News in numbers, Dec 14, 2015: CSR platform on BSE, CCI’s recovery of penalties imposed…

 

Rs 2,000 crore

 

What is it? Amount sought by projects listed on ‘Sammaan’, a corporate social responsibility (CSR) platform on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). This helps companies find implementing agencies for carrying out social welfare activities.

 

Why is it important? It’s an early indicator that the marketplace for social welfare activities might work. Sammaan provides an alternate way to raise funds for the estimated 20 lakh implementing agencies in India, which face a number of challenges while looking for money to help their causes. Corporates, on the other hand, would also benefit as they would be able to view a pool of verified implementing agencies along with their objectives, estimated budgets and progress and pick the ones they want to fund. It will also help certain classes of profitable companies, which have to spend 2% of their three-year annual average net profits for CSR projects.

 

Tell me more: In three days, 600 projects across 325 cities/towns have been listed by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and 200 corporates have registered.

38 million standard cubic metres per day (mmscmd)

 

What is it? Quantity of natural gas India would receive from the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline for a 30-year period, which would be operational by 2019.

 

Why is it important? Will help India’s future energy requirements, which by one count will be the third largest energy consumer in the world by 2020.  This deal between the four countries heralds a new phase in regional cooperation and is seen as a move by India to connect with Central Asia to counter Chinese influence in the region.

 

Tell me more: The $7.2 billion deal would see Pakistan getting 38 mmscmd of natural gas while Afghanistan would get the remaining 14 mmscmd. Natural gas is the third major source of energy in India, accounting for about 10.2% of total production in 2013-14.

 

200 kg

 

What is it? Amount of gold Shirdi Sai Baba Temple in Maharashtra wants to deposit under the Indian government’s gold monetisation scheme. This is over half of the gold reserves (380 kg) it owns.

 

Why is it important? If this happens, this would be the largest contribution under this scheme so far, beating Shri Siddhivinayak’s likely deposit of 40 kg of gold. However, it remains to be seen how the temple would go about this, given the Bombay High Court’s 2012 order, which had stayed the trust’s decision to auction gold, silver and diamond articles given by the devotees. The petitioners, two Shirdi residents, had argued that these were offerings by devotees and not for the purpose of raising money.

 

Tell me more: At Rs 2,661 per gm, 200 kg of gold would be worth about Rs 53.2 crore, not accounting for the impurities.  

 

Rs 82.1 crore

 

What is it? The amount the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has recovered from fines imposed on companies for violating rules since its inception in 2009.

 

Why is it important? This is just 0.6% of the combined penalty levied on companies (Rs 13,900 crore). And, approximately 97% of the penalties imposed have been stayed or overturned by courts or appellate authorities. Shows the competition regulator’s dismal record in recovering fine amounts, and brings to question its effectiveness.

 

Tell me more: Last week, the Competition Appellate Tribunal set aside an order of the CCI, which had asked 11 cement companies to pay a fine of Rs 6,316.6 crore for alleged cartelisation.

 

17

 

What is it? The number of women who have won seats in municipal elections in Saudi Arabia.

 

Why is it important? Women rights in Saudi Arabia is keenly watched by India and rest of the world. This is the first time women have contested and also, voted in elections in the country’s history. It is a step towards social equality and political openness in a country that is deeply conservative. (Now, Vatican City is the only country in the world where only men are allowed to vote.) Hopefully, this step would be followed by lifting of other restrictions on women in Saudi Arabia, which include- driving, venturing outside only with a male guardian and limited interaction with men they are not related to.
Tell me more: These municipal councils do not have legislative powers but advise authorities and help manage local budgets. Saudi Arabia ranked 130 among 142 countries in World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index Report 2014.

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