News in Numbers, June 22, 2016: India’s FDI inflows, ISRO’s biggest-ever single launch…

$44 billion

What is it? India’s foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows in 2015, up from $35 billion in 2014, according to a report by United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Why is it important? This puts India in the 10th position, though this is still less than 2% of its GDP (for Vietnam, it is 5% of its GDP). In terms FDI stock (outstanding value of all FDIs happened so far), India lags behind smaller countries such as Singapore and Mexico, which shows that it has a lot of potential to position itself as an attractive destination for foreign investment.

Tell me more: The government liberalised FDI norms in nine sectors on Monday, the second such policy overhaul in seven months. In November 2015, the government eased the rules in 15 sectors.

 

Rs 11.8 trillion

What is it? The share of 240 of the top 500 corporate borrowers in total outstanding debt of Rs 28.1 trillion, constituting about 42%.

Why is it important? Most of these loans are stressed, adding to the burden of Indian banks, which are reeling under record bad loans of Rs 5.6 trillion as of March 2016. It may hit their profitability and capital requirement plans further, if these companies fail to service their debt repayments. Of the Rs 11.8 trillion, Rs 5.1 trillion is already stressed (in default) while the remaining Rs 6.7 trillion faces the risk of default because these borrowers may be unable to refinance their loans that mature in 2016-17.

Tell me more: The report by India Ratings and Research warns that of the Rs 6.7 trillion that faces the risk of default, Rs 4.6 trillion could already be delinquent. The top 500 borrowers accounted for nearly a third of the total outstanding loans in 2014-15 and are estimated to account for 25-30% of the total assets in 2016-17.

 

20

What is it? The number of satellites the Indian Space Research and Organisation (ISRO) launched on a single rocket at 9.26 am today.

Why is it important? This would be the space agency’s biggest-ever single launch, double of the number of satellites placed in 2008. This would demonstrate ISRO’s capability of sending satellites to the lower earth orbit in a single launch even as state agencies face competition from spaceflight companies run by billionaires Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. It would also help ISRO tap into the global opportunity of small satellite launches.

Tell me more: The primary satellite carried by launch vehicle PSLV-32 would be India’s Cartosat-2 (images sent by the satellite would be used for cartographic applications, coastal land use and regulation and water distribution, etc.), besides co-passenger satellites from countries including the US, Canada, Germany and Indonesia.

 

28

What is it? The number of people killed due to lightning in Bihar in the last 24 hours.

Why is it important? This is the highest death toll in lightning strikes within a day, according to the Bihar State Disaster Management Authority. A less-known or less-focussed cause of death in India, lightning kills more people than any other natural calamity. Lightning, which has accounted for a tenth of deaths caused by nature in most years, has caused 2,000 deaths every year since 2005.

Tell me more: The Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology has set up lightning location network in Maharashtra and it is planning to extend it across India. The Bihar government has announced compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to the victims’ families.

 

93

What is it? The number of years for which the Railway Budget has been presented separately, ahead of the General Budget.

Why is it important? This year’s Rail Budget presented by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu may well be the last, if NITI Aayog’s recommendation not to do this as a separate exercise is accepted by the government. The think-tank has argued that the separate Budget has been of no use to the sector and instead, has turned into an event to announce populist measures. The Rail Budget constituted 85% of the country’s Budget during the British rule but now, it is less than 10%.

Tell me more: The 20-page note titled ‘Dispensing with the Rail Budget’, jointly authored by NITI Aayog and economist Bibek Debroy and Kishore Desai, Officer on Special Duty, has been sent to the Prime Minister’s Office. The government has asked the Railway Ministry for its comments on the same.

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News in Numbers, Dec 17, 2015: Ban on diesel vehicles’ registration, US Fed rate hike

 

15%

 

What is it? Delhi’s share in Mercedes-Benz’s sales.

 

Why is it important? Supreme Court has banned registration of new diesel engines above 2000cc in Delhi, a big market for the luxury car maker, until March 31. The initiative is to curb alarming levels of pollution in Delhi. The ban might favour its rivals, since most of the diesel models of BMW, Audi and Volvo have engines below 2,000 cc. Mercedes-Benz has said that this order “will severely impact” their expansion plans and future investments already in place for the Indian market.

 

Tell me more: Mahindra & Mahindra, India’s largest utility vehicle maker, has said that this order would affect 2% of its monthly sales.

 

400

 

What is it? Number of start-ups Karnataka government hopes to help build with the help of its newly launched warehouse, launched in partnership with industry body Nasscom.

 

Why is it important? This is the second such warehouse by the state government and is on a bigger scale than the first, which incubated 64 start-ups. In the first warehouse, a quarter of the 64 start-ups have raised combined funds of Rs 600 crore. Bangalore ranks 15th in terms of best start-up ecosystems globally, according to a report by Silicon Valley-based start-up benchmarking firm and such measures are likely to advance its standing as a hub for start-ups in India as well as worldwide.

 

Tell me more: The state government recently launched a start-up policy with the view to aid the growth of 20,000 tech start-ups and generating 6 lakh direct and 12 lakh indirect jobs.

 

0.25-0.5%

 

What is it? United States benchmark interest rate, set by US Federal Reserve.

 

Why is it important? That’s 0.25% hike. It affects financial markets globally and therefore, is closely watched. As for India, this hike could mean investors may pull out their money from emerging markets like India to invest in the US in anticipation of higher returns and it remains to be seen how they react to the hike. Foreign institutional investors have pulled out $2.5 billion from Indian markets since November in anticipation of the hike. This, in turn, could weaken the rupee, making imports costlier and negatively impacting inflation in India.

 

Tell me more: This is the first time in nearly a decade that the US has gone for a hike in interest rates after keeping it around zero since the 2008 financial crisis. For the US, this is a sign of economic recovery.

 

0.59 hectares

 

What is it? The average landholding per rural household as of 2013, according to data from the National Sample Survey Office.

 

Why is it important? This has almost halved from 1.01 in 1992. A farm household needs to have at least 1 hectare of land to earn enough to fulfill its consumption expenditure. A farm household with 0.01-0.4 hectares of land earns an income of Rs 4,152 per month but its monthly consumption expenditure amounts to Rs 5,401. Also, farm households with less than 1 hectare account for over two-thirds of agricultural households that are indebted, with the debt levels decreasing with increase in landholding.

 

Tell me more: Every four out of five rural household have landholdings of less than one hectare and over 7% own more than two hectares.

 

€26 million

 

What is it? Amount Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has earned by launching six satellites for Singapore on Wednesday.

 

Why is it important? Underlines the commercial potential of India’s space programme. So far, India has earned around $36.7 million (at today’s exchange rate) from the launch of foreign satellites while around $74 million have been committed for those in the pipeline. It’s also yet another confirmation of the robustness of ISRO’s workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C29), which recorded its 32nd flight.

 

Tell me more: With Wednesday’s launch, ISRO has launched 57 satellites for 20 countries.

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