Robbing ONGC To Pay…

Rs 1,000 crore

What is it? The cash reserves of Oil and Natural Gas Corp.(ONGC) as on March 31.

Why is it important? It has declined by a massive 90% from Rs 13,000 crore a year ago, after the company was asked to buy the government’s 51.11% stake in state-refiner HPCL for Rs 36,915 crore earlier this year and a record dividend payout of Rs 8,470 crore in 2017-18. The government has been tapping state-run companies to get its fiscal deficit math right and the cash depletion of ONGC comes at a time when it has been asked to increase investments to help cut down India’s crude imports.

Tell me more:India’s biggest energy explorer ONGC, however, has a good credit rating due to the government’s backing and easy access to the domestic banking system.


What is it? The number of airports that are operational under the government’s ‘regional connectivity scheme’, which is almost half of the 31 airports that were targeted to be operational by the end of 2017.

Why is it important? This indicates that the scheme which aims to build new airports in small towns and upgrade existing facilities is moving at a slow pace. This could affect the government’s goal of making an additional 100 million passengers fly in the next five years. India is the world’s fastest growing aviation market and, recently, smaller towns under the scheme have started contributing to the overall passenger traffic growth.

Tell me more:Some of the reasons for the delay in the progress of the scheme include states having insufficient funds to buy basic equipment and the longer-than-anticipated duration in building air traffic control or setting up terminal buildings.


What is it? The number of months since news broke of jeweler Nirav Modi defrauding Punjab National Bank of Rs 12,600 in loans.

Why is it important? On Monday, an official of India’s top investigative agency said it had asked Interpol to help locate and arrest Modi. This follows a report in the Financial Times on Sunday that Modi was in the UK and seeking political asylum. Previously, there have been reports of Modi being in New York and Hong Kong.

Tell me more:If Modi is in the UK, he would be the second Indian fugitive businessman holed up in Britain after defaulting on loans worth thousands of crore to Indian banks.


What is it? The number of FIFA World Cup tournaments Brazil would have won, if Goldman Sachs Group’s prediction for the 2018 edition comes true.

Why is it important? The investment bank has used 200,000 statistical models, analysed data on individual players and recent team performance in addition to running 1 million simulations to come up with this prediction. However, its 2014 prediction, which had also bet on Brazil, saw the team lose in the semi-final. Danske Bank also says the winner is likely to be Brazil, while Commerzbank and Swiss Bank UBS give it to Germany.

Tell me more: Brazil is the most successful team in the history of FIFA World Cup having won the finals for a record five times, the last time being in 2002.

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When 1% = 82%



Rs 36,915 crore

What is it? The amount that Oil and Natural Gas Corporation will pay to acquire the government’s 51.1% stake in refiner and marketer HPCL (Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited) in an all-cash deal.

Why is it important? It would create an oil company that is more integrated across the value chain and can compete better with global rivals. This would also help the government exceed its disinvestment target for the current fiscal, when it has seen a fall in its indirect tax revenue and received lower dividends from the Reserve Bank of India. This is likely to help the government achieve its fiscal deficit target of 3.2% of GDP (gross domestic product).

Tell me more: ONGC would buy 77.9 crore shares in HPCL at Rs 473.97 apiece, a premium of 13.7% over its closing price on Friday, and it might need to raise debt to do so.



What is it? The number of members of legislative assembly of Delhi’s ruling party, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), whose disqualification was sought by the Election Commission (EC) on Friday for holding offices of profit.

Why is it important? President Ram Nath Kovind accepted the EC’s recommendation on Sunday and AAP is likely to take the legal route for reprieve. Bypolls for these 20 seats will have to be held within six months. Although the disqualification does not pose an immediate threat to Delhi’s ruling party, which has 66 legislators in the 70-member Delhi Assembly, this may weaken the party’s prospects after a string of losses in recent elections.

Tell me more: After Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP swept the Delhi Assembly polls in 2015, winning 67 of 70 seats, his government passed an order to appoint 20 legislators as parliamentary secretaries to ministers, which was described as them holding offices of profit by a lawyer who sent a petition to the then President Pranab Mukherjee.



What is it? The number of high-risk pregnancies detected from over a crore checkups conducted across India under the Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) since its launch in 2016, according to Union minister of health and family welfare JP Nadda.

Why is it important? This is among the primary steps to lower maternal mortality rate (MMR) and infant mortality rate (IMR). Although both have declined in recent years, India still has some way to go to catch up with developed nations. India’s MMR was 174 per 100,000 live births in 2015; or, 45,000 mothers died to due to causes related to childbirth, which was 17% of such deaths globally. Its IMR was 41 per 1,000 live births in 2015-16, down from 57 in 2005-06.

Tell me more: About one-fourth of checkups under the programme were done in high-priority districts that called for immediate attention. Based on individual needs, 84 lakh haemoglobin tests, 55 lakh HIV tests, 41 lakh tests for gestational diabetes, 33 lakh tests for syphilis and over 15 lakh ultrasound scans were done to detect high-risk pregnancies.



What is it? The amount of new wealth created in the world in 2017 that went to the richest 1%. Further, according to this report from Oxfam, the bottom 50% of world’s population saw no increase in their wealth.

Why is it important? The report is being released in the backdrop of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, from January 23-26. The WEF is the most exalted gathering of leaders from many walks, especially business and politics. This year’s WEF event, which is themed ‘creating a shared future in a fractured world’, will also see the presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump.

Tell me more: According to the Oxfam report, the wealth held by Indian billionaires increased by Rs 4,89,000 crore in 2017, which is enough to finance 85% of the budgets of all states on health and education.



What is it? Guided by a late onslaught by Jos Buttler, England yesterday beat Australia in the third one-day international (Odi) at Sydney to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five match bilateral series.

Why is it important? England were routed 4-0 in the prestigious test series between the two sides, christened Ashes, just prior to the ODIs. Winning the ODI series might be some solace for the English players. For the Barmy Army, a vocal travelling unit of English fans, it was something more: once a win became imminent match yesterday, they broke into a chant of “we are going to win 5-4”.

Tell me more: Of the 16 ODIs played by Australia since January 2017, they have won only three, while losing 10 (three matches were no results), raising many questions around their readiness of their defence of the ODI World Cup in 2019.


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Baahubali blazes past Bollywood

Rs 5.04 lakh crore

What is it? The market capitalisation of Reliance Industries (RIL) as on Monday, the second company to cross the Rs 5 lakh crore mark after Tata Consultancy Services.

Why is it important? Investors are betting on better business prospects as their telecom offering, Reliance Jio started charging its clients, and other investments in petrochemicals space getting realized soon.

Tell me more: Since the beginning of this year, RIL has gained 43.5%, more than double of the Sensex index (20.6% in the same period). IT major TCS crossed the Rs 5 lakh crore mark in market capitalisation on July 23, 2014.


Rs 510 crore

What is it? The national box office collection of the Hindi version of the mythological sequel, Baahubali 2.

Why is it important? This is nearly 42% of the total box office collections of the top six Hindi movies (Rs 1,218 crore) in the first half of the year. This is probably the first time that a dubbed movie (originally, in Telugu) has overtaken Hindi movies by box office collections by a wide margin: Shahrukh Khan’s Raees earned only Rs 139 crore while Salman Khan’s Tubelight fetched Rs 121 crore. Even last year, it was Disney’s ‘The Jungle Book’ (dubbed in Hindi) that was the highest grosser at around Rs 110 crore, surpassing movies from the ‘Bollywood’ industry.

Tell me more: Dharma Productions spent Rs 95 crore in the acquisition of rights and distribution of Baahubali 2.


$53 billion

What is it? The potential economic losses due to a major cyber attack, according to a report by Lloyd’s of London and Cyence, a cyber risk analytics modelling firm.

Why is it important? This is roughly equivalent to the economic losses caused by a catastrophic natural disaster such as the 2012 Superstorm Sandy, says the report. The economic costs in hypothetical hacking of a cloud service provider is huge compared to the global cost of $8 billion of the ‘WannaCry’ ransomware attack in May. Due to lack of historical data on cyber attacks and their potential costs, it is a great challenge for insurers to estimate their potential exposure.

Tell me more: For a hypothetical cloud service attack, the average economic losses would range from $4.6 billion for a large event to $53 billion for an extreme event, according to the report. The actual losses could be as high as $121 billion, of which as much as $45 billion may not be covered by cyber policies due to under-insuring by firms.


$850 million

What is it? The revised offer for buying Snapdeal, the embattled e-commerce firm, by larger rival, Flipkart.

Why is it important? It is still lower than the reported sum of at least $900 million that Snapdeal wanted from India’s largest online marketplace. But the revision is $100-150 million more than Flipkart’s first formal offer ($700-750 million). Snapdeal’s board is considering the offer.

Tell me more: Flipkart wants to pay $650-700 million in equity shares and another $150 million later. Along with the SoftBank Group, Snapdeal has 25 institutional shareholders and dozens of individual part-owners.


$3 billion

What is it? The penalty payable by Reliance Industries (RIL), Shell India and Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) – the joint owners of Panna-Mukta oilfield – to the government.

Why is it important? This comes after a London-based arbitration panel decided in favour of government in October, 2016. The owners of the oilfield were deducting higher taxes (prevailing at the time of getting the oilfield in early 90’s) even though corporate tax rate has dropped to 30%. Lower deduction of taxes would mean higher share of profits for government. The penalty is to recover past due from the owners of the oilfield.

Tell me more: RIL and Shell each own 30% stake in the PMT fields, while ONGC has 40%. The ruling entitled the government to a larger profit share and more royalty payment. The government is also locked in a dispute with RIL over the KG-D6 basin.

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Press gagged?

Rs 2,052 crore

What is it? The value of the two post-dated cheques accepted by the Supreme Court from Sahara group, as an assurance of payment.

Why is it important? The amount is 18% of the Rs 11,169 crore sum still due to Sebi towards paying Sahara’s investors. The court has allowed both the auction of Sahara’s star property, Aamby Valley, and repayment through cheques. It fixed Aamby Valley’s reserve price at Rs 37,392 crore.

Tell me more: The court warned Sahara chief, Subrata Roy, present in the court, about being sent back to jail if the cheques bounced.




What is it? The number of oil and gas discoveries by the state-owned refiner Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) in FY17.

Why is it important? This is a jump of 35% from FY16 (17 discoveries). ONGC has struck liquid gold at a time when global oil discoveries fell to a record low (in 2016), according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Tell me more: The discoveries were a mix of both inland and offshore wells.




What is it? India’s rank  in the World Press Freedom Index, brought out by Reporters without Borders, this year.

Why is it important? India has slipped in the rankings, from the 133rd position last year. The organisation recognises the reasons as Hindu nationalists trying to root out so-called ‘anti-national’ thoughts from any public debate, driving more self-censorship among the media. According to the report, threats of dire violence have also manifested in local journalists being targets of armed forces at the behest of the Union government.

Tell me more: Norway, Sweden and Finland ranked the highest in press freedom, with the first two moving up in rank.



Re 1

What is it? Potential ticket size of gold purchase on Paytm.

Why is it important? Gold price per gram is Rs 2730 as on Wednesday. Paytm has announced that customers can buy gold for as less as Re 1, which is made possible because of unbundling and aggregation that can happen with digital products. Called Digital Gold, the product is launched by Paytm with a  tie up with MMTC-PAMP India.

Tell me more: One97, which owns Paytm, is also reportedly talking to Softbank to raise $1.9 billion, which would make it the largest fund raise in a single round in India in venture capital space.



< $10,000

What is it? The compensation United Airlines would give to passengers who are asked to give up their seats in overbooked flights.

Why is it important? The policy comes on the back of United facing a public relations disaster after it violently removed a passenger from one of its planes to accommodate crew members. While the degree of violence made that case exceptional, bumping passengers from overbooked flights are more common in airlines, and the compensation could set a new standard for such situations.

Tell me more: United also reached a settlement with Dr. David Dao who was dragged out of the plane.

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