Honda Activas that would be retro-fitted with CNG (compressed natural gas) kits as part of the government’s pilot programme.

Why is it important? This is the first time that India will have two-wheelers running on CNG to determine their efficiency and emission rates. Based on its success, this would be available for the public. The CNG-vehicles would have 75% and 20% less hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions (according to the manufacturer of the kits) and the running cost on CNG is estimated to be 40% lower than that of petrol.

Tell me more: The CNG kits are made by the Indian arm of Iranian firm ITUK Manufacturing at its Pune factory and the pilot is being conducted by GAIL (India) and Indraprastha Gas Ltd. The retrofitted two-wheelers would be given to the delivery boys of Domino’s Pizza for free.

 

71

What is it? The number of BSE 100 companies that fully complied with disclosure norms in 2015, according to India Disclosure Index 2016 by FTI Consulting.

Why is it important? This is up from 41% in 2015, suggesting better compliance of reporting and disclosure rules by the top 100 large-size companies on the Bombay Stock Exchange, though still nearly a third are not up to the mark. Just 3% of the top 100 companies had mandatory disclosure scores of less than 2.5 (out of 4) compared to over half of the companies scoring lesser than 2.5 in 2015.

Tell me more: In terms of voluntary disclosure, the average score of the BSE 100 companies marginally improved from 3.5 (out of 6) in 2015 to 3.7. However, over three-fourths of the companies did not provide enough information on risk management metrics while 37% did not provide convenient whistleblowing mechanisms to report fraud or unethical practices in their firms.

 

51.8%

What is it? Percentage of voters who want the United Kingdom to leave the European Union (at around 10 am Indian time).

Why is it important? Though this is not legally binding, the government may not go against the will of the people expressed in the referendum. It is the first time that a full member has voted to leave the 28-nation political and economic union. Those favouring the exit argue that the UK would be free from the EU’s undue bureaucratic, legal and financial control and prevent the free movement of EU nationals into the UK. Those against leaving fear that UK’s economy would be hit, jobs would be lost and the rate of growth would go down to 3-6%.

Tell me more: The Brexit may affect the 800 Indian companies in the UK, which employ over a lakh people. The annual profit of Jaguar Land Rover, owned by the Tata Group, is reportedly estimated to decline by around $1.47 billion in the next 10 years.

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