Erosion In Farm Incomes



What is it? The erosion in farm income in unirrigated areas due to extreme temperature and rainfall events, induced by climate change, in a scenario where there are no policy responses, according to forecasting by the Economic Survey 2017-18, released yesterday.

Why is it important? In the backdrop of this government’s tall promise to double farm incomes by 2022, it drives home two points: the impact of climate change on agri yields and the imperative to help farmers with irrigation, even as groundwater resources deplete. According to the Survey, the area irrigated was about 40%, with parts of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand vulnerable to climate change on account of not being well-irrigated.

Tell me more: The Survey preface contained a section titled ‘ten new facts on the Indian economy’, which chronicled an increase in taxpayers after the twin policy moves of demonetisation and GST (goods and services tax).


$300 million

What is it? The amount of money from 21 loans extended by financial services major Religare Enterprises to seemingly independent companies that was routed to private entities belonging to Religare promoters, Malvinder Singh and Shivinder Singh.

Why is it important? This information, quoted from a central bank investigation of the companies 2015-16 accounts, is part of a lawsuit filed by a private equity firm against the Singh brothers, accusing them of “diversion, siphoning and digression of assets”. Although Religare has denied the allegations, it opens up another front against the Singh brothers, who are battling debt and legal troubles that date back to their sale of pharma company Ranbaxy to Daiichi Sankyo in 2008.

Tell me more: The suit has been filed by Siguler Guff & Company, which manages over $10 billion in assets and has a 6% stake in Religare Finvest.


Rs 300 crore

What is it? The value of secondary share sales made by about 100 former and current employees of Paytm in the digital payments and e-commerce unicorn. About 20-25 Paytm employees made over $1 million each.

Why is it important? In the last two months, this is the second such instance of a significant number of holders of employee stock options (ESOPs) in an unlisted Internet business cashing in, the other being in Flipkart. For Paytm itself, this was the third time it has enabled such a transaction in the last two years. Such exits will lend ESOPs greater legitimacy as a compensation tool in the startup ecosystem.

Tell me more: In the latest share sales, Paytm was valued at $10 billion, which is $3 billion more than what its valuation in March 2017, when it received a funding round from Softbank.



What is it? The percentage of electoral trust funding that went to BJP in 2016-17. Of the total amount of Rs 325 crore, the BJP received Rs 290 crore.

Why is it important? With a general election due in the next 18 months, there’s been an increase in the total amount distributed by electoral trusts, as well as an increase in the share of the ruling partywithin that. In 2014-15, the previous instance of a sizeable outgo from electoral trusts, the BJP received 62% of the Rs 177 crore. Even so,

Tell me more: In 2016-17, the highest contribution was from Prudent Electoral Trust, formerly Satya Electoral Trust (Rs 283.7 crore), and donors to it included DLF (Rs 28 crore), UPL (Rs 25 crore) and JSW Energy (Rs 25 crore).


148 kph

What is it? The speed of a short ball delivered by all-rounder Jofra Archer while playing for the Hobart Hurricanes in a Big Bash League match.

Why is it important? Archer’s stock in T20 leagues is on the rise. After a stirring performance at Hobart, the past four days have seen the 22-year-old being picked by Rajasthan Royals for Rs 11.25 croreand then yesterday by the Quetta Gladiators in the Pakistan Super League

Tell me more: Archer, a West Indian by birth, he has chosen to take the qualification route to play international cricket for England, but he won’t be eligible till 2022, when he will be 27. Meanwhile, in 37 T20 matches, he has compiled noticeable records with the bat and the ball, and is also an athletic fielder.

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GM drives away


What is it? The number of items of goods and services for which taxation rates have been fixed by the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council – a forum for finance ministers from the states and the centre.

Why is it important? The agreement on taxation rates is a step forward to implementing the GST, which brings most taxes under a single tax, from July 1. The central government claims the rates would not fuel inflation, as overall incidence of taxation would be lower compared to current rates. Food items like cereals will not attract GST.

Tell me more: There are five rates of taxation (zero, 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%) and more than three-fifths of the goods and services will be taxed at 18% and 28%.



$1.4 billion

What is it? The amount of money raised by One97 Communications Ltd, the parent company of Paytm, from Japan-based SoftBank Group Corp.

Why is it important? The funding is the largest funding round by a single investor in India. The investment will help Paytm to build its payments bank, which will be launched later this month. Paytm plans to invest Rs 10,000 crore over the next three to five years, and acquire 500 million customers.

Tell me more: The latest investment values One97 at $7 billion, an increase of $1 billion in less than two months. In March this year, three existing investors sold 4.3% equity stake at a valuation of $6 billion.



17 million

What is it? The number of user records of Zomato, a food technology start-up, stolen by hackers and put up on sale online.

Why is it important? The breach reflects weak protection of consumer data by Zomato, which claims to have 120 million monthly user visits. Email addresses and hashed passwords (not the actual ones entered by users) were stolen by hackers. Zomato has reset passwords for all affected accounts.

Tell me more: Zomato has agreed to start a bug bounty programme, where people receive recognition and money for reporting bugs and security gaps, at Hackerone — a digital platform for bounty programmes.



20 years

What is it? General Motors will stop selling of cars in India by this year-end, after entering India almost 20 years back.

Why is it important? GM has 5,000 employees in India. In addition, there are 150 dealerships and 200 service centres. Each showroom and service service centre employs around 50 people. The resale value of Chevrolet cars is likely to decline sharply after this announcement.

Tell me more: The American company says it will continue the technical centre in Bengaluru and the Talegaon plant in Maharashtra, which will be used to export cars from India.



Rs 15.06 crore

What is it? The amount spent by the Akhilesh Yadav government in Uttar Pradesh in organising functions to distribute Rs 20.58 crore worth of unemployment assistance, between 2012 and 2013.

Why is it important? The amount has to be deposited directly into the beneficiaries accounts as per the rules of the scheme. The disproportionate expenses in organising the functions were revealed in an audit report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

Tell me more: Unemployed people in the age group of 30-40 years with family income less than Rs 36,000 were eligible to receive Rs 1,000 per month under this scheme.

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Rudeness as a marketing strategy

$50 million – $90 million

What is it? The amount Paytm might pay to acquire rival Freecharge from Snapdeal, according to reports.

Why is it important? E-commerce firm Snapdeal had acquired Freecharge for $400 million in 2015. Freecharge is e-wallets business, widely considered to be vulnerable to other payment options such as UPI, where it faces intense competition from rivals. Besides, even at the time of acquisition, there were concerns that Snapdeal might have overvalued Freecharge.

Tell me more: Paytm is in talks with Softbank to raise $1.9 billion at a valuation of $8 billion to $9 billion. Softbank owns 33% in Snapdeal. In its latest earnings report, Softbank said it has written down the value of its investments in Snapdeal and Ola by $1.4 billion.



What is it? The number of employees Tech Mahindra, the country’s fifth largest IT company, might fire.

Why is it important? Three of its four bigger rivals are already said to cut headcount, suggesting that this could be a season of layoffs in the sector. News about layoffs at Cognizant, Infosys and Wipro have hit the headlines in the last few days. TCS, India’s largest IT firm, is in the process of conducting performance appraisals – and hasn’t given any indication that it would follow suit.

Tell me more: As the news of layoffs spread, it’s gaining a political colour as an industry body sought government intervention in Tamil Nadu, one of the key hubs of IT majors. Telangana labour department is to meet Cognizant officials today over layoffs.


500 million

What is it? The number of machines that are running Windows 10 operating system.

Why is it important?  While the number is impressive, it’s lower than what Microsoft expected to achieve. The behemoth which controls about 85% of market share in desktop operating system was aiming to reach 1 billion active installations by 2018. Even by last year, it was clear it would fall short.

Tell me more:  According to one estimate, Windows, across various versions, has 84.14% market share followed by Mac OX (11.6%) and Linux (1.53%)



What is it? The percentage growth in the number of passengers United Airlines flew in April 2017 compared to April last year.

Why is it important? A widely reported PR disaster – which followed after a passenger was violently deplaned – seems to have had no impact on its business. Its share price which took a beating in the following days is higher than what it was the day before the incident.

Tell me more: Meanwhile, there is a constant flow of reports on complaints by United passengers on various issues.


Rs 451.75 crore

What is it? The amount central government owes to Air India, the state owned carrier, as on March 31, 2017.

Why is it important? The amount mostly relates to use of its chartered planes by the prime minister, president and vice president for their official visits. The biggest chunk of unpaid dues is Rs 206.19 crore towards 22 visits made by vice president in the years 2008 to 2017.

Tell me more: Recently, Air India came under fire after Comptroller and Auditor General revealed that the carrier understated its operating losses by nearly $1 billion over financial years 2012-13 to 2014-15.

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Press gagged?

Rs 2,052 crore

What is it? The value of the two post-dated cheques accepted by the Supreme Court from Sahara group, as an assurance of payment.

Why is it important? The amount is 18% of the Rs 11,169 crore sum still due to Sebi towards paying Sahara’s investors. The court has allowed both the auction of Sahara’s star property, Aamby Valley, and repayment through cheques. It fixed Aamby Valley’s reserve price at Rs 37,392 crore.

Tell me more: The court warned Sahara chief, Subrata Roy, present in the court, about being sent back to jail if the cheques bounced.




What is it? The number of oil and gas discoveries by the state-owned refiner Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) in FY17.

Why is it important? This is a jump of 35% from FY16 (17 discoveries). ONGC has struck liquid gold at a time when global oil discoveries fell to a record low (in 2016), according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Tell me more: The discoveries were a mix of both inland and offshore wells.




What is it? India’s rank  in the World Press Freedom Index, brought out by Reporters without Borders, this year.

Why is it important? India has slipped in the rankings, from the 133rd position last year. The organisation recognises the reasons as Hindu nationalists trying to root out so-called ‘anti-national’ thoughts from any public debate, driving more self-censorship among the media. According to the report, threats of dire violence have also manifested in local journalists being targets of armed forces at the behest of the Union government.

Tell me more: Norway, Sweden and Finland ranked the highest in press freedom, with the first two moving up in rank.



Re 1

What is it? Potential ticket size of gold purchase on Paytm.

Why is it important? Gold price per gram is Rs 2730 as on Wednesday. Paytm has announced that customers can buy gold for as less as Re 1, which is made possible because of unbundling and aggregation that can happen with digital products. Called Digital Gold, the product is launched by Paytm with a  tie up with MMTC-PAMP India.

Tell me more: One97, which owns Paytm, is also reportedly talking to Softbank to raise $1.9 billion, which would make it the largest fund raise in a single round in India in venture capital space.



< $10,000

What is it? The compensation United Airlines would give to passengers who are asked to give up their seats in overbooked flights.

Why is it important? The policy comes on the back of United facing a public relations disaster after it violently removed a passenger from one of its planes to accommodate crew members. While the degree of violence made that case exceptional, bumping passengers from overbooked flights are more common in airlines, and the compensation could set a new standard for such situations.

Tell me more: United also reached a settlement with Dr. David Dao who was dragged out of the plane.

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