News in Numbers, Aug 5, 2016: Gujarat’s ordinance quashed, April 2017 target for GST…


What is it? The maximum reservation a state can set aside for economically and socially backward groups, per Supreme Court order in 1963.

Why is it important? This has come in the way of Gujarat government’s ordinance to provide 10% reservation in educational institutions and government jobs for the economically backward among the unreserved category – a move which was seen as a way to pacify the Patidar community that organised a statewide agitation demanding the Other Backward Class (OBC) status. The High Court quashed the ordinance and held that it to be inappropriate and unconstitutional as the Constitution allows reservations to be given only for the socially backward and the Scheduled Castes/Tribes and not on the basis of economic criteria.

Tell me more: The BJP government has said it would challenge the High Court decision. On the other hand, Hardik Patel, the leader of the Patidar agitation welcomed the order and said that they would continue their demands to be included under the OBC category.



What is it? The number of revenue officials to be trained on rules related to Goods and Services Tax and IT infrastructure framework by April 2017.

Why is it important? This will help meet the Indian government’s target of rolling out GST, which would replace the existing indirect taxes and be implemented as a single tax rate, by April 1, 2017. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said they would work quickly and try and meet the deadline. A total of 16 states (BJP is in power in 13) need to ratify the bill and they have been asked to do so within 30 days of the President’s assent of the legislation.

Tell me more: The government hopes that all the necessary bills related to the GST would be passed in the Winter Session of the Parliament and that the back-end and front-end IT systems required for the rollout would be ready by the end of the year.


Rs 15 crore

What is it? The pay package of Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries in 2015-16.

Why is it important? The richest man in India has not taken a pay hike for the last eight years – a voluntary move by the elder Ambani brother. The other senior management personnel, however, got remuneration hikes. In the same period, Reliance Industries’ net profit nearly doubled from Rs 15,296 crore in 2008-09 to Rs 27,630 crore in 2015-16. In 2014-15, Ambani’s salary was 205 times that of the median employee remuneration.

Tell me more: The Reliance Industries chairman was ranked as the 36th richest man in the world with a total net worth of $19.3 billion by Forbes annual ranking for 2016. Until 2007-08, Ambani was the highest paid executive in the country with a pay package of Rs 44 crore per annum.


Rs 384 crore

What is it? The amount taxi-hailing app Ola, run by ANI Technologies, had raised in December from Vanguard Group, a US-based investment management firm, as per the company’s recent disclosure.

Why is it important? The investment by the Pennsylvania firm will draw further attention to Ola’s valuation (was around $5 billion last November) as it has to disclose the status of its portfolio to the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Vanguard has also invested in some of the bigger technology firms such as Facebook, Alphabet, and Flipkart. It was in news in India after Flipkart’s valuation was marked down by Vanguard and its peers from around $15 billion last July to about $10 billion now.

Tell me more: India’s third most valuable startup is reportedly in talks existing and new investors to raise more funds as it looks to compete with cash-rich Uber in India’s cab-hailing market.



What is it? The number of flights Air Costa, a regional airline, had suspended on Thursday due to problems with its aircraft lessors. It said it would resume operations as scheduled from today.

Why is it important? This comes a few days after another regional airline Air Pegasus suspended its operations (on July 27) after its lessors repossessed its aircraft due to non-payment of dues. This raises questions about the viability of the business models of regional carriers at a time when the government has unveiled the new civil aviation policy, which aims to boost regional connectivity and attract first-time flyers from small towns.

Tell me more: The government says it would help both the airlines, if feasible and if they approach them for help. The flight route of Air Costa includes cities such as Vijayawada, Bengaluru, Chennai, Tirupati, Coimbatore and Jaipur.

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What is the one thing that Reliance and Infosys have in common?

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One company is in the manufacturing business, the other is in services. They are at different stages in their evolution as businesses and as repositories of talent. Yet, there’s one thing that Reliance Industries Ltd and Infosys Ltd—two of India’s largest and most profitable companies—have in common: the scarcity of women in the top league of employees that earns above Rs.5 lakh a month.

By gender

Under the Companies Act, companies have to disclose details of all their employees earning Rs.60 lakh and above per year (or Rs.5 lakh a month). In 2014-15, Reliance had 511 such employees and Infosys 276. But only six at Reliance and 18 at Infosys were women, highlighting even greater under-representation of the gender in the top tier.




By employees and financials

What do the salaries drawn by this set say about the distribution of wealth across the company? Such employees accounted for 0.2% of Infosys’s workforce and 1% of its wage bill. By comparison, this set accounts for 2% of Reliance’s workforce but 20% of its wage bill, a characteristic of the manufacturing business, where blue-collar employees dominate the workforce. As a share of net profit, Reliance does better than Infosys.




By age

About three-fourths of this set in Infosys is in the 40-49 age bracket. By comparison, a similar percentage at Reliance is 50 years or older, including a quarter above 60. Also, broadly speaking, a linearity is seen in the relationship between age and salary at Infosys, but not at Reliance.




By age and time in company

At almost every age bracket, on average, Reliance has been rewarding the more recent entrant into the company better than those who have been there longer. For Infosys, this phenomenon is seen less.




By educational qualification

Engineers dominate in both companies—53% in Reliance and 64% in Infosys—followed by management graduates.



By top 20 employees

The average remuneration for the 20 highest-paid employees of Reliance is two-and-a-half times that of the Infosys set. More tellingly, the Infosys set has spent almost twice as many years in the company as the Reliance set; thrice if the top four Reliance veterans are excluded from this count.




Notes: For the purposes of calculating average salary, only those employees who were with the company for the full year have been considered. All calculations for Reliance Industries exclude numbers from its subsidiaries (mainly Reliance Jio and Reliance Retail).

Data source: Company annual reports for 2014-15

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Even in organized sector, women are second gender

This piece originally appeared on


For all its orientation and claims in levelling gender inequalities, the organized sector—consisting of licensed or registered organizations—as a whole still shows a huge gulf between men and women.




Be it at private companies or in the government, the six million women there find themselves dwarfed by men: in numbers, in incomes, in promotions and a whole lot more.

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