Bad loans come in a pack of 50

Rs 113 crore

What is it? The funding online marketplace Snapdeal received from existing investors, Nexus Venture Partners and its two founders, Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal.

Why is it important? The beleaguered homegrown ecommerce company (parent: Jasper Infotech) is on the block and this funding round is being seen as an emergency measure. But the sale spearheaded by its largest investor, SoftBank Group to rival Flipkart is still on track, according to reports. Flipkart had made an informal offer of $1 billion.

Tell me more: In 13 rounds of funding, it has reportedly received more than $1.78 billion, with two rounds of undisclosed funds.

 

160

What is it? The number of applications for the appointment of GST Suvidha Providers (GSP).

Why is it important? GSPs will enable taxpayers as they migrate to the GST IT network ahead of its rollout on July 1. Thirty-four firms had been selected in December, 2016 by the GST Network, tasked with building the technological backbone for the new tax regime. These GSPs will enable registrations, upload  bills, and file e-return for taxpayers.

Tell me more: In the first round of GSP selection, TCS, EY, Deloitte Touche and Tally Solutions were among the applicants who made the cut. The GST Network will also take care of cyber threats besides user-interface.

 

8-9 lakh

What is it? The estimated number of chemists on strike on Tuesday to protest a host of measures by the government.

Why is it important? The day-long protest attempts to bring in focus the medical retailers’ concerns about threat from e-pharmacies, the government’s proposed e-portal to monitor and regulate stock-movements and sale, and drug retail margin fixed at 16%, which is considered being inadequate. The retailers contend the margins will be further threatened by discounts by online pharmacies.

Tell me more: A government intervention on Monday evening was rejected by the All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists.

 

Rs 4-5 lakh crore

What is it? The value of bad loans from top 50 stressed accounts.

Why is it important? This is about 80% of total bad loans in India’s state run banks – estimated to be Rs 6 lakh crore as of 31 December 2016. The number also lends credence to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s assertion that bad loans problem in India is mostly confined to  30-50 accounts, and hence, can be resolved.

Tell me more: Saddled with bad loans, state owned banks have been struggling to maintain profitability and loan growth. The big borrowers, per the list, include Videocon Industries, Jindal Group, Punj Lloyd, Jaypee Group and Bhushan Steel.

 

$68 million

What is it? The amount British Airways will have to pay as compensation to customers after it cancelled 800 flights at Gatwick and Heathrow airports on Saturday and Sunday.

Why is it important? Over 75,000 passengers were stranded because of the cancelled flights. The operations came to a standstill after a power outage left IT systems unusable because of unsynchronised data, according to one explanation.

Tell me more: Some blamed BA’s cost cutting and outsourcing to India as a reason for the chaos. Chief Executive Alex Cruz denied the allegations.

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The giant sucking sound of jobs going away 👷

56,000

What is it? The number of layoffs expected in seven IT firms this year in India.

Why is it important? The retrenchment pressure at IT firms including Infosys, Wipro, and multinational firms, is likely to mount, as they look to hire local employees in markets such as the US. Automation and a digital service economy have further removed the need for human labour.

Tell me more: Other companies include Tech Mahindra, HCL Technologies, Cognizant, CapGemini, who together will be letting go of 4.5% of their 1.24 million-strong workforce.

 

$1 billion

What is it? The value of the informal offer from Flipkart to buy rival Snapdeal, currently backed by SoftBank and others.

Why is it important? It shows the sale of Snapdeal, which has been creating a buzz for a few months now, is close to completion. The newsof the informal purchase offer came a few hours after the news of Snapdeal’s chief investor, SoftBank, agreeing to pay off other key investors — its two founders and Nexus. SoftBank has been trying to sell Snapdeal to India’s largest e-commerce platform, Flipkart, but was slowed down by the need to compensate other investors such as Kalaari Capital, Nexus Ventures besides the founders.

Tell me more: SoftBank has agreed to pay $15 million each to founders, Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, and $50-60 million to Nexus, according to reports.

 

Rs 574 crore

What is it? The value of fixed deposits of the Maharashtra Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.

Why is it important? The aid given from the fund in the last five years to 22,633 people is Rs 242.53, around 42% of the value of the fund’s fixed deposits. The FDs also earn Rs 41.63 crore in interest, reveals an RTI query. With monsoon predictions still hanging in the balance, a drought would see farmers seeking aid from funds such as these.

Tell me more: The biggest beneficiaries have been people in need of medical aid and account for 97% of recipients between June, 2012 and March, 2017.

 

9.1 million

What is it? The number of additional tax payers in India in 2016-17.

Why is it important? The rise in the number of taxpayers might be the single largest benefit of demonetisation, even as the November move attracted criticism that many of its stated goals – removing fake currency, unearthing black money, boosting cashless economy – didn’t fructify.

Tell me more: India had 55.9 million individual taxpayers in 2015-16, of whom 37 million filed tax returns.

 

Rs 43,292 crore

What is it? The cost of project to connect Char Dham – four key pilgrim sites, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath – by rail.

Why is it important? Indian railways will start the final location survey for the project this week. The total route length will be 327 km passing through 61 tunnels and going over 59 bridges according to a report submitted in 2015. The commencement of the location survey is one of the key steps in the ambitious project.

Tell me more: The route will run through some of the toughest terrains with key spots at different elevations – Gangotri (3,408 metre above sea level), Yamunotri (3,293m), Badrinath (3,133m) and Kedarnath (3,583m).

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News in Numbers, Feb 23, 2017: Earth’s distant cousins 🌏

235

What is it? Total number of cases the Income Tax (IT) department registered till mid-February, since the Benami Transactions Act was enforced in November, 2016.

Why is it important? The IT department has picked up pace in booking people with unaccounted-for assets since the act’s enforcement. From 42 cases on January 31, cases registered in the following 15 days (193) jumped nearly five times. Section 24 of the acthas been invoked and as many as 124 cases have seen assets worth more than Rs 55 crore attached provisionally.

Tell me more: A total of 140 cases with questionable assets of Rs 200 crore have received show cause notices. The act applicable to both movable and immovable property allows the IT department to initiate criminal proceedings against those found depositing unaccounted old currency in someone else’s account, for example.

 

100%

What is it? The cut in salary of Snapdeal’s co-founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, announced by Bahl on Wednesday.

Why is it important? The founders were not only the highest paid among senior executives in all the nine unicorns from India but were also the seventh-highest paid in the country in the 2015 fiscal. But the austerity might have come a bit late for Snapdeal, as 600 layoffs loom large in a simultaneous news.

Tell me more: Valued at $6.5 billion, Bansal admitted to mistakes down the road and said a major rejig will follow to gain profitability. In FY16, it had run up losses worth $14.93 million.

 

~45%

What is it? The estimated percentage of Indians who illegally immigrated to the US and would now be subject to enforcement of stringent deportation guidelines, issued this week.

Why is it important? Indians are among the highest legal as well illegal immigrants (with 500,000 unauthorised immigrants in 2014) in the US. With a new enforcement memo from US’ Department of Homeland Security to find, arrest and deport any illegal immigrant, irrespective of a criminal record, will turn up the heat on 11 million undocumented immigrants.

Tell me more: The memo asks for more jails to be built to detain immigrants. This would be to replace the practice of releasing undocumented immigrants with an order to re-appear for court hearings.

 

7

What is it? The number of Earth-sized planets discovered by astronomers near solar system.

Why is it important? One or more of them may be warm enough to have water on its surface, increasing the possibility of finding life outside solar system. The planets revolve around Trappist-1 a dwarf star, 40 light years away.

Tell me more: The planets around Trappist-1 were discovered by NASA and its partners around the world. The star is smaller (it’s as big as a golf ball, if the Sun is as big as a basketball), its planets are closer, and revolve around it faster. Its nearest planet takes 1.5 days to revolve around it, and the farthest, 20 days.

 

6.6%

What is it? The projected GDP growth rate of India in 2016-17, according to International Monetary Fund.

Why is it important? It is 1 percentage point lower than 7.6% growth India saw in 2015-16, and higher than some estimates by observers who saw demonetisation impacting the economy more severely. Ambit Capital, for example, expected it to slow down to 5.8%.

Tell me more: The Washington DC-based international body sees GDP growth rate picking up to over 8% in the next few years, post adoption of Goods and Services Tax. In 2017-18, it expects India’s GDP to grow by 7.2% driven by private consumption.

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