News in Numbers, July 1, 2016: World Bank’s loan to India for solar, Flipkart vs Amazon…

$1 billion

What is it? The amount the World Bank would lend to India for its solar energy programme.

Why is it important? This is the biggest ever loan given by the bank for a solar programme to any country and would help India achieve its ambitious target of installing 100 GW (gigawatts) by 2022. The solar power generation had crossed 19,000 MW (megawatts) in 2015-16 though the Minister for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy is looking to achieve this target by the end of 2017 itself.

Tell me more: India wants non-fossil fuel (wind, water, solar and nuclear) to account for 40% of the total installed power capacity by 2030 from 30% currently. The World Bank has lent $4.8 billion to India between 2015 and 2016, making it its biggest client.

Rs 2,28,986 crore

What is it? India’s fiscal deficit (excess of expenditure over receipts) for April and May of 2016.

Why is it important? It’s 42.9% of the budget target for this fiscal compared to 37.5% for the same period last year (despite a slowdown in government’s capital expenditure.) This may make it challenging for the Finance Minister to restrict fiscal deficit to Rs 5.33 lakh crore in 2016-17, especially with the implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission that would cost the exchequer over Rs 1 lakh crore.

Tell me more: The government’s capital expenditure was down by nearly 12% to Rs 33,231 crore in the first two months of 2016-17 from Rs 37,743 crore in the same period last year. The revenue expenditure, which would go up further due to the Seventh Pay Commission payout, increased by 17.6% to Rs 2.64 lakh in April and May from a year ago.


Rs 8,392 crore

What is it? The amount held by Indians in Swiss banks at the end of 2015, a third lower than the previous year.

Why is it important? This is the lowest amount of funds held by Indians in the Swiss Banking system since the country started making its data public in 1997 and marks the second straight year of decline. This seems to be the impact of clampdown of illicit wealth by countries including India, which is likely to lead to Swiss banks become more transparent than ever. India has sought faster responses to its pending information requests from the Alpine nation and an automatic financial information exchange would begin in 2018.

Tell me more: The funds held by Indians in Swiss banks was at a record high of Rs 23,000 crore at the end of 2006.



What is it? E-commerce firm Flipkart’s score in the quarter ended March based on metrics including trust in a brand, product assortment and prices, overall buying experience in terms of ease of using its platform and the ease of product cancellations and returns.

Why is it important? Flipkart is still slightly ahead of Amazon India, which entered the country in June 2013 and had a score of 87, though Snapdeal was a distant third at 60. This is yet another sign that Amazon is ahead of Snapdeal and breathing on the neck of Flipkart. With a recent investment announcement of $3 billion in the country, Amazon India has an advantage over both Flipkart and Snapdeal, which has to depend on external investors. A US mutual fund managed by Vanguard Investment marked down the value of its shares in Flipkart by 25%, the sixth such markdown in recent times.

Tell me more: In terms of ‘Most trusted brand’ and ‘Best value proposition’, Flipkart scored higher than Amazon India while the latter beat the former in terms of ‘Great experience’. The analysis is by RedSeer Management Consulting for Mint.



What is it? The number of invitees to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, of which 46% are women and 41% are minorities.

Why is it important? It will make the voters more diverse. The Academy had recently promised to double it female and minority membership by 2020. The Oscars came in for heavy criticism for having no nominees from minority actors for the second year in a row. However, it has a long way to go because even if all the invitees join, the share of women and minorities would only marginally increase (25% to 27% and 8% to 11% respectively).

Tell me more: If all those who invited were to join, it would increase the academy’s total voters to 6,945, a record in the last few years.

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News in Numbers, May 5, 2016: India’s tobacco rules, Flipkart’s valuation marked down…


What is it? The percentage of a cigarette pack’s surface that must be covered with health warnings, up from 20% earlier, as ruled by the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Why is it important? It could discourage smoking in India, which kills around a million people every year. But it might not have any impact on people buying cigarettes in loose –  pegged at over 80% , even though there have been attempts to ban selling them in loose.

Tell me more: Still, this could make a dent in the revenues of cigarette makers such as ITC and VST Industries. Over two dozen cases have been filed against this move and by Supreme Court’s Wednesday order, would be transferred to the Karnataka High Court, which has to decide on the matter within six weeks. An estimated 45.7 million people including farmers, workers and traders are dependent on this industry.


What is it? The amount a European nation is to pay per refugee if it wants to exempt itself from hosting them, to another country that accommodates them, according to a proposal by European Commission.

Why is it important? This is meant to achieve fair distribution of refugees among its member nations. The continent is battling one of the worst migrant crises where some member nations have seen an influx of people, mainly from West and South Asia and Africa, in a bid to escape violence or conflict in their home countries.

Tell me more: According to the proposal, each country would be assigned a share of the asylum-seekers based on the size of their economy and population and if relocation exceeds 1.5 times the allocated share, then they would be redirected to other member states. These proposals need to be approved by the European Parliament and a majority of the 28-member countries of the European Union.


What is it? The percentage by which US mutual fund Fidelity Rutland Square Trust II, Flipkart’s minority investor, marked down the ecommerce firm’s valuation (as of February this year from August 2015).

Why is it important? With another mutual fund Valic Co 1 also marking down Flipkart’s valuation by 29.4% during the same period, this mirrors the markdowns by Flipkart’s major investors – Morgan Stanley and T Rowe Price. With analyst concerns about rapidly increasing valuations of new-age firms (including Flipkart), they have been struggling to raise funds at their preferred valuations.

Tell me more: Sachin Bansal, Flipkart’s Executive Chairman and co-founder, has brushed this off as a ‘theoretical exercise’.


What is it? The number of acquittals in the 725 cases decided by the Delhi High Court between in 2011.

Why is it important? The 80% acquittal rate raises question about thoroughness of investigations. The court pointed to the shortage of manpower and forensic labs. Three fifth of 14,270 cases decided by the sessions courts in Delhi also resulted in acquittals.

Tell me more: The Delhi Police Force is top-heavy (more officers than sanctioned) while lower positions face shortage. There are only two forensic labs in Delhi with over 8,500 samples pending for testing.


What is it? Uttar Pradesh’s share of educational grants for minorities between 2008-09 and 2013-14 received from Maulana Azad Education Foundation, an organisation to promote education among backward communities.

Why is it important? The Foundation comes under central government, and the concentration of recipients in one state reflects unfair distribution of funds. A report by a report by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences has recommended that the allocations be made on the basis of the share of backward community population in districts/states and in total minority population.

Tell me more: Except for Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra (received 10.9% of the educational grants during this period), the share of most other states are miniscule. The distribution of grants is unequal within states too. For instance, of the top 25 districts that received the highest grant amounts, half of them are from Uttar Pradesh.

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