Enroute larger tax base

7.95 million

What is it? The number of applicants to register under the goods and services tax (GST) as of mid-Friday.

Why is it important? Registered taxpayers under GST is now 50,000 short of 8 million tax base of value added tax, excise duty and service tax. With registration open until tomorrow, the tax base under GST is expected to exceed the previous regime. Meanwhile, government has extended last date for small businesses (with revenue of Rs 75 lakh) to register under composition scheme where traders will pay lower tax rates.

Tell me more: Widening of tax base will help government to collect more taxes, and could lead to reduction in tax rates. India’s tax revenue to gross domestic product is 17%, as compared to 25.4% in US.

 

Rs 9,509 crore

What is it? The unspent funds with Health Societies in 27 states (from Rs 7,375 crore in 2011-12) under the National Rural Health Mission, according to a report filed by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on Friday.

Why is it important? The amount increased while in six states, Rs 36.31 crore has been diverted to other schemes. The CAG observed the shortfall in availability in physical infrastructure such as primary health centres to be between 24-38% in 28 states, instances of non-availability of essential drugs in 24 states, and medicines issued to patients without prescribed quality checks in 14 states. The average shortage of five types of specialists (general surgeon/physician, obstetrician/gynaecologist, paediatrician and anaesthetist) ranged between 77-87% in select community healthcare centres in 27 states.

Tell me more: About 13,000 facilities did not report data on Health Management Information System, a web-based interface, in 2015-16 due to which the overall position on health indicators has not been ascertainable.

 

Rs 71,941 crore

What is it? The total amount of undisclosed income detected by way of searches, seizures and surveys by the Income Tax department between April 1, 2014 and February 28, 2017, as per information submitted by the government to the Supreme Court.

Why is it important? This is after government’s effort to curb black money generation. Among the steps taken by the government to flush out black money, it recently cancelled the registration of one lakh firms while it is probing 37,000 shell companies for funnelling black money and another 3 lakh for suspicious transactions.

Tell me more: Until a couple of months after the demonetisation move, another attempt against those hoarding money illegally, the total undisclosed amount admitted was over Rs 5,400 crore while the total quantity of gold seized was over 300 kg.

 

Rs 1.5 lakh

What is it? Amount payable to members of central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) for each meeting.

Why is it important? Apart from paying a sitting fee to MPC members, the central bank also codified conduct involving conflict of interest, confidentiality and silent period. For example, members are required to maintain a seven-day silent period seven days before and after the meeting. This will generate greater confidence in decision making of MPC.

Tell me more: MPC’s mandate is to guide monetary policy to achieve a targetted inflation rate of 4% through adjustments in lending rates and provisioning norms by the central bank.

 

31

What is it? The number of people arrested by the Rajasthan police for stealing crude oil from India’s biggest onshore oilfield owned by Cairn India

Why is it important? The crime went undetected for six years, and 50 million litres of crude oil worth $ 7.75 million was stolen. Drivers and contractors working in the oilfield were part of the network that stole crude oil.

Tell me more: Trucks carrying water – a byproduct of oil exploration – out of the oilfield were carrying crude oil, and was sold to two factories nearby with storage capacity. These factories then sold to clients across India.

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News in Numbers, Oct 5, 2016: Children in extreme poverty…

25 basis points

What is it? The reduction in repo rate, the rate at which the central bank lends to the banks, by Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee. It is 6.25% now from 6.5% earlier.

Why is it important? This is the lowest since November 2010 and has been done based on the scenario that inflation would ease in the coming months. The daily prices of pulses and vegetables reported by various markets in the country are indicative of this trend. This signals a shift in the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) stance, which looks to support growth as inflation promises to be moderate due to a normal monsoon and government measures. It remains to be seen if this results in meaningful transmission by the banks to the borrowers.

Tell me more: This is the first policy review presided by governor Urjit Patel, who was appointed a month ago. This was also the first time the newly constituted, six-member monetary policy committee decided on interest rates – all six members voted in favour of a rate cut.

 

16,600

What is it? The number of flights domestic carriers will operate per week in the winter schedule effective October 30.

Why is it important? This is an increase of 20.8% over those operated in the winter schedule of 2015 (13,744), which is likely due to domestic air traffic’s double-digit growth. It has been growing at 10% annually for the last two years while in August, it grew at 24% compared to a year ago. However, despite the government’s push for regional connectivity, airlines plan to operate flights to 75 destinations this winter compared to 81 in the same period last year.

Tell me more: Indigo (InterGlobe Aviation) would see the highest jump in domestic flights (42%) this winter while the comparative figures for Air India and Jet Airways are 7.48% and 1.76% respectively.

 

385 million

What is it? The estimated number of children living in extreme poverty globally in 2013, according to a report. Extreme poverty is defined as welfare less than $1.9 per day per person.

Why is it important? This report indicates that children are twice as likely as adults to live in extreme poverty. Children in the two age groups – 0-4 years and 5-9 years – each accounted for 15.9% and 15.4% (respectively) of those living in extreme poverty (adults included). Though children made up for a third of the sample population, over half of them were affected by extreme poverty.

Tell me more: Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest share of children living in extreme poverty (over 50%) followed by South Asia (36%), with over 30% extremely poor children living in India alone. The report by the World Bank Group and Unicef has arrived at these estimates based on data from 89 countries, which represent over 84% of the developing world’s population.

 

Rs 60,969 crore

What is it? The total value of bids for telecom spectrum at the end of the third day of auctions.

Why is it important? This is only a third of the amount the government hoped to raise in this auction, and indicates that telecom players consider the reserve price to be too high. No one has bid for the premium 700-MHz band – worth Rs 4 lakh crore at base price –  so far. The auctions are expected to end this week.

Tell me more: The government was hoping to raise at least Rs 5.6 trillion through this auction, but at the current rate, might end up with even less than Rs 1.1 trillion it raised in 2015.

 

27.5%

What is it? The percentage of men in Rajasthan who got married before they reached 21 years of age, according to a survey for the year 2012-13. Among women in the state, the under age marriage percentage is lower at 14.3%

Why is it important? This higher percentage of under-age marriages among men could be an indicator that the age difference between husband and wife is coming down. (The legal marriageable age for women is 18). The survey covered nine states, among which Rajasthan emerged as the one with highest percentage of early marriages. Uttarakhand, the lowest.

Tell me more: In 2008, a panel recommended making the lower age limit for marriage (18) the same for both men and women.

 

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News in Numbers, Sep 23, 2016: Kharif harvest likely to be highest, economic impact of digital finance…

Rs 47,700 crore

What is it? The equity infusion by Vodafone Group Plc into its Indian unit in the first half of the current fiscal year.

Why is it important? This is said to be the largest-ever infusion by the company in India and comes about a week ahead of the country’s biggest-ever spectrum auction. The already aggressive telecom industry is witnessing increased competition with the entrance of Reliance Jio this month where the company said it’s offering ‘free calls’ and 4G services at low rates.

Tell me more: Vodafone India is the second-largest telecom service provider in the country by revenue and customers. With a 22.5% market share in terms of revenue, the company also announced it has 200 million customers in India.

 

135 million tonnes

What is it? India’s estimated kharif foodgrain production in 2016-17, 9% higher than the previous year’s production.

Why is it important? If the estimates are correct, then it would be the highest-ever kharif harvest in the country’s history. This would be 3.7% more than the record production of 131.3 million tonnes in 2011-12. The favourable monsoon helped push this year’s estimates up, boosted by kharif pulses and rice (the latter is likely to be the highest ever). This is likely to cool down retail inflation and may prompt the central bank to cut interest rates.

Tell me more: Sugarcane was the only kharif crop that suffered: its estimated production is likely to be 13% less than the previous year’s.

 

$700 billion

What is it? The addition to India’s gross domestic product (GDP) due to digital finance by 2025, which has the potential to create 21 million new jobs across sectors, according to a report.

Why is it important? This is the first time a report has tried to quantify the economic impact of digital finance. Around two-thirds of India’s GDP growth would be due to increased productivity of businesses and governments on the back of digital payments and a third from additional investment brought in due to financial inclusion of people and micro, small and medium-sized businesses. The rest would be due to time saved by individuals, which they can spend on work.

Tell me more: The report by McKinsey Global Institute says Indians lose over $2 billion in foregone income due to the time taken for travelling to and from a bank. Overall, digital finance is expected to boost the GDP of emerging economies by $3.7 trillion and create 95 million new jobs.

 

3

What is it? The number of outside experts that the government has named as members of Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee(MPC).

Why is it important? The MPC, with three outside members and three RBI officials, will replace a system in which RBI governor and his internal team had complete control over the monetary policy. The new system follows global standards and is one of the legacies of Raghuram Rajan, the previous governor. The committee will have its first monetary policy review meeting on 4th October.

Tell me more: The outside experts are Chetan Ghate from Indian Statistical Institute, Pami Dua from Delhi School of Economics and Ravindra Dholakia from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

 

500 million

What is it? The number of Yahoo accounts that were hacked in 2014.

Why is it important? It’s one of the largest security breaches. This comes at a time when Yahoo is finalizing its $4.8 billion sale to Verizon – and could jeopardize the deal. Yahoo’s statement was not entirely out of blue as there were reports in August about the breach. The security breach will have a bigger impact beyond Yahoo accounts since many people use same password across services – mails, social media, banks, etc.

Tell me more: Yahoo has said that the hack was carried out by a “state sponsored actor,” without revealing other details. The stolen account information names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers.

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News in Numbers, June 28, 2016: E-commerce in India, committee to maintain inflation targets…

$10.2 billion

What is it? The total gross merchandise value (GMV) of the top e-commerce firms in India at the end of May 2016. GMV is the total value of goods sold excluding discounts.

Why is it important? This is just a 13.3% growth from the GMV the top e-commerce firms recorded last May – and that primarily came from Amazon India, which grew from $1 billion to $2.7 billion in a year. Flipkart’s GMV has remained almost constant at $4 billion for the last one year and Snapdeal’s dropped 50% to $1.2 billion as of June, according to numbers collected by the Economic Times.

Tell me more: Due to the festive season and the discounts e-tailers offered, the total GMV clocked was $10.5 billion in December 2015. Of the total GMV of $10.2 billion recorded in May 2016, others such as ShopClues and Paytm accounted for 22.54% ($2.3 billion).

 

14

What is it? The number of Andhra Pradesh state government departments that have shifted from Hyderabad to Vijayawada, Guntur and Mangalagiri on Monday.

Why is it important? Signals Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu’s anxiety to move out of Hyderabad (which went to Telangana following the bifurcation two years back) as early as possible. Technically, AP government can function out of Hyderabad for the next eight years, and Amaravati, the new capital is not ready yet.

Tell me more: Government departments would relocate between June 29 and July 21 to the new capital region of Amaravati. However, the Andhra Pradesh government would have to make do with a scattered set-up until the administrative city in the core capital area is developed. The state government has pooled 33,000 acres of land for the development of Amaravati.

 

6

What is it? The number of members on the panel that would be responsible for maintaining inflation targets under the new monetary policy framework.

Why is it important? The RBI has initiated the process to set this panel up, marking it as one of the major changes monetary policy saw under Raghuram Rajan.

Tell me more: The panel will have three members from RBI and three recommended by the government. The panel’s main objective is to make sure the inflation remains within the range agreed by them. Now, retail inflation is 5.76% (May). The committee may be formed before August 9.

 

20

What is it? The number of educational institutions for which the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has sought greater autonomy from the Human Resource Development Ministry.

Why is it important? A sign that the PMO believes that educational institutions need more freedom to set their own course structure, fee, admission procedures, etc. is needed to become world class. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced during Budget 2016 that easier rules would be provided for 10 public and private institutions to emerge as world-class teaching and research institutions.

Tell me more: HRD had proposed lighter rules earlier for the “world-class” institutions earlier, but PMO has now suggested they relax it even further.

 

272

What is it? The number of Income Tax Department appeals dismissed by the Delhi High Court in a recent order.

Why is it important? The reason for the dismissal was because the department failed to do something simple: correct the defects in the appeals and re-file them without much delay. The errors included: missing pages, illegible script, wrong font, lack of stamps and proper handing over of case records. The court has directed its registry to ensure that these appeals are not filed again, most of which have tax liability exceeding Rs 20 lakh, leading to a likely revenue loss for the government.

Tell me more: The court was waiting since 2012 for the department to correct the errors in the 272 appeals.

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