The power of 3

5.6%

What is it? India’s gross value added (GVA) growth in January – March quarter of 2017.

Why is it important? It’s the lowest in the last eight quarters, down from 6.7% in the previous quarter and 8.7% from the same period last year. GVA, which is calculated after subtracting the taxes and adding subsidies on products, is considered by some economists as superior to GDP in capturing economic realities. Sometimes GDP and GVA growth rates diverge, but in this quarter both declined. India saw its GDP growth rate for the quarter declining 6.1%, yielding the status of fastest growing large economy to China, which grew at 6.9% in the same quarter. GDP growth rate for the year was 7.1%.

Tell me more: GDP growth was largely affected by the construction industry which shrank (-3.7%) and by financial, real estate and professional services which grew by a meagre 2.2%. Some attributed the slowdown to lingering effects of Q3’s demonetisation, but Chief Statistician T C A Anant said it demands more study.

 

Rs 93.5 crore

What is it? The reserve price of the Kingfisher House in Mumbai, the defunct office of Kingfisher Airlines.

Why is it important? A sale failed to fructify at this price at the latest auction. Reserve price, set by the 17-lender consortium led by SBI, had been cut 38% since its first auction held in March, 2016. In every subsequent auction – there have been four since then, the price was cut by 10-15% from the previous. But the bankers’ hopes of recovering part of the Rs 9,000-crore dues, remained unrealised as there were no buyers for the property.

Tell me more: Another Kingfisher Airlines-property, the Kingfisher Villa in Goa, which was put on the block at the same time, has had better luck after three failed auctions. It was sold for Rs 73 crore.

 

3

What is it? The number of times that women have topped the Union Public Service Commission exams in a row.

Why is it important? Nandini KR, an Indian Revenue Services officer from Karnataka, has topped the latest (2016) civil services exams, whose results were announced yesterday. Interestingly, this contrasts with the gender gap in the overall success rate. Over three times as many men (846) cleared the exam than women (253). Among the top 25 candidates, 18 were men and 7, women.

Tell me more: For the 2016 exams, 11,35,943 candidates applied; 4,59,659 appeared;  15,452 cleared the preliminary exams. Finally, 1099 candidates have been recommended by the commission for appointment to various public services.

 

13

What is it? The number of airports in India that don’t require tagging / stamping of hand baggage for domestic travellers.

Why is it important? The new procedure aimed at travellers convenience was first introduced in seven airports in April this year, and has now been expanded to six more starting Thursday. This measure, in addition to using Aadhaar and mobile phones for authentication and pre-boarding checks, could help strike a better balance between safety and convenience.

Tell me more: Central Industrial Security Force, which is in charge of airport security had introduced the system in Delhi, Mumbai, Cochin, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Ahmedabad airports, has now extended it to Patna and Chennai among others.

 

3

What is it? The number of non-participating countries in Paris climate agreement if US decides to pull out of the deal.

Why is it important? The other two countries are Syria and Nicaragua. While the White House hasn’t made an announcement on this yet, US President Donal Trump, as a presidential candidate, had promised to pull out of the Paris deal in his first 100 days to boost US oil and coal sector. The agreement binds participating nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Tell me more: If US decides to pull out, it will impact the country’s relationship with its allies which are more committed to tackling climate change. Within the US, Trump is likely to alienate institutions and people who have been warning about the dangers of climate change. Elon Musk, for example, tweeted that he would leave White House councils if Trump decides to pull out of the deal.

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News in Numbers, Jan 24, 2017: WTO sugars the pill

2/3rd

What is it? Members of the 164-country-strong World Trade Organization’s (WTO) that agreed to permanently waive restrictions on poor countries accessing generic medicines.

Why is it important? It permanently removes hurdles (such as a mandate to primarily supply local markets) for poor WTO members who cannot afford to produce generic medicines. They can now import more affordable version of medicines for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. WTO’s Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) agreement had to be amended for a permanent waiver. Despite their low cost, the demand volume for generics worldwide makes it worth 36% of the global pharma market.

Tell me more: The waiver was in place since 2003, but in a temporary mode, being renewed every two years. The permanent status agreement took 12 years in the making.

 

Rs 3,000 crore

What is it? The MoU investment amount signed by Vodafone with the West Bengal government for capacity increase and other business initiatives in the state for the next three years.

Why is it important? The amount constitutes 1.3% of the Rs 2.35 lakh-crore-investment proposals received by the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government in its Bengal Global Business Summit over the weekend. With over 20 million subscribers in West Bengal and Kolkata, Vodafone would look to consolidate over 10% of its total customer base.

Tell me more: Vodafone has previously invested over Rs 8,400 crorein West Bengal to upgrade its network.

 

35.5%

What is it? The rate of growth of gross premium income of private general (or non-life) insurers in December, 2016 over 2015.

Why is it important? Private general insurers grew faster than public general insurers, underwriting Rs 4,775.35 crore in gross premium income, compared with the latter’s Rs 3524.13 crore, that grew at 17%.

Tell me more: Private non-life insurers are growing faster on a smaller base as they command the smaller half or 42% of the market.

 

9

What is it? The number of people arrested in Kingfisher Airlines loan case on Monday. Those arrested included former managing director of IDBI Bank and former CFO of Kingfisher Airlines.

Why is it important? The loan default by Kingfisher promoter Vijay Mallya and his companies has turned political and the Indian government is under increasing pressure to show that it’s making progress. The public pressure to show visible results has intensified since demonetisation, as the government was seen as being too soft on big businesses and too hard on the common man.

Tell me more: Former IDBI Bank Chairman Yogesh Agarwal, former Kingfisher Airlines CFO A Raghunathan and seven of their colleagues were arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

 

-0.2%

What is it? The day’s fall on Monday for two of Wall Street’s indices:S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite.

Why is it important? The markets were reacting to President Trump’s protectionist trade moves and Qualcomm’s shares stricken by Apple’s lawsuit. Trump abandoned the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership and is on the verge of renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. The anticipated protectionist measures combined with the embattled Qualcomm’s lawsuit from Apple to bring down indices.

Tell me more: The Dow Jones Industrial Average also inched downby 0.1% on Monday.

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News in Numbers, Jan 20, 2017: Tesla’s triumph on Autopilot

40%

What is it? The drop in automobile crash rate after installation of Tesla’s semi-autonomous Autopilot, according to an investigation by U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Why is it important? This is big boost for Elon Musk-led Tesla as the finding indicates that driving its cars is a safer option. The study found there was a drop in crash rates from 1.3 per million miles in 2014 to 0.8 in 2016, post installation of the autopilot feature. US average crash rate is about 1.85 crashes per million miles.

Tell me more: The investigation followed a fatal crash involving a Tesla autopilot feature last year. A negative ruling – such as demanding Tesla to recall the vehicles – would have hurt the company considerably.

25

What is it? The estimated death toll of a head-on collision between a truck and school bus, including 18 children, in Uttar Pradesh’s Etah district.

Why is it important? It is a grim reminder of India’s unsafe roads which claimed 5% more lives in 2015 in accidents with 148,707 deaths than in 2014. UP’s deadly roads accounted for 12% of the fatalities. School buses are no exceptions to rash driving, with school children bearing the brunt. In this accident, most of the kids were less than 10 years of age.

Tell me more: The school running the bus was open despite the district magistrate’s order of shutting schools for three days due to severe fog.

11.5%

What is it? The interest the Debt Recovery Tribunal in Bengaluru directed the group of lenders led by State Bank of India to levy on Vijay Mallya and his companies.

Why is it important? The directive for the consortium of 17 banks, which had moved the DRT in 2013, may signal an end to the legal battle with the absconding businessman, but actual recovery might prove tricky. Attempts to recover dues by selling Mallya’s or his businesses’ properties have not found buyers so far. Recovery of his $40 million severance-pay from Diageo, too, remains elusive.

Tell me more: The DRT included assets of all of Mallya’s companies like UBHL, Kingfisher Airlines and Kingfisher Finvest and is likely to attach his private properties for recovery as well. DRT said the 11.5% interest rate is to be charged from July 26, 2013, and be recovered along with Rs 6,203 crore.

>100

What is it? Number of coal-fired power projects China’s National Energy Administration suspended across 11 of its provinces

Why is it important? These constitute over 66% of the coal-fired power projects capacity (150 GW) China was targeting to stop or delay between 2016 and 2020. Severe air pollution given its voracious appetite for coal has led China to try and limit use of fossil fuels.

Tell me more: Such measures will be accompanied by a focus on renewables such as the 130 GW of solar and wind power slated for installment by 2020.

-6.5%

What is it? The change in Axis Bank’s share price in early trade on Friday, as it reported lower-than-expected quarterly earnings.

Why is it important? The third-largest private bank in India has come under fire for its monitoring of its asset quality which has dragged earnings down 73% to Rs 579.57 crore. As much as 43.4% of its slippages or Rs 1,980 crore in the third quarter was from outside its watchlist. It has been unable to effectively identify defaulting accounts leading to larger-than-expected slippage and impact on earnings.

Tell me more: Seventy per cent of the slippages were in sectors like iron and steel, infra-construction and textiles, both on its watchlist and outside it.

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News in Numbers, Nov 17, 2016: Silent killer…

199 million

What is it? The estimated number of Indians who suffer from high blood pressure, according to a study published in the medical journal Lancet.

Why is it important? This is 17.6% of the total number of people suffering from high blood pressure globally (1.13 billion in 2015), which has doubled from 594 million in 1975. Raised blood pressure or hypertension is the leading global risk factor for kidney disease and cardiovascular disease (leads to strokes and heart attacks and causes an estimated 7.5 million deaths globally). The highest worldwide blood pressure levels have shifted from high-income countries to the poorer ones (mainly in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa) in the last four decades.

Tell me more: The analysis is based on 1,479 studies that measured blood pressure in 19.1 million individuals aged 18 years and above. Over 2 out of every 10 people with hypertension are in South or East Asia.

 

36

What is it? The number of hours within which search engines run by firms including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft have to bring down information or advertisements related to pre-natal sex determination once they are brought to their attention, according to an order by the Supreme Court.

Why is it important? The apex court directed the government to set up a nodal agency to monitor and act on public information received on ads promoting sex determination techniques or kits on the Internet. Pre-natal sex determination is illegal in India though this direction could raise questions such as the role of search engines and if it is possible to screen and remove all information related to a particular topic. However, this is an interim arrangement and would continue until the top court takes a final decision on the issue.

Tell me more: As per the Census 2011 data, India’s population ratio was 943 females for every 1,000 males, up from 933 females per 1,000 males in 2001. However, the decline in child sex ratio (number of girls per 1,000 boys) to 918 in 2011 from 927 in 2001 is a cause for concern. This is the lowest since 1961.

 

Rs 7,016 crore

What is it? The amount of loans written off by the State Bank of India owed to it by 63 wilful defaulters.

Why is it important? This includes the amount owed by the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, whose founder Vijay Mallya slipped away to London in March even as lenders and investigating authorities are chasing him for non-repayment of his companies’ dues and alleged financial irregularities. Some of the opposition parties including the Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party and CPI (Marxist) used this point to attack the government, which has been facing flak from them over its demonetisation move. SBI and the government clarified that these loans had only been written off and not waived off, and that efforts are on for their recovery.

Tell me more: The opposition has been attacking the government for the withdrawal of the old currency notes in Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations terming it ‘anti-poor’ and alleged that it has inconvenienced the common man.

 

8-10%

What is it? The expected growth of India’s IT services industry in 2016-17, according to industry body Nasscom.

Why is it important? This is lower than the 10-12% (in constant currency terms) growth rate it had projected in February. This is the second time that Nasscom has predicted a single-digit growth for the industry in the last 10 years after it reported its lowest growth of 5% in 2009-10 due to the 2008 global financial crisis. The growth rates have been revised downwards following Donald Trump’s win in the US elections (he was quite vocal about his anti-immigration stance and putting restrictions on foreign companies that took away US jobs) and UK’s exit from the European Union.

Tell me more: Indian IT firms have been struggling to grow in the last few quarters with some of their results falling below the market expectations and a couple of them downgrading their own guidance. Indian IT exports are expected to be in the range of $116-118 billion, down from the earlier projection of $119-121 billion.

 

1.7

What is it? The total compensation in basis points (as a percentage of company net sales) paid to top executives (managing directors and chief executive officers) at the most indebted firms among 313 BSE-500 companies. A basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point.

Why is it important? This is much lower than the 5.06 basis points paid to the top executives of the overall sample of 313 firms in the same year. Also, the growth in compensation to the people at the helm of the most indebted companies has been slower than that recorded for the total sample in the last four years. Interestingly, the salaries of the promoters leading the most indebted firms grew at a faster rate than those headed by non-promoter professionals while the growth of the overall top executive compensation at the most indebted firms was higher than the overall employee compensation in these firms.

Tell me more: The analysis, which excluded banks and other financial firms, divided the 313 companies into four quartiles based on their level of indebtedness. The total compensation includes salary, sitting fee, commission and any other payment, excluding earnings from exercise of stock options.

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