Soured Loans, Shrinking Profits

Rs 1,650 crore

What is it? The net profit of ICICI Bank in the October-December 2017 quarter, a drop of 32.4% from Rs 2,441 crore in the same period a year ago.

Why is it important? This is the lowest net profit posted by India’s second-largest private bank in seven quarters, as provisions for soured loans grew on an annual basis and it reported lower treasury income. However, gross additions to bad loans was Rs 4,380 crore, the lowest in nine quarters. According to the bank’s MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar, provisions against bad loans are likely to remain at higher levels in the next quarter as well owing to stressed accounts undergoing insolvency proceedings and ageing bad loans.

Tell me more: ICICI Bank said it has an exposure of Rs 10,061 crore to the 18 accounts that feature in the Reserve Bank of India’s second list of stressed assets that may go to bankruptcy court.


Rs 4

What is it? The revised transaction charge to port a mobile number from one telecom operator to another, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

Why is it important? This has been slashed from Rs 19 earlier. The telecom regulator cited an increase in the volume of mobile number portability (MNP) requests and a substantial reduction in the cost of operations of MNP service providers for this decision. There has been a huge upsurge in the volume of porting requests since June 3, 2015, when MNP was allowed across India. Cumulative MNP requests stood at 331 million in November 2017, against 315 million in October 2017.

Tell me more: The total number of active wireless subscribers in November 2017 was 1.006 billion.


Rs 3,500 crore

What is it? The amount the Delhi High Court on Wednesday allowed Daiichi Sankyo to recover from former Ranbaxy Laboratories promoters Malvinder Singh and Shivinder Singh.

Why is it important? This refers to an arbitration award that the Japanese drugmaker had won against the Singh brothers in the Singapore Tribunal in 2016, which the Delhi Court said is enforceable in India. Daiichi had argued that the brothers had concealed important information while selling Ranbaxy in 2008. Daiichi will file an application with the court for the execution of the award where it would seek for the sale of shares and assets held by firms controlled by the brothers, which include Fortis Healthcare and Religare Enterprises. The Singh brothers can appeal in the Supreme Court.

Tell me more: The single-judge bench of Justice Jayant Nath of the Delhi High Court said Daiichi can claim the amount from the Singh brothers and their companies, but not from their children, which is seen as a “partial success” by the brothers.



What is it? The survival rate among Indian women diagnosed with breast cancer between 2010 and 2014, according to a study released by medical journal Lancet on Wednesday.

Why is it important? Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Indian women. While the latest released survival rate is an improvement over the 59.1% for 2005 to 2009, it is markedly lower than the survival rates in developed countries: for example, the survival rate for breast cancer was 85.6% in the UK and 89.5% in Australia in the latest period of study.

Tell me more: The Lancer study says that “survival trends are generally increasing, even for some of the more lethal cancers: in some countries, survival has increased by up to 5% for cancers of the liver, pancreas, and lung”.


Rs 220 crore

What is it? The reported worldwide theatre collections of Padmaavat, the Sanjay Leela Bhansali film, in the first week of its release.

Why is it important? The film faced a mountain of problems, with Rajput outfits protesting against its release, some of which even turned violent. The film has not been screened in four BJP-ruled states, with members of the Multiplex Association of India deciding to do so despite a Supreme Court ruling that prohibits states from banning a film. Despite these odds, the film, which reportedly had a budget of Rs 180 crore, has collected Rs 143 crore in India and Rs 76 crore overseas.

Tell me more: Padmaavat is Bhansali’s third film to top Rs 100 crore, the other two being Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela and Bajirao Mastani, which also featured Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh in lead roles.

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The Brunt Of Nature

2017 was the year when President Donald Trump refused to acknowledge the effects of global warming and moved to withdraw from the Paris Climate accord. Nature, probably didn’t like it. In the same year, the number of natural disasters spiked 20% on average versus the last 16 years. Global warming is real. There’s absolutely no denying that.


What is it? The number of states in which members of the Multiplex Association of India will not screen Padmaavat, the Sanjay Leela Bhansali period film that releases on Thursday.

Why is it important? The four states are Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Goa, all ruled by the BJP, which is also in power at the Centre. Protests against the film—led by the Shri Rajput Karni Sena, which is unhappy at the depiction of the Rajput community in the film—turned into acts of vandalism in several parts of the country yesterday, putting the spotlight on the inability of administrations to maintain the rule of law and raising fingers on their being complicit.

Tell me more: On Monday, three byelections are scheduled in Rajasthan: for the Lok Sabha seats of Alwar and Ajmer, and the assembly seat of Mandalgarh. The bypolls were necessitated by the death of the sitting MPs and MLA, all of them from the BJP.



What is it? The number of years for which Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav was sentenced to jail in a fodder scam case by a special CBI court in Ranchi on Wednesday. In addition, he has been fined Rs 5 lakh.

Why is it important? Of the total six cases relating to the fodder scam for which he is facing trial, Yadav has been convicted in the third one. This case relates to the fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 33.67 crore from Chaibasa (now, in Jharkhand) district treasury during 1992-93, when Yadav was the chief minister of Bihar. Yadav, who is currently serving time in Ranchi’s Birsa Munda jail after being pronounced guilty in the second fodder scam case, is unlikely to escape legal wrangles soon, as verdicts in the remaining cases are expected over the next few months.

Tell me more: Another former chief minister Jagannath Mishra has also been given the same punishment as Yadav in this case. A total of 50 accused in this case have been convicted and six are off the hook.


Rs 88,139 crore

What is it? The total amount the government said it will infuse in 20 public sector banks this fiscal, of which Rs 80,000 crore will be raised by the finance ministry through recapitalisation bonds and the rest provided as budgetary support.

Why is it important? This is the first tranche of the unprecedented two-year recapitalisation plan of Rs 2,11,000 crore the government had announced last October. The capital infusion would prop up public sector banks, which account for 87% of the banking system’s total bad loans as of September 30 (resulting in higher provisioning) and which also require additional capital to move towards the full implementation of Basel III norms. This is likely to spur lending and revive growth at a time when bad loans have reached record levels.

Tell me more: Public sector banks have raised Rs 10,312 crore so far this fiscal from sales of shares to external investors. This means the total recapitalisation will cross Rs 100,000 crore in 2017-18.



What is it? The total number of natural disaster events in 2017, according to a report by Aon Benfield. An event qualifies as a natural disaster in this study if it meets at least one of the defined set of criteria such as economic losses of at least $50 million, 10 fatalities, 50 injured people, an insured loss of $25 million, and 2,000 homes/structures damaged or claims filed.

Why is it important? This is 20% higher than the average of 275 recorded in the period of 2000-2016 and is the highest in seven years. The total economic losses due to natural disasters was $353 billion, the second-costliest year on record. 2017 also broke other records such as being the second-costliest year on record for natural-disaster insured losses, the costliest year ever for weather disasters and, thereby, also for insurers who provide protection against such catastrophes.

Tell me more: In 2017, nine of the 10 costliest insured loss events (including four that were severe weather-related) impacted the continental United States, which pulled out of the 2015 Paris climate accord last year. The region accounted for 51% and 63% of catastrophe losses and insured catastrophe losses, respectively, last year.


Rs 1286 crore

What is it? The loss declared by Idea Cellular, India’s third-largest telecom service provider, in the third quarter (October to December) of 2017-18.

Why is it important? This is Idea’s biggest-ever quarterly loss and its fifth consecutive one. The company, which is set to merge with Vodafone India to become India’s largest telecom company by subscribers, has been deeply affected by the price wars triggered by Reliance Jio, which has done in 16 months what Idea took 17 years to do. In the last quarter, the 57% cut in interconnection usage charge (IUC) by the telecom regulator also eroded Idea’s revenues by Rs 820 crore; overall, Idea’s revenues dropped 24% to Rs 6,551 crore.

Tell me more: Last week, Bharti Airtel, the fourth heavyweight in Indian telecom, declared its Q3 results, where it announced a 39% drop in net profit, showing the lingering effects of the Jio pressure.


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