Rudeness as a marketing strategy

$50 million – $90 million

What is it? The amount Paytm might pay to acquire rival Freecharge from Snapdeal, according to reports.

Why is it important? E-commerce firm Snapdeal had acquired Freecharge for $400 million in 2015. Freecharge is e-wallets business, widely considered to be vulnerable to other payment options such as UPI, where it faces intense competition from rivals. Besides, even at the time of acquisition, there were concerns that Snapdeal might have overvalued Freecharge.

Tell me more: Paytm is in talks with Softbank to raise $1.9 billion at a valuation of $8 billion to $9 billion. Softbank owns 33% in Snapdeal. In its latest earnings report, Softbank said it has written down the value of its investments in Snapdeal and Ola by $1.4 billion.

 

1500

What is it? The number of employees Tech Mahindra, the country’s fifth largest IT company, might fire.

Why is it important? Three of its four bigger rivals are already said to cut headcount, suggesting that this could be a season of layoffs in the sector. News about layoffs at Cognizant, Infosys and Wipro have hit the headlines in the last few days. TCS, India’s largest IT firm, is in the process of conducting performance appraisals – and hasn’t given any indication that it would follow suit.

Tell me more: As the news of layoffs spread, it’s gaining a political colour as an industry body sought government intervention in Tamil Nadu, one of the key hubs of IT majors. Telangana labour department is to meet Cognizant officials today over layoffs.

 

500 million

What is it? The number of machines that are running Windows 10 operating system.

Why is it important?  While the number is impressive, it’s lower than what Microsoft expected to achieve. The behemoth which controls about 85% of market share in desktop operating system was aiming to reach 1 billion active installations by 2018. Even by last year, it was clear it would fall short.

Tell me more:  According to one estimate, Windows, across various versions, has 84.14% market share followed by Mac OX (11.6%) and Linux (1.53%)

 

7.6%

What is it? The percentage growth in the number of passengers United Airlines flew in April 2017 compared to April last year.

Why is it important? A widely reported PR disaster – which followed after a passenger was violently deplaned – seems to have had no impact on its business. Its share price which took a beating in the following days is higher than what it was the day before the incident.

Tell me more: Meanwhile, there is a constant flow of reports on complaints by United passengers on various issues.

 

Rs 451.75 crore

What is it? The amount central government owes to Air India, the state owned carrier, as on March 31, 2017.

Why is it important? The amount mostly relates to use of its chartered planes by the prime minister, president and vice president for their official visits. The biggest chunk of unpaid dues is Rs 206.19 crore towards 22 visits made by vice president in the years 2008 to 2017.

Tell me more: Recently, Air India came under fire after Comptroller and Auditor General revealed that the carrier understated its operating losses by nearly $1 billion over financial years 2012-13 to 2014-15.

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Snap-done-deal?

Rs 36,359 crore

What is it? The value of the farm loans waived in Uttar Pradesh.

Why is it important? The waiver would be 10.6% of UP’s revised estimates of revenue. The new BJP government, coming through with one of its major election promises, waived loans for roughly 21.5 million small and marginal farmers (or 92.5% of UP’s farmers) in the state.

Tell me more: The state government which decided the waiver at its first cabinet meeting, will raise Kisan Rahat (farmers’ relief) Bonds to raise money for the waiver, and propose it in its upcoming budget. Loans upto Rs 1 lakh will be waived and will include NPAs and crop loans, both applicable for 2016-17.

 

$100 million

What is it? The amount each of Snapdeal’s two large investors — Kalaari Capital and Nexus Venture Partners — and its founders have asked of SoftBank Group, the third large investor.

Why is it important? The money is to facilitate their exit so SoftBank can go on to sell the homegrown e-commerce company, whose parent company is Jasper Infotech. The decision was reportedly reached at the latter’s board meeting. While Kalaari and Nexus wants compensation for their stake, after resisting a sale earlier for fear of devaluation, the two founders — Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal — want the payout for them and their management team.

Tell me more: The reports of crisis at Snapdeal have emerged due to a lack of cash for the business, though the company, in another report, clarifies that it is seeking to raise $100 million from existing and new investors. In February, 2016, Snapdeal was last funded and valued at $6.5 billion. A sale would not realise as much according to observers.

 

Rs 17.10 lakh crore

What is it? The provisional estimate of tax collected by the Union government in FY17.

Why is it important? The sum is 18% more than what was collected in FY16. It is also more than the last revised estimate of tax collection at Rs 16.97 lakh crore. Indirect taxes, growing at 22% at Rs 8.63 lakh crore, propelled collections. Starting from July 1, the goods and services tax will further mobilise an expected rise in indirect taxes. Corporate tax collections went up 13.1% personal income tax collections went up by 18.4% – even though adjusting for refunds would bring their growth down. Tax refunds went up by 32.6% to Rs 1.62 lakh crore in 2016-17.

Tell me more: Direct taxes were more than indirect taxes in absolute terms at Rs 8.47 lakh crore but grew at 14.2%.

 

20%

What is it? The percentage by which Gillette plans to cut prices of some of its razor products.

Why is it important? It’s an impact of its shrinking market share even as Procter & Gamble owned brand fights competition from new players such as Dollar Shave Club (now a part of Unilever) and Harry’s. From more than 70% in 2010, Gillette’s market share in men’s-razors business fell to 54% in 2016.

Tell me more: Gillette, besides cutting the prices by upto 20%, will also focus on cheaper products. Traditionally, it had charged high prices by adding more (but mostly useless) features/blades, drawing criticism that it’s ripping off customers.

 

242,938

What is it? Number of children reported missing in India in the last five years.

Why is it important? Of this only 1,70,173 children, or about 70%, were found. In Delhi, this ratio was dramatically worse – only 36% of missing children could be traced. Human trafficking in general rose byabout 25% in 2016, most victims being women and children. In case of child trafficking, besides kidnapping, abduction, illegal adoption, there are also cases of runaway children and dislocation during natural calamities.

Tell me more: Government programmes to tackle this issue include Integrated Child Protection Scheme and a national tracking system for missing children. It is also getting children in orphanages and childcare enrolled for Aadhaar, India’s biometric identification programme, to help fight against illegal adoptions and child trafficking.

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News in Numbers, Mar 24, 2017: Be afraid. Do something. 🏥

$6.5 billion

What is it? Snapdeal’s last known valuation, done in 2016.

Why is it important? The valuation, at which the e-commerce company raised $200 million funding in February, 2016, is likely to take a hit. Since then, it has been dogged by failed funding search and sale, as its sales trail its main competitors in India. A report two days back, later refuted by the company, put tentative sale price at $1.5-1.8 billion, almost at a third. Another report yesterday said Snapdeal was unable to rope in investors such as Alibaba Group and existing investor Softbank for fresh funding.

Tell me more: Snapdeal’s made a loss of Rs 29.6 billion rupees in FY16.

 

~Rs 1,600 crore

What is it? The estimated price Bharti Airtel will pay for Tikona Digital Networks Pvt. Ltd’s 4G network.

Why is it important? The deal, giving Bharti Airtel access to Tikona’s broadband wireless spectrum and 350 cellular sites in five circles, will expand the former’s reach, particularly in cities where it lacks strong presence in 4G services. It has already lined up high-speed 4G services for these circles, even as it locks horns with Reliance Jio.

Tell me more: The overall deal value might be a little more at Rs 1,700 crore s Bharti Airtel as to take on debt on Tikona’s books. Recently, Airtel also announced acquisition of Norway’s Telenor’s India operations, with 44 million subscribers.

 

13 degrees

What is it? The rise in the Celsius scale in Delhi in the span of 10 days.

Why is it important? In line with warnings of extreme climate and unpredictable weather changes due to global warming, spring bid adieu to the capital city quicker than usual. Thursday’s temperature of 37.4 degree-C was seven degrees above normal and the highest in March since 2010.

Tell me more: The heat onset is despite the recent spate of rain and snow in the hills. The capital is now buffeted by hot summer’s wind patterns, says Ravinder Vishen, head of IMD’s Regional Weather Forecasting Centre.

 

$70 million

What is it? The amount raised by Soundcloud, a music streaming firm based in Berlin.

Why is it important? It came in form of debt, while most tech startups tend to go for equity. There is an intense debate on which form of capital is better for a high growth company (Soundcloud said it wants to grow 2.5 times in 2017). Debt could be useful for a company if it believes it is not getting a fair valuation from equity investors, but there are risks, as one of the early backers of Soundcloud argued in a post recently.

Tell me more: Soundcloud, which faces increasing competition from Apple Music, Pandora and Spotify, tried to raise $100 million in equity recently, but didn’t succeed.

 

25%

What is it? India’s share in global tuberculosis cases, according to a new study by  Centre for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy

Why is it important? India has the most number of TB cases in the world. Indian government’s ability to counter the crisis has come into question. An added level of danger and complexity is the growing number of multi-drug resistant TB cases. In Mumbai such cases grew by 21% in 2015-16.

Tell me more: Multi-drug resistant TB tends to be fatal, with 40% of the patients succumbing to the disease. India lacks tools that can detect such cases.

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News in Numbers, Feb 23, 2017: Earth’s distant cousins 🌏

235

What is it? Total number of cases the Income Tax (IT) department registered till mid-February, since the Benami Transactions Act was enforced in November, 2016.

Why is it important? The IT department has picked up pace in booking people with unaccounted-for assets since the act’s enforcement. From 42 cases on January 31, cases registered in the following 15 days (193) jumped nearly five times. Section 24 of the acthas been invoked and as many as 124 cases have seen assets worth more than Rs 55 crore attached provisionally.

Tell me more: A total of 140 cases with questionable assets of Rs 200 crore have received show cause notices. The act applicable to both movable and immovable property allows the IT department to initiate criminal proceedings against those found depositing unaccounted old currency in someone else’s account, for example.

 

100%

What is it? The cut in salary of Snapdeal’s co-founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, announced by Bahl on Wednesday.

Why is it important? The founders were not only the highest paid among senior executives in all the nine unicorns from India but were also the seventh-highest paid in the country in the 2015 fiscal. But the austerity might have come a bit late for Snapdeal, as 600 layoffs loom large in a simultaneous news.

Tell me more: Valued at $6.5 billion, Bansal admitted to mistakes down the road and said a major rejig will follow to gain profitability. In FY16, it had run up losses worth $14.93 million.

 

~45%

What is it? The estimated percentage of Indians who illegally immigrated to the US and would now be subject to enforcement of stringent deportation guidelines, issued this week.

Why is it important? Indians are among the highest legal as well illegal immigrants (with 500,000 unauthorised immigrants in 2014) in the US. With a new enforcement memo from US’ Department of Homeland Security to find, arrest and deport any illegal immigrant, irrespective of a criminal record, will turn up the heat on 11 million undocumented immigrants.

Tell me more: The memo asks for more jails to be built to detain immigrants. This would be to replace the practice of releasing undocumented immigrants with an order to re-appear for court hearings.

 

7

What is it? The number of Earth-sized planets discovered by astronomers near solar system.

Why is it important? One or more of them may be warm enough to have water on its surface, increasing the possibility of finding life outside solar system. The planets revolve around Trappist-1 a dwarf star, 40 light years away.

Tell me more: The planets around Trappist-1 were discovered by NASA and its partners around the world. The star is smaller (it’s as big as a golf ball, if the Sun is as big as a basketball), its planets are closer, and revolve around it faster. Its nearest planet takes 1.5 days to revolve around it, and the farthest, 20 days.

 

6.6%

What is it? The projected GDP growth rate of India in 2016-17, according to International Monetary Fund.

Why is it important? It is 1 percentage point lower than 7.6% growth India saw in 2015-16, and higher than some estimates by observers who saw demonetisation impacting the economy more severely. Ambit Capital, for example, expected it to slow down to 5.8%.

Tell me more: The Washington DC-based international body sees GDP growth rate picking up to over 8% in the next few years, post adoption of Goods and Services Tax. In 2017-18, it expects India’s GDP to grow by 7.2% driven by private consumption.

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