News in Numbers, Aug 3, 2016: Share of diesel variants in cars, NGOs’ foreign funding…

🚘 Will you buy a diesel car today?

The reasons to buy a diesel car are coming down day after day. The percentage of diesel variants in new cars is just one in four now, from one in two a few years ago. This is just one of the five interesting numbers we picked for you today.

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Have a look at them, and please do share this post to your friends. Here’s the link to subscribe.

26%

What is it? The share of diesel variants in new cars in India as of May 2016

Why is it important? This is down from 52% four years ago. The decline is due to rise in diesel prices on the back of government cutting fuel subsidies. In June 2012, diesel price in Delhi was 41.28 per litre or Rs 26.50 lower than petrol prices. Now it’s Rs 54.3/litre, just Rs 6.84 lower.

Tell me more: In Delhi, diesel car sales have dropped significantly after National Green Tribunal said cars over ten years will be deregistered.

4 million

What is it? The number of tax arrears cases – where the due amount is less than Rs 5000 – likely to be waived off.

Why is it important? An application of the Pareto Principle, which says large effects come from a few causes. Writing these amounts off would help Income Tax department focus on large defaulters where the amount that can be recovered would be larger, and the probability of recovery would be higher.

Tell me more: Of the 4 million cases, 1.8 million cases have arrears of less than Rs 100, and the rest between Rs 101 and Rs 5000.

Rs 22,137 crore

What is it? Foreign contribution received by 3,068 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in 2014-15.

Why is it important? This represents 83% increase in foreign funding for NGOs that received Rs 1 crore or more. In 2013-14, the increase was a modest 17%. As part of the plan to monitor foreign funding of NGOs more closely, Government cancelled registrations of more than 10,000 NGOs that did not file annual returns.

Tell me more: Six states – Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka – received 75% of the total amount in 2014-15.

8.5%

What is it? The drop in share price of Bharat Financial, formerly known as SKS Microfinance, after the company’s president S Dilli Raj was arrested by financial crimes investigators.

Why is it important? The company is among the biggest players in microfinance industry with claimed membership of 7 million, and Dilli Raj was the second-in-command. Bharat Financial claims the arrest was not related to the present company. It was based on a case filed by IDBI Bank against First Leasing Company of India, where Dilli Raj worked till January 2008.  First Leasing’s ex-MD Farouk M Irani was arrested in June this yearunder the same case.

Tell me more: Bharat Financial survived turbulent times when Andhra Pradesh government enacted a tough law to regulate micro lending in 2010. This law effectively meant most lending by microfinance firms couldn’t be collected from borrowers.

6

What is it? The number of hours West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had to wait before her turn came to speak at an inter-state council meeting in Delhi on July 16

Why is it important? West Bengal comes right at the end, if the state names are arranged alphabetically. Ms Banerjee was reportedly prompted by this to rename the state ‘Bengal’ in English and ‘Bangla or Banga’ in Bengali. The change would help it move to fourth position. The state cabinet cleared a proposal to this effect on Tuesday. However, it needs to be cleared by both houses of parliament in Delhi.

Tell me more:  This is the not the first time West Bengal proposed a name change. Earlier, it wanted the to be called Paschim Banga. The central government didn’t approve.

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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, Dec 14, 2015: CSR platform on BSE, CCI’s recovery of penalties imposed…

 

Rs 2,000 crore

 

What is it? Amount sought by projects listed on ‘Sammaan’, a corporate social responsibility (CSR) platform on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). This helps companies find implementing agencies for carrying out social welfare activities.

 

Why is it important? It’s an early indicator that the marketplace for social welfare activities might work. Sammaan provides an alternate way to raise funds for the estimated 20 lakh implementing agencies in India, which face a number of challenges while looking for money to help their causes. Corporates, on the other hand, would also benefit as they would be able to view a pool of verified implementing agencies along with their objectives, estimated budgets and progress and pick the ones they want to fund. It will also help certain classes of profitable companies, which have to spend 2% of their three-year annual average net profits for CSR projects.

 

Tell me more: In three days, 600 projects across 325 cities/towns have been listed by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and 200 corporates have registered.

38 million standard cubic metres per day (mmscmd)

 

What is it? Quantity of natural gas India would receive from the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline for a 30-year period, which would be operational by 2019.

 

Why is it important? Will help India’s future energy requirements, which by one count will be the third largest energy consumer in the world by 2020.  This deal between the four countries heralds a new phase in regional cooperation and is seen as a move by India to connect with Central Asia to counter Chinese influence in the region.

 

Tell me more: The $7.2 billion deal would see Pakistan getting 38 mmscmd of natural gas while Afghanistan would get the remaining 14 mmscmd. Natural gas is the third major source of energy in India, accounting for about 10.2% of total production in 2013-14.

 

200 kg

 

What is it? Amount of gold Shirdi Sai Baba Temple in Maharashtra wants to deposit under the Indian government’s gold monetisation scheme. This is over half of the gold reserves (380 kg) it owns.

 

Why is it important? If this happens, this would be the largest contribution under this scheme so far, beating Shri Siddhivinayak’s likely deposit of 40 kg of gold. However, it remains to be seen how the temple would go about this, given the Bombay High Court’s 2012 order, which had stayed the trust’s decision to auction gold, silver and diamond articles given by the devotees. The petitioners, two Shirdi residents, had argued that these were offerings by devotees and not for the purpose of raising money.

 

Tell me more: At Rs 2,661 per gm, 200 kg of gold would be worth about Rs 53.2 crore, not accounting for the impurities.  

 

Rs 82.1 crore

 

What is it? The amount the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has recovered from fines imposed on companies for violating rules since its inception in 2009.

 

Why is it important? This is just 0.6% of the combined penalty levied on companies (Rs 13,900 crore). And, approximately 97% of the penalties imposed have been stayed or overturned by courts or appellate authorities. Shows the competition regulator’s dismal record in recovering fine amounts, and brings to question its effectiveness.

 

Tell me more: Last week, the Competition Appellate Tribunal set aside an order of the CCI, which had asked 11 cement companies to pay a fine of Rs 6,316.6 crore for alleged cartelisation.

 

17

 

What is it? The number of women who have won seats in municipal elections in Saudi Arabia.

 

Why is it important? Women rights in Saudi Arabia is keenly watched by India and rest of the world. This is the first time women have contested and also, voted in elections in the country’s history. It is a step towards social equality and political openness in a country that is deeply conservative. (Now, Vatican City is the only country in the world where only men are allowed to vote.) Hopefully, this step would be followed by lifting of other restrictions on women in Saudi Arabia, which include- driving, venturing outside only with a male guardian and limited interaction with men they are not related to.
Tell me more: These municipal councils do not have legislative powers but advise authorities and help manage local budgets. Saudi Arabia ranked 130 among 142 countries in World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index Report 2014.

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NGOs on notice: Getting to the bottom of the foreign funding tangle

This piece originally appeared on Livemint.com

 

In October, the ministry of home affairs (MHA) sent notices citing violations to 10,307 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) out of the 40,139 registered under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 (FCRA). The notices indicated that the NGOs hadn’t filed annual returns for the years 2009-10, 2010-2011 and 2011-12.

This April, according to an MHA communication, 8,975 NGOs were deemed ineligible to receive foreign funds and their licences suspended. Which are these NGOs, where are they based and what do they do? Is the MHA targeting certain non-profits because their work is rights-based, advocacy-related or have a religious agenda? Granular data for all 8,975 NGOs was not available. We were able to match 7,936 NGOs on the MHA’s website. Here’s a break-up.

By Activity

Non-profits with a licence to receive funding under FCRA must self-classify based on their primary activity. An NGO can list more than one activity, but we have taken into account the first listed. The five categories are social, cultural, religious, educational and economic. Only 28% of NGOs listed their primary activity as “economic” or “educational”. “Cultural” was listed by 24%, while 28% cited “social” as their primary activity. Is there a targeting of NGOs based on their activity? An analysis suggests otherwise: “religious” NGOs account for 18% of notices received, but the category itself accounts for 21% of NGOs listed under FCRA. It’s only in the “social” category that the notices received exceeded their overall share.

 

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By states

Fifteen states and Union territories accounted for 93% of the 40,139 NGOs with FCRA registration. Tamil Nadu has the maximum number of NGOs, followed by Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

 

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NGOs with FCRA registration from 24 states received notices. These can be divided into two categories: states whose share of notices exceeded their share in the total registered pie (depicted as a “positive differential” in the graphic below). For example, Uttar Pradesh, a non-BJP ruled state, accounts for 7.9% of all FCRA-registered NGOs in India, but it received 14% of all notices, resulting in a positive differential of 6.1 percentage points. There are nine such states, and eight of them have non-BJP governments. In the second category are the 14 states whose share of notices was lower than their share in the overall FCRA pie—a negative differential. The BJP or its allies were in power in eight of them. Gujarat has a zero differential.

 

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By religion

In their disclosures to the MHA, NGOs also need to indicate their faith if their listed activity is religion. About 78% of all religious NGOs that receive funding are Christian, which is about the same percentage as the religious NGOs who received notices from the MHA. In this set, only NGOs that follow Islam received notices in excess of their overall share. Further, among the top 10 states by notices to religious NGOs, there was no difference in the number of NGOs registered and notices received.

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By social

For NGOs classified as religious, economic, educational and cultural, the notices sent were largely in line with overall figures (see “By Activity” graphic). It’s primarily the “social” NGOs that saw a larger percentage of NGOs receiving notices compared with their presence in their respective states.

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