Google’s trust issues

2.42 billion Euro

What is it? The fine imposed by European antitrust authorities on Google for having used its dominant search engine to direct traffic to its shopping comparison service.

Why is it important? Order will benefit non-Google price comparison service providers who lost out because of Google’s practice of promoting its own service ahead of generic search results. The fine amount is the largest imposed by any antitrust body.

Tell me more: European Commission found traffic to Google’s own shopping service increased manifold (45% in the United Kingdom), whereas rival websites have witnessed sudden drop in traffic (85% in the United Kingdom).

 

Rs 2,199 crore

What is it? The title sponsorship fee for five years of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the league T20 cricketing tournament. BBK Electronics-owned Vivo won the bid.

Why is it important? The Chinese phone brand retained its sponsorship rights with the bid, which it won after PepsiCo withdrew in 2015 following corruption charges in IPL. The earlier Vivo contract was for Rs 200 crore for two years. The current one marks a 340% average yearly jump, while BCCI says it is a 554% jump over the previous contract.

Tell me more: Vivo beat sister company, Oppo whose bid was worth Rs 1,432 crore.

 

2 billion

What is it? The number of monthly active users on Facebook, the largest social networking site, which it reached late on Tuesday night.

Why is it important? The number of users, who have logged onto Facebook or its Messenger app at least once in the last one month, is more than the population of any country and even more than that of six continents, except Asia.

Tell me more: Facebook’s new users are growing at 17%, fast for a 13-year-old Internet company and 66% of its monthly users return daily, up from 55% when it had touched 1 billion users.

5%

What is it? The maximum holding of any non-promoter investor can have in Reliance Industries (RIL), after the company gets shareholders’ approval on July 21.

Why is it important? RIL will have to take this step in order to meet the central bank’s terms and conditions before starting its payments bank. It owns 70% stake in the new venture, with State Bank of India holding 30%. The central bank’s prior permission is needed if non-promoters increase equity stake beyond 5%.

Tell me more: RIL plans to amend its Articles of Association at the annual general meeting. The state insurer, Life Insurance Corporation of India holds 8.31% in RIL.

 

25

What is it? The number of government departments to be completely computerised in the next few days.

Why is it important? With 100% digitisation, these departments will turn into e-offices with electronic record-keeping, doing away with unwieldy physical records and obsolete papers. The government’s efforts at digitising records have already resulted in 462,000 e-files, compared to last year’s 8,000.

Tell me more: The cumbersome processes of affidavits and attestation have been done away with in 58 central ministries/departments and 33 states and union territories.

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News in Numbers, Jan 31, 2017: Merger on the airwaves

Rs 78,000 crore

What is it? The estimated combined revenue of a proposed merger of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular.

Why is it important? The all-share merger will create India’s largest telecom company, larger than the Rs-50,008-crore-earning Bharti Airtel. Debt on both the companies’ books and likely losses incurred from the tariff-reduction race started by Reliance Jio are being seen as triggers for the move. It looks like a much needed consolidation boost in the 22-circle Indian telecom market, as seen from the stock gains of Indian telecom operators yesterday ranging 8-10% with Idea gaining a record 26%.

Tell me more: The merged entry would still have to address, in many markets, the telecom regulator’s anti-monopoly restrictions of owning no more than 50% of spectrum in a band and 25% of available spectrum in a circle (or geographic market).

 

1 day

What is it? Number of days to go before the RBI-mandated daily ATM withdrawal limit of Rs 10,000 is removed, from February 1.

Why is it important? The first sign of reverting to pre-demonetisation days of cash management was made with RBI’s circular removing the ATM limit. Two weeks ago, RBI signalled its ease in handling cash by expanding the limit to Rs 10,000 from Rs 4,500. The Rs 24,000-weekly limit on savings-bank withdrawal, however, stays put, but restrictions on  current account, cash credit and overdraft accounts will be removed.

Tell me more: RBI mentions the savings-bank limit is under consideration for withdrawal in the “near future”. Banks can use their discretion to set their own operating limits at ATMs as was the practice before old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes were withdrawn.

 

42

What is it? The number of cases the Income Tax (IT) departmentregistered nationwide under the recently-enforced Benami Transactions Act.

Why is it important? Warnings in public advertisements by the IT department against depositing unaccounted old currency in someone else’s bank account anonymously are materialising now. The BenamiAct’s section 24 has been invoked for 87 notices, for attaching bank accounts with crores of rupees of such dubious deposits and an immovable property.

Tell me more: These cases, if proven true, would attract a heavy penalty and a rigorous jail-term of a maximum of seven years.

 

4

What is it? The number of new administrators appointed by the Supreme Court to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

Why is it important? The neutral committee headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), and the current Chairman of Banks Board Bureau, Vinod Rai, will pave the path to reform the embattled BCCI, richest sporting body in India and the most profitable cricket board in the world. The team, with a mix of financial acumen, social perspective and cricketing enthusiasm, is tasked with bringing in accounting rigour and good governance to a body mired in controversies, the latest being its earlier president and secretary sacked on January 3. It would also finalise the Indian Premier League’s 10th edition besides reporting on the Lodha panel recommendations to the court.

Tell me more: The other members are Vikram Limaye, managing director and CEO of IDBI Bank; former Indian women’s cricket captain Diana Edulji; and historian and writer Ramchandra Guha. Limaye will represent BCCI in an ICC meeting in February. The committee has no term limit.

 

650

What is it? The number of branches of the India Post Payments Bank(IPPB) to be set up by September, 2017.

Why is it important? The IPPB will locate these branches in postal district headquarters which would enable all the post office branches under those head offices to be served by the payments bank. With India Post’s envious branch network of no less than 155,000 post offices, expanding its reach should be one of IPPB’s easiest tasks.  It would let enabled post offices accept limited deposits at a maximum interest of 5.5% and offer payment services but not offer loans, unlike commercial banks.

Tell me more: The IPPB joins Airtel Payments Bank, offering 7.25% on savings, in a new financial services category, with more players to come.

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News in Numbers, May 25, 2016: Non-functional ATMs, world’s first 3D printed office…

3

What is it? The number of companies that have withdrawn from launching payments banks.

Why is it important? That is three out of 11 payment banks which got the RBI’s approval, and the withdrawal highlights some of its limitations: payments banks cannot lend, there are restrictions on deposit deployment, and, more importantly, might not find a strategic fit with a group’s other businesses. The companies which have said no to payment banks are: Cholamandalam Investment and Finance Co., Sun Pharma promoter Dilip Shanghvi and his partners (IDFC Bank and Telenor Financial Services) and Tech Mahindra.

Tell me more: Reliance Industries, Aditya Birla Nuvo, Vodafone and Airtel are among 11 companies that received in-principle approval from the central bank to set up payment banks last August.

 

10.7%

What is it? The pass percentage of Indian students with foreign medical degrees in the screening test that allows them to practice in India in 2015.

Why is it important? Indicates the urgent need to increase number of seats for medical courses in India and the lack of awareness among students about low standards of medical education in some colleges abroad. The pass percentage was 50.12% in 2005, which fell to an all-time low of 4.93% in 2014. With just 52,000 seats for MBBS courses and 25,577 post-graduate medical seats in India, students look to other countries such as China, Ukraine and Russia where medical courses are said to be cheaper.

Tell me more: The screening test called the Foreign Medical Graduates Examination is conducted by the Medical Council of India through the National Board of Examinations, where one needs at least 50% to pass.

 

33%

What is it? The percentage of automated teller machines (ATMs) that were found to be non-functional, of the 4,000 surveyed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently.

Why is it important? If this is a representative sample, then a whopping 65,000 ATMs (as per February data) in India are out of order. Highlights the high cost of maintaining ATMs where footfalls are low – a likely reason why the banks have failed to keep them in order.

Tell me more: RBI’s deputy governor SS Mundra has warned the banks of penal action for non-compliance of RBI rules with respect to ATMs.

 

6

What is it? The number of months by which e-commerce firm Flipkart has deferred the joining date of six Indian Institute of Management (IIM) graduates.

Why is it important? Flipkart has attributed this to corporate restructuring. It signals wider problems the company is facing. It is growing slower than expectations, in the wake of increased competition, especially from Amazon India. It has reportedly slashed its hiring and is cutting down on discounts and advertising.

Tell me more: Flipkart expanded its workforce at a rapid pace earlier: from 14,000 to 35,000 (at the end of December 2015) in 12-18 months.

 

17

What is it? The number of days it took to build a 3D-printed office in Dubai, in addition to two days to install it on site.

Why is it important? This is the world’s first functioning 3D-printed office, which cost about $140,000. The technique used to build this structure could cut down building time by 50-70% and labour costs by 50-80% and a quarter of the buildings in Dubai would be printed by 2030, according to a United Arab Emirates Minister. This could well signal the beginning of a revolutionary change the construction industry might undergo.

Tell me more: A 3D printer, which is 20-feet high, 120 feet long and 40-feet wide, was used to print the building with a floorspace of about 2,700 sq.ft. using a special mixture of cement and a set of building material (designed in the UAE and the US). It took 18 people to put up the structure – one to monitor the printer, seven to install the building components and 10 to handle the electrical and mechanical engineering aspects.

 

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