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Is Demand For Gold Fading Away?

 

World’s demand for gold is the lowest since third-quarter of 2009.  Voters in Himachal Pradesh turned out in large numbers in the latest assembly elections. A larger chunk of proceeds of crime have been laundered through banks ‘using a maze of shell companies’. Indian doctors are not spending enough time for primary care consultations, says a study.

 

650 tonnes

What is it? India’s expected gold demand in 2017, according to World Gold Council (WGC) India.

Why is it important? This would be the lowest in eight years. In comparison, the demand was 666.1 tonnes last year while the 10-year average was 845 tonnes. The WGC has attributed this to the government’s initiatives to make bullion trading more transparent in addition to weak demand in some rural areas. Under the new goods and services tax regime rolled out recently, the tax on gold more than doubled to 3% from 1.2% earlier.

Tell me more: Weaker demand in India, which is the second biggest gold consumer after China, could result in the reduction of global gold prices, which recently were at a near three-week high. It remains to be seen if the wedding season in the current quarter is able to help revive the demand in the country.

 

74%

What is it? The polling percentage for the Himachal Pradesh assembly elections held on Wednesday.

Why is it important? This is the highest voting percentage for the hill state, which has not returned a government in the last 30 years. A high voter turnout was traditionally considered as an anti-incumbency vote, but recent data doesn’t suggest so. In three state elections – Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh – with high voter turnover, two incumbents were re-elected.

Tell me more: Himachal Pradesh became the first state to use paper trail (voter-verifiable paper audit trail) for all polling stations (7,525). 297 out of 11,283 paper trail machines developed snag and were replaced.

 

48%

What is it? The percentage of cases registered under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) where financial institutions were responsible post-demonetisation.

Why is it important? Higher incidence of people using financial institutions to launder money could indicate corrupt practices within the highly regulated banks, but it could also mean suspicious transactions are better tracked. Enforcement Directorate (ED) says proceeds of crime are laundered through banks ‘using a maze of shell companies’. Real estate (35%) and gold/ precious metal (7%) came second and third in terms of number of cases registered by the ED.

Tell me more: Between November 2016 and September 2017, the ED conducted 620 searches and issued 597 showcause notices. ED has attached assets worth Rs5,335 crore under FEMA.

 

2 minutes

What is it? The mean duration of India’s primary care consultation time in 2015, according to a global study published in British medical journal BMJ Open.

Why is it important? Shorter consultation times means poorer health outcomes for patients, which also indicates a heightened sense of burnout for the doctors. According to a recent Global Burden of Disease Study, the country ranked a poor 154 of 195 countries on the healthcare index. In India, the doctor-population ratio of 0.62 per 1,000 is way lesser than the prescribed ratio of 1:100 by the World Health Organization.

Tell me more: The report, which collated data from 178 studies, covered 67 countries and over 28.5 million consultations. Overall, primary care consultations last less than five minutes for half of the global population but range from 48 seconds in Bangladesh to 22.5 minutes in Sweden.

 

180 million

What is it? The number of smartphone owners who are at the risk of having their text messages and calls intercepted by hackers, according to cyber-security firm Appthority.

Why is it important? This is due to a simple coding error in some mobile apps that use functions provided by Twilio, a third-party service provider. Such studies point to the necessity to download apps from trusted stores, a careful inspection of app permissions and not go for something called ‘rooting’ (for Android users) that allows third-party services to break software locks for users to make software changes that cannot be made otherwise.

Tell me more: Appthority found 685 problematic mobile apps linked to 85 Twilio accounts of a survey of 1,100 apps. Here’s how it works: The apps use the services of providers such as Twilio to send text messages and make phone calls and if developers leave those credentials (tools for authentication) in apps, their accounts could be exposed to the hackers. They, in turn, can access related data if they log into the accounts of the developers on Twilio.

 

 

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News in Numbers, July 20, 2016: Global warming and reduced productivity, Uber’s 2 billion rides…

Rs 76,685 crore

What is it? The amount 8,167 wilful defaulters owe banks in 2015-16, according to the government. Wilful defaulters are those who have the ability to repay loans but do not do so or have siphoned them off for a purpose other than the original one.

Why is it important? This is around 12.9% of the total gross bad loans in the Indian banking system, which is difficult to recover as such cases have seen a conviction rate of just 1.14% in 2015-16. A total of 1,724 FIRs (first information reports) have been filed in the same year.

Tell me more: The extent of bad loans and consequently, the losses posted by the banks have jumped up in the last few quarters, after central bank’s directed them to clean up their balance sheets by March 2017.

 

$2 trillion

What is it? The potential cost to world economy in lost productivity due to global warming by 2030, according to the United Nations.

Why is it important? This is mainly because the hot weather would make it difficult or unbearable to work. Due to the reduced productivity, 43 countries including India, China and Indonesia would see a decline in their gross domestic product by 3.2%, 0.8% and 6% respectively. According to the researchers, up to 20% of annual work hours is already being lost in jobs due to exposure to extreme heat and this is likely to double by 2050.

Tell me more: Researchers have warned that those engaged in low-paid occupations such as agriculture, heavy labour and manufacturing are at a high risk of exposure to extreme heat. This is likely to deepen their poverty levels and even put their lives in danger.

 

2 billion

What is it? The total number of rides taxi-hailing firm Uber has completed on June 18.

Why is it important? The company, which completed its first billion rides in six years, took just six months for another billion. Indicates the rapid pace of expansion of Uber, a potential threat to its global rivals including Ola in India, Lyft in the US and Didi Chuxing in China. However, going by its 2014 and 2015 (first half) figures, Uber’s rapid pace of growth is at a huge cost: incentives to drivers and riders, promotions, price cuts, and fast growth in increase in sales, marketing and research costs, which is mainly due to funding by investors and it remains to be seen how long the company can sustain this.

Tell me more: Uber raised $3.5 billion from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund in June, which took the total valuation of the company to $62.5 billion. This was followed by the company securing a $1.15 billion leveraged loan earlier this month.

 

14,222

What is it? The number of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) barred from receiving funds between 2012 and 2015.

Why is it important? Of this, over 70% were barred last year. The government says that action has been initiated against those NGOs that violate the provisions of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Rules Act, 2011 (FCRA). Critics have argued that this is a move by the government to suppress those who against the government’s economic policies.

Tell me more: Just one NGO has been barred from receiving overseas funds so far this year. The organisations are given opportunities to submit additional information, allow their records to be inspected, issuance of show-cause notices and personal appearances, if required, before cancelling their FCRA registrations, according to the Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju.

 

Rs 2,000 crore

What is it? The assets belonging to the former Financial Technologies (FTIL) reportedly seized by Mumbai’s Economic Offences Wing.

Why is it important? This brings the investigation a step closer to closure, a likely relief for investors who lost money in the 2013 scam. It comes a week after FTIL’s founder Jignesh Shah was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate, which claims it has got evidence of money laundering against him. Shah is being probed in connection with the Rs 5,575.35 crore money laundering fraud at National Spot Exchange Ltd, 99.9% owned by FTIL.

Tell me more: FTIL assets including its Mumbai headquarters, banks’ fixed deposits and accounts have been attached. The company has confirmed the same but has said it would move the court as it claims there is no legal basis for the action by the Economic Offences Wing.

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News in numbers, Oct 14, 2015: Estimated size of India’s middle class, TCS’ Q2 earnings report…

 

5,853

What is it? The number of times large overseas remittance transactions were done from a single branch (Ashok Vihar in Delhi) of Bank of Baroda between mid-May and August this year, involving $ 546 million (Rs 3,500 crore). These transactions which are done citing as advance payment for imports are now under scrutiny for violations of India’s anti-money laundering laws  

Why is it important? Nearly 10% for the said remittance (Rs 350 crore) was done in cash. Banks are required to file such high transactions with India’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which in turn, will investigate. Bank of Baroda claims it had filed 79 reports with FIU. Though the transactions started in mid-May, the bank has reported it to investigating agencies only on September 29, 2015.   

Tell me more: Any cash transaction in excess of Rs 10 lakh or more, or from combination of accounts connected to the same entity have to be reported to FIU automatically by the 15th of next month.

 

Rs 334.2 crore

What is it? Amount raised by Coffee Day Enterprises Ltd, which runs Cafe Coffee Day chain, from anchor investors prior to its initial sale of shares to public (or IPO), at a price of Rs 322 per share.

Why is it important? The proposed IPO by India’s largest coffee chain is the biggest in three years and is seen as test of appetite for new issue of shares. Anchor investors can be allotted upto 60% of shares of reserved for institutional investors. In this case, it comes to around a third of the issue size of Rs 1,150 crore, and demand was estimated at 2.5 times the anchor book.

Tell me more: The IPO opens today at a price band between Rs 316 and Rs 328 per share.

 

23 million

What is it? The estimated size of India’s middle class  that own assets worth $ 50,000 to $ 500,000 as per Global Wealth Report by Credit Suisse AG. Together they account for 3.6% of world’s middle-class population.

Why is it important? These 23 million represent just 3.3% of adult population, but they hold 32% (or $ 780 billion) of India’s total wealth. However, individuals owning assets higher than $ 500,000 account for 41.4% of total wealth but only 0.2% of population

Tell me more: Growing number of middle-class represents the spread of wealth beyond the top, and in India, 6.8 million people were added into this category in five years between 2010 and 2015 – second only to China.

 

Rs 1,200 crore

What is it? Amount of money spent on TV ads by Indian e-commerce companies in three months ended September 2015, representing an increase of 46% from year-ago period.

Why is it important? Shows the importance of TV as a medium to reach a wider audience in India. An estimated 168 million out of 255 million households in India own a TV, representing a reach of 66%. In comparison, internet penetration is only 19% as on 2014.

Tell me more: Increased ad spend by start-ups is fuelled by increased investment, which is estimated to more than double and cross $ 5 billion in 2015.  

 

5.8%

What is it? Year-on-year dollar revenue growth reported by Tata Consultancy Services, India’s largest software services firm, in three months ended September.

Why is it important? This is the first time in six years, Mumbai-based TCS has reported lower growth rate compared to Infosys, which reported a 7.6% growth. Barring digital services, TCS reported a sequential growth of 2% in September quarter – an area of concern.   

Tell me more: India’s software exports is expected to grow at 12-14% this fiscal to $ 110-112 billion, as compared to 13-15% in 2014-15.  

 

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News In Numbers – July 20


News In Numbers: July 20

 

70%

Of the officers who joined the Indian Police Service (IPS) between 2011 and 2013, 70% come from non-traditional backgrounds for civil services such as medicine, engineering, arts and management. The Bureau of Police Research and Development is picking up some of the innovative policing initiatives of such officers for its national ‘SMART’ policing programme. The Indian government is planning to set up a ‘SMART’ police station in each state soon. India is facing a shortage of IPS officers: 23% of the authorised IPS officer strength was vacant, as on January 1, 2013.

 

3 years

The lock-in period of promoters’ pre-listing capital on the Bombay Stock Exchange’s SME (small and medium enterprises) platform, as proposed by taxation consultancy PwC. This includes preferential allotments as well and is intended to check tax evasion and other fraudulent activities. A total of 100 firms are on the BSE SME platform. The capital market regulator recently banned four companies and 235 entities (including individuals) for misusing the platform to make illegal gains of Rs 614 crore through suspected money laundering and tax evasion activities. The SMEs listed on this platform have raised over Rs 750 crore as on July 17, 2015.

 

15,000 mw

India plans to award solar contracts for the supply of 15,000 MW this year. The government has set a target of installing 100,000 MW of solar power by 2022, which would entail a capital investment of about $200 billion. In 2014-15, the cumulative solar power capacity in India was about 3,744 MW, accounting for about 10.5% of the total renewable energy generated in the country.

 

23

The number of people in Tamil Nadu who committed suicides in 2014 because of “ideological causes or hero worship”. The southern state, which witnesses fans offering milk, coconuts, fruits and flowers (as a form of worship) to the banners of their favourite actors, accounts for the highest number of deaths among all states due to hero worship. Tamil Nadu also accounts for over 500 suicides due to “love failures”, the second highest in the country. Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal accounted for over a third of the total number suicides in India in 2014.

 

10 million

The Central Board of Direct Taxes has issued an order to its regional offices to bring in an additional 10 million people under the tax net within this financial year. In the region-wise list, Pune region has the highest target of bringing in over 10% of the total number of to-be-assessees. As of now, about 35 million, or about 3% of the Indian population, pays taxes.

 

 

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