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The 28-Hour Working Week

28 hours

What is it? The number of weekly working hours that 900,000 worker-members of IG Metall, a German labour union, can opt for up to two years, for a lower salary, before returning to the standard 35-hour week.

Why is it important? The pact covers 900,000 workers in the metals and electrical industries in a region where several top industrial groups of Germany are based, including Daimler and Bosch. More importantly, IG Metall agreements are seen as industry benchmarks in Germany, and similar pacts could be seen in other sectors also, giving a major victory to German workers for a better work-life balance.

Tell me more: According to the International Labour Organisation, in 2016, the mean working hours per week per employed person varied from 32 hours (Netherlands) to 50 hours (Qatar).

 

12 days

What is it? The number of days between Wall Street Journal publishing a story accusing Steve Wynn of a pattern of sexual misconduct over the years and him resigning as CEO and chairman of Wynn Resorts, late Tuesday.

Why is it important? The #MeToo movement has seen many women in the US come out about the sexual harassment they faced, but those complaints and experiences centred around Hollywood and famous women actors. While 76-year-old Wynn is a public figure, and founder and CEO of a listed company whose 2017 revenues were $6.1 billion, his accusers are not famous. Hence, his resignation is being seen as significant for gender relations in the existing power constructs.

Tell me more: Trading in the Wynn Macau stock on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange was halted yesterday. Since the WSJ story broke, shares of flagship Wynn Resorts are down 12%.

 

Rs 300 crore

What is it? The combined income declared by five of the seven national political parties (BJP and Congress are excluded here) for 2016-17.

Why is it important? According to a report released yesterday by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) had the highest income, of Rs 173.58 crore in 2016-17, a year in which Uttar Pradesh, the party’s main state of influence, went for elections. This illustrates how income of political parties tends to spike in the lead up to elections. However, BSP spent only 30% of this amount during the year. Grants/donations/contributions formed 40% of the income of these five parties.

Tell me more: The two highest income declarers of the previous year, BJP and Congress, are yet to declare their incomes for 2016-17, and were overdue more than three months.

 

6 months

What is it? The current duration for which India’s central bank has now held the repo rate—the key interest rate in the banking system—at 6%.

Why is it important? At the meeting of its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) yesterday, it expectedly chose to maintain status quo on interest rates. In its last few meetings, the government and industry were, at times, holding out for a cut. Such optimism was missing this time, with inflation on the rise, share markets in turmoil and the US signaling higher rates. The Reserve Bank of India yesterday warned about inflation, projecting a band of 5.1-5.6% for the Consumer Price Index in the first half of 2018-19.

Tell me more: Of the six members in the MPC, five voted in favour of holding rates, while one member, Michael Patra, wanted a 0.25 percentage point increase.

 

400

What is it? The number of dismissals effected by MS Dhoni in one-day internationals. He crossed the 400 mark yesterday when he stumped South Africa’s Aiden Markram off Kuldeep Yadav, in a match that India convincingly won.

Why is it important? Dhoni is only the fourth wicket-keeper, and the first Indian, to cross 400 dismissals in one-day internationals. Kumar Sangakkara leads with 482 dismissals, followed by Adam Gilchrist (472) and Mark Boucher (424). Among the four, Dhoni has the lowest average dismissals per innings, of 1.293.

Tell me more: It was telling that Dhoni’s 400th dismissal was a stumping. He leads all keepers in stumpings (106 dismissals), a testimony to the greater reliance on spin bowlers by India compared to some other sides.

 

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News In Numbers – August 19

News In Numbers: August 19

 

79.7%

The percentage of the total income of five national parties in 2013-14 whose sources are unknown. In all, Congress, CPM, BSP, NCP and CPI have declared a total income of Rs 845 crore in 2013-14. Among the top unknown sources of income, the sale of coupons dominated with 57%; the Congress and NCP collected Rs 485 crore, which is 57.5% of the cumulative income declared by the five parties. In November 2014, the Election Commission of India laid down certain guidelines with respect to the funding collected by political parties for elections and made it mandatory for them to submit audited reports to it. The only party to not submit its report is BJP, despite a deadline extension. Between 2004-05 and 2011-12, about 75% of the total income of these six national political parties came from funds whose sources are unknown.

 

43,818

The number of passengers affected by flight delays in July, according to the aviation regulator. About 60% of these passengers were flying Air India, while about 17% were on IndiGo. The number of people affected due to flight cancellations stood at 7,224 in July, of which nearly two-thirds had booked with Air India, Jet Airways and JetLite. They received a total of Rs 39.2 lakh compensation and other facilities. Domestic airlines carried 67.5 lakh passengers in July and Indigo continued to lead with a 35.8% market share

 

2

The number of funds of the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) launched by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday for start-ups and small firms. The India Aspiration Fund, with an initial corpus of Rs 2,000 crore, will invest in venture funds, who will subsequently invest in start-ups and micro and small enterprises (MSMEs). The other fund, called SIDBI Make in India Loan for Enterprises (SMILE), will provide soft-term loans and quasi-equity loans to MSMEs. India, which is the third largest start-up ecosystem in the world, is home to over 3,100 startups and there have been 300 venture capital and private equity and 225 angel investment deals worth over $2 billion. Ahmedabad has the highest paid-up capital of companies per person at Rs 961.

 

Rs 3,800

The proposed per capita spend on health by the government, from Rs 1,000 being spent at current prices. The government plans to increase public investment in health from 1.4% to 2.5% of India’s GDP by 2020. About 70% of this would be for primary healthcare, 20% in secondary healthcare and the remaining on tertiary healthcare. The government had slashed its 2014-15 budgetary allocation for health by about 20%. Also, since the BJP-led NDA government came to power in May 2014, India saw a cut of 20% in the National Health Mission and a 10% cut in the Integrated Child Development Services. Health budgets have remained under-utilised in the last few years in the country and India ranks 176 in terms of public health spend as a percentage of its GDP.

 

13%

The percentage of the total amount invested in the telecom sector in FY15 that went towards infrastructure. Department of Telecommunications Secretary Rakesh Garg has criticized telecom companies for spending most of their money in acquiring spectrum, and not investing adequately in infrastructure, leading to an increase in call drops. A total of Rs 1,34,000 crore was invested in the telecom sector in 2014-15. For the quarter ended December 2014, one in seven 2G mobile networks and one in six 3G networks in India exceeded the benchmark rate of 3% for call drops (service provider is unable to maintain connectivity). Telecom companies have been maintaining that these call drops are mainly because of spectrum and tower shortages, though Garg hit back at them saying this has got nothing to do with the closing down of tower sites. The government has asked the telecom regulator to check if telecom companies are making undue gains from call drops.

 

 

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