News in Numbers, Oct 7, 2016: The raging storm…

41%

What is it? The percentage of airwaves that the government sold to telecom players in its latest spectrum auction. It had put up 2354.55 MHz for sale, and sold 965MHz at the end of five day sale.

Why is it important? The government raised Rs 65,789.12 crore in revenue, even though it’s only a fraction of what it hoped to raise (Rs 5.6 trillion). Rs 32,000 crore will be paid upfront, which is about half the amount estimated in the Union Budget earlier this year. Two bands, 700 MHz and 900 MHz, remained unsold as the bidders felt the base amount was too high.

Tell me more: Vodafone reportedly spent Rs 20,000 crore on the auction. Airtel, Jio and Idea bought telecom bands by paying Rs 14,244 crore, Rs 13,672 crore and Rs 12,789 crore respectively.

 

88,537 MW

What is it? The targeted capacity addition under the 12th five-year plan, of which thermal power, hydropower and nuclear power constitute 72,340 MW, 10,897 MW and 5,300 MW respectively.

Why is it important? The government is likely to achieve its overall power generation target by end of the current five-year plan period after having missed its targets in the previous two plan periods. Currently, it has achieved 99.4% of its target and the 12th five-year plan ends by March 2017. However, this is mainly because of capacity increases by private and state thermal power producers (they have exceeded their targets by nearly 15%) while hydroelectric and nuclear projects are nowhere near achieving their targets.

Tell me more: India’s current installed capacity is 305,554.25 MW as of August 2016.

 

22

What is it? The number of Indian airports in four states and Delhi that have been warned of a possible terror by intelligence agencies. These include all four border states: Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat and Punjab.

Why is it important? There are concerns about possible terror attacks after the Indian government claimed to have conducted surgical strikes (intended to cause damage to military target with no or minimum collateral damage to surrounding areas) targeting terrorist launchpads in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir last week. A couple of days ago, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval reportedly informed the Cabinet Committee on Security, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, that 100 militants are gearing up to cross the Line of Control and launch attacks on India.

Tell me more: Inputs from intelligence agencies and the military reportedly suggest that militants are to launch attacks on security forces and rekindle violence in the Kashmir Valley, which is already simmering with tension after Hijb-ul-Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani was killed on July 8.

 

$5.8 billion

What is it? The amount Indian companies are expected to raise through initial public offerings (IPOs) this year, according to a report.

Why is it important? This would be the highest in six years as the capital raised so far by Indian firms via this route has already touched $2.93 billion – higher than the $2.18 billion raised in 2015. Upcoming IPOs of $2.9 billion are in the pipeline, as per data on September 22. Companies are expected to raise a similar amount in 2017 as well with financial and telecommunications firms likely to raise $3.98 billion and $3.12 billion over the next 12 months or so.

Tell me more: The expected capital to be raised this year is 31.5% lower than the $8.47 billion raised in 2010 by way of 64 IPOs. The estimates are by a global law firm Baker and McKenzie.

 

283

What is it? The number of people killed by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti.

Why is it important? This is the strongest hurricane in the Carribean since Felix hit in 2007 and the strongest to hit the island nation in over 50 years. Haiti, which had an estimated population of 10.6 million in 2015, is vulnerable to disasters as over half of the city-dwellers live in congested shantytowns and other factors including deforestation, political instability and corruption have not helped. It ranks 163rd out of 188 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index.

Tell me more: Hurricane Matthew, now classified as Category 4 storm (on a scale of 1 to 5 with three or more having the potential to cause loss of lives and damage), is projected to be Category 3 by the time it hits central Florida. This is said to be the strongest storm in the US in 12 years and likely to be the most powerful to strike northeast Florida in 118 years.

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News in Numbers, Oct 3, 2016: Black, the colour of the season…

Rs 65,250 crore

What is it? The value of assets declared under the Income Disclosure Scheme, 2016.

Why is it important? This is said to be the biggest black money disclosure and would fetch the government over Rs 29,000 crore in taxes. This might take some sting away from the criticism that NDA government was going too slow on black money. One of its main poll promises was to crack the whip on tax evaders. Under this scheme, there were 64,275 declarants with an average disclosure of more than Rs 1 crore.

Tell me more: The government had given a four-month window for people to declare their undisclosed assets, which closed at midnight on Friday. The taxpayers could escape prosecution by paying tax at 30%, a penalty at 7.5% and a surcharge at 7.5%, taking the total to 45% of the undisclosed income. In comparison, the income declared under the Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme, 1997, was over Rs 33,000 crore.

 

Rs 53,531 crore

What is it? The value of bids received by the government from telecom companies on day 1 of the latest spectrum auction.

Why is it important? This is India’s biggest spectrum auction and is expected to help the firms in providing better quality services amidst intensifying competition, especially with the entry of Reliance Jio’s 4G services at competitive rates. However, there were no takers for the 700 megahertz (MHz) band of airwaves, which has been put on sale for the first time and is considered to be the most efficient for offering high-speed broadband services. The reserve price – at Rs 11,485 crore per MHz – is considered expensive by the bidders.

Tell me more: Seven telecom firms – Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Tata Teleservices, Idea Cellular, Reliance Communications, Reliance Jio Infocomm and Aircel – are bidding to acquire airwaves in seven bands (700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 Mhz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz and 2,500 MHz).

 

Rs 21,000 crore

What is it? The divestment proceeds collected by the Indian government between April and September this year.

Why is it important? This is over 37% of the total disinvestment target of Rs 56,500 crore for 2016-17. It has also exceeded the previous high in the first six months of 2015-16 by over Rs 8,000 crore. This indicates that 2016-17 may be the year when it either achieves its targets or comes closer in reaching them, after having missed it for the last six years straight and for the 16th time last year in the disinvestment’s quarter-century history.

Tell me more: Of the total raised so far this year, Rs 16,500 crore is from buybacks initiated by five public sector units.

 

500,000

What is it? The number of products Flipkart said it sold in the first hour on the first day of its special Big Billion Days sales event on Sunday. Amazon said it sold 100,000 units on the first half hour of its Great Indian Festival sales, which started a day earlier.

Why is it important? This highlights the stiff competition between the two players as they try to capture India’s e-commerce market. Amazon India has the financial backing of its parent in America. Flipkart is reportedly in talks with Wal-Mart for a billion dollar investment in the company. The sales metrics the companies shared underscored the difficulty is assessing who is ahead in the race.

Tell me more: Snapdeal, the third big player in the market, said more than 2 million users logged on during the first hour of sale.

 

18

What is it? The number of years US presidential candidate Donald Trump might not have paid any income tax, according to a New York Times story

Why is it important? Trump’s finances has become an important issue in the ongoing election campaign in the US, because he hasn’t yet released his tax returns yet, defying a norm among the presidential candidates. His tax returns for 1995 showed a loss of $195 million, which “could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years,” the newspaper said. The revelation is likely to help Hillary Clinton, and there are speculations that releasing his returns could be devastating for Trump’s campaign.

Tell me more: According to Forbes magazine calculation, Donald Trump’s net worth is $3.7 billion, primarily from the real estate properties he owns or has a stake in.

 

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News in Numbers, June 23, 2016: East’s answer to NATO, India’s largest spectrum auction…

8

What is it? The membership strength of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) once India and Pakistan join the group at a two-day summit starting today.

Why is it important? It’s East’s answer to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation). This would help India participate in military cooperation in the areas of counter-terrorism measures in Central Asia, intelligence sharing and tackling cyber terrorism with the member-states of this group. This would also provide better access to Central Asia for both India and Pakistan at a time when they are seeking to deepen their ties with the region, especially given their involvement in projects such as Chabahar Port and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor respectively.

Tell me more: The SCO comprises of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan while Afghanistan, Belarus, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan have observer status.

 

$950,000

What is it? The penalty the US’ Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has levied on mobile advertising company InMobi for tracking locations of consumers including children without their permission.

Why is it important? Shows how some new-age firms resort to practices deemed to be unethical and illegal to chase growth. Highlights the risks to consumers who have no way of knowing if their privacy (and their children’s privacy) is being compromised. For InMobi, which is competing with Facebook and Google, this comes at a time when it is struggling to raise funds, build a sustainable business model and fighting attrition in its senior and mid-level management.

Tell me more: Under the terms of settlement, the FTC said InMobi is subjected to a $4 million civil penalty, which is suspended to $950,000 given the “company’s financial condition”. InMobi has to delete all information collected from children and location information of consumers besides instituting a comprehensive privacy policy, which will be independently audited every two years for the next 20 years.

 

Rs 5.66 lakh crore

What is it? The amount the spectrum auction is estimated to fetch the Indian government.

Why is it important? Given how expensive the spectrum bands are (a firm bidding for 5 MHz of pan-India bandwidth in the 700 band would have to pay Rs 57,000 crore– over half of what the government earned from the 2015 auctions) and the Rs 3.5 lakh crore debt under which the telecom sector is reeling, the level of participation by the firms in the auctions remains to be seen. Idea, Vodafone and Airtel are reportedly not planning to bid for spectrum in the 700 MHz band.

Tell me more: This is the first time the government would put up the entire spectrum available on sale. The bidding is expected to commence from September 1.

 

Rs 418.25 crore

What is it? Revenue of ANI Technologies, which owns and runs brand Ola, in 2014-15.

Why is it important? It increased eight-fold from Rs 51.05 crore in 2013-14 though its losses shot up 20 times from Rs 34.21 crore in FY14 to Rs 754.87 crore in FY15. Indicates that the growth of the company, which raised two rounds of funding totalling to $251.5 million (nearly Rs 1,700 crore) in this period, came at a high cost (discounts and driver incentives) and that it requires increased capital to fend off competition from Uber and maintain its lead.

Tell me more: Ola is reportedly in talks with investors to raise $300-400 million or $1 billion, according to different publications.

 

57%

What is it? Percentage of cost of travel recovered by the Indian railways on passenger fares on an average.

Why is it important? The railways has been printing this information on train tickets in the last one week. The idea is to make rail passengers aware of the huge subsidy on rail tickets. Increasing rail fares is a politically sensitive subject in India and this awareness-building could be the first step in rationalisation of fares in the coming years.

Tell me more: Passenger fares were last hiked by 14.2% in June 2014. Suburban and short-haul train passengers account for over half of the traffic but their share in total passenger revenues was just 6-7%, accounting for around 60% of the annual subsidy of Rs 34,000 crore.

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