Air India’s debt-laden wings ✈

Rs 30,748 crore

What is it? The annual cost of various allowances paid to central government employees and pensioners as approved by the Cabinet on Wednesday.

Why is it important? The approved sum is nearly 5% more than the estimates of the 7th Pay Commission in 2016, at Rs 29,300 crore for allowances. The total financial impact, including salaries, had been estimated at Rs 102,100 crore then.

Tell me more: It was approved after the Committee on Allowances, headed by Ashok Lavasa, submitted its report in April this year.

 

Rs 52,000 crore

What is it? The amount of debt in the books of Air India. Indian government decided yesterday to privatise the state-owned national carrier.

Why is it important? The debt ($8 billion) makes its equity valuation zero or negative, and is the biggest hurdle to its sale. Of this, around Rs 22,000 crore is a loan to purchase aircrafts. The committee is likely to hive off its assets and divest the profit-making subsidiaries.

Tell me more: Private carriers had a domestic market share of 87% in May, 2017, with Air India’s share decreasing over time.

 

6

What is it? The number of countries, with a Muslim majority, whose resident must have a close family tie to a US resident or formal ties with a US entity to be eligible for a US visa.

Why is it important? The latest guidance from the US State Department comes after the US Supreme Court on Monday said the controversial travel ban cannot be imposed on anyone who has “a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States”. The apex court allowed parts of the travel ban, earlier blocked by lower courts, while it reviews the rest of the order by the Donald Trump administration.

 Tell me more: The US Supreme Court will review the full order in autumn.

 

10 years

What is it? The age of the iPhone, Apple Inc’s flagship device, launched on June 29, 2007.

Why is it important? The smartphone, with seven versions so far, has sold more than a billion times since launch. The anniversary brings into focus the future of the gadget as in 2016, Apple saw the volumes of the iPhone take a beating, which slid further in 2017.

Tell me more: In the second quarter of 2017, despite declining volumes, the iPhone brought in more revenue: $53.25 billion from 50.76 million phones compared to the year before sales of 51.19 million phones for $32.86 billion.

 

774

What is it? The number of people invited from 57 countries to join the group choosing the annual Oscars, the most popular movie awards.

Why is it important? The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences which conducts the Oscars says the group of 2017 comprises 39% female and 30% coloured invitees. The Academy had come under fire for leaning heavily on white male membership in its awards panel, reflected in its choice of nominees and awards. The criticism of the lack of racial diversity reached a crescendo in 2016, with the #OscarsSoWhite discussion.

Tell me more: Indian actor, Priyanka Chopra, recognised for her lead turn in ‘Quantico’, a US TV show, is among the invitees.

 

In India, more births happen in the latter half of the year. Is there a reason for it? Check out our latest story for Mint at http://bit.ly/2sjjMNY

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News in Numbers, Feb 27, 2017: Back in stock: Nokia 3310 📲

~Rs 3,500

What is it? The estimated price of the Nokia feature phone redux, the popular 3310.

Why is it important? Nokia, once the most popular mobile brand, is plotting a comeback with a slew of new phones and one relaunch by its current owners, a subsidiary of Foxconn. HMD Global has lined up four phones, including the redesigned feature phone, 3310, for global shipments. Between its launch in 2000 and 2005, the 3310 had sold 120 million units. In India, especially, it could create a stir as more than 55% of mobiles phones are still feature phones.

Tell me more: The new smartphones are priced between Rs 9,000 and Rs 21,000.

 

6.1-6.4%

What is it? The estimates of GDP growth for the third quarter of fiscal 2016-17, when demonetisation was in the full swing.

Why is it important? Surveys of economists by Mint and Reuterspoint to the slowdown caused by demonetisation. The last estimate from the Central Statistics Office of the full fiscal at 7.1% kept the cash-ban effect out of reckoning.

Tell me more: In the July-September quarter, GDP growth rose by 7.3%. International Monetary Fund recently projected 6.6% GDP growth rate for India in 2016-17.

 

9

What is it? People killed in the boat capsize in Tamil Nadu.

Why is it important? Another boat capsize in a little over a month since the Bihar tragedy. Avoidable deaths recur given India’s lax enforcement of water safety measures, mostly when boats not suited for the purpose are used and absence of life jackets onboard. In this case, while the cause remains undetermined, it is being reported that many died trapped in the fishing net inside the vessel, taking them on a joyride off Tuticorin, when it overturned. The boat was not meant for too many passengers.

Tell me more: Tamil Nadu had seen 22 persons killed in another capsize in 2011.

 

630

What is it? The number of generic drugs the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) approved in 2016.

Why is it important? The US is one of the largest pharmaceutical markets in the world and generic or unbranded drugs saved its healthcare system $1.68 trillion in the last 10 years. An increase in approvals would give a boost to its healthcare system. But more significantly, nearly 80% of the generic drugs originate or get made in countries like India and China. So, it would also spell a larger market for such drug manufacturers based in these countries. USFDA Approvals are up from 580 in 2015 and 146 in 2014.

Tell me more: India, of course, will have do better to gain from it, as many of the drug manufacturers ran into trouble due to their production units failing the USFDA standards.

 

6

What is it? The number of Academy Awards or the Oscars that La La Land won, out of 14 categories it had been nominated in.

Why is it important? The movie was in the running for matching/breaking the record of the most number of Oscars won by a movie, ie. 11 or more (Ben Hur, Titanic and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. However, with a vocal critic base the movie was not able to do so.

Tell me more: For a brief moment, the movie was declared the ‘Best Movie’, the ultimate prize at the Oscars and what would have been the movie’s seventh award of the evening. But it was the presenter’s mistake.

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