When the Earth isn’t enough 🌏

336,107

What is it? The number of H-1B visa applications filed by employers between October 2016 and June 2017.

Why is it important? The number of applications has not declined despite US President Donald Trump pledging to crackdown on misuse of H-1B visas, a temporary work permit. At this rate, the full year applications will exceed that of 2016 number of 399,349. However, approvals for current fiscal is sharply lower at 59% as compared to 87% in 2016. This could be because large number of petitions in current year are still pending decisions.

Tell me more: 74% of applications are filed for candidates born in India.

 

47.9

What is it? Nikkei’s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) in July, a composite indicator of India’s manufacturing activity based on a survey by Markit, a financial information and services company.

Why is it important? This is the lowest since February 2009, the days of the global financial crisis. It slipped below the 50-point mark separating expansion from contraction for the first time this year. Uncertainty and information gaps around goods and services tax that was introduced on July 1st seems to have negatively impacted purchasing decisions.

Tell me more: New orders fell for the first time in the year-to-date and at the fastest pace since early 2009.

 

7

What is it? The number of months in which this year’s Earth Overshoot Day has arrived (August 2) this year, according to environmental groups WWF and Global Footprint Network.

Why is it important? Earth Overshoot Day is the date in which the annual demand of humanity on nature exceeds what the planet can regenerate over the year and it is the earliest so far. In other words, humanity is using up planetary resources such as soil, water and air at a faster pace than ever and will live on “credit” for the rest of the year; currently, we are using the resources of 1.7 Earths.

Tell me more: We would be able to return to living within the means of one Earth before 2050 if we moved the Earth Overshoot Day back by 4.5 days every year. Some of the ways in which individuals can help stop and later, reverse the trend is by burning less fuel, cut back on food waste and eating less meat.

 

22.4%

What is it? The percentage increase in car sales for Maruti Suzuki, which has more than 50% market share, in July this year.

Why is it important? Car sales has picked up after introduction of the goods and services tax (GST) from July 1st, after contracting by 11% in June. Other car makers, except Hyundai Motor, reported double-digit increase in sales growth.

Tell me more: Shipping of cars from factory gate to dealers is counted as a sale, so the increase could be because of manufacturers pushing the stock to dealers than end-customer demand.

 

61.5%

What is it? The increase in the net worth of Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries, in one year.

Why is it important? With a total net worth of $35.2 billion, he has raced ahead of Hong Kong-based Li Ka-Shing to become the second richest Asian after Alibaba’s founder, Jack Ma. Globally, Ambani went up to the 19th position, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. This has been possible partly due to investors rallying behind Reliance Jio that has disrupted the telecom space in the last few months.

Tell me more: A report by Oxfam, which works to eliminate poverty, said India’s 57 billionaires have the same wealth as the bottom 70% of the population, pointing to rising income and wealth inequality in the Asia’s third largest economy.

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Maruti takes a hit

Rs 1,556 crore

What is it? Maruti Suzuki’s net profit in the April-June quarter, a 4.4% increase from a year-ago period.

Why is it important? The net profit has lagged estimates – a Bloomberg poll of analysts had estimated a net profit of Rs 1,692.3 crore. Maruti, which has more than 50% market share, said the company’s performance was impacted by a one-time compensation to dealers due to the switch to the goods and services tax, higher raw material prices, sales promotion and marketing expenses.

Tell me more: Maruti’s revenue from operations increased by 16.4% to Rs 19,777 crore from a year ago. It sold 3.94 lakh units in the latest quarter, up 13.2% from the same period a year ago.

 

 

24.1%

What is it? Samsung’s market share in India’s smartphone market in the April-June quarter this year.

Why is it important? With this, Samsung continues to be the leader in the smartphone segment in the country followed by Chinese brands such as Xiaomi and Vivo, which have more than doubled their market share from a year ago. However, Xiaomi overtook Samsung in the category of smartphones selling under Rs 10,000 in the second quarter with its phones Redmi Note 4 and Redmi 4. This is the first time any brand has been able to overtake Samsung, which has held the best-seller slot for its models for the last four years or so.

Tell me more: Chinese smartphone brands account for more than half of the shipments and this is the second straight quarter when their market share exceeds 50% after they took over local brands in the second half of 2016.

 

 

6

What is it? The number of years after which banks in India can appoint the same audit firm, as per a notification by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday.

Why is it important? This has been increased from two years. Earlier, upon completion of its four year term with a bank, an audit firm, could be reappointed after a gap of two years. The central bank observed that in some cases, the statutory central audit responsibility was handled by two audit firms, who were appointed alternately. This policy change is aimed at deterring the auditors and the auditee from establishing a comfortable relationship that might hinder strict adherence to audit principles and also, to enable the examination of issues in a bank from a different perspective.

Tell me more: The change in rule comes at a time when there has been a great divergence between the bad loans reported by some banks for 2015-16 and the RBI’s findings.

 

 

0

What is it? The number of top-100 Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) rankers who opted for three IITs — Kharagpur, Kanpur and Madras.

Why is it important? While 65 of them opted for IIT Bombay, 31 of the rankers chose IIT Delhi. However, this year, the remaining four rankers did not opt for the other IITs. While the IIT Kharagpur had stopped attracting the top-100 rankers for some years, some of them had still chosen Kanpur and Madras (Chennai) till 2016. But in 2017, these three top seats of learning seem to have fallen out of favour.

Tell me more: The three institutes have got around 50 students from the top 500 rankers this year.

 

 

Rs 1,250

What is it? The average wholesale price of a quintal of onions in Maharashtra on Thursday.

Why is it important? It is a rise of 118% since July, 13. A wait for kharif crops in October, Gujarat’s floods and hoarding by farmers of crops from March and April have led to the hike.

Tell me more: The central government might reinstate a minimum export price which had been withdrawn in the last 19 months. The country is already reeling under the rise in prices of tomato, another kitchen staple.

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News in numbers, Apr 28, 2016: Pollution in tier-II cities, record wind energy capacity addition…

41

What is it? The number of tier-II cities that exceed the ambient air quality standard, according to the government.

Why is it important? This is contrary to the popular perception that only the big cities or the tier-I cities are polluted in terms of air or water. The Indian government will spend over Rs 550 crore over five years to bring down pollution levels in these tier-II cities, which include Rishikesh (Uttarakhand), Tezpur (Assam), Vapi (Gujarat), Sangrur (Punjab) and Angul (Odisha).

Tell me more: Water pollution in these cities is caused due to discharges of untreated water. Cumulative sewage generation in these tier-II cities has been estimated to be 2,696.7 million litres per day but their treatment capacity is less than 10%.

56%

What is it? Apple’s iPhone year-on-year sales growth in India in the three months ended March 2016.

Why is it important? Apple is looking to emerging markets such as India to boost its sales, even as it posted its first quarterly revenue decline in 13 years. A government panel recommendation to waive 30% sourcing norm (required for foreign owned single-brand retailers) for Apple would further help its sales in India. The recommendation is pending finance minister’s approval.

Tell me more: Currently, Apple sells its products through distributors such as Redington and Ingram Micro. Reportedly, this waiver may bring prices of Apple products down in India. The panel has recommended the waiver because of the cutting-edge technology Apple would bring to the country, a conditional clause present in the government policy. Two Chinese mobile companies – LeEco and Xiaomi – have also asked for the waiver of the 30% sourcing norm.

3,460 MW

What is it? The wind energy capacity addition in India in 2015-16.

Why is it important? This is the highest ever annual capacity addition, surpassing the previous high of 3,197 MW added in 2011-12. It has also exceeded its target of 2,400 MW by 44.2%. However, India needs to step up its pace of wind energy addition if it has to meet its target of 60,000 MW by 2022. The country’s cumulative wind energy capacity, the primary source of renewable energy, was 26,904.16 MW at the end of 2015-16.

Tell me more: Madhya Pradesh accounted for over 37% of wind energy capacity addition in the last financial year followed by Rajasthan (nearly 20%), Gujarat (over 11%) and Andhra Pradesh (10.5%). The data is by the Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers’ Association, which expects an increase in capacity addition by 4,000 MW in in 2016-17.

17 million

What is it? The number of former and current government officials Maruti Suzuki is all set to target for selling its automobiles.

Why is it important? These government employees would soon be the recipients of the Seventh Pay Commission payout – and consumer businesses such as Maruti are hoping to get a boost from their shopping. Maruti itself hopes to get nearly a fifth of its sales over the next 2-3 years from them. In 2015-16, government employees accounted for 16% of the 1.3 million cars the company sold in India.

Tell me more: Maruti Suzuki launched the ‘Wheels of India’ programme in 2006 specifically aimed at government employees, to whom it has sold 1.5 million cars so far. The new database prepared has 4.7 million central government employees, 7 million state government officials and 5.2 million pensioners.

21 lakh

What is it? The number of farmers in 26,670 drought-hit villages in Maharashtra whose crop loans would be restructured.

Why is it important? This would extend the loan repayment duration for farmers by 1-5 years and also, enable them to apply for fresh loans for the sowing season beginning June. The loans total Rs 8,503 crore (includes last year’s crop loans and 2014 kharif sowing season). Maharashtra is one of the worst drought-hit states in the country and accounted for half of the farmer suicides recorded so far this year. As many as 20,504 farmers have ended their lives in the state since 2001.

Tell me more: The government also plans to seek the central bank’s help in restructuring loans worth Rs 2,438 crore taken by 4.4 lakh farmers from drought-affected villages in 2012-13 and 2013-14.

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News in numbers, Dec 2, 2015: Car sales in November, deaths due to floods in Tamil Nadu…

 

10.6%

 

What is it? India’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki’s unit sales growth in November compared to same period last year.

 

Why is it important? It rose 24.7% year-on-year last month to 121,063 units, its best-ever monthly sales – driven by festive season demand. Now, the demand is back to normal. Car sales are seen as a proxy for economic growth.

 

Tell me more: Last month the growth was also broad-based. Not so in November. Mahindra and Mahindra and Hyundai Motor posted double digit year on year growth in November while Honda Cars, Tata Motors and Toyota Kirloskar reported a decline.

 

188

What is it? Number of deaths in Tamil Nadu due to rains since October.

 

Why is it important? The southern state has been battling with heavy rains since the beginning of November. Chennai has witnessed the worst rains in nearly a century. Roads and houses in many parts of the city are flooded, traffic has almost come to a halt, flights and trains have been delayed or cancelled – in short, life has come to a standstill. The situation is also a wake-up call for the civic and urban planning authorities to ensure that hydrological factors are taken into account while planning cities and towns.

 

Tell me more: The situation is not likely to ease up soon given that the weather department has forecast heavy to very heavy rains in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry for the next four days.

 

$91.8 billion

 

What is it? The amount Indian government spent on climate adaptation (such as measures of flood protection, buildings in low risk areas) in 2013-14, according to a study.

 

Why is it important? The adverse effects of climate change has already begun to affect 800 million people in India, which is nearly two-thirds of the country’s population. The study, by IIM Ahmedabad, IIT Gandhinagar and a think tank Council on Energy, Environment and Water, says the country would experience an increase of 1-1.5 degree Celsius increase in mean annual temperature from 2016 to 2045, which would have a great impact on agriculture and crop production.

 

Tell me more: India needs about $1 trillion from now until 2030 for climate adaptation.

 

Rs 1,750 crore

 

What is it? The amount the Indian government is likely to grant for strengthening the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and the state regulators.

 

Why is it important? The food regulator had come in for criticism when the Supreme Court had struck down its advisory that required clearances for products by ingredients even if those had received prior approval. Also, the recent ban on Maggi exposed the shortcomings in the food safety and regulating mechanism in the country.

 

Tell me more: It remains to be seen how this amount (if approved) would be put to use because according to the regulator’s 2013-14 annual report, of the total funds available (Rs 60 crore), only Rs 42.1 crore was utilised.

 

220,000

 

What is it? Number of adolescents (aged 15-19 years) living with HIV in the Asia Pacific region, according to a Unicef report.

 

Why is it important? It’s a “hidden epidemic”, Unicef says. An estimated 50,000 new HIV infections among youngsters accounted for 15% of new infections in 2014 in the region. As governments take steps to end the epidemic of AIDS, the growth in new infections among adolescents would be a huge block to that effort. AIDS might dent the demographic dividend developing countries are betting on.

 
Tell me more: Also, a UN report says India is home to the third highest number of people living with HIV in the world at 2.1 million. This is about four out of 10 affected with the virus in the Asia Pacific region.

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