When the Earth isn’t enough 🌏

336,107

What is it? The number of H-1B visa applications filed by employers between October 2016 and June 2017.

Why is it important? The number of applications has not declined despite US President Donald Trump pledging to crackdown on misuse of H-1B visas, a temporary work permit. At this rate, the full year applications will exceed that of 2016 number of 399,349. However, approvals for current fiscal is sharply lower at 59% as compared to 87% in 2016. This could be because large number of petitions in current year are still pending decisions.

Tell me more: 74% of applications are filed for candidates born in India.

 

47.9

What is it? Nikkei’s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) in July, a composite indicator of India’s manufacturing activity based on a survey by Markit, a financial information and services company.

Why is it important? This is the lowest since February 2009, the days of the global financial crisis. It slipped below the 50-point mark separating expansion from contraction for the first time this year. Uncertainty and information gaps around goods and services tax that was introduced on July 1st seems to have negatively impacted purchasing decisions.

Tell me more: New orders fell for the first time in the year-to-date and at the fastest pace since early 2009.

 

7

What is it? The number of months in which this year’s Earth Overshoot Day has arrived (August 2) this year, according to environmental groups WWF and Global Footprint Network.

Why is it important? Earth Overshoot Day is the date in which the annual demand of humanity on nature exceeds what the planet can regenerate over the year and it is the earliest so far. In other words, humanity is using up planetary resources such as soil, water and air at a faster pace than ever and will live on “credit” for the rest of the year; currently, we are using the resources of 1.7 Earths.

Tell me more: We would be able to return to living within the means of one Earth before 2050 if we moved the Earth Overshoot Day back by 4.5 days every year. Some of the ways in which individuals can help stop and later, reverse the trend is by burning less fuel, cut back on food waste and eating less meat.

 

22.4%

What is it? The percentage increase in car sales for Maruti Suzuki, which has more than 50% market share, in July this year.

Why is it important? Car sales has picked up after introduction of the goods and services tax (GST) from July 1st, after contracting by 11% in June. Other car makers, except Hyundai Motor, reported double-digit increase in sales growth.

Tell me more: Shipping of cars from factory gate to dealers is counted as a sale, so the increase could be because of manufacturers pushing the stock to dealers than end-customer demand.

 

61.5%

What is it? The increase in the net worth of Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries, in one year.

Why is it important? With a total net worth of $35.2 billion, he has raced ahead of Hong Kong-based Li Ka-Shing to become the second richest Asian after Alibaba’s founder, Jack Ma. Globally, Ambani went up to the 19th position, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. This has been possible partly due to investors rallying behind Reliance Jio that has disrupted the telecom space in the last few months.

Tell me more: A report by Oxfam, which works to eliminate poverty, said India’s 57 billionaires have the same wealth as the bottom 70% of the population, pointing to rising income and wealth inequality in the Asia’s third largest economy.

Read More

President’s low vote share

2,930

What is it? The number of votes with a value of 702,044 won by Ram Nath Kovind in India’s 2017 Presidential Elections.

Why is it important? Kovind has been elected as the 14th President of India. However, with 65.65% vote share, it is the lowest for a presidential election winner since 1974. Cross voting from opposition parties in favour of NDA-backed candidate, Kovind, was reported in seven states including Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Punjab, Assam, West Bengal and Tripura.

Tell me more: Meira Kumar, who was backed by a 17-member bloc of opposition parties, polled in 1,844 votes with a value of 367,314.

 

1 million

What is it? The number of people who died from AIDS-related deaths globally in 2016, according to the UNAIDS.

Why is it important? This is a 48% drop from the peak of such deaths in 2005 (1.9 million AIDS-related deaths). Now, a higher number of people are accessing anti-retroviral therapy – 19.5 million in 2016, up from 17.1 million in 2015 and 7.7 million in 2010. This makes it the first time that more than half of those living with HIV are receiving life-saving treatment. Since 2010, new HIV infections have come down by an estimated 11% in adults to 1.7 million in 2016 and by 47% among children to 160,000 in 2016.

Tell me more: Achieving the 90-90-90 targets (90% of all living with HIV know their HIV status, 90% of those diagnosed with HIV are accessing sustained anti-retroviral therapy and 90% of those receiving this therapy are virally suppressed) by 2020 seems feasible. In 2016, 70% know their HIV status, of this, 77% were accessing treatment and of those accessing treatment, 82% were virally suppressed.

 

30-50%

What is it? The percentage of salary and stipend cuts that Jet Airways has reportedly asked its junior pilots to take.

Why is it important? The airline has asked them to take these cuts or quit their jobs. These measures, which are to be implemented fromAugust 1, will impact 400 of its pilots of the approximate strength of 1,500. Jet Airways has attributed its actions slowdown in the Gulf region and to improve operational efficiency.

Tell me more: Jet Airways, which faces stiff competition from low-cost airlines such as Indigo and SpiceJet, saw its market share fall to 18% at the end of June this year from 23% two years ago.

 

171

What is it? The number of runs scored by cricketer Harmanpreet Kaur in the semi-finals against Australia in the Women’s World Cup.

Why is it important? The innings is the “third-highest score in a world cup and fifth-highest overall”. Before this match, India has won less than 30% of the matches against Australia, which has won the world cup six times.

Tell me more: This is Team India’s second time at the women’s ICC World Cup finals (after 2005). The semi-final match was cut down to 42 overs due to rain. India will now face England in the World Cup finals on July 23.

 

Rs 9,079 crore

What is it? The net profit of Reliance Industries (RIL) for the first quarter of FY18, ended June 30, an increase of 28%.

Why is it important? The gross refining margins – the profit from turning one barrel of crude oil into fuel – was at a nine-year high. Its gross refining margin was $11.9 a barrel, higher than the average Singapore benchmark at $6.4 a barrel in the June quarter.

Tell me more: RIL also gained from selling 76% stake in the Gulf Africa Petroleum Corp, a South African subsidiary, for Rs 1,087 crore.

Read More

Baahubali blazes past Bollywood

Rs 5.04 lakh crore

What is it? The market capitalisation of Reliance Industries (RIL) as on Monday, the second company to cross the Rs 5 lakh crore mark after Tata Consultancy Services.

Why is it important? Investors are betting on better business prospects as their telecom offering, Reliance Jio started charging its clients, and other investments in petrochemicals space getting realized soon.

Tell me more: Since the beginning of this year, RIL has gained 43.5%, more than double of the Sensex index (20.6% in the same period). IT major TCS crossed the Rs 5 lakh crore mark in market capitalisation on July 23, 2014.

 

Rs 510 crore

What is it? The national box office collection of the Hindi version of the mythological sequel, Baahubali 2.

Why is it important? This is nearly 42% of the total box office collections of the top six Hindi movies (Rs 1,218 crore) in the first half of the year. This is probably the first time that a dubbed movie (originally, in Telugu) has overtaken Hindi movies by box office collections by a wide margin: Shahrukh Khan’s Raees earned only Rs 139 crore while Salman Khan’s Tubelight fetched Rs 121 crore. Even last year, it was Disney’s ‘The Jungle Book’ (dubbed in Hindi) that was the highest grosser at around Rs 110 crore, surpassing movies from the ‘Bollywood’ industry.

Tell me more: Dharma Productions spent Rs 95 crore in the acquisition of rights and distribution of Baahubali 2.

 

$53 billion

What is it? The potential economic losses due to a major cyber attack, according to a report by Lloyd’s of London and Cyence, a cyber risk analytics modelling firm.

Why is it important? This is roughly equivalent to the economic losses caused by a catastrophic natural disaster such as the 2012 Superstorm Sandy, says the report. The economic costs in hypothetical hacking of a cloud service provider is huge compared to the global cost of $8 billion of the ‘WannaCry’ ransomware attack in May. Due to lack of historical data on cyber attacks and their potential costs, it is a great challenge for insurers to estimate their potential exposure.

Tell me more: For a hypothetical cloud service attack, the average economic losses would range from $4.6 billion for a large event to $53 billion for an extreme event, according to the report. The actual losses could be as high as $121 billion, of which as much as $45 billion may not be covered by cyber policies due to under-insuring by firms.

 

$850 million

What is it? The revised offer for buying Snapdeal, the embattled e-commerce firm, by larger rival, Flipkart.

Why is it important? It is still lower than the reported sum of at least $900 million that Snapdeal wanted from India’s largest online marketplace. But the revision is $100-150 million more than Flipkart’s first formal offer ($700-750 million). Snapdeal’s board is considering the offer.

Tell me more: Flipkart wants to pay $650-700 million in equity shares and another $150 million later. Along with the SoftBank Group, Snapdeal has 25 institutional shareholders and dozens of individual part-owners.

 

$3 billion

What is it? The penalty payable by Reliance Industries (RIL), Shell India and Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) – the joint owners of Panna-Mukta oilfield – to the government.

Why is it important? This comes after a London-based arbitration panel decided in favour of government in October, 2016. The owners of the oilfield were deducting higher taxes (prevailing at the time of getting the oilfield in early 90’s) even though corporate tax rate has dropped to 30%. Lower deduction of taxes would mean higher share of profits for government. The penalty is to recover past due from the owners of the oilfield.

Tell me more: RIL and Shell each own 30% stake in the PMT fields, while ONGC has 40%. The ruling entitled the government to a larger profit share and more royalty payment. The government is also locked in a dispute with RIL over the KG-D6 basin.

Read More

Google’s trust issues

2.42 billion Euro

What is it? The fine imposed by European antitrust authorities on Google for having used its dominant search engine to direct traffic to its shopping comparison service.

Why is it important? Order will benefit non-Google price comparison service providers who lost out because of Google’s practice of promoting its own service ahead of generic search results. The fine amount is the largest imposed by any antitrust body.

Tell me more: European Commission found traffic to Google’s own shopping service increased manifold (45% in the United Kingdom), whereas rival websites have witnessed sudden drop in traffic (85% in the United Kingdom).

 

Rs 2,199 crore

What is it? The title sponsorship fee for five years of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the league T20 cricketing tournament. BBK Electronics-owned Vivo won the bid.

Why is it important? The Chinese phone brand retained its sponsorship rights with the bid, which it won after PepsiCo withdrew in 2015 following corruption charges in IPL. The earlier Vivo contract was for Rs 200 crore for two years. The current one marks a 340% average yearly jump, while BCCI says it is a 554% jump over the previous contract.

Tell me more: Vivo beat sister company, Oppo whose bid was worth Rs 1,432 crore.

 

2 billion

What is it? The number of monthly active users on Facebook, the largest social networking site, which it reached late on Tuesday night.

Why is it important? The number of users, who have logged onto Facebook or its Messenger app at least once in the last one month, is more than the population of any country and even more than that of six continents, except Asia.

Tell me more: Facebook’s new users are growing at 17%, fast for a 13-year-old Internet company and 66% of its monthly users return daily, up from 55% when it had touched 1 billion users.

5%

What is it? The maximum holding of any non-promoter investor can have in Reliance Industries (RIL), after the company gets shareholders’ approval on July 21.

Why is it important? RIL will have to take this step in order to meet the central bank’s terms and conditions before starting its payments bank. It owns 70% stake in the new venture, with State Bank of India holding 30%. The central bank’s prior permission is needed if non-promoters increase equity stake beyond 5%.

Tell me more: RIL plans to amend its Articles of Association at the annual general meeting. The state insurer, Life Insurance Corporation of India holds 8.31% in RIL.

 

25

What is it? The number of government departments to be completely computerised in the next few days.

Why is it important? With 100% digitisation, these departments will turn into e-offices with electronic record-keeping, doing away with unwieldy physical records and obsolete papers. The government’s efforts at digitising records have already resulted in 462,000 e-files, compared to last year’s 8,000.

Tell me more: The cumbersome processes of affidavits and attestation have been done away with in 58 central ministries/departments and 33 states and union territories.

Read More