News in Numbers, June 23, 2016: East’s answer to NATO, India’s largest spectrum auction…

8

What is it? The membership strength of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) once India and Pakistan join the group at a two-day summit starting today.

Why is it important? It’s East’s answer to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation). This would help India participate in military cooperation in the areas of counter-terrorism measures in Central Asia, intelligence sharing and tackling cyber terrorism with the member-states of this group. This would also provide better access to Central Asia for both India and Pakistan at a time when they are seeking to deepen their ties with the region, especially given their involvement in projects such as Chabahar Port and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor respectively.

Tell me more: The SCO comprises of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan while Afghanistan, Belarus, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan have observer status.

 

$950,000

What is it? The penalty the US’ Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has levied on mobile advertising company InMobi for tracking locations of consumers including children without their permission.

Why is it important? Shows how some new-age firms resort to practices deemed to be unethical and illegal to chase growth. Highlights the risks to consumers who have no way of knowing if their privacy (and their children’s privacy) is being compromised. For InMobi, which is competing with Facebook and Google, this comes at a time when it is struggling to raise funds, build a sustainable business model and fighting attrition in its senior and mid-level management.

Tell me more: Under the terms of settlement, the FTC said InMobi is subjected to a $4 million civil penalty, which is suspended to $950,000 given the “company’s financial condition”. InMobi has to delete all information collected from children and location information of consumers besides instituting a comprehensive privacy policy, which will be independently audited every two years for the next 20 years.

 

Rs 5.66 lakh crore

What is it? The amount the spectrum auction is estimated to fetch the Indian government.

Why is it important? Given how expensive the spectrum bands are (a firm bidding for 5 MHz of pan-India bandwidth in the 700 band would have to pay Rs 57,000 crore– over half of what the government earned from the 2015 auctions) and the Rs 3.5 lakh crore debt under which the telecom sector is reeling, the level of participation by the firms in the auctions remains to be seen. Idea, Vodafone and Airtel are reportedly not planning to bid for spectrum in the 700 MHz band.

Tell me more: This is the first time the government would put up the entire spectrum available on sale. The bidding is expected to commence from September 1.

 

Rs 418.25 crore

What is it? Revenue of ANI Technologies, which owns and runs brand Ola, in 2014-15.

Why is it important? It increased eight-fold from Rs 51.05 crore in 2013-14 though its losses shot up 20 times from Rs 34.21 crore in FY14 to Rs 754.87 crore in FY15. Indicates that the growth of the company, which raised two rounds of funding totalling to $251.5 million (nearly Rs 1,700 crore) in this period, came at a high cost (discounts and driver incentives) and that it requires increased capital to fend off competition from Uber and maintain its lead.

Tell me more: Ola is reportedly in talks with investors to raise $300-400 million or $1 billion, according to different publications.

 

57%

What is it? Percentage of cost of travel recovered by the Indian railways on passenger fares on an average.

Why is it important? The railways has been printing this information on train tickets in the last one week. The idea is to make rail passengers aware of the huge subsidy on rail tickets. Increasing rail fares is a politically sensitive subject in India and this awareness-building could be the first step in rationalisation of fares in the coming years.

Tell me more: Passenger fares were last hiked by 14.2% in June 2014. Suburban and short-haul train passengers account for over half of the traffic but their share in total passenger revenues was just 6-7%, accounting for around 60% of the annual subsidy of Rs 34,000 crore.

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News in Numbers, June 3, 2016: Uber’s raises $3.5 billion, India’s internet users…

24

What is it? The number of people convicted of murder and other charges in the 2002 post-Godhra Gulberg society massacre by a special designated court on Thursday.

Why is it important? This brings justice to one of the series of riots that broke out in Gujarat in 2002. In this attack, which came a day after 60 Hindu pilgrims were killed in a train-burning incident, 69 Muslims were murdered.

Tell me more: Of those convicted, 11 were found to be guilty of murder while the rest for lesser charges. The court acquitted 36 defendants while four of the accused died while on trial.

 

$3.5 billion

What is it? The amount taxi hailing app Uber has raised from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.

 Why is it important? This is the company’s single biggest investment and the largest single investment in a startup. The San Francisco-based company now has $11 billion on its balance sheet to take on its rivals- Lyft in the US, Ola in India and Didi Kuaidi in China (it is also close to raising $3.5 billion). Meanwhile, Ola has raised $1.18 billion so far with the latest funding of $500 million in November 2015. Uber, which could have raised a similar amount via a public listing, has been criticised for raising money from a wealth fund of a politically repressive regime.

Tell me more: With this, Uber has raised $13.5 billion (including convertible debt) so far and Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund gets a 5% stake in the company. This also indicates how Saudi Arabia plans to reduce its dependence on oil for revenues.

 

277 million

What is it? The number of internet users in India in 2015, a 40% growth from the previous year, according to Mary Meeker 2016 Internet Trends report.

Why is it important? India overtaken the US to become the second largest country in the world in terms of internet users (after China) and it is the only country where the growth rate of the number of internet users was higher than the previous year (33%). However, tech startups are still struggling to make money, indicating that the users are still not ready to spend much money on the web.

Tell me more: Online retail sales in April were lower than that in December 2015, a first-time occurrence in many years. New rules by the Indian government prohibiting online marketplaces from influencing the prices of products online could have had an effect on e-commerce companies.

 

$2.4 billion

What is it? Revenue of terror group ISIS in 2015 – a drop of $500 million from the previous year’s estimate, according to the Center for the Analysis of Terrorism.

Why is it important? ISIS retains the tag of being the richest terrorist organisation in the world, despite US bombing of its oil fields. The group compensated for the loss in revenue from oil by increasing tax rates for the 8 million people it controls. The share of oil revenue fell from 38% to 25% in 2015 while that of taxes went up from 12% to 33% last year.

Tell me more: Terrorism expert Jean Charles-Brisard, one of the authors of the report, has expressed surprise at the fact that the UN Security Council has not laid a formal embargo that would punish countries that continue to buy goods including cement, oil and wheat from ISIS territory.

 

92%

What is it? Percentage of e.coli-infected ice cubes in Mumbai hotels, eateries and juice centres found in the samples examined by Mumbai’s governing civic body.

Why is it important? The bacteria can cause health problems including severe gastroenteritis (inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract), diarrhoea, vomiting and food poisoning.

Tell me more: The survey included 552 shops and 2,995 street vendors. Around 7,500 people died from consuming contaminated food in 2014.

 

 

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News in Numbers, May 26, 2016: Capital goods policy, SEBI’s push to delist 4,200 firms…

Rs 7.5 lakh crore

What is it? The expected value of capital goods made in India in 2025 from Rs 2.3 lakh crore in 2014-15.

Why is it important? The government, which on Wednesday approved a policy on capital goods, hopes to generate more jobs in this sector: 30 million by 2025 from 8.4 million now. It’s in line with the government’s  ‘Make in India’ programme, which aims to increase the share of manufacturing sector as a percentage of GDP from around the current 17% to 25% by 2020.

Tell me more: The policy seeks to increase exports from 27% to 40% of production and to up the share of domestic production in India’s capital goods demand from 60% to 80% by 2025, which would make India a net exporter of capital goods. Capital goods production, which is 8.8% of the Index of Industrial Production and is a proxy for industrial and investment demand, contracted for the fifth straight month (as of March) year-on-year.

 

4,200

What is it? The number of companies the markets regulator is pushing for delisting from the stock exchanges.

Why is it important? This is to prevent price manipulation through firms that are not actively traded, which would improve governance of public markets and the listed companies. It would also help in reducing regulatory burden. However, firms could misuse this to become non-compliant in order to delist themselves instead of following the proper delisting norms.

Tell me more: Of the 4,200, there are 1,200 companies that have been suspended from trading for seven years (typically, for non-compliance of rules) and 3,000 that are only listed on regional exchanges, some of which cease to exist. The Securities and Exchange Board of India has also warned strict action against auditors if they are found to play a role in market manipulation.

 

54%

What is it? The percentage of ICICI Bank’s bad loans on the account of the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) asset quality review in the last six months of 2015-16.

Why is it important? Shows the extent to which banks have been under-reporting their bad loans. ICICI Bank is not the only one. For Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, Axis Bank and Yes Bank, the equivalent numbers are: 45%, 41%, 30% and 24%. Of the large banks that have declared their results so far, about 44% of their bad loans is due to the central bank’s asset quality review.

Tell me more: The gross bad loans of 39 listed banks was Rs 4.3 lakh crore at the end of December 2015. In April, it was reported that over Rs 3 lakh crore were classified under a category where repayments were overdue by 30-60 days while another Rs 3.17 lakh crore had repayments overdue by 60-90 days, and a portion of this may turn into bad loans during the year.

 

Rs 184.96 crore

What is it? Online restaurant discovery/food ordering service firm Zomato Media’s revenue in 2015-16 from Rs 96.73 crore the previous year.

Why is it important? Despite almost doubling its revenue from last year, it recorded loss before tax of Rs 492.27 crore in the year ended March 2016. Food startups have been facing problems including slowdown in funding, with many of the firms either closing down, getting acquired or reducing their operations.

Tell me more: Last month, HSBC Securities and Capital Markets reduced Zomato’s valuation by $500 million, about half the valuation at which it had raised its last round of funding in September 2015.

 

$50

What is it? Price of Brent crude oil per barrel, an increase of 79% from a 12-year-low of $27.88 a barrel in January.

Why is it important? This is the first time oil has breached the $50-mark. This means higher fuel prices for motorists and reduction in savings for the Indian government due to a likely increase in oil subsidies. In Delhi, fuel prices have increased by over 7% this year. India’s crude oil import bill has almost halved to $64 billion in 2015-16.

Tell me more: The basket of crude oil India imports averaged $105.5 per barrel in 2013-14, $84.2 a barrel in 2014-15 and $46.2 per barrel in 2015-16.

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News in numbers, Jan 4, 2016: Pathankot terror attack, revenue from excise duty hikes…

 

Rs 10,000 crore

What is it? Additional revenue Indian government expects to earn in 2015-16 from hikes in excise duty on petrol and diesel.

 

Why is it important? It will partially help in covering for the shortfall in revenue from disinvestments in public sector units (PSUs) and direct tax collections. The government had aimed to raise Rs 69,500 crore from selling shares in PSUs but managed to mop up just over 18% or Rs 12,700 crore so far. Between April and November 2015, the direct tax collections was less than half (46.26%) of the budgeted target of Rs 7.97 lakh crore in 2015-16.

 

Tell me more: The government on Saturday increased excise duty on petrol by Rs 0.37 per litre and by Rs 2 per litre on diesel. This is the third hike in 2015-16 and since November 2014, the seventh. The three excise duty hikes translate to a total increase of Rs 2.27 per litre on petrol and Rs 3.47 a litre on diesel.

 

2-1

 

What is it? India’s score in the 11th edition of the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship. India beat defending champion Afghanistan on Sunday.

 

Why is it important? With this win, India has lifted the SAFF cup for the seventh time. This is also likely to have an impact on India’s position in the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) rankings to be released on January 7. From 121 in 2001, India’s ranking has slid to 166 currently, reaching a low of 171 in 2014 since the start of the new millennium.

 

Tell me more: India had lost to Afghanistan 0-2 in the final match of the 2013 edition.

 

$522 billion

 

What is it? Estimated global oil and gas investments in 2016, according to Oslo-based consultancy Rystad Energy.

 

Why is it important? If this happens, it would be the lowest in six years. In 2015, global investments in this sector had seen a 22% fall to $595 billion. This would also be the first time that there may be a decline in investments for two straight years since the 1986 oil crash, according to Bjoernar Tonhaugen, vice president of oil and gas markets at Rystad Energy . One of the major fallouts of this is the loss of jobs. In November last year, the number of job losses in oil and gas companies had crossed the 250,000 mark worldwide, according to industry consultant, Graves & Co.

 

Tell me more: Crude oil prices fell 35% in 2015 and are expected to decline even further in 2016. A combination of factors — global glut, suppliers refusing to cut down on production and engaging in price war to attract customers — are responsible for the rapid decline in oil prices.

 

7

 

What is it? Number of military personnel killed in a terrorist attack on Pathankot air base situated in Punjab, about 30 km from the Pakistan border. As many as 20 have been wounded.

 

Why is it important? Raises questions about security lapses and how the terrorists managed to enter the air base undetected. This is the second attack on Punjab after the Gurdaspur district attack in July 2015 that killed 10 people including the Gurdaspur Superintendent of Police. In the latest terror attack, militants disguised as soldiers, stormed the base a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid an impromptu visit to his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif. Four terrorists have been reportedly killed and two more are said to be holed up at the base.

 

Tell me more: The government claimed the operation successful on Saturday but fresh attacks on Sunday, it said the operation was not over yet.

 

160 million

 

What is it? Number of one rupee notes issued in 2014-15 and 2015-16 so far by the government.

 

Why is it important? The cost of printing a one rupee note at Rs 1.14, exceeds its value – and the life of a paper note is 9 to 10 months. It’s a reason why currencies of lower denominations tend to be in coins. The government had stopped issuing one rupee notes between 1995-96 and 2013-14.

 

Tell me more: In 2014-15, a total of five million notes of one rupee denomination and in the current fiscal year, 155 million notes were introduced in the market.

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