Privacy: Our new fundamental right?

Rs 18,000 crore

What is it? The minimum additional amount Indian banks need to provide towards taking 12 of the country’s largest defaulters to bankruptcy court as directed by the central bank, according to India Ratings and Research.

Why is it important? The current weighted average provisioning of the banks towards these 12 accounts is 42% and the rating agency forecasts that this would reduce the banks’ profits by 25% in 2017-18. The Reserve Bank of India has asked the creditor banks to provide for 50% of the bad loans on cases that are being referred to the National Company Law Tribunal.

Tell me more: The non-performing assets of India’s 12 largest defaulters amount to Rs 1.78 lakh crore, which constitutes about a quarter of the overall gross non-performing assets.



What is it? The number of employees, including contractors, of Air India that could be offered a Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS).

Why is it important? If implemented, this would be one of the largest such offers among India’s public sector companies and comes ahead of its likely sale in the future. The Narendra Modi cabinet recently gave its approval to sell a part or all of the state carrier’s operations. Air India, which has a debt of Rs 50,000 crore and a 14% market share, has been struggling to get off the ground.

Tell me more: Air India’s net tax after loss narrowed by around 5% to Rs 3,643 crore in 2016-17 while its operating profit grew nearly threefold to Rs 300 crore in the same fiscal.


Rs 211.7

What is it? The median hourly gross salary for manufacturing sector in 2016, according to Monster Salary Index by online recruitment portal Monster India.

Why is it important? Not only did it see a 16% decline from Rs 252.1 in 2015 but it was also the lowest paying sector last year among those analysed. This indicates that the government’s plans to transform the country into a manufacturing hub and increase the sector’s contribution to the Indian economy to a quarter from the current 16% by 2025 may not be going as intended. The sector employs around 12-13% of the workforce.

Tell me more: The banking, financial services and the insurance sector was the highest paid in 2016 with Rs 433 as median hourly gross salary followed by the IT services at Rs 386.8.



What is it? The number of Supreme Court judges on the Constitution bench that will decide whether Indian citizens have the right to privacy under the Constitution or not, starting from  Wednesday.

Why is it important? The five-judge Constitution bench deliberating on Aadhaar Act’s possible violation of a person’s right to privacy, felt it had to be first determined if privacy was one of our fundamental rights. Fundamental rights are guaranteed Indian citizens by the Constitution, but the right to privacy is not mentioned explicitly. This is why the Supreme Court is attempting to interpret the Constitution to determine the right, much like the freedom of press.

Tell me more: Past rulings have not favoured citizens’ privacy. The former attorney general of India, Mukul Rohatgi, has maintained since 2015 that Indian citizens don’t have a fundamental right to privacy. In 1954 and 1962, Supreme Court judgements, by smaller sized benches (eight- and six-judge) had held privacy was not a fundamental right. Debates around privacy say it is a non-negotiable right.


Rs 1.2 to 6 lakh

What is it? The monthly salary range amount quoted by specialist doctors to work in rural Karnataka. The state government has invited doctors to quote their price to fill 1,221 vacant jobs.

Why is it important? The bidding by specialists reveal the salary expectations by specialist doctors like anaesthetists, gynaecologists and obstetricians, as compared to standard government package. Obstetricians and gynaecologists quoted the highest at Rs 6 lakh per month, and the lowest salary bids were from general surgery, orthopaedics and general medicine (Rs 60,000 to Rs 1.2 lakh).

Tell me more: So far, 5,262 doctors have applied. Here too Bengaluru attracted the maximum applications.

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News in Numbers, Jan 3, 2017: Wéi!


What is it? The market share of Chinese phone companies in the smartphone segment in November, according to analysts.

Why is it important? For the first time ever, Chinese brands hold a dominant position in the smartphone segment in India at the cost of the market share held by Indian companies and the bigger players such as Samsung and Apple. The share of Indian brands fell from a peak of over 40% recorded earlier in 2016 to 18% in October and November whereas that of Samsung and Apple fell by 3% month-on-month to land at 32% in November. Interestingly, Indian and Chinese players had an equal share (34% each) as of September.

Tell me more: As many as 32.3 million smartphones were shipped in the July-September quarter of 2016, continuing to clock double-digit growth, according to research firm International Data Corporation. Chinese players including Lenovo, Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo are looking to gain a stronghold in India following the saturation in Chinese mobile phone market.



What is it? The service charges levied by hotels and restaurants, in lieu of tips.

Why is it important? The Department of Consumer Affairs issued a notification on Monday clarifying that it is not mandatory for the customers to pay the service charge that is added to the bills. This comes after customers complaining that they are forced to pay the service charge irrespective of the kind of service they are offered. This is likely to force hotels/restaurants to provide better services and/or increase the prices of the items on their menu cards.

Tell me more: After seeking a clarification from the Hotel Association of India, the Department of Consumer Affairs has asked the state governments to make hotels and restaurants aware of this rule and also direct hotels to put up notices to inform their customers that the payment of service charge is discretionary.



What is it? The growth rate of India’s eight infrastructure sectors – coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity – in November on a year-on-year basis.

Why is it important? Though it is higher than 0.6% recorded in November 2015, it is slower than the rates registered in September and October 2016 – 5% and 6.6% respectively. The slowdown is likely due to the currency reset move by the government in November, which also led to Nikkei’s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, a composite indicator of the country’s manufacturing activity based on a survey, to decline to 49.6 in December (from 52.3 in November) – the biggest month-on-month decline since November 2008 and the first contraction (below the 50-mark) in this year.

Tell me more: Among the eight core sectors, coal production, petroleum refinery production, fertiliser production, steel production, cement production and electricity generation registered increases in November compared to a year ago while crude oil and natural gas recorded decreases during the same period.


> 12,000 km

What is it? The distance China’s first freight train to London, which was flagged off on Sunday.

Why is it important? The train, which will reach London in about 18 days, is part of China’s efforts to strengthen its ties with Britain, better serve its Belt and Road Initiative and boost its weak exports and economic growth, which was the slowest in 25 years in 2015. At the end of June 2016, there were 1,881 China-Europe cargo trains in service, which imported and exported goods worth $17 billion. An estimated 5,000 cargo trains will run between China and Europe per year by 2020, according to the former’s top economic planning body.

Tell me more: China’s freight train to London, which primarily carried household items, garments, cloth, bags and suitcases, would pass through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France.


< 3 cents

What is it? Solar energy prices per kilowatt-hour in countries such as Chile and the United Arab Emirates in 2016.

Why is it important? This is about half the average global cost of coal power and could become the cheapest source of power by 2025, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Prices of solar, which is greener than burning fossil fuels, have fallen by 62% since 2009 mainly due to increase in volumes and lower margins. In India too, solar power tariff fell to a record low of Rs 3 per unit in November 2016, which was as high as Rs 12 per unit six years ago.

Tell me more: India is looking to achieve its target of 100 gigawatts of solar capacity generation by the end of 2017 itself, much ahead of its original deadline of 2022. The country’s solar power generation crossed 19,000 megawatts in 2015-16.

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FDI is rising, but not visibly in core ‘Make in India’ sectors

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The last two years have seen a robust increase in inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI), particularly in the form of equity subscriptions. However, much of the increase is happening in the services sector, and not the manufacturing sector, which the government has made the centrepiece of its ‘Make in India’ campaign.






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News in Numbers, May 26, 2016: Capital goods policy, SEBI’s push to delist 4,200 firms…

Rs 7.5 lakh crore

What is it? The expected value of capital goods made in India in 2025 from Rs 2.3 lakh crore in 2014-15.

Why is it important? The government, which on Wednesday approved a policy on capital goods, hopes to generate more jobs in this sector: 30 million by 2025 from 8.4 million now. It’s in line with the government’s  ‘Make in India’ programme, which aims to increase the share of manufacturing sector as a percentage of GDP from around the current 17% to 25% by 2020.

Tell me more: The policy seeks to increase exports from 27% to 40% of production and to up the share of domestic production in India’s capital goods demand from 60% to 80% by 2025, which would make India a net exporter of capital goods. Capital goods production, which is 8.8% of the Index of Industrial Production and is a proxy for industrial and investment demand, contracted for the fifth straight month (as of March) year-on-year.



What is it? The number of companies the markets regulator is pushing for delisting from the stock exchanges.

Why is it important? This is to prevent price manipulation through firms that are not actively traded, which would improve governance of public markets and the listed companies. It would also help in reducing regulatory burden. However, firms could misuse this to become non-compliant in order to delist themselves instead of following the proper delisting norms.

Tell me more: Of the 4,200, there are 1,200 companies that have been suspended from trading for seven years (typically, for non-compliance of rules) and 3,000 that are only listed on regional exchanges, some of which cease to exist. The Securities and Exchange Board of India has also warned strict action against auditors if they are found to play a role in market manipulation.



What is it? The percentage of ICICI Bank’s bad loans on the account of the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) asset quality review in the last six months of 2015-16.

Why is it important? Shows the extent to which banks have been under-reporting their bad loans. ICICI Bank is not the only one. For Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, Axis Bank and Yes Bank, the equivalent numbers are: 45%, 41%, 30% and 24%. Of the large banks that have declared their results so far, about 44% of their bad loans is due to the central bank’s asset quality review.

Tell me more: The gross bad loans of 39 listed banks was Rs 4.3 lakh crore at the end of December 2015. In April, it was reported that over Rs 3 lakh crore were classified under a category where repayments were overdue by 30-60 days while another Rs 3.17 lakh crore had repayments overdue by 60-90 days, and a portion of this may turn into bad loans during the year.


Rs 184.96 crore

What is it? Online restaurant discovery/food ordering service firm Zomato Media’s revenue in 2015-16 from Rs 96.73 crore the previous year.

Why is it important? Despite almost doubling its revenue from last year, it recorded loss before tax of Rs 492.27 crore in the year ended March 2016. Food startups have been facing problems including slowdown in funding, with many of the firms either closing down, getting acquired or reducing their operations.

Tell me more: Last month, HSBC Securities and Capital Markets reduced Zomato’s valuation by $500 million, about half the valuation at which it had raised its last round of funding in September 2015.



What is it? Price of Brent crude oil per barrel, an increase of 79% from a 12-year-low of $27.88 a barrel in January.

Why is it important? This is the first time oil has breached the $50-mark. This means higher fuel prices for motorists and reduction in savings for the Indian government due to a likely increase in oil subsidies. In Delhi, fuel prices have increased by over 7% this year. India’s crude oil import bill has almost halved to $64 billion in 2015-16.

Tell me more: The basket of crude oil India imports averaged $105.5 per barrel in 2013-14, $84.2 a barrel in 2014-15 and $46.2 per barrel in 2015-16.

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