News in Numbers, Feb 22, 2017: Jio’s deal 📲

>100 million

What is it? The number of Jio subscribers, according Reliance Jio Infocomm Chairman Mukesh Ambani.

Why is it important? The claimed subscriber base, won through months of no-holds-barred free services, would put Jio at having a 9-10% market share of the wireless base in India, which was 1,099.51 million in November, 2016. It had launched three months earlier in August, 2016.

Tell me more: The free services would end in March this year. But in his speech, Ambani assured unlimited data and voice services at Rs 303 per month for a year for customers who sign up before April, 2017.

 

13 months

What is it? The additional time in prison AIADMK leader VK Sasikala would have to spend in jail if she does not pay the fine of Rs 10 crore as stipulated by the Supreme Court.

Why is it important? That would mean serving over another year, in addition to her 3.5 months and further delaying her chances of contesting elections. The fine is over 61% of the value of disproportionate assets worth Rs 16.32 crore she has been convicted of amassing.

Tell me more: Prisons Superintendent Krishna Kumar said in his statement that the prisoner was being treated like any other convict and was given no additional privilege.

 

2.8 million

What is it? The number of point-of-sale (PoS) machines, for card use, installed so far, according to Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.

Why is it important? The claim would mean a growth of 64% since December, 2016, when 1.7 million such machines were available. During and before demonetisation, PoS machine infrastructure was creaking under the load of growing card transactions, and India was far behind in per capita distribution of PoS terminals.

Tell me more: Indigenous digital payments app, Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM), has been downloaded 17 million times since launch in December, according to Kant.

 

55%

What is it? Voter turnout in Mumbai municipal elections.

Why is it important? It’s the highest in 25 years, and surpassed the voter turnout in the latest assembly and parliamentary elections. It’s a sign of growing interest in local administration by general public, and could result in better governance where it matters most to people.

Tell me more: Nine other municipal corporation elections took placeon Wednesday in Maharashtra. The average voter turnout across the 10 municipal corporations was 56.30%.

 

38

What is it? The number of new coastal radar stations approved by defense ministry. In addition, it plans to have four mobile coastal radars.

Why is it important? These additional stations – which will take the total number more than 80 – will help improve India’s coastal security. It’s a part of measures India decided to undertake after the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November 2008.

Tell me more: These stations will be set up by Bharat Electronics at a cost of Rs 800 crore.

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News in Numbers, Dec 16, 2016: Will the lottery system work?

 

Rs 340 crore

What is it? The estimated cost at which Niti Aayog, the government think-tank body, is implementing two schemes (Lucky Grahak Yojana for consumers and Digi-dhan Vyapar Yojana for merchants).

Why is it important? These schemes, probably the first of their kinds announced by the government, are aimed encouraging customers to go for digital payments by incentivising them. Under the first scheme, lucky draws would enable 15,000 winners to get cashback prizes of Rs 1,000 each day for a 100-day period starting December 25 besides weekly awards worth Rs 5,000, Rs 10,000 and Rs 1 lakh. The second scheme would offer weekly prizes worth Rs 2,500, Rs 5,000 and Rs 50,000 for merchants. Currently, an estimated 5% of Indians use digital payment modes and point-of-sale transactions saw an increase of 95% since November 8.

Tell me more: The National Payment Corporation of India will implement these schemes, which will cover transactions between Rs 50 and Rs 3,000 done through UPI, USSD, Aadhaar Enabled Payment System and RuPay Cards. These would not be applicable for transactions done through private credit cards and e-wallets of private companies.

 

Rs 5 lakh crore

What is it? The amount that has been supplied to the market in new currency notes since November 8 (the date when the demonetisation move was announced).

Why is it important? This is about 32.5% of the Rs 15.4 lakh crore that was taken out of circulation when high denomination currency notes (Rs 500 and Rs 1,000) were withdrawn. The government says that by the end of this month, this number would reach at least 50% of the demonetised amount – in new and existing denominations. However, according to a calculation based on India’s printing capacity of currency notes and the need for notes in smaller denominations, it would take up to April 2017 to introduce Rs 9 lakh crore (58.4% of the demonetised amount) – the main problem being the inability of the presses to print Rs 500 notes.

Tell me more: The Reserve Bank of India had said that Rs 12.44 lakh crore has been deposited in banks as of December 10 but the government has expressed doubts about this figure and has asked it to countercheck to weed out discrepancies that might have creeped in due to double counting.

 

Rs 3,000 crore

What is it? The amount sought by Nusli Wadia, an independent director on the boards of three Tata Group companies, in damages. He has filed a defamation suit in the Bombay High Court on Thursday against chairman emeritus Ratan Tata and Tata Sons.

Why is it important? Suggests that the Tata Sons-Cyrus Mistry corporate battle is getting uglier and is showing no signs of abatement. His defamation suit comes after Tata Sons had said that he was working in concert Mistry, the ousted chairman of Tata Sons, and against the interests of the Tata companies and shareholders, and moved a resolution seeking to remove him from the boards of Tata Motors, Tata Steel and Tata Chemicals. Wadia asked the company to prove the charges levelled against him and served three legal notices to Tata Sons in November asking them to withdraw the allegations but the group failed to do so. This has been followed by the Rs 3,000-crore defamation suit.

Tell me more: The High Court is expected to take up the matter on December 19 and Wadia faces a shareholders’ vote on December 23 after the group’s holding company moved the resolution to remove him as an independent director.

 

$13 billion

What is it? India’s trade deficit (excess of imports over exports) in November.

Why is it important? This was the highest in the last 16 months and sharply wider than the $10.41 billion recorded the previous month. Though exports rose for the third straight month in November on a year-on-year basis, it was lower than that in October – a likely impact of demonetisation and US Fed Reserve’s imminent decision to hike interest rates (it did so on Wednesday). The currency reset could have also resulted in a spike in gold imports (a 25.7% increase month-on-month and 23% from a year ago), which in turn, pushed up the trade deficit.

Tell me more: Of the 30 major product groups, 20 registered positive growth in November.

 

$14.6 billion

What is it? The amount media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox has agreed to pay to gain full control over London-based Sky Plc.

Why is it important? This is Murdoch’s second attempt at gaining control after his previous bid was thwarted in 2011 over a phone-hacking scandal at his UK newspapers. However, this takeover attempt may not be a smooth one as minority shareholders have expressed concern at how the pay-TV company’s independent directors accepted the offer at seemingly low share price levels. Besides, there are also fears that this acquisition would threaten media plurality in the UK.

Tell me more: The deal values Sky at and Fox, which is the founding shareholder of Sky, currently owns 39.1% of the company’s shares.$23.4 billion.

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News in Numbers, Dec 1, 2016: Can we replace the king?

Cash transactions rule in India. Over two-thirds of the transactions in India are done by cash, as per a report by CLSA. The government’s recent moves seem to be nudging people towards non-cash transactions. And, not all Indians are under the formal financial net yet. On Wednesday, the government appointed a panel to steer the country towards digitalisation. Will Indians be ready to embrace cashless transactions? How quickly can we do that? What about the security concerns? 


13

What is it? The number of members in a panel set up by government think-tank Niti Aayog to promote the use of digital payments.

Why is it important? It’s a part of the government’s efforts to make use of the cash crunch to turn people towards cashless payment options. Digital payments system comes with the advantages of transparency, traceability and accountability besides being faster, less inexpensive and more convenient. However, this also means battling security issues and easing concerns of consumers who may not be comfortable with the new medium. The panel consists of members from different parties, indicating that the government seeks to generate a political consensus in its push for digitalisation of the economy.

Tell me more: Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naiduis the convenor of the panel, which includes Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik (Biju Janata Dal), Puducherry CM V Narayanasamy (Congress), Sikkim CM Pawan Kumar Chamling (Sikkim Democratic Front), Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis (both from the ruling BJP). Other panel members include NITI Aayog vice-chairman (Arvind Panagariya) and CEO (Amitabh Kant) and five special invitees including Nandan Nilekani, former chairman of the Unique Identity Authority of India.

40

What is it? The number of locations at which the Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted searches on Wednesday to check black money held with currency exchanges, hawala dealers and others.

Why is it important? Indicates the government is pushing for a well-rounded attack on tracking down illegal hoarders of cash and suggests that there are ways in which some circumvent the laws, highlighting the need for their stricter enforcement. The authorities seized Rs 1.2 crore cash. The ED, which is responsible for enforcing the Foreign Exchange Management Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, attached assets worth over Rs 9,000 crore for hawala and money laundering crimes in 2014-15, which is likely to go up this fiscal. However, the high pendency – 4,776 cases pending in terms of number of investigations initiated as on March 31, 2015 – is a cause of concern.

Tell me more: As many as 100 investigators along with police personnel have undertaken the searches across the country.

7.3%

What is it? India’s economic growth rate in the July-September quarter of 2016-17.

Why is it important? This is marginally higher than the rate recorded in the June ended quarter (7.1%) though slower than the 7.6% growth in the second quarter of 2015-16. It also fell short of 7.5% forecast by a Reuters poll of economists. The increase in acceleration in the second quarter this fiscal over the first was led by agriculture (compared to 1.8% in the first quarter) while manufacturing grew by 7.1% (compared to 9.1% in the previous quarter). Consumer spending, which accounts for 56% of India’s $2 trillion economy, is likely to be hit due to the recent demonetisation announcement and it remains to be seen how this affects India’s economic growth rates in the next few quarters.

Tell me more: India retains the tag of the fastest growing major economy as per the second quarter data. China recorded a growth rate of 6.7% in the quarter ended September.

32.5 million

What is it? The number of barrels of oil the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) would produce per day from January 1. OPEC is a group of 14 major oil-exporting nations that account for a third of global production.

Why is it important? This is a cut by 1.2 million barrels per day, representing about 1% of global production and the first joint decision to reduce production since 2008. The agreement to cut production is to prop up oil prices. Due to an oversupply of oil, prices plunged from about $100 per barrel in 2014 to less than $40 per barrel this year, affecting oil-dependent economies such as Saudi Arabia. OPEC members have said they are looking at levels of $55-60 per barrel; a failure to clinch the deal may have sent oil prices down to $30 per barrel, according to analysts.

Tell me more: After the announcement, Brent crude futures, the global benchmark for oil prices, increased by 10%.

1 million

What is it? The number of Google accounts whose security has been breached since August by a new variant of Android malware, according to a report by security firm Check Point Software Services.

Why is it important? This is likely the biggest single theft of Google accounts. The malicious software called Gooligan is disguised as legitimate apps to steal authentication tokens that can be used to access data from Google Play, Gmail, Google photos, Google docs, Google Drive among others. The malware attacks 13,000 devices every day, potentially affecting those on Android 4 (Jelly Bean and KitKat) and Android 5 (Lollipop) – this represents nearly three-fourths of the Android devices in use today. About 57% of such devices are located in Asia, 19% in the Americas, 15% in Africa and 9% in Europe.

Tell me more: A device is infected when the user downloads and installs a Gooligan-infected app (from third-party app stores or malicious links), after which data about the device is sent to the campaign’s Command and Control server. This is followed by the malicious software rooting the device (unlocking the operating system) after which it downloads a module that allows Gooligan to steal information, install apps from Google Play and rate them and install adware to generate revenue.

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