Adopters’ long wait

Rs 131,000 crore

What is it? Total amount of farm loans waived by five state governments – Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Punjab.

Why is it important? Loan waiver could impact repayment culture, as past data indicates bad assets from agri-lending kept increasing for 4-5 years after the 2008 farm loan waiver announced by the UPA government. This will widen the combined fiscal deficits of state governments by up to 0.4% of GDP.

Tell me more: Punjab government has allocated Rs 1,500 crore towards farm loan waiver announced last week, as against total cost of Rs 10,000 crore.

 

 

100 riyals (or Rs 1,724)

What is it? Amount of monthly dependent fee that Saudi Arabia will levy from July 1 this years for expats living in the oil-rich country. It will increase by 100 riyals per dependent every year till 2020.

Why is it important? This move will impact more than 3 million Indians who live in Saudi Arabia. Higher dependent fee would mean less remittances to India, which has fallen below $ 60 billion for the first time since 2010-11.

Tell me more: Family visa is issued only for expats whose earnings are above 5,000 riyals (or Rs 86,225).

 

 

15,000

What is it? The number of applicants waiting to adopt a child in India.

Why is it important? The waiting time could reduce if a proposal from Ministry of Women and Child Development to set up dedicated benches in all high courts is accepted. At present, the cases are stuck in district or family courts. Adoptees can approach the high court and cases have to be resolved in two months under the proposal.

Tell me more: 20 million children in India are orphans, with nearly all of them (99.7%) being abandoned by parents. 3,737 kids were adopted last year ended March 2017.

 

 

Rs 31.31

What is it? The amount spent by Delhi government to feed a prisoner with three meals a day.

Why is it important? There is a wide variation in the amount spent by various state governments with Nagaland spending Rs 139 per prisoner, leading to questions whether adequate food is being provided to prisoners. Two-thirds of India’s prison population are undertrials, and majority of them are poor with inadequate access to legal help.

Tell me more: As per model prison manual, each male prisoner have to be provided food with calorie equivalent between 2,320 and 2,730 kcal/ day. Administration of prison is a state subject.

 

 

30 days

What is it? Proposed time period for completion of takeover of companies that are insolvent (defaulted on loans), as compared to six months at present.

Why is it important? This will help banks to sell insolvent companies to potential investors, and salvage a portion of their lending. Market regulator, the Securities Exchange Board of India, is considering a proposal to exempt insolvent companies from open offer requirement when a new investor steps in to takeover an insolvent company.

Tell me more: At present, investors are required to make an offer to buy shares from the public after they acquired 15% in a company, and the price will be determined based on last six months’ price or the purchase price.

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Pre-trump trouble

5,436

What is it? The drop in approved new petitions of India-based companies for HIB visas in 2016.

Why is it important? The number represents a drop of 37% at 9,356 new petitions for the top seven India-based companies seeking approval in fiscal 2016, says a report by National Foundation for American Policy. It’s an indicator that the opportunities for Indian technology workers in the US started narrowing even before Trump administration took charge. The companies affected in 2016 include TCS, Infosys, Cognizant, Wipro.

Tell me more: Indian companies have been accused of flooding the visa lottery system earlier.

 

Rs 11,000 crore

What is it? The amount State Bank of India (SBI) is looking to raise in a share sale to qualified institutional investors (or a private placement).

Why is it important? The move to raise its capital base could bring in 73% of the equity capital (Rs 15,000 crore) that was approved to be raised in FY18 at SBI’s central board meeting in March. Meeting with Basel III norms and provisioning for bad loans have necessitated raising of fresh capital by Indian banks.

Tell me more: SBI had last sold shares in 2014.

 

Rs 100 crore

What is it? The cost of redeveloping a railway station in Bhopal, Habibganj, by Bansal Group. The work will commence on June 9.

Why is it important? This is the first redevelopment of an Indian Railways (IR) station through a public-private partnership. The project marks a major step to modernise and privatise IR. Not only upgrading passenger facilities at stations, this would boost IR’s non-fare revenues, for example, through land monetisation. The Bansal Group will invest Rs 350 crore for commercial development of land parcels around the station, on a 45-year lease, according to an agreement in 2016.

Tell me more: The Bhopal-based Bansal Group will be operating and maintaining the station for a period of eight years.

 

7

What is it? The number of countries which have cut ties with Qatar, the West Asian country, accusing it of supporting Islamist terrorism. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain were the first to cut diplomatic and transport ties, followed by Yemen, Libya and Maldives.

Why is it important? The geopolitical rift among the Arab neighbours would have ripple effects on the globe, including oil prices, which dropped 1%. While both Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been accused earlier of funding Islamists and terrorists, Qatar has drawn the ire of others due to its supposed support of Iran. The boycott is being seen as a move to target Iran as well.

Tell me more: Qatar will bear the brunt of the ban as transport links with neighbours have been severed and will make food imports (40% of the nation’s supplies) and travel out of the country dearer. The Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has raised his concerns for the650,000-strong Indian population in Qatar, by writing to the Centre.

 

10

What is it? The number of students whose admissions got rescinded at Harvard for posting obscene memes in a private Facebook group chat.

Why is it important? It’s an indicator of the worrying trend of social media being used to spread content which is obscene, hateful, abusive and even illegal; and how organisations are trying to tackle it. Last year, prospective students at Harvard who posted similar messages were let go with a strongly worded, but generic statement..

Tell me more: Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have been making some attempts to clean up such content, but it has proven to be a difficult task. It might also be hurting these firms. Salesforce might have walked away from a Twitter acquisition deal last year because of Twitter’s inability to tackle abusive content.

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News in Numbers, Jan 17, 2017:

Rs 10,000

What is it? The daily limit of cash withdrawal at ATMs, raised from Rs 4,500 by the Reserve Bank of India.

Why is it important? Higher ATM withdrawal limit could be a signal from the central bank that it can now handle cash better since the withdrawal of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. Though the overall withdrawal limit a week remains unchanged at Rs 24,000, the decision will reduce the number of trips one has to make to the ATM.

Tell me more: Cash withdrawal limit at ATMs has been raised from the initial Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,500 two days into demonetisation, to Rs 4,500 on December 31, to the current value. Limits on current accounts have been revised from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1,00,000.

8 million

What is it? Estimated tax-payers under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, slated to be unveiled from July 1 of this year.

Why is it important? A crucial milestone was reached on Monday as the centre and the states agreed on the ratio of control over small taxpayers and when to roll out the GST. Small taxpayers with turnover below Rs 1.5-crore will be shared between centre and the states in the ratio of 10:90 for audit and scrutiny. This will be randomly generated.

Tell me more: The draft laws for GST and various tax slabs are yet to be constituted. But in the ninth GST council meeting, there was consensus to meet the new deadline.

Rs 1,243 crore

What is it? The amount of money the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) may raise in its initial public offering (IPO) next week.

Why is it important? BSE, Asia’s oldest stock exchange, will be the first IPO in 2017. Last year, 26 firms raised Rs 26,000 crore through IPOs – the third biggest in the last 25 years. Seventeen out of the 26 firms are trading above their listing price.

Tell me more: Singapore Exchange Ltd, Atticus Mauritius and billionaire George Soros’ Quantum will be selling 15.4 million shares for Rs 805-806 a share. The other Indian stock exchange, National Stock Exchange, too, is looking to dilute 22.5% stake for Rs 10,000 crore

$30-50 billion

What is it? Saudi Arabia’s investment in its renewables energy programme to produce 10 gigawatts of power.

Why is it important? The producer of 13.6% of the world’s crude oil production is betting on non-fossil fuels to generate energy for itself. The project’s first stage would be generating nuclear energy. With crude oil bringing in 85% of its forex and accounting for 50% of its GDP, Saudi Arabia is taking steps to ensure its continuity by resorting to other fuels at home and cutting back crude production to prop up global prices.

Tell me more: The first two nuclear reactors would be for 2.8 gigawatts of energy. It will also look to connect to other countries such as Jordan and Egypt for the renewables energy projects

35%

What is it? US President-elect Donald Trump threatened to levy the import tax on German-made cars if they are not locally made.

Why is it important? Trump has legal powers to impose 15% import tariff for 150 days without US Congress approval, and if companies file litigation, it will take 18 months to decide, says Simon Evenett, an international trade expert. Earlier, Trump asked GM and Toyota to shift operations from Mexico to service local demand.

Tell me more: The German automakers’ shares were hit, following the outburst. BMW shares fell by 1.5% in Frankfurt, VW by 1.8% and Daimler (Mercedes Benz-owner) by 1.6%

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News in Numbers, Nov 18, 2016: The right note…

15 million

What is it? The number of new Rs 500 notes that have reportedly been printed by the Security Printing and Minting Corp of India, the government agency that prints notes and coins.

Why is it important? There seems to be a delay in the printing of this denomination as the order is to print 400 million by the end of this month. The reason for the delay is due to the presses at Dewas (Madhya Pradesh) and Nashik (Maharashtra) are running below capacity. The presses operated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which are to produce the new Rs 2,000 notes, are now likely to take up the printing of the new Rs 500 notes to meet the demand. Printing of currency notes in Rs 100 denomination has been stalled, according to unnamed RBI officials, as the focus has now shifted to the new ones.

Tell me more: Before the demonetisation move, there were 16.5 billion Rs 500 notes and 6.7 billion Rs 1,000 notes in circulation.

 

789,000 barrels per day

What is it? India’s oil imports from Iran, according to a report by Thomson Reuters Oil Research and Forecasts and ship tracking data.

Why is it important? This exceeded Saudi Arabia’s oil supply to India by 92,000 barrels per day (bpd) and Iran is now the top oil supplier to India. However, Saudi Arabia still retains the top slot over the January-October period. With the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting at the end of this month to take its final call on cutting down production to boost oil prices, it remains to be seen if Iran continues to enjoy the exemption to be excluded from these price cuts, given its recent dominant position in oil supply to India, the world’s third-largest oil importer.

Tell me more: Due to the western sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear development programme, the country had slipped to the seventh position in 2013-14 and 2014-15 among the 50-odd countries from which India imports oil.

 

25 million

What is it? The capacity of a vaccine facility (in terms of number of doses) set up in Gujarat by CPL Biologicals, a joint venture of Cadila Pharmaceuticals and US-based Novavax at an investment of Rs 100 crore.

Why is it important? The company says it has become the first Indian company to have developed a vaccine to treat seasonal influenza (Cadiflu-S), which is also the world’s first influenza vaccine based on virus-like particle technology (VLP). The vaccine does not contain any viruses, which means it completely does away with the possibility of any infection to the vaccinated person from the vaccine (viruses present in vaccines can sometimes replicate in the human body, causing disease by itself).

Tell me more: CPL Biologicals says with the VLP technology, it can develop the new strain specific vaccine in 12-14 weeks compared to the 24-32 weeks it takes to develop a conventional vaccine. Cadiflu-S doesn’t contain egg proteins, antibiotics and preservatives, which would help those who are prone to allergies.

 

Rs 137.18 crore

What is it? Losses posted by food delivery startup Swiggy (owned and operated by Bundl Technologies) in 2015-16.

Why is it important? This is an increase of nearly 65 times of the loss it posted in 2014-15 (company started operations in August 2014). Swiggy’s revenue increased to Rs 23.59 crore in FY16 (from Rs 11.59 lakh a year ago) while its total expenses were Rs 160.77 crore, indicating that it burnt cash in order to scale up (a trend observed in many other startups such as Flipkart and Ola). Food startups have been struggling to get their economics right with some of them such as Eatlo and Dazo shutting down, some being acquired (FoodPanda acquired TastyKhana) and others downsizing their operations.

Tell me more: Swiggy reportedly has started charging consumers delivery fees for orders from a few food outlets, which have refused to pay a commission to the startup. Earlier, it was delivering for free from these outlets, which is unlikely to be feasible in the long-term.

 

5-100 basis points

What is it? The cut in deposit rates offered by various Indian banks. A basis point (bps) is one-hundredth of a percentage point.

Why is it important? This is a result of the government’s recent demonetisation move, which saw customers depositing old currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, which have ceased to be legal tender since over a week ago. Lending rates are expected to come down as well. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has noted on several occasions that banks have not been passing on interest rate cuts to their customers. Between January 2015 and March 2016, the RBI has reduced its benchmark repo rate (the rate at which the apex banks lends to other banks) by 125 bps but public sector banks have lowered their base rate by an average of 55 bps while the private ones have decreased it by 50 bps.

Tell me more: The RBI introduced a new methodology for setting interest rates since the beginning of this financial year after which public sector banks have reduced their base rates by 15 bps on an average while the private banks have lowered it by 25 bps.

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