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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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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News in numbers, Jan 4, 2016: Pathankot terror attack, revenue from excise duty hikes…

 

Rs 10,000 crore

What is it? Additional revenue Indian government expects to earn in 2015-16 from hikes in excise duty on petrol and diesel.

 

Why is it important? It will partially help in covering for the shortfall in revenue from disinvestments in public sector units (PSUs) and direct tax collections. The government had aimed to raise Rs 69,500 crore from selling shares in PSUs but managed to mop up just over 18% or Rs 12,700 crore so far. Between April and November 2015, the direct tax collections was less than half (46.26%) of the budgeted target of Rs 7.97 lakh crore in 2015-16.

 

Tell me more: The government on Saturday increased excise duty on petrol by Rs 0.37 per litre and by Rs 2 per litre on diesel. This is the third hike in 2015-16 and since November 2014, the seventh. The three excise duty hikes translate to a total increase of Rs 2.27 per litre on petrol and Rs 3.47 a litre on diesel.

 

2-1

 

What is it? India’s score in the 11th edition of the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship. India beat defending champion Afghanistan on Sunday.

 

Why is it important? With this win, India has lifted the SAFF cup for the seventh time. This is also likely to have an impact on India’s position in the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) rankings to be released on January 7. From 121 in 2001, India’s ranking has slid to 166 currently, reaching a low of 171 in 2014 since the start of the new millennium.

 

Tell me more: India had lost to Afghanistan 0-2 in the final match of the 2013 edition.

 

$522 billion

 

What is it? Estimated global oil and gas investments in 2016, according to Oslo-based consultancy Rystad Energy.

 

Why is it important? If this happens, it would be the lowest in six years. In 2015, global investments in this sector had seen a 22% fall to $595 billion. This would also be the first time that there may be a decline in investments for two straight years since the 1986 oil crash, according to Bjoernar Tonhaugen, vice president of oil and gas markets at Rystad Energy . One of the major fallouts of this is the loss of jobs. In November last year, the number of job losses in oil and gas companies had crossed the 250,000 mark worldwide, according to industry consultant, Graves & Co.

 

Tell me more: Crude oil prices fell 35% in 2015 and are expected to decline even further in 2016. A combination of factors — global glut, suppliers refusing to cut down on production and engaging in price war to attract customers — are responsible for the rapid decline in oil prices.

 

7

 

What is it? Number of military personnel killed in a terrorist attack on Pathankot air base situated in Punjab, about 30 km from the Pakistan border. As many as 20 have been wounded.

 

Why is it important? Raises questions about security lapses and how the terrorists managed to enter the air base undetected. This is the second attack on Punjab after the Gurdaspur district attack in July 2015 that killed 10 people including the Gurdaspur Superintendent of Police. In the latest terror attack, militants disguised as soldiers, stormed the base a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid an impromptu visit to his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif. Four terrorists have been reportedly killed and two more are said to be holed up at the base.

 

Tell me more: The government claimed the operation successful on Saturday but fresh attacks on Sunday, it said the operation was not over yet.

 

160 million

 

What is it? Number of one rupee notes issued in 2014-15 and 2015-16 so far by the government.

 

Why is it important? The cost of printing a one rupee note at Rs 1.14, exceeds its value – and the life of a paper note is 9 to 10 months. It’s a reason why currencies of lower denominations tend to be in coins. The government had stopped issuing one rupee notes between 1995-96 and 2013-14.

 

Tell me more: In 2014-15, a total of five million notes of one rupee denomination and in the current fiscal year, 155 million notes were introduced in the market.

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News In Numbers – July 15

News In Numbers: July 15 

Rs 64.3 crore

The amount raised by the Aam Aadmi Party from public donations since 12 December 2013, shortly after the first elections it fought. On Tuesday, a day after party chief and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal made an emotional pitch for donations as it was close to running out of funds, AAP witnessed a renewal of interest and raised about Rs 12.3 lakh from 909 donors. Since December 2013, the only Indian political party that makes its entire donor list public has contested a national election and a state election, and expanded beyond its roots in Delhi.

 

Rs 250 crore

Bank of India’s exposure to Essar Steel, which has been classified as a bad loan by the bank’s auditors. If the principal and/or interest component of a loan are not repaid within 90 days of the due date, the bank has to classify it under the bad loans category, which attracts nearly 38 times the provisioning done for standard assets. In this case, the steel company paid its dues a few days after the stipulated period, and most banks treated loans to it as standard, but the auditors of Bank of India had insisted on going by the rulebook, prompting the bank to write to the Reserve Bank of India about this case. The bank posted a loss of Rs 56 crore in the March-end quarter, its first quarterly loss since 2001, mainly on account of higher provisioning and expenses.

 

0.4-0.6%

Lower oil prices could boost India’s GDP by 0.4-0.6% over the next two years. The agreement struck by Iran and six world powers (US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany) on Tuesday will see the middle-eastern nation curb its nuclear programme in return for removal of international sanctions. The increase in oil supply from Iran is likely to result in lower crude oil prices, with the pace and quantum depending on how fast it can ramp its oil production. This is good news for India, which meets about 70% of its crude oil requirements through imports.

 

Rs 350 crore

The potential revenue loss that Chennai Super Kings, the best-performing Indian Premier League franchise on the cricket field, is facing following its suspension, along with Rajasthan Royals, from the league for two years. On the cost side, the approximate value of all players in the CSK team is $15 million (around Rs 95 crore). The brand value of both teams is also expected to erode.

 

2.40%

Wholesale inflation fell 2.40% in June, its eighth consecutive month of decline. Yet, this may not prompt the Reserve Bank of India to cut interest rates as retail inflation, the numbers for which were released a day earlier, was at an eighth-month high in June. The one point of convergence in the two rates was food prices. In June, the price basket of food items in the wholesale index rose 1.3%, mainly due to an increase in the prices of pulses, poultry chicken and tea.

 

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