Privacy: Our new fundamental right?

Rs 18,000 crore

What is it? The minimum additional amount Indian banks need to provide towards taking 12 of the country’s largest defaulters to bankruptcy court as directed by the central bank, according to India Ratings and Research.

Why is it important? The current weighted average provisioning of the banks towards these 12 accounts is 42% and the rating agency forecasts that this would reduce the banks’ profits by 25% in 2017-18. The Reserve Bank of India has asked the creditor banks to provide for 50% of the bad loans on cases that are being referred to the National Company Law Tribunal.

Tell me more: The non-performing assets of India’s 12 largest defaulters amount to Rs 1.78 lakh crore, which constitutes about a quarter of the overall gross non-performing assets.

 

15,000

What is it? The number of employees, including contractors, of Air India that could be offered a Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS).

Why is it important? If implemented, this would be one of the largest such offers among India’s public sector companies and comes ahead of its likely sale in the future. The Narendra Modi cabinet recently gave its approval to sell a part or all of the state carrier’s operations. Air India, which has a debt of Rs 50,000 crore and a 14% market share, has been struggling to get off the ground.

Tell me more: Air India’s net tax after loss narrowed by around 5% to Rs 3,643 crore in 2016-17 while its operating profit grew nearly threefold to Rs 300 crore in the same fiscal.

 

Rs 211.7

What is it? The median hourly gross salary for manufacturing sector in 2016, according to Monster Salary Index by online recruitment portal Monster India.

Why is it important? Not only did it see a 16% decline from Rs 252.1 in 2015 but it was also the lowest paying sector last year among those analysed. This indicates that the government’s plans to transform the country into a manufacturing hub and increase the sector’s contribution to the Indian economy to a quarter from the current 16% by 2025 may not be going as intended. The sector employs around 12-13% of the workforce.

Tell me more: The banking, financial services and the insurance sector was the highest paid in 2016 with Rs 433 as median hourly gross salary followed by the IT services at Rs 386.8.

 

9

What is it? The number of Supreme Court judges on the Constitution bench that will decide whether Indian citizens have the right to privacy under the Constitution or not, starting from  Wednesday.

Why is it important? The five-judge Constitution bench deliberating on Aadhaar Act’s possible violation of a person’s right to privacy, felt it had to be first determined if privacy was one of our fundamental rights. Fundamental rights are guaranteed Indian citizens by the Constitution, but the right to privacy is not mentioned explicitly. This is why the Supreme Court is attempting to interpret the Constitution to determine the right, much like the freedom of press.

Tell me more: Past rulings have not favoured citizens’ privacy. The former attorney general of India, Mukul Rohatgi, has maintained since 2015 that Indian citizens don’t have a fundamental right to privacy. In 1954 and 1962, Supreme Court judgements, by smaller sized benches (eight- and six-judge) had held privacy was not a fundamental right. Debates around privacy say it is a non-negotiable right.

 

Rs 1.2 to 6 lakh

What is it? The monthly salary range amount quoted by specialist doctors to work in rural Karnataka. The state government has invited doctors to quote their price to fill 1,221 vacant jobs.

Why is it important? The bidding by specialists reveal the salary expectations by specialist doctors like anaesthetists, gynaecologists and obstetricians, as compared to standard government package. Obstetricians and gynaecologists quoted the highest at Rs 6 lakh per month, and the lowest salary bids were from general surgery, orthopaedics and general medicine (Rs 60,000 to Rs 1.2 lakh).

Tell me more: So far, 5,262 doctors have applied. Here too Bengaluru attracted the maximum applications.

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News in numbers, Oct 9, 2015: Bombay HC rules in favour of Vodafone, right to privacy in India…

 

Rs 8,500 crore

What is it? The amount by which Vodafone India’s tax liability has come down, thanks to a Bombay High Court ruling. This relates to sale of its call centre business to Hutchison and assignment of call options (sale of assets at an agreed price) to Vodafone International – and concerns around transfer pricing. (Transfer pricing is setting of price of goods and services sold between two divisions/legal entities under the same group.)

Why is it important? This could spell good news for other companies such as IBM Corp., Royal Dutch Plc and Nokia Oyj that are fighting transfer-pricing cases in India. It could even set a new precedent or result in clearer tax policies and regulations, something that foreign investors have been seeking for.

Tell me more: This is just one of the cases Vodafone battling with the Indian tax authorities. Last year, the Bombay High Court had ruled in favour of Vodafone’s Indian unit in a Rs 3,200-crore dispute where the tax department had accused the company of under-pricing shares in a rights issue to its parent firm. Vodafone, which bought Hutchison’s business in 2007, has also been held liable for capital tax gains on that deal. That is yet to be resolved.

 

~ 100,000

What is it? The number of people Accenture is looking to hire in September 2015 – August 2016.

Why is it important? This would help Accenture maintain its lead position over TCS, which is considered to be an aggressive recruiter. Recently, the company which has around 336,000 people, shot past TCS (319,656) in headcount. And, TCS is planning to hire about 65,000 people in the current financial year (April 2015 – March 2016).

Tell me more: The company is planning to spend about $1 billion on acquisitions in 2015-16. It is planning to focus on three ‘new’ technologies – digital, cloud and cyber security, which contribute to a third of its overall revenue.  

 

90%

What is it? The upper limit of the percentage of house price that RBI allows banks to lend for loans of up to Rs 30 lakh.  

Why is it important? The limit on loan value is up 50% from Rs 20 lakh earlier. This reflects rising house prices – and would help more people to consider buying a property. Might help revive real estate sector, which has been faced with high unsold inventory and tepid sales.

Tell me more: The central bank has also relaxed the risk weights (the capital to be set aside by banks) for individual housing loans.

 

61 years

What is it? The number of years since Supreme Court said right to privacy is not fundamental.

Why is it important? It might change now. The Supreme Court on Thursday has set up a Constitution Bench to re-look at the issue. Making it a fundamental right will warrant changes in certain government laws/policies. This question has sprung up now because of the Aadhaar card enrolment process, which involves parting with information such as fingerprints and iris signatures.

Tell me more: A petitioner against the Aadhaar scheme has raised concerns about the government owning personal data of individual citizens, which could be misused for ill-gains.

 

55.56 – 157.14%

What is it? The increase in prices of some vegetables such as pointed gourd, pumpkin, bitter gourd and brinjal in three weeks (between September 16 and October 8).

Why is it important? Overall, though wholesale and retail inflation have been falling, the increase in food prices, especially those of vegetables and pulses is worrying. In August, vegetable prices increased by 8.5% from July prices while pulses and related products saw the highest rate of increase among all the product groups.

Tell me more: The top three reasons given for the price rise are delayed monsoons and deficient or excessive rains in some areas.

 

 

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