News in Numbers, Mar 29, 2017: 🚗 Bangalore’s long commute 😳

Rs 6,193.9 crore

What is it? The value of Bharti Airtel’s stake in tower operator Bharti Infratel, sold to a group of PE players, including KKR and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB).

Why is it important? The funds will be used by the telecom operator, India’s largest, to reduce debt and become limber to take on competition. Net debt of company in the December quarter of FY17 rose to $14.4 billion from $12.2 billion in the previous quarter.

Tell me more: The deal values Bharti Infratel at 4% premium over Rs 312.55 closing price.


Rs 263.10 crore

What is it? The value of movable and immovable properties of Deccan Chronicle Holdings attached by the Enforcement Directorate under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

Why is it important? The value is 22% of the alleged loss caused by the media group to six public sector banks. The agency calculates a loss of Rs 1,161.93 crore, as the group understated previous loans and cooked the books to show fabricated income.

Tell me more: The case snowballed from the first complaint in 2012 when Canara Bank ran up losses of Rs 357.7 crore due to Deccan Chronicle’s alleged cheating.



What is it? The import tax on wheat to be levied with immediate effect.

Why is it important? Wheat was seeing large overseas purchases as an import duty was scrapped in December, 2016. The reintroduction is being seen as a move to aid Indian farmers as they ready to harvest their crop this season. Biscuit manufacturers and flour millers were resorting to imports going into millions of kilo to meet a shortfall after two years of drought. Wheat import in FY17, till December, increased by 60% over the whole of FY16 in volume.

Tell me more: The import tax on wheat was 25% till last September, after which it was slashed to 10% till December.


Rs 260 crore

What is it? The amount Indian Railways has reportedly earned from the flexi-fare system, where ticket prices in premium trains go up (with a cap of 50%) as seats get filled up.

Why is it important? While the revenues went up (13 times more than expected), occupancy rates have come down in some premium trains. At present, the flexi-fare applied to 90% of the seats. Railways is now planning to bring it down to 50%, in an attempt to reduce vacant seats.

Tell me more: Flexi-fares were introduced in Rajdhani, Duronto, Shatabdi trains last September.


47 minutes

What is it? One-way commute time for a Bengaluru tech worker to reach office, according to a study by Savills, a property consultancy.

Why is it important? It’s ranked worst among the 22 cities surveyed by the study, and explains the constraints faced by the tech companies in Bangalore. Once known as retirement haven, Bangalore’s journey as a tech city began in the 70s, and grew rapidly with the rise of outsourcing. It became a natural hub for tech startups as a result. The rapid rise has put pressure on its creaking infrastructure.

Tell me more: The study looked at five areas including business conditions, tech environment, quality of life and cost of accommodation to rank the cities. Overall, Bangalore is ranked 20. Austin, San Francisco and New York claimed the top three spots.

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News in Numbers, July 11, 2016: Mallya accused of fund diversion, Burhan Wani’s killing…

Rs 1,225 crore

What is it? The potential amount that United Spirits has allegedly diverted when it was under chairmanship of Vijay Mallya.

Why is it important? This adds to Mallya’s woes, who is wanted by Indian investigation authorities with a Mumbai court issuing a non-bailable warrant for his arrest. United Spirits, now owned by Diageo, a British multinational alcoholic beverages company, has informed Enforcement Directorate and the Securities and Exchange Board of India about the diversion of funds, and has directed the management to pursue its recovery and sue Mallya if necessary.

Tell me more: United Spirits has said the funds have been diverted to Force India Formula One, Watson Ltd, Continental Administrative Services and Ultra Dynamics, in which Mallya “appears to have a material, direct and indirect interests”. Mallya said in a statement that all transactions were above board.


500,000 tonnes

What is it? The quantity of duty-free, non-genetically modified corn India will import.

Why is it important? This would help overcome shortages and check prices, giving relief to starch manufacturers and the poultry industry, the main consumers of corn. Due to two consecutive years of drought, India’s corn production is estimated to have decreased to 21.02 million tonnes in 2015-16 from 23.67 million tonnes in 2014-15. India has traditionally been a major exporter of corn to the Southeast Asian region.

Tell me more: India, which allows cultivation and consumption of only genetically modified cotton, has been facing difficulties in sourcing non-genetically modified corn recently.



What is it? The number of people reportedly killed after protesters clashed with the police, angered by the killing of separatist militant Burhan Wani in Jammu and Kashmir.

Why is it important? Wani, who led the Hijb-ul Mujahideen (one of the largest and important terrorist groups perpetrating violence in the state), was seen as the face of new-age militancy in the region. The show of support by thousands who attended his funeral despite orders to restrict movement of people and traffic, indicates support for the cause and there are concerns that death might prompt increased attacks on security forces and civilians.

Tell me more: Around 200 people were injured in the clashes that erupted after Wani’s killing. Wani was popular on social media, releasing videos and pictures online with an aim to recruit young Kashmiri men for terror.



What is it? The percentage of seats that go unoccupied in Air India flights on the routes connecting Delhi to Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru and Kolkata.

Why is it important? The state-owned carrier hopes to fill this up by offering tickets (booked within 4 hours of departure) at the same rate as 2-tier AC fares in Rajdhani trains. It’s Rs 2,870  from Delhi to Mumbai; Rs 3,905 from Delhi to Chennai; Rs 2,890 from Delhi to Kolkata and Rs 4,095 from Delhi to Bengaluru. High air fares charged by carriers have come under criticism recently.

Tell me more: The domestic traffic between the metros account for around half of the domestic air travel. Air India’s losses were expected to be Rs 2,636 crore in 2015-16 compared to Rs 5,860 crore in 2014-15.


79.1 crore

What is it? The number of person-days of employment generated under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme in the first quarter of this year.

Why is it important? This is the highest since the first quarter of 2012 and around 12% higher than the projected figure of 70.5 crore person days in the first quarter of this year. The spurt in numbers was due to higher than expected demand in some drought-hit states such as Rajasthan and Karnataka.

Tell me more: Some states including Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Uttarakhand have been lagging behind in terms of person-days of employment generated and the central government has written to them to increase the pace of the scheme’s implementation.

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