News in Numbers, Feb 07, 2017: A season of crackdowns

Rs 14,779 crore

What is it? The principal balance the Supreme Court wants to expedite recovering from the  Sahara Group for its investors.

Why is it important? Striking down Sahara’s appeal for time till 2019, the apex court ordered attaching its star property in Pune, the Aamby Valley, as part of the recovery process. Around Rs 600 crore of its Rs-25,780-crore principal owed was paid on Monday.  SC’s order was the latest entry in a season of crackdowns on erring business houses/moguls. The property will be under the court’s custody.

Tell me more: The court has asked for a list of other Sahara properties free from litigation for recovery of its dues to investors in two of Sahara’s companies. The due totals Rs 37,000 crore, as calculated by Sebi, including interest, of which around Rs 11,000 crore has been paid so far.


What is it? Number of companies, 96% of them tech giants, that filed a court motion challenging US President Donald Trump’s order on immigration.

Why is it important? Companies such as Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook, Intel, Netflix and Twitter, and three consumer-goods companies including fashion brand Levi Strauss, have taken a step further than just denouncing the executive order by taking legal recourse. They join federal judges who have legally rebuffed Trump’s move to restrict immigration of certain nationalities, with one even restraining it nationwide. The companies’ motion was filed in the very appeals court which rejected the government’s emergency request to resume the travel ban.

Tell me more: The motion filed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said the travel ban “violates the immigration laws and the Constitution”.

Rs 2.5 lakh

What is it? The upper limit of deposits for which the Income Tax department will ask no questions, reiterated by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) chairman Sushil Chandra.

Why is it important? Amidst growing concern about the expanding reach of the tax officer with all the cash-scrutiny, the senior official’s statement should bring relief. The limit means the IT department will for now refrain from running analytics on deposits below it.

Tell me more: It would study larger single deposits or multiple deposits against a single PAN card that don’t match IT returns.


What is it? Percentage of Tata Sons’ shareholder votes that were in favour of removing former chairman Cyrus Mistry from Tata Sons’ board of directors

Why is it important? The move is a part of the ongoing fight between Tatas and Mistry that started with the removal of Mistry from the chairmanship of Tata Sons in October, followed by similar actions in various Tata companies, including Tata Motors and Tata Consultancy Services. The latest was expected. Tata Trusts controls 66% of Tata Sons, and a simple majority is enough to oust a director. Shapoorji Pallonji family, to which Cyrus Mistry belongs, and which owns 18.4% in Tata Sons, now has no representation in the board for the first time in over ten years.

Tell me more: Cyrus Mistry did not attend the board meeting. Ratan Tata’s half brother Noel Tata, whose sister is married to Mistry, voted in favour of Mistry’s removal from the board.


What is it? The number of chief justices recommended by Supreme Court collegium for various high courts

Why is it important? If the government approves, this would likely be the highest number of appointments of chief justices in one go. Many high courts in the country are being served by interim chief justices. More importantly, it’s an indicator that the tension between the government and the judiciary over appointment of judges could be easing. At its height, Supreme Court had struck down National Judicial Appointments Commission in October 2015 and revived the collegium system in which a panel of judges make the judicial appointments.

Tell me more: Besides High Courts, the Supreme Court also faces vacancies as a result of the tug of war. The apex court has been functioning with 23 judges since early this year, falling short of the sanctioned strength of 31.

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News in Numbers, Oct 25, 2016: The mysterious coup…


What is it? The collective stake held by two trusts – Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and Sir Ratan Tata Trust – (both chaired by Ratan Tata) in Tata Sons, the holding company of the $100-billion Tata Group.

Why is it important? These two trusts have the powers to appoint or remove the chairman and it was their decision that led to the sudden sacking of Cyrus Mistry, who was at the helm of the Tata Group for nearly four years. Ratan Tata has taken over the reins of the group temporarily even as a selection committee has been tasked to find a successor in four months. While the reasons for this abrupt decision is unclear, in a statement, the group has said it was on the “recommendation of the principal shareholder (Tata Sons)”.

Tell me more: Of the nine board members, six voted to remove Mistry as chairman while two abstained. He is Pallonji Mistry’s son, who heads Shapoorji and Palonji Group, which owns 18.5% in Tata Sons. The Shapoorji and Palonji Group has said it would contest the move.


Rs 91.46 crore

What is it? The net profit of Idea Cellular, India’s third largest telecom player, in the quarter ended September 30.

Why is it important? This is around 88% lower than that posted in the comparable period a year ago (Rs 757.8 crore). This is an effect of intensifying competition due to Reliance Jio’s entry – Idea Cellular showed a decline in voice minutes and fall in mobile voice and data segment. Along with other incumbents, the company reduced data tariffs by as much as 67% and it spent Rs 12,798 crore in the recently-concluded spectrum auction to retain customers.

Tell me more: The company plans to expand its 4G services to 20 service areas from the current 11 and 3G services to 15 service areas from the present 13 by March 2017.



What is it? The number of weeks the trust governing Haji Ali Dargah, a famous mosque in Mumbai, in which it would implement the Supreme Court’s order of allowing women into the sanctum sanctorum.

Why is it important? This is being considered as a step towards equality and justice by the petitioners (who fought against the ban against women’s entry into the sanctum sanctorum) and their supporters though women won’t be allowed to touch the grave as it is that of a man (a saint). This would also help Muslim women in their fight against triple ‘talaaq’ (divorce), according to the petitioners. It remains to be seen the impact of this event on other religious placesthat have gender restrictions.

Tell me more: The Haji Ali trust had challenged the Bombay High Court’s order lifting the ban that restricted women’s entry into the dargah’s sanctum sanctorum. Two women, Zakia Soman and Noorjehan Niaz from a non-governmental organisation called Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan had filed a public interest litigation in the High Court challenging the trust’s restrictions on women.


Rs 35,000-40,000 crore

What is it? The estimated amount that can be saved annually by 2025 under the Indian government’s Sagarmala project, which aims at promote port-led development, according to a study.

Why is it important? The project would reduce the cost of domestic and export-import cargo as the movement of the goods via coastal shipping and inland waterways is expected to be 60-80% cheaper than road and rail transport. Under this project, the government aims to increase the share of inland waterways and coastal shipping in the modal mix from 6% to 12%. It is looking to increase coal movement through the coastal route by nearly five times to 129 million tonnes per annum by 2025 and also, reduce the cost of power generation by 50 paise per unit.

Tell me more: In India, logistics cost as a percentage of gross domestic product is 19% (compared to 12.5% in China, 15.72% in Indonesia and 13.43% in the UK), is among the highest in the world.


150 million

What is it? The number of Indians aged 18 years and above that suffer from mental health issues, according to the National Mental Health Survey.

Why is it important? Just one of every five of those suffering from mental health issues gets treatment, reflecting the fact that it’s a less-talked about problem and one that has the burden of social stigma attached to it. One in every 20 people in India suffer from depression and one in 40 has dealt with this problem in the past. Substance use disorder was found to be prevalent in 22.4% of the population aged 18 years and above.

Tell me more: The survey, commissioned by the Indian government and implemented/coordinated by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, covered 34,802 people (18 years and above) in 12 states.


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Cyrus Mistry’s tenure shortest in Tata Sons’ history

Tata Sons’ decision on Monday to replace Cyrus Mistry as Chairman has surprised many. Former chief Ratan Tata will now take over for a period of four months until a selection committee finds a successor. At this moment, though speculations are rife, the reason behind this surprise move is unclear. The committee comprises Ratan N Tata, Venu Srinivasan, Amit Chandra, Ronen Sen and Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya.

Here’s a look at the number of years the group’s chairmen have held their positions:


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News in Numbers, August 4, 2016: Rajya Sabha passes GST bill, Centre to import more pulses…


What is it? The number of Rajya Sabha members who voted in favour of the Constitution Amendment Bill to implement Goods and Services Tax (GST) in India. None voted against the bill, with AIADMK abstaining.

Why is it important? This is the crucial step before implementing GST that will replace various indirect taxes collected by the centre and the states, with one tax and one rate across India. Near unanimous vote in favour of the bill was possible after central government acceded to one of the key demand of the Congress party to scrap 1% inter-state tax on movement of goods.  

Tell me more: At present, the central government has powers to tax production (excise duty) and services (service tax), and the states have power to tax consumption (VAT). Under GST, all the three will be merged as one tax, GST, and both the states and the central government can tax them. To do this, the constitution has to be amended and any amendment to the constitution has to be accompanied by a two-third majority voting.


30,000 tonnes

What is it? The additional quantity of tur and urad dal that the Indian government is to import.

Why is it important? This will help check their prices. The production of pulses is estimated to have dipped in 2015-16 and average prices have increased by nearly 30% last year. However, states are to partially responsible for the high prices of pulses as they have been reluctant to lift pulses allocated to them by the central government for retail sale at subsidised prices. Of the 29,100 tonnes allocated to 11 states, three states have lifted just a little over 16% of the pulses.

Tell me more: There is a buffer stock of 1.75 lakh tonnes of pulses so far. The central government sells tuvar dal at Rs 67 per kg and urad dal at Rs 82 per kg.

4.7 crore

What is it? The number of customers telecom firm Vodafone has gained through mobile number portability (MNP), which was fully implemented in June 2015.

Why is it important? This makes Vodafone the highest gainer of customers through this medium, followed by Bharti Airtel and Idea, which added 3.82 crore and 1.8 crore users respectively. Besides these three, other telecom service providers were net losers of customers through MNP, with Reliance Communications losing the maximum customers (1.18 crore).

Tell me more: All the telecom players, however, were found to be guilty of hampering the process of their customers shifting to other service providers and were fined a cumulative Rs 9.45 crore for not abiding by the MNP rules. Bharti Airtel attracted half of the fine followed by Aircel (Rs 1.58 crore), Vodafone (Rs 1.22 crore), BSNL (Rs 1 crore) with the penalties on other players ranging between less than a lakh to a few lakh rupees.


Rs 10,000

What is it? The proposed penalty for drunken driving (up from Rs 2,000), as per the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016, which was approved by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday.

Why is it important? The bill, which has increased penalties for various traffic violations by 2-10 times, if passed, is likely to help in the government’s target of curbing road accidents and fatalities by 50% in five years. In 2015, 1.46 lakh people were killed in road accidents while the number of injured was over 5 lakh. According to a 2011 study by the United Nations, India has the highest number of road deaths in the world.

Tell me more: The proposed increases in penalties include: Rs 5,000 for driving without a license and racing (from Rs 500), Rs 1,000 for driving without a seat belt (from Rs 100), Rs 2,000 for driving without an insurance (from Rs 1,000), Rs 5,000 for dangerous driving (from Rs 1,000), Rs 1,000 and disqualification of license for three months for driving without a helmet (from Rs 100) and Rs 10,000 for not giving way for emergency vehicles.



What is it? The number of startups Ratan Tata has invested in over the last two years

Why is it important? That makes him one of the most active investors in the country and in fact he was ranked the top angel investor last year. Now, Mr Tata is setting up full fledged a venture capital fund in partnership with University of California and with a corpus of $100 million to $150 million.

Tell me more: Ratan Tata’s investments include Snapdeal, Urban Ladder, Ola and Zivame.

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