Repo so low

25

What is it? The number of basis points by which the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has cut the repo rate, the rate at which the central bank lends money to the commercial banks, to 6% on Wednesday. One basis point is equal to one hundredth of one percent.

Why is it important? The repo rate is the lowest since November 2010 and follows a downward trend in food prices that pushed consumer inflation in June to a more than five-year low of 1.54%. This could boost the economy, which clocked a growth of 6.1% in the January-March 2017 quarter, the slowest in two years. The repo rate cut is also likely to result in lower lending rates.

Tell me more: The RBI has also become the first central bank in Asia to cut rates this year. Four members of the monetary policy committee voted for a policy rate reduction of 25 basis points, one for reduction of 50 basis points and one for maintaining the same rates.

 

5.3%

What is it? The percentage of protein Indians may lose from a standard diet by 2050, according to a study.

Why is it important? This would likely put 53 million people at new risk of protein deficiency and would be due to the increase in carbon dioxide levels as projected causing a decline in the nutritional value of rice, wheat and other staple crops. The study, the first to quantify this risk, estimates that roughly 150 million people in 18 countries are likely to be at risk of protein deficiency due to increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. According to a survey by market research firm IMRB, 73% of Indian diets are protein deficient. The recommended dietary allowance for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

Tell me more: Under elevated carbon dioxide concentrations, the protein content in crops such as rice, wheat, barley and potatoes decreased by 7.6%, 7.8%, 14.1% and 6.4% respectively.

 

Rs 250 crore

What is it? The estimated collective loss of revenue of 87 tea estates in Darjeeling since mid-June, according to the Darjeeling Tea Association.

Why is it important? Due to the indefinite strike announced by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) on June 15, around 75,000 tea workers in Darjeeling are likely to lose at least Rs 10,000-15,000 in wages. The auction volume of Darjeeling tea is running thin and there could be just one more auction of the tea variety this year. Due to reduced supplies, the average price shot up by 27.5% in the last auction to Rs 458.38 per kg over the last year and only 20,000 kg were sold compared to 130,000 kg a year ago.

Tell me more: The GJM is on an indefinite strike to demand a separate Gorkhaland state to be carved out of West Bengal.

 

60

What is it? The number of premises linked to Karnataka energy minister D K Shivakumar searched by the Income Tax department until Wednesday.

Why is it important? The Rajya Sabha (RS) was adjourned four times yesterday over these IT raids, with the Election Commission (EC) seeking a report from the Finance Ministry in two days. The raids spanned New Delhi, Chennai and Bengaluru, including the resort housing 42 Gujarat Congress MLAs.

Tell me more: The Congress approached the EC alleging the raids were BJP’s vendetta against Shivakumar, as he is overseeing the Gujarat MLAs in Bengaluru. The fiasco is due to the upcoming voting to elect Rajya Sabha members from Gujarat. Tax department claimed it recovered Rs 10 crore in cash.

 

Rs 17,576 crore

What is it? The value of illegally mined iron ore and manganese in Odisha since 2000 the Supreme Court has ordered miners to refund the state.

Why is it important? This would be a windfall revenue for the Odisha state government. Mining companies which continued to mine without or in excess of environment clearance since 2000-2001 will be penalised 100% of the illegally mined extracts. The estimate was made by the SC-appointed Central Empowered Committee which found 215.5 million-tonne ore extracted.

Tell me more: This could increase to Rs 25,000 crore if Forest Conservation violations are taken into account. The court ordered companies such as Tata Steel, Essel Mining, Sail, to pay the penalty.

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Maruti takes a hit

Rs 1,556 crore

What is it? Maruti Suzuki’s net profit in the April-June quarter, a 4.4% increase from a year-ago period.

Why is it important? The net profit has lagged estimates – a Bloomberg poll of analysts had estimated a net profit of Rs 1,692.3 crore. Maruti, which has more than 50% market share, said the company’s performance was impacted by a one-time compensation to dealers due to the switch to the goods and services tax, higher raw material prices, sales promotion and marketing expenses.

Tell me more: Maruti’s revenue from operations increased by 16.4% to Rs 19,777 crore from a year ago. It sold 3.94 lakh units in the latest quarter, up 13.2% from the same period a year ago.

 

 

24.1%

What is it? Samsung’s market share in India’s smartphone market in the April-June quarter this year.

Why is it important? With this, Samsung continues to be the leader in the smartphone segment in the country followed by Chinese brands such as Xiaomi and Vivo, which have more than doubled their market share from a year ago. However, Xiaomi overtook Samsung in the category of smartphones selling under Rs 10,000 in the second quarter with its phones Redmi Note 4 and Redmi 4. This is the first time any brand has been able to overtake Samsung, which has held the best-seller slot for its models for the last four years or so.

Tell me more: Chinese smartphone brands account for more than half of the shipments and this is the second straight quarter when their market share exceeds 50% after they took over local brands in the second half of 2016.

 

 

6

What is it? The number of years after which banks in India can appoint the same audit firm, as per a notification by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday.

Why is it important? This has been increased from two years. Earlier, upon completion of its four year term with a bank, an audit firm, could be reappointed after a gap of two years. The central bank observed that in some cases, the statutory central audit responsibility was handled by two audit firms, who were appointed alternately. This policy change is aimed at deterring the auditors and the auditee from establishing a comfortable relationship that might hinder strict adherence to audit principles and also, to enable the examination of issues in a bank from a different perspective.

Tell me more: The change in rule comes at a time when there has been a great divergence between the bad loans reported by some banks for 2015-16 and the RBI’s findings.

 

 

0

What is it? The number of top-100 Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) rankers who opted for three IITs — Kharagpur, Kanpur and Madras.

Why is it important? While 65 of them opted for IIT Bombay, 31 of the rankers chose IIT Delhi. However, this year, the remaining four rankers did not opt for the other IITs. While the IIT Kharagpur had stopped attracting the top-100 rankers for some years, some of them had still chosen Kanpur and Madras (Chennai) till 2016. But in 2017, these three top seats of learning seem to have fallen out of favour.

Tell me more: The three institutes have got around 50 students from the top 500 rankers this year.

 

 

Rs 1,250

What is it? The average wholesale price of a quintal of onions in Maharashtra on Thursday.

Why is it important? It is a rise of 118% since July, 13. A wait for kharif crops in October, Gujarat’s floods and hoarding by farmers of crops from March and April have led to the hike.

Tell me more: The central government might reinstate a minimum export price which had been withdrawn in the last 19 months. The country is already reeling under the rise in prices of tomato, another kitchen staple.

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The dirty dozen

12

What is it? The number of loan defaulters identified by Reserve Bank of India for bankruptcy proceedings.

Why is it important? Each of these accounts has more than Rs 5,000 crore of outstanding loans, at least 60% of which are non-performing. Together, they account for more than a fourth of bad loans in the banking system. The move – to direct banks to file for insolvency proceedings under Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 – underlines the seriousness with which the central bank sees the bad loans problem facing India’s banking system, especially public sector banks.

Tell me more: Former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan who kickstarted the bad loans clean-up process with the seriousness it deserves had said it demanded a ‘deep surgery.’

14.4 million

What is it? The number of obese children (aged 2-19 years) in India, according to a study.

Why is it important? That makes India second only to China. In all, the study found 180 million Indians to be obese.  Obesity is increasingly considered to be a public health crisis, and is associated with life threatening diseases including heart attacks and cancer. It played a role in 4 million deaths in 2015.

Tell me more: The study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, also categorised more than 10% of the world’s population as obese. It covered 195 countries.

$12-$14 billion

What is it? The estimated cost of Diamer-Bhasha dam that Pakistan plans to construct in Gilgit-Baltistan region.

Why is it important? The region is a part of disputed Kashmir, and India had objected to infrastructure projects there, keeping international institutions such as World Bank and Asian Development Bank from funding the project. Now, Pakistan is looking to China to fund it, encouraged by the partnership between the two countries for China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a set of infrastructure projects connecting the two countries.

Tell me more: The Diamer-Bhasha dam is expected to generate 4,500 megawatts of electricity and regulate water to farm lands. It will also displace 4200 families.

1%

What is it? Global energy consumption growth in 2016, according to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy.

Why is it important? It’s lower than 10 year average of 1.8% a year, and in pace with last two years growth (0.9% in 2015 and 1% in 2014). It’s an indicator of sluggish global economic activity. On the positive side, greenhouse gas emissions growth was also muted in 2016, even though the emissions are much higher than the target set by Paris accord.

Tell me more: The energy demand is being driven by the developing countries, especially China and India. Renewables accounted for almost 40% of the growth in global power generation in 2016.

20

What is it? The number of countries that have formal diplomatic relationship with Taiwan.

Why is it important? In the 90s, this number about 30. It has been dwindling. The latest to cut ties with the self-ruled state is Panama, in a move considered to be a diplomatic coup for Beijing. China considers Taiwan a rebel region of China, and has been consciously weaning its allies away.

Tell me more: Panama, which was recently in news as a tax haven, is of strategic importance to trading countries, as it lies at the intersection of Atlantic and Pacific oceans and north and south American continents. China is the second biggest user of Panama canal. The Asian giant’s concern about Taiwan has increased after the election of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen who is pushing for its independence.

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News in Numbers, Feb 17, 2017: TN gets a new CM, 🇪🇰🇵

124

What is it? The number of legislators claimed to be backing Edappadi K Palanisamy, the newly sworn in chief minister of Tamil Nadu

Why is it important? Palanisamy is expected to seek vote of confidence in the assembly on Saturday. Palanisamy’s elevation as chief minister comes after the Supreme Court upheld VK Sasikala’s conviction, which will keep her behind the bars for more than three and a half years and prevent her from contesting elections for another six. Palanisamy has mostly kept the ministerial positions unchanged.

Tell me more: Palanisamy, 63, is the 13th chief minister of the state, and the third in the last six months. He has been representing Salem district’s Edapadi constituency and was the  minister for highways & minor ports under J Jayalalithaa and O Panneerselvam.

14

What is it? The number of seats on Saras, the indigenous aircraft made by National Aerospace Laboratories.

Why is it important? This would be India’s first indigenous passenger aircraft. The twin-turboprop plane, 30 years in the making, could ease efforts to activate remote air-routes in the country. However, India’s home-made aircrafts have not gotten off to a flying start. The combat aircraft, Tejas, produced by Hindustan Aeronautics, proved too heavy for the Navy’s requirements, though the Indian Air Force (IAF) has adopted it. Saras would have to overcome its own grim past that includes the crash of the second prototype’s test flight in 2009, killing all three on-board. It is currently being tested.

Tell me more: The IAF has committed to buying Saras as well, and will have to test it before sale to commercial airlines.

15

What is it? The new entrants in the oil and gas sector that won bids in the government auction after the last one in 2010.

Why is it important? The small debutants won around 16 contract areas, or 52% of total number of blocks (31) that were awarded. Their entry will boost local oil and gas production as these blocks were lying untapped earlier. Larger players, some of whom stayed away from the auctions, concentrated elsewhere from these blocks for reasons such as these being isolated, small in size, having high development costs etc. But their development is needed if Narendra Modi’s plan to reduce oil imports by 10% by 2022 is to be realised, as these blocks would increase oil output by 15,000 barrels a day and gas production by 2 million standard cubic metre a day. A total reserve of 62 million tonne of oil and oil equivalent gas is expected to be monetised from the auctioned areas.

Tell me more: The gross revenue is estimated at Rs 46,400 crore including Rs 5,000 crore in royalty and Rs 9,300 crore in central government revenue.

$19.5-22.3 billion

What is it? Snap Inc., owner of photo-messaging app, Snapchat’s reported valuation.

Why is it important? The parent of one of the fastest-growing and widely-popular mobile applications was expected to value its IPO (initial public offering) at $20-25 billion. But it is being said the unprofitable company revised it downwards on initial investor feedback as its daily average user (DAU) growth slowed to 46% in Q4, 2016. The world of listed social media companies is already seeing two outcomes playing out: Facebook which has managed to make profits on its social media platform and Twitter which is still trying to. With Snapchat’s growth in new users, mainly comprising short-on-attention millennials, slowing, its business model could be under a cloud.

Tell me more: By valuing its shares at $14-16, Snap Inc. wants to ensure enough demand for its stock to trade up on its debut. Snapchat has a learning curve which could deter new users and keep non-users from turning to it.

0.4%

What is it? The ceiling on merchant discount rate (MDR) for small merchants using a physical point of sale terminal for card transactions, as proposed by Reserve Bank of India. MDR is the rate charged to a merchant by a bank for card / digital transactions. For digital transactions the proposed ceiling is 0.3%.

Why is it important? MDR has been a point of contention in India ever since the government announced demonetisation and sought to push digital transactions by cutting MDR to zero for transactions up to Rs 2000 till 31 March 2017.  MDR’s slabs are usually based on ticket size. RBI has proposed to the banks to consider the turnover of merchants too, and charge the small merchants (with turnover of less than Rs 20 lakh, for example) lower rate.

Tell me more: Reserve Bank has also proposed that banks charge lower rate for transactions that don’t involve physical point of sale terminals that are usually supplied by the banks.

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