Coal_India_Bhawan_At_Night

Coal India Loses Decades-Old Monopoly

 

3

What is it? The number of years within which a Tribunal to be set up is expected to settle the Mahanadi Water Dispute. The Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved the proposal for adjudication of this dispute.

Why is it important? This comes less than a month after the Supreme Court had directed the central government to set up a  tribunal to resolve this dispute. Odisha had moved the court in December 2016, seeking an order for Chhattisgarh to stop the construction activities of its projects on the upstream of Mahanadi. The latterdid not want the setting up of a tribunal and pointed to the 1983 agreement between Odisha and Madhya Pradesh (Chhattisgarh was a part of it until 2000) to settle the matter.

Tell me more: According to the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956, the tribunal would consist of a Chairman and two members nominated by the Chief Justice of India from among the judges of the top court or high court. In addition, two water resources experts will advise the tribunal.

 

Rs 1.11 trillion

What is it? The total amount outstanding of loans taken by wilful defaulters (with loans of over Rs 25 lakh) in which lawsuits have been filed, as of September 30, 2017.

Why is it important? This figure stood at Rs 28,416.93 crore four years ago. At that time, nationalised banks accounted for nearly a third of the total amount outstanding in the accounts of wilful defaulters, which leaped to 58.7% at the end of September last year. The case of Punjab National Bank (PNB), which is in the eye of a storm over its alleged defrauding by billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi to the tune of Rs 11,400 crore, has raised questions about systemic risks and audit processes at Indian banks, especially with respect to state-lenders.

Tell me more: The compounded annual growth rate of the total amount outstanding in wilful defaulter accounts with PNB is 95.13% between September of 2013 and 2017. The equivalent numbers of nationalised and private banks are 62.92% and 25.67% respectively.

 

1,737%

What is it? The maximum margins four hospitals in the Delhi-National Capital Region have made on drugs, consumables (such as surgical masks and hand gloves) and medical devices (include disposable syringes with or without needles and catheters), according to an analysis by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA).

Why is it important? The report by the drug pricing authority highlights the practices of these hospitals including them prescribing and dispensing drugs that do not come under the price control regime, exorbitant profit margins made by them in the non-scheduled devices used in three cases (syringes, cannula and catheters) are exorbitant and that the costs of diagnostic services in hospitals were higher than those charged by private centres.

Tell me more: One example of the excessive profiteering by hospital is: a three-way stop cock (bi-valve) purchased by the hospital for Rs 5.77 was sold at Rs 106, giving the hospital a profit of 1,737%. The report concluded that the major beneficiaries of profits in the cases analysed because of inflated MRPs (maximum retail price) were hospitals rather than the manufacturers of drugs and devices.

 

45 years

What is it? The numbers of years where the state-run Coal India Ltd has monopoly status on commercial production of coal. The union cabinet on Tuesday decided to allow private players to commercially produce coal.

Why is it important? This is expected to increase competition, resulting in higher output and better prices for end users. Thermal power plants could have better fuel availability and less inventory carrying cost. India imported 191 million tonnes of coal for the year ended March 2017.

Tell me more: The coal mines will be auctioned based on ‘ascending forward auction’, where the winner will be determined based on the price per tonne of coal. At present, only end users are allowed to mine coal mines for captive use.

 

7-9%

What is it? The projected growth rate for software export revenues for financial year 2018-19 by Nasscom, an industry lobby group.

Why is it important? The information technology sector, which is the biggest exporter, will maintain current growth rate. This will add between $9 billion and $ 11 billion export revenues in 2018-19, and companies are expected to hire 100,000 people to meet the growth.

Tell me more: Domestic software market is expected to grow at a faster rate at 10-12%. The market size ($28 billion) is only a fifth of software export revenues ($135 billion) projected for next financial year.

 

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News in Numbers, Nov 17, 2016: Silent killer…

199 million

What is it? The estimated number of Indians who suffer from high blood pressure, according to a study published in the medical journal Lancet.

Why is it important? This is 17.6% of the total number of people suffering from high blood pressure globally (1.13 billion in 2015), which has doubled from 594 million in 1975. Raised blood pressure or hypertension is the leading global risk factor for kidney disease and cardiovascular disease (leads to strokes and heart attacks and causes an estimated 7.5 million deaths globally). The highest worldwide blood pressure levels have shifted from high-income countries to the poorer ones (mainly in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa) in the last four decades.

Tell me more: The analysis is based on 1,479 studies that measured blood pressure in 19.1 million individuals aged 18 years and above. Over 2 out of every 10 people with hypertension are in South or East Asia.

 

36

What is it? The number of hours within which search engines run by firms including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft have to bring down information or advertisements related to pre-natal sex determination once they are brought to their attention, according to an order by the Supreme Court.

Why is it important? The apex court directed the government to set up a nodal agency to monitor and act on public information received on ads promoting sex determination techniques or kits on the Internet. Pre-natal sex determination is illegal in India though this direction could raise questions such as the role of search engines and if it is possible to screen and remove all information related to a particular topic. However, this is an interim arrangement and would continue until the top court takes a final decision on the issue.

Tell me more: As per the Census 2011 data, India’s population ratio was 943 females for every 1,000 males, up from 933 females per 1,000 males in 2001. However, the decline in child sex ratio (number of girls per 1,000 boys) to 918 in 2011 from 927 in 2001 is a cause for concern. This is the lowest since 1961.

 

Rs 7,016 crore

What is it? The amount of loans written off by the State Bank of India owed to it by 63 wilful defaulters.

Why is it important? This includes the amount owed by the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, whose founder Vijay Mallya slipped away to London in March even as lenders and investigating authorities are chasing him for non-repayment of his companies’ dues and alleged financial irregularities. Some of the opposition parties including the Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party and CPI (Marxist) used this point to attack the government, which has been facing flak from them over its demonetisation move. SBI and the government clarified that these loans had only been written off and not waived off, and that efforts are on for their recovery.

Tell me more: The opposition has been attacking the government for the withdrawal of the old currency notes in Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations terming it ‘anti-poor’ and alleged that it has inconvenienced the common man.

 

8-10%

What is it? The expected growth of India’s IT services industry in 2016-17, according to industry body Nasscom.

Why is it important? This is lower than the 10-12% (in constant currency terms) growth rate it had projected in February. This is the second time that Nasscom has predicted a single-digit growth for the industry in the last 10 years after it reported its lowest growth of 5% in 2009-10 due to the 2008 global financial crisis. The growth rates have been revised downwards following Donald Trump’s win in the US elections (he was quite vocal about his anti-immigration stance and putting restrictions on foreign companies that took away US jobs) and UK’s exit from the European Union.

Tell me more: Indian IT firms have been struggling to grow in the last few quarters with some of their results falling below the market expectations and a couple of them downgrading their own guidance. Indian IT exports are expected to be in the range of $116-118 billion, down from the earlier projection of $119-121 billion.

 

1.7

What is it? The total compensation in basis points (as a percentage of company net sales) paid to top executives (managing directors and chief executive officers) at the most indebted firms among 313 BSE-500 companies. A basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point.

Why is it important? This is much lower than the 5.06 basis points paid to the top executives of the overall sample of 313 firms in the same year. Also, the growth in compensation to the people at the helm of the most indebted companies has been slower than that recorded for the total sample in the last four years. Interestingly, the salaries of the promoters leading the most indebted firms grew at a faster rate than those headed by non-promoter professionals while the growth of the overall top executive compensation at the most indebted firms was higher than the overall employee compensation in these firms.

Tell me more: The analysis, which excluded banks and other financial firms, divided the 313 companies into four quartiles based on their level of indebtedness. The total compensation includes salary, sitting fee, commission and any other payment, excluding earnings from exercise of stock options.

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News in Numbers, Aug 18, 2016: Ola shuts down TaxiForSure, India’s first medal at Rio…

Sakshi Malik creates history at the Rio Olympics 2016. She won the bronze medal in the 58 kg women’s freestyle wrestling category on Wednesday. With this, India gets its 25th medal at the Olympic Games. It first participated in the Games in 1900.

Read more about Malik’s win and the firsts that have come along with her victory. This, and four other numbers, make up today’s edition.

As always, we appreciate suggestions and feedback. Look forward to hearing from you.

7001,000

What is it? The number of jobs cab-hailing aggregator Ola will lay off as a result of shutting down TaxiForSure (TFS) it acquired 18 months ago.

Why is it important? The layoffs can cut costs by nearly Rs 30 crore a month, according to reports. Ola has been trying to raise funds and battle with cash-rich Uber, which can now devote more time and resources to India after having sold its China operations to Didi Chuxing. Over the last few months, Ola was said to be integrating some of TFS teams such as human resources and tech while keeping the drivers and call centre teams separate.

Tell me more: Ola had acquired TFS for $200 million last year to fend off competition and up its strength against Uber. It had initially said it would manage TFS as a separate brand. Nearly 90% of the employees being laid off belong to operations such as call centres, driver relations and business development units.

 

730 million

What is it? The estimated number of Internet users in India by 2020, according to a report.

Why is it important? Three-fourth of the new user growth is expected to be from rural areas and a similar percentage of people is expected to consume data in local languages. These estimates, if true, is a pointer for the government and businesses to focus their digital initiatives or expansions more towards the countryside and also, will help provide opportunities for those in the rural areas. There were 350 million Internet users at the end of 2015.

Tell me more: The report by Nasscom in association with Akamai Technologies also predicts that online shopping would account for two-thirds of the e-commerce market by 2020 (with fashion and lifestyle to overtake the consumer electronics segment) and half of the travel transactions would be done online.

 

4

What is it? The number of Indian women athletes who have clinched a medal at the Olympics with the latest being Sakshi Malik who won a bronze in the 58 kg women’s freestyle wrestling category on Wednesday.

Why is it important? She is the first woman wrestler from India to have won a medal at the Olympics and overall, hers is the country’s fifth wrestling medal. Malik’s win also ended India’s 11-day wait to win a medal at the Rio Olympics 2016. In all, India has now won 25 medals at the Olympic Games over the years.

Tell me more: The other Indian women athletes to have won a medal are: weightlifter Karnam Malleshwari in 2000, boxer MC Mary Kom and shuttler Saina Nehwal in 2012.

 

Rs 4,566.6 crore

What is it? The total amount pharmaceutical companies owe the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) for charging higher prices than those prescribed by the government.

Why is it important? Over 80% of the amount is under litigation and just around 8% of the total amount demanded (for overcharging) has been recovered by the NPPA so far (since August 1997). This highlights the difficulty of price control, and the need for better methods to ensure pharma companies follow regulations.

Tell me more: The prices of essential medicines are fixed by the NPPA from time to time and the manufacturers who are found to be overcharging are to pay the overcharged amount along with interest under the Drugs (Price Control) Order, 2013.

 

1.96 crore

What is it? The number of private vehicles registered in 2015. That’s nearly 53,720 per day.

Why is it important? It touched an all-time high last year and is a huge jump from over two decades ago (less than 10 lakh until 1993). With an increase in population and disposable incomes and inefficient public transport systems, this trend is likely to continue. Underlines the importance of devising strategies for infrastructure and public transport to avoid further congestion in the urban areas.

Tell me more: Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka top the charts in terms of vehicle registrations, which together account for nearly a third of the total private vehicle registrations in the country.

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News in Numbers, June 1, 2016: UP’s entry tax, impact of no discounts on online shopping…

7.9%

What is it? India’s economic growth rate in the January-March quarter of 2015-16.

Why is it important? With this, India retains the tag of the fastest growing major economy in the world for the second consecutive year. The growth has mainly been driven by a rebound in agriculture, improved government spending and private consumption, though companies are reluctant to make investments – putting the burden of boosting growth on the government.

Tell me more: India’s economy grew 7.6% in 2015-16 compared to 7.2% in the previous year. It also became a $2 trillion economy based on Tuesday’s exchange rate ($1 = Rs 67.26).

 

5%

What is it? The entry tax imposed by the Uttar Pradesh government on goods purchased from e-commerce sites.

Why is it important? This decision is said to be done to protect offline retailers’ profits due to the new-age e-commerce firms. Industry lobby Nasscom has opposed similar moves by states (such as Assam, Uttarakhand, Bihar and Rajasthan) on the basis that it puts additional burden on customers and SME traders, besides increasing technology upgradation costs of e-commerce firms to accommodate these new levies, which would anyway become redundant once the Goods and Service Tax is implemented.

Tell me more: Flipkart, through its logistics arm eKart, has filed a writ petition in the High Court of Uttarakhand opposing the state’s move of imposing 10% entry tax on goods bought through e-commerce sites whereas the standard entry tax rate is 5%.

 

175 million

What is it? The estimated number of online shoppers in India by 2020, according to a report by Google and consulting firm A.T. Kearney.

Why is it important? This would account for a quarter of the total organised retail sales in four years, up by 10% from the current level. The growth, estimated at over 40% each year, will happen even if e-commerce firms decided to do away with discounts.

Tell me more: A third of the estimated 175 million shoppers are likely to drive two-thirds of online purchases.

 

15 lakh

What is it? The approximate number of students in Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) who will be considered Class XII pass, as per a government announcement.

Why is it important? This makes formal and vocational streams of education equivalent, providing the opportunity to the ITI students to pursue higher education and get better jobs. The ITI graduates will get Class XII (if a student has passed Class X before joining the ITI) and Class X (if a student has passed Class VIII before joining the ITI) certificates from the national board of open schooling by giving an exam.

Tell me more: There were 13,105 ITIs as of May 2016, which is to be increased to 18,000 by September this year.

 

0.5%

What is it? Krishi Kalyan cess to be imposed on all taxable services with effect from today, taking the effective rate of service tax to 15%.

Why is it important? The cess, which is to be used for agriculture and for improving the wellbeing of farmers, is likely to help the government garner Rs 5,000 crore in the remaining 10 months of 2016-17. This would make some services including air and rail travel, mobile bills, eating out in restaurants, health check-ups, movie tickets, insurance policies, private tuition and coaching centres and some banking services more expensive – an extra spend of Rs 5 for every Rs 1,000 spent.

Tell me more: The cess, which is to be levied on the value of the service and not on the component of service tax (similar to Swachh Bharat cess) will apply to bills generated before June 1 but paid from today.

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