News in Numbers, May 13, 2016: Maggi yet to regain lost glory, five-year plans to end…

Rs 259 crore

What is it? Nestle India’s net profit in the three months ended March 2016, down 19.6% from Rs 320 crore in the same period a year ago.

Why is it important? The firm has attributed the slide to the ban of its popular snack Maggi noodles last month for nearly six months, pointing to the fact that it is yet to recover the lost market share last year. The snack, which accounted for nearly a third of its total sales in 2014, commanded an 80.2% of market share in instant noodles segment in the first quarter of 2015, which is now at 50%.

Tell me more: The company’s net sales declined by 8.4% to Rs 2,296 crore in the first quarter of 2016. Popular yoga guru Baba Ramdev has said that Patanjali noodles would overtake Maggi as the top noodles brand and that their production of ‘atta’ (wheat) noodles would be increased from the current 100 tonnes to 300-500 tonnes, without specifying a time frame.


Rs 13 lakh crore

What is it? The estimated stressed assets, a fifth of total bank loans, in the Indian banking system, according to a director at India Ratings and Research, Fitch’s Indian affiliate.

Why is it important? If true, then this indicates that the situation is worse than acknowledged by the bankers – at the end of December, the total stressed assets was over Rs 8 lakh crore. This is likely to hurt the banks’ profitability even further and restrict credit growth, which could affect economic growth – again leading to defaults and slowdown in production.

Tell me more: This would make it difficult for banks, especially the public sector ones, to raise capital, putting additional burden on government finances. The central bank has directed the banks to clean up their balance sheets by March 2017. Stressed assets include bad loans, restructured assets and written-off assets.



What is it? The number of Indian cities among the top 10 most polluted in the world, according to World Health Organization (WHO).

Why is it important? Though this number has come down from six to four and also, Delhi has been pushed to the 11th spot from the top, smaller cities such as Gwalior (second), Allahabad (third) and Raipur (seventh) have recorded higher air pollution levels. Some measures taken in the recent times such as not allowing pre-2000 trucks into the city have helped reduce pollution levels in Delhi. This calls for a concerted national plan to reduce pollution levels across cities.

Tell me more: According to a research, 5.5 million die prematurely due to the effects of air pollution globally and India accounts for a fourth of such deaths.



What is it? The number of years for which India’s vision documents would be reportedly prepared, replacing the current 5-year plans.

Why is it important? This would have a bearing on the way policies are framed and implemented, hopefully leading to a long-term focus on issues. According to unnamed officials, the 15-year vision documents would also deal with internal security, defence and external security – in addition to social and economic issues, which the five-year plans largely focus on.

Tell me more: The new plans include a seven-year National Development Agenda, which would outline the schemes, strategies and programmes to achieve the 15-year-vision. The seven-year agenda would be reviewed every three years to ensure it is aligned with financial resources. The current 12th year plan ends by March 2017 and the 15-year vision plans would be implemented from 2017-18.



What is it? The stake in Mitsubishi Motors Corp that Nissan Motor Company has agreed to buy for $2.2 billion.

Why is it important? This makes Nissan the scandal-hit company’s single-largest shareholder with Mitsubishi group companies’ stake coming down to 22.4% from 34% earlier. This deal assuages Mitsubishi’s viability concerns, which augurs better for the 7,777 companies and 410,000 people it deals with (estimates by Teikoku Databank, a corporate credit research firm).

Tell me more: A few days ago, Mitsubishi admitted to having tampered with the fuel economy data of cars sold in Japan for the last 25 years, including some sold to Nissan.

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News in numbers, Nov 17, 2015: Indian students’ contribution to US economy, prices of pulses…


What is it? The number of times, in nine auction rounds, the bids per oil and gas block on offer by India has averaged below 2, according to research by The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. The same research cited the US average between 1954 and 1999 to be between 2.66 and 3.96.

Why is it important? The interest of global players in Indian oil and gas exploration has ranged from tepid to poor. One reason has been the policy construct that revolved around cost-recovery, as opposed to revenue-sharing. A draft paper released by the petroleum ministry on Monday recommended a move to revenue-sharing, as well as output pricing freedom.

Tell me more: In the last round of auctions, held in 2010, the government received 74 bids for 34 blocks, with 8 foreign and 29 Indian companies either bidding by themselves or in partnership.




Rs 5,500 cr

What is it? The reported drop in valuations of unlisted ICICI Prudential Life Insurance in the past 12 months or so. On Monday, its parent ICICI Bank announced the sale of 6% of its shareholding in the life insurer to Premji Invest and Temasek in a deal that valued the entire company at Rs 32,500 crore. Back in December 2014, the same was reportedly valued at Rs 38,000 crore.

Why is it important? It is a measure of the business environment for life insurance companies in India becoming tougher. After three consecutive years of decline in premiums collected, ICICI Prudential registered a 23% increase in premiums collected in 2014-15.

Tell me more: ICICI Prudential is India’s second-largest insurer and the largest among private players.


$ 3.6 billion

What is it? The estimated contribution to the economy of the US in academic year 2014-15 by students from India pursuing some form of higher education there, according to the US Department of Commerce.

Why is it important? India is the second largest source of foreign students in the US, after China. In 2014-15, 132,888 students from India were studying in the US, an increase of 29.4% over the previous year, which follows three years of decline, shows data released on Monday.

Tell me more: The 2014-15 breakup of Indian students in the US is: 12.4% undergraduate, 64% graduate, 1.4% other and 22.1% optional practical training.


Rs 15

What is it? The price of a 70 gm packet of Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali atta noodles, launched on Monday, undercutting the erstwhile market leader by about 30%.

Why is it important? Ramdev’s latest FMCG product launch comes on the same day the Indian food regulator moved the Supreme Court against the dismissal of its order by a lower court to ban Nestle’s popular Maggi instant noodles for allegedly containing lead beyond permissible limits. It also comes just a week after Nestle reintroduced Maggi noodles after a five-month ban; its atta variant was selling online at Rs 20 per 80 gm packet.

Tell me more: Besides its existing facility in Haridwar in Uttarakhand, Patanjali Ayurved plans to set up six more manufacturing plants to make these noodles, which carry the tag line ‘jhatpat banao’ (make it quickly).



What is it? The increase in wholesale prices of pulses in October over the corresponding month of 2014, the second-highest among all commodities, after onion.

Why is it important? Unlike onion, which is cooling off, prices of pulses are showing no sign of abating. In the months from May to October, the year-on-year increase in prices of pulses has ranged from 23% to 53%, due to declining production and higher global prices. According to a recent Crisil research report, pulses are the second-most important part of an Indian food palette, after cereals, with an average Indian household spending 5% of their monthly budget on it.

Tell me more: Pulses apart, prices at the wholesale level fell in October on a year-on-year basis by 3.8%, for the 12th straight month.

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