ReVISAble process? 🗽

$5.4 billion

What is it? The value of the stake in seven publicly-held companies that government plans to sell this fiscal.

Why is it important? The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management has sought bids to manage the sales, as part of the disinvestment programme of the central government. Through strategic stake sale in publicly-held companies and minority stake sale in private companies, the government plans to raise Rs 72,500 crore ($11.26 billion) this year. It would help plug the 3.2% fiscal deficit of GDP for the year.

Tell me more: The companies include large entities such as Indian Oil, NTPC and Steel Authority of India. The initial disinvestment target is seldom met, with the central government often revising it lower through a fiscal. Last year, it managed to earn Rs 46,247 crore through disinvestment.

 

Rs 15 lakh

What is it? The penalty Air India proposes to levy on unruly passengers delaying flights for over two hours.

Why is it important? The national carrier, tasked with transporting government employees and ministers, has had a spate of such incidents, the latest ones involving parliamentarians. Shiv Sena’s Ravindra Gaikwad and Trinamool Congress’ Dola Sen held up flights and misbehaved with the staff. Depending on the delay caused by unruly passengers, the fine would get levied: Delays upto an hour would attract Rs 5 lakh, between one and two hours Rs 10 lakh and beyond two hours Rs 15 lakh.

Tell me more: The proposal also has advice on tackling such situations which include an immediate filing of police complaint.

 

199,000

What is it? The number of H1B visa applications filed by employers for 2018 with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Why is it important? This is the first time the total number of applications fell. Even though it is over two times the available visa quota of 85,000, the number of applications dwindled compared to last year and earlier. Last year, there were 236,000 applications filed by employers. It shows their apprehensions about the H1B visa programme, meant for hiring highly-skilled workers from out of US, after the Trump administration proposed restrictions.

Tell me more: The Indian IT majors have spoken of looking at more local hiring than sending Indian employees to client sites.

 

Rs 39,000 crore

What is it? The declared value of Sahara’s Aamby Valley property

Why is it important? The Supreme Court has now ordered to sell the property, spread over 10,000 acres, because Sahara failed to deposit Rs 5000 crore as required by the court’s earlier order. Sahara Group, through two firms, had raised Rs 24,029 crore from investors in 2009-10, flouting public issue norms. Market regulator Sebi asked Sahara to return the money to investors in 2010. It has paid about Rs 11,000 crore so far. Pending amount is Rs 14,779 crore.

Tell me more:  In February, the court had attached Aamby Valley, on concerns that Sahara is dragging its feet to return the money. Sahara chief Subrata Roy, who was arrested in 2014 over the case, is at present out on a bail.

 

$7.8 million

What is it? The fine amount Google will pay to settle an antitrust case related to Android operating system in Russia

Why is it important? The case indicates the dominance of the search engine giant, which in some ways mirrors the dominance of Microsoft’s operating system in the computer market and the antitrust case it triggered over 15 years ago. Google has also agreed to remove restrictions on pre-installed applications on Android platform. It could potentially become the norm in other markets too.

Tell me more: This is the culmination of a two year old legal battlethat started with a complaint by Yandex, Russia based search engine that said Google is using its dominant position in the market to stifle competition through restrictions on pre-installed apps that come with the phone.

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News in Numbers, Mar 22, 2017: Who moved my cash 💸

Rs 640.75

What is it? The closing price of Avenue Supermarts on the first day of its trading at the bourses.

 

Why is it important? That’s more than double its issue price, when it went for initial public offering earlier this month. Avenue is the holding company of D-Mart retail chain and operates in a segment rife with growth, margin and business model issues.

Tell me more: Avenue Supermarts is part of a busy IPO season which continues in 2017, after a good year in 2016.

 

Rs 2 lakh

What is it? The limit to a single cash transaction (or multiple cash transactions related to the same event) if the amendment to the Finance Bill, 2017 gets passed in the Lok Sabha.

Why is it important? This is a further reduction from earlier cap of Rs 3 lakh suggested in the Union Budget for 2017-18. A cap on cash payments will push the public towards more digital payments and potentially increase tax collections. Norway, Sweden and Denmark, the countries that score high on human development, have a tax revenue to GDP ratio of around 50%. For India it is around 17%.

Tell me more: This is a part of the record 40 amendments proposed for the finance bill.

 

$1 billion

What is it? The fall in US President Donald Trump’s net-worth compared to March, 2016.

Why is it important? The first billionaire president of the United States, Trump’s fortune dwindled to tie him with 19 others as the 544th richest billionaire. He dropped 220 spots on the Forbes billionaire list as prices dropped in a part of New York’s real estate market where 40% of his wealth is tied up.

Tell me more: Trump’s business had also donated $66 million to last year’s presidential campaign.

 

18

What is it? The number of greenfield airports that have received government approval

Why is it important? About Rs 30,000 crore will be invested in building these airports, to be set up mostly in the smaller cities and towns. It is likely to help push investments in more centres, and eventually align with the government’s multi-modal logistics hubs initiative that aims to bring down the logistics cost for companies by strengthening infrastructure.

Tell me more: Mopa (Goa), Navi Mumbai, Shirdi and Sindhudurg (Maharashtra), Bijapur, Gulbarga, Hassan and Shimoga (Karnataka), Kannur (Kerala), Pakyong (Sikkim), Karaikal (Puducherry), Dholera (Gujarat) and Bhogapuram (Andhra Pradesh) are among the places that will get new airports if the projects go through.

 

Rs 5092.6 crore

What is it? The amount Sahara Group has to deposit in SEBI-Sahara refund account by April 17, 2017.

Why is it important? Supreme Court has now warned that it would auction the group’s Aamby Valley project, worth Rs 39,000 crore if it doesn’t deposit the amount on time. The court refused to extend the deadline. Last month, it had said the group had to pay the amount by the deadline to keep its chief Subrata Roy out of jail.

Tell me more: Securities and exchange board of India has been struggling to get Sahara Group return Rs 24,000 crore plus interest to investors through a long drawn court battle.

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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.

97

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.

80%

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.

9

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, Feb 3, 2016: India’s borrowing plans for irrigation, Whatsapp’s billion users…

 

Rs 86,000 crore

What is it? Amount India plans to raise by way of overseas loans to fund irrigation projects.

Why is it important? It will add 1.3 crore hectares of irrigated farmland. India has witnessed back-to-back droughts affecting its crop production and threatening to turn it into a net importer of some commodities.

Tell me more: The Indian government is likely to approach the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and state-owned foreign banks for loans with tenures of as much as 25 years. The government-run National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development is likely to take the lead in the borrowing programme.

 

Rs 5,300 crore

What is it? Amount Sahara Group plans to raise by selling some of its assets to help free its jailed chief Subrata Roy.

Why is it important? This is about 15% of the money (Rs 36,000 crore) it has to refund its investors for a time-deposit scheme declared illegal. The group expects to sell the Sahara Star Hotel, its stake in the Formula One racing team to raise Rs 3,000 crore and the rest by selling of three of its overseas properties.

Tell me more: The Supreme Court was expected to take a decision on the appointment of a receiver to auction off some of the group’s properties on Tuesday. The hearing has now been deferred until March 29. The bail amount for Roy’s release was fixed at Rs 10,000 crore.

Rs 1.14 lakh crore

What is it? Investment commitment by electronic manufacturing firms such as LG, Samsung and Foxconn in India in the last 20 months.

Why is it important? Shows global firms’ interest in Indian government’s ‘Make in India’ programme, partly driven by the government’s incentive scheme for companies setting up electronics manufacturing facilities here. It remains to be seen if all the 156 proposals materialise.

Tell me more: The Indian Electronics Systems Design and Manufacturing industry was estimated to be worth $68 billion in 2012 and was projected to increase to $94.2 billion in 2015 at a compounded annual growth rate of 9.9% between 2011-15.

 

1 billion

What is it? Number of users Whatsapp has now, more than double of those using the service when it was acquired by Facebook two years ago.

Why is it important? Whatsapp rivals – Viber and WeChat (along with its Chinese version) – have 400 million users and 650 million monthly active users. However, in terms of monetisation, WeChat’s average revenue per user at $7 is way higher than Whatsapp’s $1.

Tell me more: Facebook reached this target in 2012 and six months ago, 1 billion users logged in on a single day. Facebook acquired Whatsapp for $22 billion in 2014, justifying the price saying it has the potential of reaching 1 billion users. “The global SMS-system does around 20 bn messages a day. Whatsapp is now doing 42 bn. With 57 engineers.” –@BenedictEvans

 

131

What is it? India’s consumer confidence index in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to a Nielsen survey.

Why is this important? India has been on the top of this index for four quarters in a row now. In terms of job prospects and personal finances, Indians were found to be the most optimistic in the world with 80% and 82% of the respondents (respectively) in India said they were confident of these attributes. However, 50% of the polled Indians said the country is in an “economic recession”, meaning the recessionary sentiment is felt strongly.

Tell me more: Consumer confidence index of China, which posted its lowest economic growth numbers in 25 years recently, increased by one point to 107 in the last quarter of 2015.

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