Repo so low

25

What is it? The number of basis points by which the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has cut the repo rate, the rate at which the central bank lends money to the commercial banks, to 6% on Wednesday. One basis point is equal to one hundredth of one percent.

Why is it important? The repo rate is the lowest since November 2010 and follows a downward trend in food prices that pushed consumer inflation in June to a more than five-year low of 1.54%. This could boost the economy, which clocked a growth of 6.1% in the January-March 2017 quarter, the slowest in two years. The repo rate cut is also likely to result in lower lending rates.

Tell me more: The RBI has also become the first central bank in Asia to cut rates this year. Four members of the monetary policy committee voted for a policy rate reduction of 25 basis points, one for reduction of 50 basis points and one for maintaining the same rates.

 

5.3%

What is it? The percentage of protein Indians may lose from a standard diet by 2050, according to a study.

Why is it important? This would likely put 53 million people at new risk of protein deficiency and would be due to the increase in carbon dioxide levels as projected causing a decline in the nutritional value of rice, wheat and other staple crops. The study, the first to quantify this risk, estimates that roughly 150 million people in 18 countries are likely to be at risk of protein deficiency due to increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. According to a survey by market research firm IMRB, 73% of Indian diets are protein deficient. The recommended dietary allowance for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

Tell me more: Under elevated carbon dioxide concentrations, the protein content in crops such as rice, wheat, barley and potatoes decreased by 7.6%, 7.8%, 14.1% and 6.4% respectively.

 

Rs 250 crore

What is it? The estimated collective loss of revenue of 87 tea estates in Darjeeling since mid-June, according to the Darjeeling Tea Association.

Why is it important? Due to the indefinite strike announced by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) on June 15, around 75,000 tea workers in Darjeeling are likely to lose at least Rs 10,000-15,000 in wages. The auction volume of Darjeeling tea is running thin and there could be just one more auction of the tea variety this year. Due to reduced supplies, the average price shot up by 27.5% in the last auction to Rs 458.38 per kg over the last year and only 20,000 kg were sold compared to 130,000 kg a year ago.

Tell me more: The GJM is on an indefinite strike to demand a separate Gorkhaland state to be carved out of West Bengal.

 

60

What is it? The number of premises linked to Karnataka energy minister D K Shivakumar searched by the Income Tax department until Wednesday.

Why is it important? The Rajya Sabha (RS) was adjourned four times yesterday over these IT raids, with the Election Commission (EC) seeking a report from the Finance Ministry in two days. The raids spanned New Delhi, Chennai and Bengaluru, including the resort housing 42 Gujarat Congress MLAs.

Tell me more: The Congress approached the EC alleging the raids were BJP’s vendetta against Shivakumar, as he is overseeing the Gujarat MLAs in Bengaluru. The fiasco is due to the upcoming voting to elect Rajya Sabha members from Gujarat. Tax department claimed it recovered Rs 10 crore in cash.

 

Rs 17,576 crore

What is it? The value of illegally mined iron ore and manganese in Odisha since 2000 the Supreme Court has ordered miners to refund the state.

Why is it important? This would be a windfall revenue for the Odisha state government. Mining companies which continued to mine without or in excess of environment clearance since 2000-2001 will be penalised 100% of the illegally mined extracts. The estimate was made by the SC-appointed Central Empowered Committee which found 215.5 million-tonne ore extracted.

Tell me more: This could increase to Rs 25,000 crore if Forest Conservation violations are taken into account. The court ordered companies such as Tata Steel, Essel Mining, Sail, to pay the penalty.

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News in Numbers, Mar 31, 2017: Seats of learning in darkness 💡😥🎓✏📚

Rs 2465.21 crore

What is it? The amount of equity infusion in Air India during financial year ending today.

Why is it important? This is 8% of the total equity of Rs 30,231 crore planned till 2021 by the government as part of Air India’s turnaround plan. Public money keeping the airlines afloat has been a bone of contention as Air India recently came under the Comptroller and Auditor General scanner, which accused it of understating losses as recently as 2014-15 (Rs 1,992.77 crore).

Tell me more: The government carrier has been getting government funds regularly and so far received nearly 82% of the proposed bailout.

 

300 million

What is it? The number of people living with depression worldwide.

Why is it important? The number has grown by over 18% between 2005 and 2015, but healthcare spends to combat depression is low. The World Health Organisation says global average is 3% of healthcare spends but low-income countries see only 1% of total spends. But high-income countries with 5% health expenditure do not necessarily fare better in treating depression, as nearly 50% go untreated in such countries.

Tell me more: Stigma and lack of support for people with mental disorders aggravate the loss of productivity and quality of life due to depression, one of the more prevalent mental afflictions.

 

1 GB a second

What is it? The speed of Internet through wired broadband services provided by ACT Fibernet in Hyderabad.

Why is it important? This puts Hyderabad in a club of a handful cities with such internet speed, which includes Seoul (South Korea), Hong Kong, Singapore, Kansas (US). Even though it is being seen as a large stride towards the Telangana government’s aim to connect its 23 million citizens to the Internet by 2018, the delivery mode might prove a hurdle. The enviable speed might be thwarted by the low adoption of wired delivery of broadband services. Of the 236 million broadband subscribers in December, 2016, wired connections accounted for around 7% (8% if fixed wireless was considered).

Tell me more: The Giga speed is expected to enable Internet downloads faster than transferring data from a USB drive.

 

78%

What is it? The percentage of primary and upper primary schools in Odisha that doesn’t have power connectivity.

Why is it important? With temperature already touching 43 degrees Celsius in some parts of the state, the lack of electricity in 40,087 of the 51,094 primary and upper primary schools indicate serious lack of basic infrastructure for students. In 20 of the 30 districts in the state, each school have at least 1,000 students.

Tell me more: In another instance, 60% of the 2,739 schools in Vizianagaram district in Andhra Pradesh have no overhead tanks with running water facility.

 

31

What is it? The number of new cities that will have air connectivity via the government’s UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik or ‘Let the common man fly’) scheme. A total of 128 routes covering 71 cities were announced on Thursday.

Why is it important? This will bring more air passengers from smaller cities at affordable prices. Under UDAN, half the seats will be capped at Rs 2,500 for flight journeys that take up to an hour. Eighty per cent of the loss from this price ceiling will be funded by levying cess on non-regional routes, and rest by state governments.

Tell me more: Around 1.3 million new seats will be created from these 128 routes, with a subsidy bill of Rs 200 crore each year.

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News in Numbers, Oct 20, 2016: Safety PIN…

In the recent days, some banks have been sending out instructions to some of their customers asking them to change their personal identification number (PIN) or even blocking some debit cards to issue replacements. There have been disturbing news reports that talk about certain debit cards having been compromised with. With more and more Indians (though 78% of all consumer payments were made by cash last year) opting to go for digital modes of payment (what with the rapid growth in the usage of smartphones), nearly $500 billion worth of transactions in the country would happen digitally by 2020 (that is, 10 times the current levels), as per a report. In a bid to become cashless, we shouldn’t forget that there need to be robust systems to prevent such breaches and ensure protection to consumers from possible digital frauds.

Here are a couple of articles that talk about how to deal with online bank and ATM card frauds.

 

32 lakh

What is it? The number of debit cards that are reportedly compromised (unauthorised access to financial details of the card enabling stealing of funds).

Why is it important? It could turn out to be one of the biggest financial breaches in Indian banking history. The worst-hit banks are said to be: the State Bank of India (SBI), HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and Yes Bank. Of the total, 26 lakh are reportedly on the Visa and Mastercard platforms with the rest on RuPay. The Reserve Bank of India is said to have asked banks to replace debit cards whose security is suspected to have been compromised and this number is put at 17.5 lakh, according to another report.

Tell me more: SBI, India’s largest lender, has blocked the debit cards of 6 lakh customers and started the process of replacing them. As of July 2016, the total debit card base in India was 69.7 crore.

 

3

What is it? The number of hospitals in Odisha that have fire safety clearance, of the total of 568.

Why is it important? Highlights the blatant violation of fire safety norms by the healthcare system in Odisha and the need for better enforcement of rules by the authorities. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which brought out this fact, has issued a noticeto the state government after a fire accident killed 21 people at Sum Hospital in Bhubaneshwar on Monday evening. The Union Health Minister JP Nadda has said new guidelines will be issued to all states to ensure hospitals are fire-compliant.

Tell me more: The NHRC has called on the government to file a report in six weeks, asking it to mention the measures it has taken or proposes to take to prevent such mishaps in the future and also, the relief and rehabilitation given to the relatives of those who died or were injured in the accident.

 

4

What is it? The number of serotypes or strains of dengue virus that can be potentially targeted by a vaccine candidate, which is under development by the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in collaboration with Sun Pharma.

Why is it important? This is reportedly the first indigenous dengue vaccine candidate to be developed that could provide protection against all the four strains of the virus. Currently, there is no vaccine (except for one) or any particular medicine to treat dengue, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). As many as 51,731 cases of dengue and 93 dengue-related deaths have been reported in India so far this year. However, this potential vaccine has passed only the pre-clinical stages and it could take some time before it hits the markets.

Tell me more: The WHO approved the world’s first vaccine for dengue fever called Dengvaxia developed by Sanofi Pasteur in April this year though a high-level (Indian) government committee held back approvals citing the need for additional clinical trial data.

 

35 million

What is it? The number of smartphones shipped during the July-September quarter, according to Counterpoint Research.

Why is it important? This is a new record for the Indian market – smartphone shipments grew 25% on a year-on-year basis and 21% sequentially. Interestingly, Chinese vendors such as Lenovo, Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo now command nearly a third of the Indian smartphone market (32%, up from 27% in the previous quarter), eating into the market share of top players such as Samsung, Micromax and Intex. Though Samsung and Micromax are still the top two players (in that order), their market share fell to 21.6% (from 25.6% in the June quarter) and 9.8% (from 14.1%) in the September quarter respectively.

Tell me more: Lenovo regained the third position while Reliance Industries’ smartphone brand Lyf moved up a position to become the fourth largest brand. Intex slipped from the third position to the fifth.

 

150

What is it? The number of entities that have been banned by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) after getting the authority to regulate collective investment schemes (CIS) in 2013.

Why is it important? Though the market regulator had asked these firms to discontinue their schemes, repay investors in three months and file a winding-up report, none of them have done so. Highlights the difficulty in regulating such entities and the need for a better mechanism to refund investors who’ve fallen prey to Ponzi schemes. For instance, PACL Ltd, which owes Rs 49,100 crore to 5.8 crore investors, has not complied with the CIS rules and is yet to refund its investors.

Tell me more: SEBI has filed 567 prosecution cases against those collecting public money through illegal investment schemes, as on July 31.

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News in numbers, Apr 15, 2016: VC & PE investments in startups, India’s remittances…

$1.15 billion

What is it? Venture capital and private equity investments in Indian startups in the January-March quarter of 2016.

Why is it important? This is the second consecutive fall in startup investments, indicating continued investor caution. The number of startup deals fell by 4% to 116 possibly on concerns over startups’ business models, valuation and economic slowdown.

Tell me more: The data by KPMG and CB Insights show that startups received investments worth $2.9 billion in the July-September quarter of 2015, which declined by 48% to $1.5 billion in the three months to December last year.

$68.9 billion

What is it? The remittances to India in 2015, according to World Bank.

Why is it important? They declined by nearly $1 billion (2.1%) from 2014, the first drop since 2009 during global financial crisis. Last year’s decline came on the back of low oil prices in the Middle Eastern countries, a major remittance-generating source for India. However, India retained its top spot in inward remittances.

Tell me more: After India, China and Philippines topped the list of remittance-receiving countries with $64 billion and $28 billion respectively. Mexico with $25 billion and Nigeria with $21 billion in remittances came in at the fourth and fifth positions respectively.

130

What is it? The number of people who died due to heatwaves this year.

Why is it important? It might get worse, with the weather department warning eight states of facing heatwave conditions in the next two days. Telengana and Andhra Pradesh, which had reported over 2,000 deaths due to heatwave conditions last year, are likely to see maximum temperatures increasing by 1-2 degree celsius in the next 2-3 days.

Tell me more: As many as 100 people have died due to heatwave conditions in Andhra Pradesh and Telengana and 30 in Odisha. Maximum temperatures are expected to increase by 2-4 degree Celsius over the north-western plains, 2-3 degree Celsius over central India and 1-2 degree Celsius over west India.

68%

What is it? The share of companies in which investors got better returns (on the shares allotted to them during the IPO) on the day of the listing rather compared to a year later. This corresponds to 198 companies of 292 analysed.

Why is it important? As many as 71 stocks closed lower on the listing day and declined further in one year from listing. Indicates that promoters tend to price their public issues with little or no room for growth, and might reduce appetite for IPOs.

Tell me more: Over 30% of the companies analysed eroded more than 50% of their offer price within one year of listing. The study included IPOs launched in the last 10 years and have completed at least a year since listing.

3 lakh

What is it? The number of rural habitations, nearly a fifth of the total, that have less than the prescribed norm of 40 litres per capita per day of safe drinking water.

Why is it important? The primary reason for lack of adequate supply of safe water is reportedly due to delay in over 3,000 drinking water schemes, some of them which are over 5-10 years old.

Tell me more: There are 66,093 rural habitations where drinking water is contaminated. According to World Bank estimates, 21% of communicable diseases are related to unsafe water and diarrhoea alone causes over 1,600 deaths everyday.

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