News in Numbers, Nov 30, 2016: Security breach…

7

What is it? The number of Indian Army personnel killed in a terrorist attack in Nagrota near Jammu on Tuesday.

Why is it important? This is the biggest attack on an Indian Army unit since the attack in Uri when 17 army men were killed on September 18. Heavily-armed terrorists stormed into an army unit and their attempt to create a hostage-like situation was foiled by the Indian army – 16 people were rescued. Three terrorists were killed in this incident. This raises questions as to how the terrorists managed to travel to Nagrota, if the security measures taken by India are adequate and how effective surgical strikes carried out by India in late September have been in deterring militant groups operating from across the border.

Tell me more: In another strike, terrorists attacked a Border Security Force patrol at Chamliyal (Samba district) where four army personnel were injured. Again, three terrorists were gunned down here.

 

$5.54 billion

What is it? Flipkart’s valuation, according to a mutual fund managed by Morgan Stanley, one of the e-commerce firm’s investors.

Why is it important? Morgan Stanley has slashed down the value of its shares by about 38.2% to $52.13 a share from $84.29 a share in the June quarter. The e-commerce firm’s valuation is down from $9 billionin the June quarter and is about a third of its valuation ($15 billion) when it last raised funds in July 2015. This is the fourth time the investor has marked down the value of its shares in the last nine months and comes at a time when Flipkart is looking to raise funds (reportedly, about $500 million to $1 billion) by the end of the year to compete with cash-rich Amazon in India.

Tell me more: Two other investors Valic and Fidelity marked down the value of their shares in Flipkart earlier this month by 11.3% and 3.2% respectively for the quarter ended August. Meanwhile, Flipkart Internet’s vice-president and private label head Mausam Bhatt and senior vice-president of engineering Peeyush Ranjan have quit the company. At least seven Flipkart employees (at the level of senior vice-president) have left the company this year.

 

107

What is it? The number of seats the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won out of a total of 123 in local bodies elections in different parts of Gujarat.

Why is it important? This comes about a year ahead of the state elections in Gujarat and at a time when people seem to be polarised on the issue of demonetisation. This was by gaining 40 seats from the Congress, which managed to bag just 17 seats. The victory follows BJP winning 851 of 3,705 seats across 147 municipal councils and 17 panchayats in Maharashtra. The party’s candidates also won in 52 councils in the state. BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi attributed the victories to people supporting its demonetisation move.

Tell me more: Five states – Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur and Goa – are due for elections early next year and it remains to be seen how BJP fares in these polls.

 

$58 billion

What is it? Loss to India’s economy due to road accidents every year, according to a study by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

Why is it important? This translates to about 3% of India’s gross domestic product (GDP) annually. It follows Japan ($63 billion) in value terms among 19 countries covered by the study in the Asia Pacific region while in terms of percentage to GDP, it comes behind Iran (6%). Last year saw the greatest increase in the number of accidents in five years. On an average, 55 accidents were recorded per hour killing 15 people (or one death every four minutes). The top 13 states account for 86.7% of all road accidents in India.

Tell me more: In the Asia Pacific region, 15,000 lives are lost due to road accidents per week (or one person every 40 seconds) and the loss to the GDP of these countries is $293,568 million annually.

 

Rs 18,110 crore

What is it? The potential additional costs Indian banks would have to bear annually due to the central bank’s introduction of incremental cash reserve ratio (CRR) of 100% on all deposits between September 16 and November 11, according to CARE Ratings.

Why is it important? This means despite a surge in deposits following the government’s demonetisation move, banks would not be able to earn on them either by lending or investing in government securities and instead, would have to bear additional costs. This is likely to hurt the finances of banks, which are already reeling under increasing bad loans. Before the CRR move, there were hopes that banks would cut lending rates after they reduced the deposit rates but now, there is uncertainty as to what would follow. It remains to be seen if there is a cut in interest rates in the next monetary policy review on December 9.

Tell me more: The incremental deposits with the banks during the period mentioned above were around Rs 3.24 lakh crore and CARE Ratings estimates the banks’ potential earnings to have increased by around Rs 25,205 crore (from lending and investments in government-securities). The difference between earnings from these incremental deposits and costs incurred would have been around Rs 7,100 crore.

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

85%

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.

€250,000

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.

39.6%

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’.

588

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.

35.8%

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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News in numbers, Mar 7, 2016: A dozen bills likely to be passed, terror alert in Gujarat…

~ $3 billion

What is it? The amount belonging to India, which was lying unused in an account managed by the Pentagon, the headquarters of the US Department of Defense.

Why is it important? Despite this, India has been paying the United States for new military purchases due to “ill-management” or “lack of attention”. This money was not earning interest. The amount was discovered last year and about 40% has been used to pay for committed purchases, saving the country around $700-800 million in foreign exchange.

Tell me more: According to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, the government also saved up to Rs 3,000 crore by tightening payment norms to Indian vendors, which include public sector units.

 

12

What is it? Number of pending bills likely to be passed in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in the ongoing Budget Session.

Why is it important? The outcome of a compromise between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress party, according to unnamed leaders from these parties. It is a surprising move given the disruptions in the working of the Parliament due to issues such as the suicide of a student at the Hyderabad University, the Jat agitations and the JNU row. The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha have spent just 9% and 8% of the Budget Session on legislative issues respectively so far.

Tell me more: The bills to be taken up, seven in Lok Sabha, and five in Rajya Sabha, does not include the important Goods and Services Tax Bill.

 

200

What is it? Number of National Security Guard (NSG) personnel sent from Delhi to Gujarat after the issuance of a terror alert in the state.

Why is it important? Indian officials say Pakistan’s National Security Advisor had provided intelligence inputs to his Indian counterpart regarding a possible terror strike by a group of 8-10 Lashkar-e-Toiba members in the state, particularly at “some coastal pilgrimage centres in Saurashtra or Kutch”. Ahead of ‘Mahasivarathri’, an important Hindu festival, the state government has stepped up security at all the main temples.

Tell me more: Delhi has also been put on high alert after inputs suggested the terrorists could have moved from Gujarat to Delhi.

 

75

What is it? Number of Rajya Sabha members who are to retire from the House between March and July this year.

Why is it important? This will let the ruling NDA muster enough numbers to pass the GST Bill by July 2016, according to Morgan Stanley. For the Bill to be passed, not more than 82 members must oppose it (assuming all 245 vote). Due to retirees this season, BJP would gain nine seats including seven by way of new appointees, while Congress would lose seven. This would result in those favouring the bill to increase from 97 to 110 and those opposing to 81 members.

Tell me more: The GST Bill is supposed to merge all central and state taxes into a single tax rate and if implemented well, it could boost economic growth by 2-2.5% and increase exports by 10-14%, according to a study.

 

Rs 2,494 crore

What is it? The aggregate cash recovery or security available with Kingfisher Airlines’ lenders, according to its chairman Vijay Mallya.

Why is it important? This is about a third of the total amount (Rs 7800 crore) the grounded airline and Mallya owe to a consortium of 17 lenders led by the State Bank of India. Mallya, in a media statement, said that despite pledging blue chip securities and depositing “significant amounts” in the court, he is being painted as the “poster boy of all bank NPAs (non-performing assets)”.

Tell me more: Of the total, Mallya said banks and their assignees have recovered Rs 1,244 crore from sale of pledged shares in cash, an aggregate of Rs 600 crore has been lying with the Karnataka High Court since July 2013 and another Rs 650 crore belonging to the United Breweries Holdings has been deposited with the court since early 2014.

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News in numbers, Dec 15, 2015: November inflation numbers, iPhone sales estimates…

 

5.41%

 

What is it? Increase in consumer price index (or growth retail inflation) in November.

 

Why is it important? This is the highest in 14 months. The increase is mainly due rise in food prices, especially that of pulses, which rose 46.1% in November on a year-on-year basis. High inflation rates suggest the effects of deficient monsoon in two consecutive years have begun to show on the rural economy. This also shows the challenge the Reserve Bank of India in containing retail inflation under 6% in January 2016.

 

Tell me more: Overall wholesale prices fell by 1.99% in November, the 13th consecutive monthly fall and the highest since January. Wholesale food prices increased 5.20% in November compared to 2.44% rise in October.

 

130

 

What is it? India’s rank among 188 countries in the Human Development Index (HDI) in 2014 according to the Human Development Report 2015 released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The HDI looks at three factors – longevity, education and income.

 

Why is it important? It has shown a slight improvement from last year – up by one spot. India’s HDI has marginally gone up from 0.604 in 2013 to 0.609 in 2014. This puts India in the “medium human development” category where its HDI is lower than the average HDI of countries (0.630) in this section. India’s poor ranking in the human development index is mainly due to high inequality and low education levels. The index is widely followed, even it’s considered to be a “somewhat crude measure” of human development.

 

Tell me more: India ranks the lowest among BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Norway, Australia and Switzerland rank the top three in the HDI, falling under the “Very High Human Development” category along with 46 other countries.

 

6%

 

What is it? Estimated drop in iPhone unit sales in 2015-16, according to Morgan Stanley.

 

Why is it important? If the estimates turn out to be right, it could well be that the sales of the most successful tech product in the recent years has peaked. Apple earns most of its revenue from iPhones and in the three months ending September this year, iPhone sales accounted for nearly two-thirds of the company’s revenue.

 

Tell me more: Other analysts such as JP Morgan Chase & Co, Drexel Hamilton and Credit Suisse have similar predictions for Apple. For instance, JP Morgan Chase has lowered its Iphone sales’ prediction for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016 – it says sales of iPhone units are likely to come down to 75-77 million, down from an earlier prediction of 75-80 million units.

 

€25.3 million (around Rs.186.7 crore)

 

What is it? The amount Mahindra and Mahindra and affiliate Tech Mahindra would pay to purchase 76.06% stake in Italian car designer Pininfarina SpA, through a special purpose vehicle (SPV).

 

Why is it important? Shows Indian companies’ drive to expand their design capabilities – and their global footprint. Pininfarina has designed cars for Ferrari, Maserati, Rolls-Royce and Cadillac. Mahindra group had acquired controlling stakes in South Korea-based Ssangyong in 2011 and PSA Peugeot Citroen’s motorcycle unit this year. As for Pininfarina, it has been unprofitable for the last decade and struggling with high debt levels.

 

Tell me more: The SPV would make an open offer to public shareholders of Pininfarina for the balance 23.94% stake. Mahindra and Tech Mahindra would fund the acquisition in the ratio of 40% and 60% respectively.

 

10%

What is it? The data point that Maggi noodles removed from its masala noodles package. Prior to the ban, the package cited this number as percentage of recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of protein that a 70g packet of Maggi noodles had.

Why is it important? Could be seen as an indicator that food regulators are getting increasingly strict about labelling. Or it could be just that Nestle India, which makes Maggi noodles, is trying to be more cautious after the ban. Maggi noodles was banned for a few weeks due to higher than permissible lead content. It’s woes are far from over as the Supreme Court recently issued a notice to the company after the food regulator appealed against the lifting of ban on Maggi Noodles.

Tell me more: The pack now also doesn’t have the following: “Maggi masala noodles is a source of protein and calcium: essential nutrients for you at all stages of life”. And, this has been replaced with “Consume along with fruit and milk”.

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