Chart of the Day | Tenure of Reserve Bank Governors

Raghuram Rajan had the second shortest stint among post-1991 RBI governors

Since 1935, India’s central bank has had 24 people—all men—occupy the top post, the latest being Urijit Patel, beginning today. The 23 who came before him have had tenures of widely varying durations. On the one extreme lies A Ghosh, who was there for all of 20 days in 1985. On the other extreme was Sir Benegal Rama Rau, who took over 1949 and stayed there for nearly seven-and-a-half years.
Judging by the general consensus on his performance, Raghuram Rajan would have been a shoo-in for a term longer than the three years he ends up with. In this list of 23, that only ranks him 13 in the list of longest tenures as RBI governor. Even among the six RBI governors who have completed their terms since 1991, when India ushered in liberalisation, Rajan’s is the second shortest tenure, after S Venkitaramanan in 1991-92.

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News in Numbers, Aug 10, 2016: World’s longest hunger strike, Rajan’s last monetary policy…

16

What is it? The number of years Irom Chanu Sharmila was on hunger strike. She ended it  on Tuesday.

Why is it important? It was the world’s longest hunger strike. She plans to get married and enter politics. Her decision to end her fast has been seen as abrupt by some and also raised concerns about whether this would bring an end to the movement against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act of 1958 (AFSPA). Her announcement to enter politics has caught the attention of parties such as BJP and AAP, who have reportedly shown interest in her joining them.

Tell me more: Manipur’s Iron Lady had begun her fast to demand the repeal of AFSPA after 10 civilians were reportedly killed by paramilitary forces, Assam Rifles.

 

6.50%

What is it? The repo rate – the rate at which banks borrow from the central bank. It was kept unchanged on Tuesday when the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced its third bimonthly monetary policy.

Why is it important? This is the second consecutive policy announcement in which the interest rates have been kept constant (due to upward inflationary pressures). While this was largely expected, this monetary policy review was keenly watched because it was RBI governor Raghuram Rajan’s last one. Before he steps down on September 4, Rajan would address four things: rules for peer-to-peer lending, guidelines for account aggregators, measures to get going the corporate bond market and revising the banks’ marginal cost-based lending rate, a new benchmark for giving out loans.

Tell me more: The next decision on interest rates is likely to be by a six-member Monetary Policy Committee rather than resting with the governor.

 

Rs 5.78 crore

What is it? The amount thieves stole from a Rs 342-crore consignment belonging to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) from a moving train on Monday night.

Why is it important? This is reportedly the first time that such a robbery – in a moving train – has been attempted and been successful, much alike a movie-scene. The thieves cut through the roof of a coach of a moving train, which had 228 trunks with used currency notes weighing 23 tonnes. However, it is unclear as to how the heist was pulled off as the consignment was reportedly being transported with heavy security arrangements including an assistant commissioner of police were assigned to guard the boxes.

Tell me more: The robbery was first discovered when Chennai-bound Salem Express reached its destination at 3:55 am on Tuesday.

 

26

What is it? The number of goods including computers, office equipment and stationery that are on a platform called Government e-Marketplace. This would be used to procure goods by the government.

Why is it important? This is likely to bring in transparency in the procurement of goods and services by the government as the prices would be disclosed upfront. Also, there is no need to bid for items or services that cost less than Rs 50,000 and payment to vendors would be made immediately, thus improving the speed of the transactions. It would help in curbing corruption and streamline the procurement process.

Tell me more: For the purchase of goods and services worth over Rs 50,000 above, the government has to opt for one of the following methods: price comparison, bidding or reverse auction. The government procures as many as 161 goods and services and their worth is estimated to be around Rs 10,000 crore per annum.

 

45

What is it? The number of years attempt to suicide was a crime in India. The law changed on Monday.

Why is it important? India is one of the very few countries which penalised those who attempted to commit suicide. It is punishable under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code. While that has not been amended, the Rajya Sabha passed the Mental Health Care Bill, 2013, which nullifies the penal effect of this section. Other countries where attempt to suicide is punishable includes: Bangladesh, Singapore, Pakistan and Malaysia.

Tell me more: The Law Commission of India had recommended the repeal of Section 309 in 1971, which was taken up by the Janata Party government seven years later. Though the Rajya Sabha had passed it then, the government fell before the Lok Sabha could pass it.

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News in Numbers, June 21, 2016: FDI norms relaxed in 9 sectors, Flipkart sellers on strike…

9

What is it? The number of sectors in which the Indian government has relaxed foreign direct investment (FDI) norms.

Why is it important? The timing – coming days after RBI governor Raghuram Rajan announced that he wouldn’t seek an extension after his term ends in September – is seen as government’s measures to assuage investor concerns. The government has denied this. In any case, the move is likely to help single-brand retailers such as Apple and Ikea, defence contractors and Walmart and Tesco (which could enter retailing through the food sector route).

Tell me more: The norms have been liberalised in food trading, aviation, pharmaceutical, defence, retail and television broadcasting, animal husbandry, broadcasting carriage services and private security agencies. India has reported a 29% increase to $40 billion in FDI in 2015-16.

 

57%

What is it? The share of global urban population that is unconnected, either with fixed or mobile broadband, according to a study.

Why is it important? This goes against the popular perception that a majority of the global urban population is digitally connected. What’s more, about 37% of the unconnected urban population lives in some of the wealthiest cities such as Los Angeles and Shanghai. The Middle East and African regions are the most unconnected while Europe and North America are the least unconnected.

Tell me more: In New Delhi, the proportion of the urban population unconnected is 41.6%. The study is by the Wireless Broadband Alliance conducted by Maravedis Rethink Research, a wireless infrastructure analyst firm.

 

1,000

What is it? The approximate number of sellers on Flipkart’s platform who went on a strike on Monday to protest the e-commerce firm’s decision to increase seller commissions to be paid to Flipkart, according to the All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA).

Why is it important? Flipkart maintains that the number of sellers on strike are only a handful of the total 90,000 on its platform. Those on strike did not process any orders on Monday and put up out-of-stock notifications against their products. They claim higher commissions would increase product prices by 20-25%. Analysts say it is highly unlikely that sellers would leave Flipkart, though if the issue is not resolved quickly, it may affect customer experience.

Tell me more: Amazon, which has around 85,000 sellers, recently decreased its commission rates for sellers in a few categories while Snapdeal, which has over 300,000 sellers, decreased the commission for sellers with specific ratings and then put a cap of 70% on discounts.

 

1,242

What is it? The total number of graduates (including 253 postgraduates and 5 MPhils) who have applied for five posts of porters in Maharashtra.

Why is it important? The minimum educational qualification for this post is Class IV pass. Yet, about half of those vying for these posts are graduates and above. It shows the level of unemployment in the country, the desperateness to get some job (especially government jobs) and probably the high unemployability factor in professional degree holders.

Tell me more: There have been other such instances in the recent past. Over 1.75 lakh (of a total of 23 lakh applicants) graduates, postgraduates and PhD degree holders applying for the jobs of peons and 17,000 MBAs, B.Tech and B.Sc degree holders applying for the posts of sweepers – both in Uttar Pradesh.

65.3 million

What is it? The number of people forcibly displaced in 2015, about 0.9% of the world’s population or 1 person in 113.

Why is it important? This is the highest ever since global forced displacement records began. They are driven by old conflicts such as those in Somalia and Afghanistan lasting longer, emergence of new conflicts in countries including South Sudan, Yemen and Burundi in the last five years and the slowing pace at which solutions are being found to tackle the problem.

Tell me more: On an average, 24 people were forced to flee from their homes every minute in 2015, four times more than 10 years ago (six people every minute).

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