Enroute larger tax base

7.95 million

What is it? The number of applicants to register under the goods and services tax (GST) as of mid-Friday.

Why is it important? Registered taxpayers under GST is now 50,000 short of 8 million tax base of value added tax, excise duty and service tax. With registration open until tomorrow, the tax base under GST is expected to exceed the previous regime. Meanwhile, government has extended last date for small businesses (with revenue of Rs 75 lakh) to register under composition scheme where traders will pay lower tax rates.

Tell me more: Widening of tax base will help government to collect more taxes, and could lead to reduction in tax rates. India’s tax revenue to gross domestic product is 17%, as compared to 25.4% in US.


Rs 9,509 crore

What is it? The unspent funds with Health Societies in 27 states (from Rs 7,375 crore in 2011-12) under the National Rural Health Mission, according to a report filed by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on Friday.

Why is it important? The amount increased while in six states, Rs 36.31 crore has been diverted to other schemes. The CAG observed the shortfall in availability in physical infrastructure such as primary health centres to be between 24-38% in 28 states, instances of non-availability of essential drugs in 24 states, and medicines issued to patients without prescribed quality checks in 14 states. The average shortage of five types of specialists (general surgeon/physician, obstetrician/gynaecologist, paediatrician and anaesthetist) ranged between 77-87% in select community healthcare centres in 27 states.

Tell me more: About 13,000 facilities did not report data on Health Management Information System, a web-based interface, in 2015-16 due to which the overall position on health indicators has not been ascertainable.


Rs 71,941 crore

What is it? The total amount of undisclosed income detected by way of searches, seizures and surveys by the Income Tax department between April 1, 2014 and February 28, 2017, as per information submitted by the government to the Supreme Court.

Why is it important? This is after government’s effort to curb black money generation. Among the steps taken by the government to flush out black money, it recently cancelled the registration of one lakh firms while it is probing 37,000 shell companies for funnelling black money and another 3 lakh for suspicious transactions.

Tell me more: Until a couple of months after the demonetisation move, another attempt against those hoarding money illegally, the total undisclosed amount admitted was over Rs 5,400 crore while the total quantity of gold seized was over 300 kg.


Rs 1.5 lakh

What is it? Amount payable to members of central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) for each meeting.

Why is it important? Apart from paying a sitting fee to MPC members, the central bank also codified conduct involving conflict of interest, confidentiality and silent period. For example, members are required to maintain a seven-day silent period seven days before and after the meeting. This will generate greater confidence in decision making of MPC.

Tell me more: MPC’s mandate is to guide monetary policy to achieve a targetted inflation rate of 4% through adjustments in lending rates and provisioning norms by the central bank.



What is it? The number of people arrested by the Rajasthan police for stealing crude oil from India’s biggest onshore oilfield owned by Cairn India

Why is it important? The crime went undetected for six years, and 50 million litres of crude oil worth $ 7.75 million was stolen. Drivers and contractors working in the oilfield were part of the network that stole crude oil.

Tell me more: Trucks carrying water – a byproduct of oil exploration – out of the oilfield were carrying crude oil, and was sold to two factories nearby with storage capacity. These factories then sold to clients across India.

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News in Numbers, Oct 5, 2016: Children in extreme poverty…

25 basis points

What is it? The reduction in repo rate, the rate at which the central bank lends to the banks, by Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee. It is 6.25% now from 6.5% earlier.

Why is it important? This is the lowest since November 2010 and has been done based on the scenario that inflation would ease in the coming months. The daily prices of pulses and vegetables reported by various markets in the country are indicative of this trend. This signals a shift in the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) stance, which looks to support growth as inflation promises to be moderate due to a normal monsoon and government measures. It remains to be seen if this results in meaningful transmission by the banks to the borrowers.

Tell me more: This is the first policy review presided by governor Urjit Patel, who was appointed a month ago. This was also the first time the newly constituted, six-member monetary policy committee decided on interest rates – all six members voted in favour of a rate cut.



What is it? The number of flights domestic carriers will operate per week in the winter schedule effective October 30.

Why is it important? This is an increase of 20.8% over those operated in the winter schedule of 2015 (13,744), which is likely due to domestic air traffic’s double-digit growth. It has been growing at 10% annually for the last two years while in August, it grew at 24% compared to a year ago. However, despite the government’s push for regional connectivity, airlines plan to operate flights to 75 destinations this winter compared to 81 in the same period last year.

Tell me more: Indigo (InterGlobe Aviation) would see the highest jump in domestic flights (42%) this winter while the comparative figures for Air India and Jet Airways are 7.48% and 1.76% respectively.


385 million

What is it? The estimated number of children living in extreme poverty globally in 2013, according to a report. Extreme poverty is defined as welfare less than $1.9 per day per person.

Why is it important? This report indicates that children are twice as likely as adults to live in extreme poverty. Children in the two age groups – 0-4 years and 5-9 years – each accounted for 15.9% and 15.4% (respectively) of those living in extreme poverty (adults included). Though children made up for a third of the sample population, over half of them were affected by extreme poverty.

Tell me more: Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest share of children living in extreme poverty (over 50%) followed by South Asia (36%), with over 30% extremely poor children living in India alone. The report by the World Bank Group and Unicef has arrived at these estimates based on data from 89 countries, which represent over 84% of the developing world’s population.


Rs 60,969 crore

What is it? The total value of bids for telecom spectrum at the end of the third day of auctions.

Why is it important? This is only a third of the amount the government hoped to raise in this auction, and indicates that telecom players consider the reserve price to be too high. No one has bid for the premium 700-MHz band – worth Rs 4 lakh crore at base price –  so far. The auctions are expected to end this week.

Tell me more: The government was hoping to raise at least Rs 5.6 trillion through this auction, but at the current rate, might end up with even less than Rs 1.1 trillion it raised in 2015.



What is it? The percentage of men in Rajasthan who got married before they reached 21 years of age, according to a survey for the year 2012-13. Among women in the state, the under age marriage percentage is lower at 14.3%

Why is it important? This higher percentage of under-age marriages among men could be an indicator that the age difference between husband and wife is coming down. (The legal marriageable age for women is 18). The survey covered nine states, among which Rajasthan emerged as the one with highest percentage of early marriages. Uttarakhand, the lowest.

Tell me more: In 2008, a panel recommended making the lower age limit for marriage (18) the same for both men and women.


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News in numbers, Oct 19, 2015: Reliance’s e-commerce plans, MFIs’ lending in rural areas…


What is it? The number of sellers Reliance Industries plan to enroll by March 2016 for its proposed e-commerce site.    

Why is it important? Alters Indian e-commerce industry dynamics substantially. The strategy to compete directly with existing online marketplace sites like Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon could lead to more competition in an environment where current players are losing money on daily basis to boost their sales. Bringing 150,000 vendors under its fold is also huge, given the fact Snapdeal and Amazon has got 200,000 and 50,000 sellers respectively.     

Tell me more: As on September, Reliance Industries has cash or cash equivalents of Rs 85,720 crore (or $ 13.1 billion), a luxury not many of its online competitors don’t have. 



What is it? The number of coal allocations cancelled by the Rajasthan government after opposition parties alleged irregularities.

Why is it important? Public pressure works. The mines were allocated without any competition under ‘first-come-first-serve’ basis, leading to a loss of Rs 45,000 crore, the opposition Congress party claimed. Only last year, the Supreme Court cancelled allocation of 218 coal blocks by the centre citing the opaqueness of the whole process. This led to government giving out coal blocks under open tender.   

Tell me more: After the Supreme Court cancelled coal allocation, Union government auctioned coal blocks under three rounds. This, the government claimed, would fetch more than Rs 2 lakh crore in terms of up-front payments and royalties – spread over two rounds.



What is it? The number of domestic airlines that would be listed on the stock market next year if GoAir goes public, as it intends to do March 2016.

Why is it important? Most domestic airlines need more capital to improve their financial position and to expand operations. GoAir needs capital to buy more planes to start flying abroad, as well as shore up its falling domestic share, which has dropped from 8.9% in January to 8.1% in August.

Tell me more? SpiceJet and Jet Airways are the two domestic airlines that are listed. Market leader IndiGo is looking to list this month.


What is it? Percentage of lending by India’s Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) in rural areas.

Why is it important? It has fallen below 50% mark for the first time in its 25-year history.  MFIs, which had a star status when SKS Microfinance raised money from the public, were seen as a successful business model of reaching rural customers who borrowed in small amounts. Over the last few years, MFIs have shrunk their rural loan portfolio to contain operational cost. It was 70% in 2012.   

Tell me more: Urban focus has also increased the average loan size to Rs 13,162 in March 2015, as compared to Rs 10,079 in previous fiscal.

17 days

What is it? The number of days spent in non-academic work by primary teachers in urban areas. In percentage terms, it works out to 8% of academic year consisted of 224 days in 2014-15.

Why is it important? A Supreme Court verdict had prohibited engaging school teachers from doing non-academic work like election duty or Census data collection. Only non-teaching staff were to be deployed. This study show disregard for the verdict in almost all states with varying degrees.   

Tell me more: In rural areas, only 9 days were spent by teachers in non-teaching work.     

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