A New Unicorn

$210 million

What is it? The amount India’s largest online food ordering startup Swiggy said it has raised from a set of investors, led by Naspers and DST Global.

Why is it important? With this, the total amount raised by the startup is $465.5 million and it has achieved the status of unicorn (privately-held companies valued above $1 billion), only the second one after Zomato in the food technology space. The funds, which would be used to improve its supply chain network and expand into new markets, would help it to better compete with Zomato and new entrants such as UberEats and Ola’s Foodpanda.

Tell me more: The new investors in this deal include DST Global and Coatue Management, who joined existing ones, Naspers and Meituan Dianping.


What is it? The time provided to announce the price band of an initial public offering (IPO), according to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), from the earlier five days’ duration.

Why is it important? The markets regulator announced some measures on Thursday, especially related to IPOs and share buybacks, with the aim of reducing redundancies and simplifying language. The other changes include harmonisation of shareholding limits across market infrastructure institutions, auditor disclosures to be in line with Kotak committee recommendations and mandatory auditor disclosures effective from April.

Tell me more: SEBI said it has begun initiating action against entities and individuals in the case where National Stock Exchange officials had allegedly provided high-frequency traders unfair access to co-location servers at the exchange site.

1 million 

What is it? The amount in barrels per day by which countries belonging to the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and its allies are likely to increase production of crude oil.

Why is it important? The group meets on Friday in Vienna for its biannual meeting, which will decide output policy. The meeting is happening in the backdrop of calls from major consumers like US, China and India to increase production, which would lower prices. Iran, the third-largest producer in Opec and which saw new sanctions from the US in May, is opposed to the deal.

Tell me more: Since last year, OPEC and its allies have cut output by 1.8 million barrels per day. In the past 18 months, crude prices have increased from $42 a barrel to about $70 in the past year.

Rs 75-80 crore

What is it?The amount that the white water rafting industry earns from this activity in Uttarakhand.

Why is it important?On Thursday, this was temporarily in peril after the Uttarakhand High Court released its order in a case banning paragliding, white water rafting and other water sports until the administration put in place a policy to regulate them across the state. It gave the state two weeks to draft a policy.

Tell me more: Besides environmental violations and excesses, the rafting industry in Uttarakhand has also been rocked by deaths in recent years.


What is it? The number of World Cup matches that talismanic Argentinian footballer Lionel Messi has failed to score in now.

Why is it important? On Thursday, Croatia made Argentina pay for defensive lapses, and beat them 3-0 in group match in the 2018 world cup to leave them on the brink of elimination. Argentina now have only 1 point from two matches, and will need a big win in their last match against Nigeria, and some help from other results.

Tell me more: France on Thursday qualified for the round of 16, beating Peru 1-0.

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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? 


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.


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.


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 14, 2016: $250 mn to beat cancer, e-platform for farm produce trading…

1.20 million barrels per day (bpd)

What is it? The expected increase in global demand for oil in 2016, according to 13-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Why is it important? This is 500,000 bpd lesser than the previous estimate, raising concerns of crude prices going down again. Oil prices hit a 12-year low of $27 in January this year. A producers’ meet to freeze output at January levels to support prices, which is scheduled for this Sunday in Doha, is keenly awaited though Iran has refused to participate in it.

Tell me more: On February 16, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Russia and Qatar said they would freeze oil production at January levels, if other producers agreed to join in on the plan. This resulted in increase in oil prices by 30% in the subsequent weeks.

$250 million

What is it? Internet billionaire Sean Parker’s funding to set up a non-profit institute to beat cancer.

Why is it important? It brings together over 300 scientists at 40 labs in six institutions to work on a new area of cancer research – immunotherapy – which uses one’s immune system to fight cancer. This seeks to draw in on the advantages of scientists and researchers working together rather than in silos, though this also has the risks of suppressing diverse opinions to think alike.

Tell me more: The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy would pursue immune therapy patents on behalf of the six institutions and license them, taking a 10-15% cut of the revenue generated by the patents to be put back into the institute. There were 8.2 million cancer-related deaths and around 14 million new cases in 2012, according to the World Health Organization.


What is it? The number of local markets to be connected on an e-platform called National Agriculture Market launching today.

Why is it important? The e-platform aims to provide farmers with wider choices of selling their produce at better prices, a move that is likely to help the government fulfill its promise of doubling farm incomes by 2022. Currently, farmers sell their produce to traders at the nearest market. This comes at a time when farmers are reeling under two successive droughts.

Tell me more: The 21 markets are spread across 8 states. The Indian government plans to bring 585 such markets on to the platform by March 2018. However, the government may need to tackle some state laws/rules that may be a hindrance to this national e-marketing platform.

64 lakh litres

What is it? The quantity of water the Bombay High Court has asked the BCCI to supply to drought-hit villages in Maharashtra.

Why is it important? This direction comes along with the order to BCCI to shift all 13 IPL matches, including the finals, to be played in the state after April 30. BCCI had promised it would use treated sewage water for the IPL matches in Mumbai and Pune and the teams from these cities would contribute Rs 5 crore each towards drought relief measures in the state.

Tell me more: The BCCI said though it respects the court’s orders, it is difficult to re-organise the tournament mid-way. The BCCI Secretary said it was unfair to target the league and questioned if the swimming pools in five-star hotels have been shut or if people in the state have stopped watering their gardens.


What is it? The number of new fund offers (NFOs) for which mutual fund houses have filed draft papers with the market regulator so far this year.

Why is it important? Indicates that the mutual fund industry would retain or outpace last year’s growth (which saw 191 draft papers of NFOs). In 2015-16, 43 lakh new equity accounts were opened taking the total to 3.6 crore, the fastest addition since the 2008 global financial crisis. However, it is still less than the total of 4.1 crore accounts at the time of the crisis.

Tell me more: Reflecting the increasing demand for mutual fund products from retail investors in what is perceived to be a largely risk-averse market, the investors’ base hit a record high of 4.76 crore at the end of March.

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News in numbers, Dec 8, 2015: Donations to political parties, falling crude oil prices…


$1 billion


What is it? The amount infrastructure company GMR Group is looking to raise in the next two years by selling stakes in its airports and energy businesses.


Why is it important? It will help cut down its debt levels (Rs 410 billion net debt at present) and repay investors in its airport business. Over one-third (37%) of its group debt has been downgraded to ‘default’, which means the company’s likelihood of meeting these debt obligations on time are the least, according to a recent report by Credit Suisse.


Tell me more: Infrastructure companies borrowed heavily anticipating economic growth but ended up facing a range of roadblocks, including downturn, delay in getting coals for their plants and government approvals.


Rs 139 crore


What is it? Total amount received by the Indian National Congress party in the form of donations (above Rs 20,000) in 2014-15 for which it has not declared the mode of contribution.


Why is it important? That’s 98% of total donations above Rs 20,000 in 2014-15. Without the mode of contribution, it would be difficult to link the donors against their donations and trace the money trail. This goes against a September 2013 Supreme Court order that has stipulated that none of the columns in the forms to declare donations above Rs 20,000 should be left blank. Transparency in donations to political parties is necessary to allow public scrutiny for strengthening democracy.


Tell me more: The Bharatiya Janata Party, the top recipient of donations above Rs 20,000, declared an amount of Rs 83.9 lakhs from 20 donors where it has not provided PAN details, address and mode of contribution. BJP, CPM and CPI have received a total of Rs 303.4 crore in which they have not filled in the ‘address’ column of the donors.




What is it? Year-on-year growth in monthly sales of Myntra, an online fashion retailer owned by Flipkart, in October 2015.


Why is it important? Myntra moved to app-only platform in May this year. Its growth since then appears to have slowed down (from 100-200% growth earlier), even accounting for the higher base. But, for Myntra, it could be a part of long term strategy. Myntra says the customer experience is better on apps.


Tell me more: Myntra says it has an annualized gross sales of $500 million as of October, as against $400 million in May when it decided to go app only.




What is it? Number of workers – machine operators, floor supervisors, security personnel and peons – at a 300-people strong aluminium foils factory in Sanand, Gujarat, with more than Rs 1 crore in their bank accounts, according to a Times of India report.


Why is it important? An example of the impact of Gujarat government buying 4,000 hectares of land over the last seven years in the automobile hub. For the factory it means the human resource challenge of dealing with crorepati employees – and retaining them as these jobs are no longer their primary source of income.


Tell me more: After Tata Motors relocated it’s Nano factory from West Bengal to Sanand in Gujarat, the area has seen rapid industrialisation.




What is it? Price of US crude oil per barrel at 0300 GMT on Tuesday.


Why is it important? This is close to seven-year-lows. An indicator of discord among 13 member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which failed to arrive at an oil production ceiling last week. Oil companies stocks have taken a beating. Lower oil prices however will help net oil importers control inflation better.


Tell me more: OPEC countries’ production of over 30 million barrels per day has pushed production 0.5 million to 2 million barrels per day beyond demand.

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