Rs 6,56,000 crore
What is it? The direct tax collections for the first nine months of 2017-18. This is an increase of 18.2% over the corresponding period of 2016 and 67% of the budget estimate.
Why is it important? This 18.2% growth in direct taxes comes as a breather for the government, which is running the risk of overshooting its fiscal deficit target for 2017-18. Last month, the finance ministry said it will borrow an additional Rs 50,000 crore this year due to lower-than-expected collections under GST and higher revenue expenditure, a step that could raise the fiscal deficit to 3.5%, against the targeted 3.2%.
Tell me more: For the nine-month period to December, advance tax collections rose 12.7%, led by a 21% growth in personal advance income tax and 10.9% growth in corporate advance tax.
What is it? The annual cost of food-borne diseases to India, which is 0.5% of the country’s GDP (gross domestic product), according to a study by ‘Food for All’ partnership of the World Bank Group and the Netherlands government.
Why is it important? The study says that though Indians transitioning from simple staples to more nutritious food should have positive impacts, this is leading to consumption of “risky foods”. Some of the main reasons for food contamination include unregulated use and management of pesticide, indiscriminate use of antibiotics for non-therapeutic reasons (most bacteria that cause food-borne diseases have been found to be multi-drug resistant) and chemical additives in processed and packaged food, according to the Centre for Science and Environment. The burden of food-borne diseases in India is unknown.
Tell me more: The researchers say there could be an adverse impact with potentially large costs, due to an increase in poverty and under-nutrition, if no investments in food safety are made.
What is it? The proposed safeguard duty by India on cells and modules shipped from China and Malaysia.
Why is it important? This is reportedly in response to an application filed by five domestic cell and module makers, and has been made on the basis that imports from China and Malaysia in this regard are a “threat of serious injury” to the domestic industry. Last year, India was the largest solar cell and module importer from China. If this proposal is implemented, it could potentially result in the end of record low solar tariffs, according to an analyst. Solar tariffs hit a record low of Rs 2.44 per unit last May.
Tell me more: India’s average requirement of solar cells is 20 gigawatts per year, whereas its annual manufacturing capacity is just 15% of that.
What is it? The number of years that Old Monk, the iconic Indian brand of dark rum sold in a distinctive squarish bottle, has been around.
Why is it important? It was reported yesterday that, Kapil Mohan, the man who shaped and nurtured this brand to become the most popular rum and something more for a generation of Indians, passed away on January 6 at the age of 88 years. In the 1970s, Mohan took over the reins of Mohan Meakin, a family business, and breathed new life into the company.
Tell me more: While consumption of alcohol in India has been increasing, sales of rum have been on the decline. And Old Monk has seen its market share fall from 15% in 2005 to 5% in 2014.
What is it? The number of McDonald’s outlets that Connaught Plaza Restaurants, the licencee for north and east India of American fast food chain McDonald’s, plans to reopen by the end of this week.
Why is it important? Connaught Plaza and McDonald’s are embroiled in a messy, and public, dispute. In this backdrop, last month, Vikram Bakshi-controlled Connaught Plaza had shuttered these outlets after differences with its logistics partner, which, it claimed, was acting at the behest of McDonald’s. Connaught Plaza has since signed a new partner. The reopening of the restaurants could open new fault lines as McDonald’s has, in a public statement, called these outlets “unauthorised”.
Tell me more: The dispute dates back to 2013, when McDonald’s removed Bakshi as the managing director of Connaught Plaza. Bakshi challenged the decision before the Company Law Board, saying this was an attempt by McDonald’s to buy out his 50% share for a low valuation.