News in numbers, Nov 17, 2015: Indian students’ contribution to US economy, prices of pulses…

5

What is it? The number of times, in nine auction rounds, the bids per oil and gas block on offer by India has averaged below 2, according to research by The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. The same research cited the US average between 1954 and 1999 to be between 2.66 and 3.96.

Why is it important? The interest of global players in Indian oil and gas exploration has ranged from tepid to poor. One reason has been the policy construct that revolved around cost-recovery, as opposed to revenue-sharing. A draft paper released by the petroleum ministry on Monday recommended a move to revenue-sharing, as well as output pricing freedom.

Tell me more: In the last round of auctions, held in 2010, the government received 74 bids for 34 blocks, with 8 foreign and 29 Indian companies either bidding by themselves or in partnership.

 

 

 

Rs 5,500 cr

What is it? The reported drop in valuations of unlisted ICICI Prudential Life Insurance in the past 12 months or so. On Monday, its parent ICICI Bank announced the sale of 6% of its shareholding in the life insurer to Premji Invest and Temasek in a deal that valued the entire company at Rs 32,500 crore. Back in December 2014, the same was reportedly valued at Rs 38,000 crore.

Why is it important? It is a measure of the business environment for life insurance companies in India becoming tougher. After three consecutive years of decline in premiums collected, ICICI Prudential registered a 23% increase in premiums collected in 2014-15.

Tell me more: ICICI Prudential is India’s second-largest insurer and the largest among private players.

 

$ 3.6 billion

What is it? The estimated contribution to the economy of the US in academic year 2014-15 by students from India pursuing some form of higher education there, according to the US Department of Commerce.

Why is it important? India is the second largest source of foreign students in the US, after China. In 2014-15, 132,888 students from India were studying in the US, an increase of 29.4% over the previous year, which follows three years of decline, shows data released on Monday.

Tell me more: The 2014-15 breakup of Indian students in the US is: 12.4% undergraduate, 64% graduate, 1.4% other and 22.1% optional practical training.

 

Rs 15

What is it? The price of a 70 gm packet of Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali atta noodles, launched on Monday, undercutting the erstwhile market leader by about 30%.

Why is it important? Ramdev’s latest FMCG product launch comes on the same day the Indian food regulator moved the Supreme Court against the dismissal of its order by a lower court to ban Nestle’s popular Maggi instant noodles for allegedly containing lead beyond permissible limits. It also comes just a week after Nestle reintroduced Maggi noodles after a five-month ban; its atta variant was selling online at Rs 20 per 80 gm packet.

Tell me more: Besides its existing facility in Haridwar in Uttarakhand, Patanjali Ayurved plans to set up six more manufacturing plants to make these noodles, which carry the tag line ‘jhatpat banao’ (make it quickly).

 

53%

What is it? The increase in wholesale prices of pulses in October over the corresponding month of 2014, the second-highest among all commodities, after onion.

Why is it important? Unlike onion, which is cooling off, prices of pulses are showing no sign of abating. In the months from May to October, the year-on-year increase in prices of pulses has ranged from 23% to 53%, due to declining production and higher global prices. According to a recent Crisil research report, pulses are the second-most important part of an Indian food palette, after cereals, with an average Indian household spending 5% of their monthly budget on it.

Tell me more: Pulses apart, prices at the wholesale level fell in October on a year-on-year basis by 3.8%, for the 12th straight month.

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News in numbers, Oct 20, 2015: India’s remittances, electronics imports’ record…

221,000

What is it? The number of jobs created in textiles industry between April 2014 and March 2015, as per Labour Bureau survey of employment in eight sectors.

Why is it important? Textiles industry created four out of 10 jobs created in those eight sectors last fiscal, even though Indian rupee fell only by 5% against the US dollar – and – textile exports declined between April and June 2015. Textiles sector employs more than 45 million people, the second highest after agriculture.      

Tell me more: Information technology contributed the most with net addition of 234,000 jobs.     Among domestic industry, automobile sector hired the highest between January – March 2015, signalling upbeat mood among manufacturers about local demand for cars and commercial vehicles.  

 

2

What is it? Number of states that lifted the ban on Maggi, Nestle’s instant noodles brand, yesterday. They are Karnataka (which also houses a Nestle manufacturing plant) and Gujarat.

Why is it important? It’s another step in the return of the popular instant noodle, which was banned by India’s food regulator in June for containing lead and monosodium glutamate (MSG) beyond permissible limits. On August 13, questioning the tests conducted earlier, the Bombay High Court struck down the ban.

Tell me more? Nestle has eight manufacturing facilities across seven states in India. Besides Karnataka, there’s Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand.

 

8

What is it? Number of years since India and Pakistan, one of the storied cricketing rivalries, have squared up in test cricket. They last played a three-match series in 2007, which India won 1-0.

Why is it important? In a series of pushbacks yesterday to the resumption of bilateral cricket between the two countries, Shiv Sena workers protested inside the Mumbai office of BCCI chief Shashank Manohar, who was supposed to meet his Pakistan counterpart, Shahryar Khan, to discuss the fate of the scheduled Indo-Pak series in December. Elsewhere, the ICC pulled out Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar from the ongoing India-South Africa one-day series. And former Pakistani cricketers Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar will not commentate in the last one-day match in Mumbai in the same series.

Tell me more? India and Pakistan have played 59 tests, with Pakistan leading India 12-9, the remaining being draws. In one-day matches, Pakistan lead India 72-51.

 

11.2

What is it? The multiple by which outflow of remittance from India towards ‘maintenance of close relatives’ abroad grew in one year. Indians have remitted $ 124.2 million abroad in July 2015, compared to $90.2 million during the same month year-ago.  

Why is it important? This could be impact of Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act passed by US to unearth undisclosed money abroad. Indians living in US who had not disclosed their assets and bank accounts in India might be using this route to transfer money back to US, and at the same time avoid tax too. Under liberalized transfer scheme, Indians can remit $ 250,000 each year. In addition, remittance under maintenance of relatives need not be disclosed in tax returns.   

Tell me more: Remittance under ‘studies abroad’ too saw 6.25 times jump in July 2015 at $ 113.9 million, when number of Indians studied haven’t increased that much.

 

$19 billion

What is it? Electronics imports in six months ended September 2015.

Why is it important? This is the the first time, imports of electronics exceeded that of gold and silver. This shows how domestic production (estimated at $ 31 billion) falls short of market size of $ 70 billion in 2014-15, to meet the ever growing demand for modern gadgets like smartphones and for creating telecom infrastructure.

Tell me more? Electronics exports was $ 6 billion in 2014-15. India’s exports represent 0.28% of global trade.

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News In Numbers – August 12

News In Numbers: August 12

 

896 million

The number of Aadhaars, the unique identity number for every resident of India that was launched by the previous Congress-led government, issued so far. The current Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government has made Aadhaar the identity centerpiece for welfare schemes. But its extension to further government schemes is on hold for now after the Supreme Court on Tuesday said Aadhaar was not mandatory to avail of welfare benefits and asked a larger bench to examine whether the information collected and shared by the government under Aadhaar violated the right to privacy of individuals.

 

$72 billion

The value of trade between India and China in 2014-15. Of this, $60 billion was goods moving from China, much of whose superlative growth in the past decade has been on account of such exports, to India. That growth has been flagging, with China reporting a 8.3% drop in July. In order to shore up this growth, China on Tuesday signalled adevaluing of its currency, which would effectively make its products more price-competitive in international markets,sending ripples through other markets and raising fears of currency wars.

 

24%

Syngene International, the research arm of biotech major Biocon, listed on Tuesday at a 24% premium to its issue price. Elsewhere, the initial public offering (IPO) of Power Mech, which provides engineering services to the power sector, received subscriptions of about 38 times its issue size on Tuesday, its last day. Both numbers augur well for other high-profile businesses that have stated their intent to go public in the coming weeks and months, a list that includes the companies that run Café Coffee Day and IndiGo Airlines.

 

Rs.640 crore

One of the two figures being stated for the compensation amount for consumers the government has sought from Nestle India. The other is Rs.426 crore. In June, the food regulator banned Nestle’s popular Maggi noodles, alleging the presence of excess lead and misleading information about monosodium glutamate on the label. The case is contested on various legal forums. The government on Tuesday filed a complaint against Nestle on behalf of consumers—the first time it has done against a company—in a consumer forum.

 

9%

The amount of time the Rajya Sabha, one of the two houses of Parliament, has worked this monsoon session, the lowest in the last five years, according to PRS Legislative Research. For Lok Sabha, the figure is 43%, the second lowest in the last two years. Parliamentary proceedings have been marred by the Congress party stalling Parliament, demanding the resignations of central minister Sushma Swaraj, Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje and Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. With two days left in the session, the passage of the goods and services tax bill, a far-reaching tax reform, is in jeopardy.

 

 

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News In Numbers – August 5

News In Numbers: August 5

 

$2 billion

The amount that Foxconn, the world’s biggest contract manufacturer, plans to spend in India to set up 10-12 facilities over the next 5-10 years. With plans to set up an electronics manufacturing ecosystem to produce televisions, routers, switches and batteries, the Taiwanese-based firm is also looking to invest in areas such as hardware and software integration, application software and testing and energy efficiency. It is already working with some Indian companies, including Snapdeal, Adani Enterprises and Micromax, and had announced last month it was looking to set up an India-focussed venture fund to invest in startups. Foxconn entered India in 2006 with investment plans of Rs 485 crore, when it tagged along with Nokia Corporation as its vendor. But, it had to shut down its factory after the Finnish company stopped operations, the result of being embroiled in legal wrangles.

 

Rs 7,500 crore

Amount of funds that real estate company DLF is planning to raise by pledging more than 50% of its stake in three subsidiaries: DLF Cyber City Developers, Caraf Builders and Constructions and DLF Assets. This move is aimed at paring its debt, which stood at Rs 20,695 crore in March 2015. In 2014, the capital market regulator barred DLF from accessing the capital markets for three years. Although a tribunal set aside this order, the regulator has challenged this decision in the Supreme Court. The promoters of as many as 359 BSE-listed companies have pledged half their stakes, an indicator of stressed corporate finances in an economy that struggling to get back on track.

 

19.9%

The percentage of food adulterated samples in 2014-15, an increase from the 14.8% in 2012-13 and 18.8% in 2013-14. The issue of food safety and testing came to light after excessive quantities of lead were found in certain samples of Nestle India’s popular noodles brand Maggi. However, a few days ago, the Central Food Technological Research Institute, a laboratory approved by the food regulator, had found Maggi Noodles to be in compliance with India’s food safety standards. Even as the fate of Maggi lies in balance, Nestle India posted a quarterly loss in the April-June quarter, its first in 15 years.

 

9%

Percentage of project proposals decided after making a site visit by the coastal zone management authorities (CZMAs) of nine states. Of the 4,033 projects assessed, mostly between 1999 and 2014 for most states, the respective CZMAs made site visits in only 367. This is just one of the many shortcomings or lapses in coastal regulation highlighted in a recent report by New Delhi-based thinktank Centre of Policy Research. Other points include inadequate monitoring, inappropriate staffing, lack of financial resources and inordinate amount of time spent in project proposals.

 

90.9

Percentage of respondents who believe prices will increase in the next one year, in general, according to the ‘Inflation Expectations Survey of Households’ conducted by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in June. This percentage has increased from that recorded in June 2014 when 83.6% of the respondents felt this way. The equivalent numbers across all categories such as food prices, non-food prices, housing prices and cost of services have seen an increase in June 2015 from last year. The Consumer Confidence Survey by the RBI shows that the perception on economic conditions has marginally increased for the next one year, though negative perceptions have also registered an increase. Yesterday, the RBI left the key interest rate unchanged, as it was not confident about inflation levels being in a comfort zone yet.

 

 

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