News in Numbers, June 21, 2016: FDI norms relaxed in 9 sectors, Flipkart sellers on strike…

9

What is it? The number of sectors in which the Indian government has relaxed foreign direct investment (FDI) norms.

Why is it important? The timing – coming days after RBI governor Raghuram Rajan announced that he wouldn’t seek an extension after his term ends in September – is seen as government’s measures to assuage investor concerns. The government has denied this. In any case, the move is likely to help single-brand retailers such as Apple and Ikea, defence contractors and Walmart and Tesco (which could enter retailing through the food sector route).

Tell me more: The norms have been liberalised in food trading, aviation, pharmaceutical, defence, retail and television broadcasting, animal husbandry, broadcasting carriage services and private security agencies. India has reported a 29% increase to $40 billion in FDI in 2015-16.

 

57%

What is it? The share of global urban population that is unconnected, either with fixed or mobile broadband, according to a study.

Why is it important? This goes against the popular perception that a majority of the global urban population is digitally connected. What’s more, about 37% of the unconnected urban population lives in some of the wealthiest cities such as Los Angeles and Shanghai. The Middle East and African regions are the most unconnected while Europe and North America are the least unconnected.

Tell me more: In New Delhi, the proportion of the urban population unconnected is 41.6%. The study is by the Wireless Broadband Alliance conducted by Maravedis Rethink Research, a wireless infrastructure analyst firm.

 

1,000

What is it? The approximate number of sellers on Flipkart’s platform who went on a strike on Monday to protest the e-commerce firm’s decision to increase seller commissions to be paid to Flipkart, according to the All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA).

Why is it important? Flipkart maintains that the number of sellers on strike are only a handful of the total 90,000 on its platform. Those on strike did not process any orders on Monday and put up out-of-stock notifications against their products. They claim higher commissions would increase product prices by 20-25%. Analysts say it is highly unlikely that sellers would leave Flipkart, though if the issue is not resolved quickly, it may affect customer experience.

Tell me more: Amazon, which has around 85,000 sellers, recently decreased its commission rates for sellers in a few categories while Snapdeal, which has over 300,000 sellers, decreased the commission for sellers with specific ratings and then put a cap of 70% on discounts.

 

1,242

What is it? The total number of graduates (including 253 postgraduates and 5 MPhils) who have applied for five posts of porters in Maharashtra.

Why is it important? The minimum educational qualification for this post is Class IV pass. Yet, about half of those vying for these posts are graduates and above. It shows the level of unemployment in the country, the desperateness to get some job (especially government jobs) and probably the high unemployability factor in professional degree holders.

Tell me more: There have been other such instances in the recent past. Over 1.75 lakh (of a total of 23 lakh applicants) graduates, postgraduates and PhD degree holders applying for the jobs of peons and 17,000 MBAs, B.Tech and B.Sc degree holders applying for the posts of sweepers – both in Uttar Pradesh.

65.3 million

What is it? The number of people forcibly displaced in 2015, about 0.9% of the world’s population or 1 person in 113.

Why is it important? This is the highest ever since global forced displacement records began. They are driven by old conflicts such as those in Somalia and Afghanistan lasting longer, emergence of new conflicts in countries including South Sudan, Yemen and Burundi in the last five years and the slowing pace at which solutions are being found to tackle the problem.

Tell me more: On an average, 24 people were forced to flee from their homes every minute in 2015, four times more than 10 years ago (six people every minute).

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News in Numbers, May 12, 2016: New drought policies, some Amazon India sellers in trouble…

3

What is it? The number of months the government has to set up a National Disaster Mitigation Fund to tackle drought, per Supreme Court directions.

Why is it important? This would accelerate and streamline drought relief and preparations, and mitigate its impact including farmer suicides. Over 330 million people (about a quarter of India’s population) are drought-hit and 116 farmers have committed suicide in 10 states so far.

Tell me more: Other measures listed by the Supreme Court include: replace colonial methods and manuals with a modern, transparent, rule-based framework to deal with drought, implement provisions of the National Disaster Management Act and formulate a national policy under it, revise the existing drought management manual of 2009 and standardised nomenclature. The apex court rapped three states – Gujarat (for delay in acknowledging drought), Haryana and Bihar (for not declaring drought at all).

 

Rs 9,000 crore

What is it? The value of domestic assets and shares of liquor baron Vijay Mallya, which the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is reportedly considering to attach, in relation to the IDBI bank loan fraud case.

Why is it important? Mallya’s assets and shares are being examined to be attached under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act so that no third-party rights can be created in them, according to an ED official. However, attachment and attempts to sell Mallya’s properties have not fetched the authorities/banks anything so far.

Tell me more: The IDBI Bank loan fraud case pertains to an allegation by the investigating agency that Mallya has siphoned off Rs 430 crore from the Rs 900 crore loan given by the bank to his now defunct firm Kingfisher Airlines, to buy properties overseas. The grounded airline owes around Rs 9,000 crore to 17 banks.

 

50

What is it? The number of sellers of Amazon India who have been alleged to falsely claiming credit on Central Value Added Tax (Cenvat).

Why is it important? The alleged tax evasion – using the provision that allows tax relief on inputs for a product or service – could be about Rs 118 crore. It also highlights the tough time global tech companies – others include Facebook, Uber and Google – have been facing in India.

Tell me more: The authorities has questioned Amazon India and conducted searches in its business premises across the country to determine if Amazon is involved in any wrongdoing related to this case.

 

4

What is it? The number of telecom circles Vodafone will launch 4G services in, over the next few months.

Why is it important? This would help India’s second largest telecom service provider to cover 1,000 cities across nine circles by the end of this year, which will likely contribute to the onset of a pricing war and consolidation in the industry. Bharti Airtel is aggressively pushing to establish dominance in the 4G segment before Reliance Jio’s expected launch by the end of the year.

Tell me more: The new circles are Haryana, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh East and West Bengal. According to a Deloitte India report, a third of the mobile users in the country are expected to adopt 4G services by the end of the year, possibly resulting in the reduction of traditional voice calls.

 

11

What is it? The average age of US technology companies that went public in 2014, compared to four years in 1999.

Why is it important? An indicator that these firms are shying away from an initial public offering (IPO) longer than earlier due to rapid increase in private investor money. Poor performance of IPOs of tech companies in the last few years have not helped. This is likely to change the way investments are done in tech startups, given that investors have to wait longer to realise their returns.

Tell me more: The data is according to a research by Jay Ritter, a University of Florida professor, which points to the fact that tech companies are preferring the private route to grow into unicorns (startups valued at over $1 billion) and decacorns (valuation above $10 billion) instead of the public listing route.

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