A costly waiver

Rs 30,500 crore

What is it? The amount Maharashtra government was set to waive off in farm loans, according to its chief minister last week.

Why is it important? The government has now said it would waive off all farm loans, in response to farmers’ unrest.  The final amount is yet to be confirmed, but the amount the government was willing to waive off represents over 98% of the state’s planned capital expenditure of Rs 31,006 crore. The promise of the waiver of all outstanding loan payments saw farmers end their strike of over a week.

Tell me more: The strike had seen destruction of farm and dairy produce, leading to a rise in prices in the state.

 

17.79 million-tonne

What is it? India’s fuel consumption in May, 2017.

Why is it important? The country’s fuel demand rose 5.4%, the most in the last six months. It had suffered a setback in January-March, when demand fell following demonetisation. The pickup began last month.

Tell me more: Diesel, which comprises 40% of the sales, rose 8% to 7.5 million-tonne, while petrol 15% to 2.4 million-tonne, in May, 2017 over last year.

 

4

What is it? The number of days of listing time for initial public offerings (IPOs), the markets regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) is considering.

Why is it important? It would be less than the present norm of six days taken to list a company on the stock exchanges from the end of bidding in an IPO. The reduction aims to cut the time for which investors’ money is locked in, a move Sebi had been mulling for a few years.

Tell me more: In 2015, the applications supported by blocked amount (Asba), a mandatory service for retail investors, was introduced cutting down listing times. It made banks debit the investment only after the stock allotment. By January, 2016, the time gap came down to six days from the earlier 12 days.

 

66

What is it? The number of items for which GST (Goods and Services Tax) Council has reduced tax rates.

Why is it important? The council was facing demands to reduce tax rates for 133 goods and services, and it’s an indicator of intense pressure it is facing as the government prepares to roll out GST from 1st July. The council also relaxed rules for more number of small and medium businesses – by increasing the the upper limit for the ‘composition scheme’ to Rs 75 lakh. Composition scheme exempts small businesses with a certain turnover from GST, and lets some of them pay GST at a concessional rate.

Tell me more: The items with reduced rates include some cinema tickets, insulin, instant food mixes and printers. GST council will meet again to clear the remaining issues – including e-way bills and lotteries – on June 18th.

 

$2.68 million

What is it? The amount an anonymous bidder will donate to a San Francisco charity to have lunch with billionaire Warren Buffett.

Why is it important? The bid amount is down from $3.46 million in 2016, also from an anonymous donor. Auctioned on ebay, Power Lunch with Warren Buffett has been garnering over a million dollars every year in the last ten years. The annual auctions began in 2000.

Tell me more: Glide, the charity, helps the homeless, homeless women and drug users  in San Francisco. Buffett has raised over 25 million for Glide in the 18 auctions so far.

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News in numbers, Jan 4, 2016: Pathankot terror attack, revenue from excise duty hikes…

 

Rs 10,000 crore

What is it? Additional revenue Indian government expects to earn in 2015-16 from hikes in excise duty on petrol and diesel.

 

Why is it important? It will partially help in covering for the shortfall in revenue from disinvestments in public sector units (PSUs) and direct tax collections. The government had aimed to raise Rs 69,500 crore from selling shares in PSUs but managed to mop up just over 18% or Rs 12,700 crore so far. Between April and November 2015, the direct tax collections was less than half (46.26%) of the budgeted target of Rs 7.97 lakh crore in 2015-16.

 

Tell me more: The government on Saturday increased excise duty on petrol by Rs 0.37 per litre and by Rs 2 per litre on diesel. This is the third hike in 2015-16 and since November 2014, the seventh. The three excise duty hikes translate to a total increase of Rs 2.27 per litre on petrol and Rs 3.47 a litre on diesel.

 

2-1

 

What is it? India’s score in the 11th edition of the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship. India beat defending champion Afghanistan on Sunday.

 

Why is it important? With this win, India has lifted the SAFF cup for the seventh time. This is also likely to have an impact on India’s position in the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) rankings to be released on January 7. From 121 in 2001, India’s ranking has slid to 166 currently, reaching a low of 171 in 2014 since the start of the new millennium.

 

Tell me more: India had lost to Afghanistan 0-2 in the final match of the 2013 edition.

 

$522 billion

 

What is it? Estimated global oil and gas investments in 2016, according to Oslo-based consultancy Rystad Energy.

 

Why is it important? If this happens, it would be the lowest in six years. In 2015, global investments in this sector had seen a 22% fall to $595 billion. This would also be the first time that there may be a decline in investments for two straight years since the 1986 oil crash, according to Bjoernar Tonhaugen, vice president of oil and gas markets at Rystad Energy . One of the major fallouts of this is the loss of jobs. In November last year, the number of job losses in oil and gas companies had crossed the 250,000 mark worldwide, according to industry consultant, Graves & Co.

 

Tell me more: Crude oil prices fell 35% in 2015 and are expected to decline even further in 2016. A combination of factors — global glut, suppliers refusing to cut down on production and engaging in price war to attract customers — are responsible for the rapid decline in oil prices.

 

7

 

What is it? Number of military personnel killed in a terrorist attack on Pathankot air base situated in Punjab, about 30 km from the Pakistan border. As many as 20 have been wounded.

 

Why is it important? Raises questions about security lapses and how the terrorists managed to enter the air base undetected. This is the second attack on Punjab after the Gurdaspur district attack in July 2015 that killed 10 people including the Gurdaspur Superintendent of Police. In the latest terror attack, militants disguised as soldiers, stormed the base a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid an impromptu visit to his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif. Four terrorists have been reportedly killed and two more are said to be holed up at the base.

 

Tell me more: The government claimed the operation successful on Saturday but fresh attacks on Sunday, it said the operation was not over yet.

 

160 million

 

What is it? Number of one rupee notes issued in 2014-15 and 2015-16 so far by the government.

 

Why is it important? The cost of printing a one rupee note at Rs 1.14, exceeds its value – and the life of a paper note is 9 to 10 months. It’s a reason why currencies of lower denominations tend to be in coins. The government had stopped issuing one rupee notes between 1995-96 and 2013-14.

 

Tell me more: In 2014-15, a total of five million notes of one rupee denomination and in the current fiscal year, 155 million notes were introduced in the market.

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News In Numbers – July 28

News In Numbers: July 28

 

13%

Percentage of assets owned by foreign institutional investors (FIIs) through participatory notes as of March 2014, according to India’s capital market regulator. One of the reasons given for the fall in share prices yesterday was that the Supreme Court-appointed SIT on black money had suggested greater scrutiny of participatory notes by the regulator. Participatory notes essentially allow foreign investors to trade in the Indian capital market without disclosing their identity to authorities. It is suspected that this lower benchmark, besides easing processes for foreign investors, also facilitates the flow of tainted money into Indian markets.

 

6

India’s rank out of 124 countries in the Global Terrorism Index 2014. Slotting in behind Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria, India recorded a score of 7.86 on a scale of 0-10 (with 10 being the highest) and accounted for 2.2% of global terrorist deaths. Between 2004 and 2015 (till July 19), there were 64,392 terrorism-related fatalities in India, with civilians and security force personnel accounting for 38.1% and 15% of deaths, respectively, the rest being terrorists. India witnessed its latest terror attack on Monday, in Punjab, when terrorists in army uniform fired at a moving bus and attacked a police station. The 12-hour gun battle resulted in 10 deaths, including that of all three terrorists.

 

8.5%

The Central government, public sector banks and paramilitary forces recruited 9,303 people from minority communities (non-Hindu communities) in 2014-15 or 8.5% of total recruitments. About 60% of hirings were by public sector banks and financial institutions, while paramilitary forces accounted for 25%. According to the 2001 Census, minority communities — including Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Parsis — formed 19.4% of the Indian population. The government is yet to publish the 2011 census figures on religion.

 

131

India’s consumer confidence score in The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions for the second quarter of 2015, the highest among all countries and a level last recorded by India in 2011. The latest survey score is despite 50% of respondents in the online survey feeling that India was still in an economic recession. The consumer confidence survey conducted by India’s central bank in March 2015 in six metro cities had shown 80% of the 5,400 respondents saying they were inclined to spend more.

 

160

The number of licenses of petrol and diesel retail outlets that have been terminated across India for malpractices such as under-measurement and adulteration of transport fuels between April 2012 and June 2015. During this period, the three state-run oil companies — IOC, HPCL and BPCL — have found 3,516 retail outlets guilty of under-measuring fuels and 195 units of adulteration. Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Maharashtra lead in such malpractices. Between April 2011 and September 2014, these companies terminated the licenses of 193 outlets.

 

 

 

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