News in Numbers, Mar 27, 2017: The Art of No Deal 📉

Rs 1000 crore

What is it? The amount Indian telecom companies might have to spend to verify all mobile phone connections with Aadhaar.

Why is it important? Last month, Supreme court directed the central government to link all mobile phone connections with Aadhaar within a year. The onus on verification is on the telecom companies and it comes at a challenging time when they are fighting a tough battle for market share.

Tell me more: Linking Aadhaar number to phones might strengthen national security and ease mobile payments and banking, but it also raises questions about privacy.


2.77 lakh

What is it? The number of State Bank of India employees post merger with six associate banks

Why is it important? State Bank expects the headcount to come down to 2.6 lakh by March 2019, as it turns its attention towards efficiency. The state owned bank said there won’t be layoffs, and the reduction in workforce will happen through a voluntary retirement scheme it cleared last December, and by hiring less. The associate banks employ around 70,000 people.

Tell me more: State Bank chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya said last month that the merger will be completed by financial year 2018.


35 million

What is it? The number of jobs that India’s textile policy aims to create in the sector by 2025.

Why is it important? It comes at a time when the industry across the world is adopting automation at an increasing rate. Indian government has now said it would look at handicrafts sector – especially premium products –  to achieve this. The policy is aiming at exports of $300 billion by 2025.

Tell me more: The growth of brands such as Fabindia suggest that there could be a growing market for handloom and handicrafts. To tap that the country needs right policies, some experts have argued.



What is it? The number of people Egypt jailed over a capsized boat carrying migrants last year.

Why is it important? Last september a boat heading to Italy with migrants from Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia capsized on the coast of Egypt, killing 200 people. It was one of the deadliest disasters in the Mediterranean, which hundreds of thousands crossed to escape violence and to reach Europe at great risk. Over 5000 people have drowned in the Mediterranean last year alone.


Tell me more: The jail terms ranged from two to thirteen years on charges of manslaughter and fraud.



What is it? The price of gold per ounce.

Why is it important? This is the highest in the last one month, and is attributed to market reaction to US President Donald Trump’s failure in pushing through his healthcare reform. Trump, who wrote a best selling book called The Art of the Deal, campaigned for presidency saying that the country will benefit from his skill at making good deals. However, his legislation to reform US healthcare system failed even though his party controls both houses of Congress.

Tell me more: US dollar rates came down against other currencies following the news. US dollar index was down to 99.263 on early trades in Asia from 100 on Friday.

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News in Numbers, Mar 16, 2017: Snapped 👓

$2.3 billion

What is it? The amount State Bank of India, the country’s largest bank, plans to raise from capital market in the coming fiscal.

Why is it important? It will help the bank to increase its capital adequacy ratio from  13.73% at present. It will also help in providing for bad loans. State Bank’s gross NPAs (non performing assets, or bad loans) stands at 7.23% of its total loans. Its chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya recently said that resolution of NPAs is one of the key near term challenges for the bank.

Tell me more: Bad loans is a broader problem in the country, and Indian banks need $90 billion to meet Basel III standards, according to rating agency Fitch.


Rs 200

What is it? The maximum a cinema theatre can charge per ticket in Karnataka.

Why is it important? In the neighbouring Tamil Nadu, movie ticket price is capped at Rs 120. It was not the only populist measure that Karnataka, which presented its budget on Wednesday, took from Tamil Nadu. The state will open 198 “Namma Canteens” in the Bengaluru to provide breakfast for Rs 5, and lunch and dinner for Rs 10, similar to the hugely popular Amma Unavagam, state subsidized canteens, in Tamil Nadu.

Tell me more:  The budget – which had a number of announcements aimed at improving infrastructure, access to finance and healthcare – also removed value-added tax on liquor.


$24.49 billion

What is it? India’s exports in February 2017.

Why is it important? It’s up 17.49% from same period last year. Imports went up 21.76% to $33.39 billion. The increase in trade comes at a time when there is widespread fear that the world is turning more protectionist, led by United States and Europe.

Tell me more: Trade deficit came down to $8.9 billion in February from a provisional $9.84 billion in January 2017. For the eleven months ending February trade deficit stood at $95.3 billion.



What is it? India’s logistics cost as a percentage of GDP.

Why is it important? High logistics cost is an indicator of inefficiency, and erodes competitiveness of a country. Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Shipping, Road Transport & Highways, said the government wants to address it and has unveiled a plan that includes aviation as a part of multi-modal logistics hubs in India. The 400 regional airports that the government is setting up across the country will have cold storage and other logistics solutions to make the sector more efficient, he said.

Tell me more: The government expects 15 logistics parks to be set up in the next five years, as a part of the larger Make in India initiative.



What is it? Share price of Snap, the company that runs Snapchat, at the close of Wednesday

Why is it important? Snap made its debut in the public market on March 2 at $24, and hit an intra-day high of $29.44 the next day. Its IPO was priced at $17, and its grand debut was seen as a reflection of the high valuation that the companies at the intersection of social, mobile and hardware commanded. However, many analysts believe that it’s over-priced, and see the decline that Snap saw in the four out of last five sessions as a necessary correction.

Tell me more: Snap’s market cap is at $24.06 billion. Unlike Facebook, which has users from across age groups, Snap appeals mainly to an younger audience. It had 161 million daily active users end of December.

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News in Numbers, Feb 16, 2017: 💸 Investment bankers get an idea

$9,840.91 million

What is it? The trade deficit in January, 2017.

Why is it important? The trade deficit, or the difference in value of exports and imports, shrank to its lowest in four months. It was brought about by growth in exports for the fifth straight month, buoyed by petroleum products and engineering goods. The shrinking trade deficit also showed the impact of decreasing gold imports which shrank by 30%.

Tell me more: Demand in US, Europe and Japan led to the 4.32% increase in exports.



What is it? The number of Taiwanese parliamentarians in the delegation that visited India this week

Why is it important? It drew a diplomatic protest from China which objected to India hosting anyone from self-ruled Taiwan. China blocks Taiwan’s right to diplomatic relations with others as it considers it to be one of its own provinces. It also resists attempts of other countries with ties to it from acknowledging official institutions of Taiwan, encouraging, instead, the ‘one China’ principle. The complaint marks another entry in the uneasy Indo-China relations, plagued by border disputes and conflicting stands on the fight against terrorism.

Tell me more: India has termed the visit as informal and nothing unusual, for purposes of business, religion and tourism.


$40 million

What is it? The estimated fee for investment banks advising on the Vodafone India and Idea Cellular merger.

Why is it important? A deal that would create India’s largest telecom operator with around Rs 78,000 crore ($12 billion) sales would generate almost 10% of last year’s total investment fees earned by investment banks in India. Hence, quite a few banks are vying for a slice of the pie.

Tell me more: Banks in the fray reportedly include BofA Merrill Lynch, UBS, Standard Chartered and Rothschild, while Morgan Stanley has already been appointed.


Rs 37 trillion

What is it? Asset base of State Bank of India (SBI) post merger with five of its subsidiaries.

Why is it important? The cabinet approved the merger on Wednesday. State Bank of India is already the largest bank in the country, and the merger will push the bank into the top global 50 list in terms of assets (It’s at number 52 now). The merger is also expected to create operational efficiency, saving the bank Rs 10 billion in the first year.

Tell me more: The banks to be merged with SBI are State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore , State Bank of Patiala and State Bank of Travancore. All put together, SBI will have 22,500 branches, 58,000 ATMs and over 50 crore customers.


$300 million

What is it? The amount Yahoo and Verizon have reportedly decided to lop off from the $4.8 billion acquisition deal

Why is it important? The reduction in the value comes after Yahoo disclosed two security breaches in the second half of 2016. The hack had compromised millions of Yahoo Users, and occurred in 2013 and 2014. The disclosure came after Verizon agreed to acquire Yahoo for $4.8 billion in July 2016 – and raised concerns about digital security, and the responsibility of tech firms that handle user data when a breach happens to various stakeholders including users and investors.

Tell me more: The first breach, in August 2013, affected over a billion accounts, and the second, in late 2014, affected over 500 million accounts.

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News in numbers, Apr 12, 2016: Tiger population, brand ambassadors may be made liable…


What is it? The percentage of rainfall over the long-period average (LPA) of 887 mm forecast between June and September this year.

Why is it important? The monsoons, which account for around 70% of the annual rainfall and are the primary irrigation source for over half of India’s farmlands, would alleviate rural distress caused by back-to-back droughts. This is also likely to help boost falling food production, increase farm wages and boost rural economy.

Tell me more: The predictions by India’s sole weather forecaster Skymet says there is a 20% chance of excess rainfall (over 110% of LPA), 35% chance of above normal (105-110% of LPA), 30% chance of normal (96-104% of LPA), 10% chance of below normal (90-95% of LPA) and 5% chance of drought (less than 90% of LPA).


What is it? The price at which Tata Steel is selling one of its factories in Scunthorpe in Northern England to investment firm Greybull Capital.

Why is it important? This would help save nearly a third of the total likely job losses after Tata Steel announced the sale of its loss-making steel assets in Britain. The turnaround plan for this unit, which includes a £400 million investment and financing package, does not call for any job cuts, according to Greybull co-founder.

Tell me more: Subject to union members’ approval, the deal includes two additional mills, an engineering workshop, a design consultancy, and a mill in northeast France. The business will be renamed ‘British Steel’.


What is it? The estimated number of tigers in the world.

Why is it important? This is the first time that the global count of the endangered species has increased since 1900 when there were 100,000 tigers in the world. The number had hit an all-time low of 3,200 recorded in the last global census in 2010. Indicates either or a combination of better conservation and survey methods/areas.

Tell me more: India accounts for over 57% of the tiger population (2,226) while Russia is a distant second with an estimated 433 tigers.

Rs 41,641 crore

What is it? The amount State Bank of India, the country’s largest bank, wrote off between 2005-06 and 2014-15, as against a recovery of Rs 11,566 crore in this period.

Why is it important? The government and the banking regulator said such write-offs were technical adjustments and that the processes to recover them would continue. However, the bank has not been transparent about the process, giving an unclear picture of how much of the written-off loans can be recovered.

Tell me more: The above information is from responses to RTI applications filed by the Indian Express. Bank of Baroda wrote off loans worth Rs 9,929 crore in the last 10 years and recovered less than a third of that (Rs 3,177 crore). The write-offs by Allahabad Bank, IDBI and Corporation Bank in the last decade are worth Rs 7,359 crore, Rs 7,174 crore and Rs 3,732 crore respectively.

2 years

What is it? The proposed jail term for brand ambassadors in addition to a fine of Rs 10 lakh (or both) if the claims related to products and services endorsed turn out to be false. This is for a first-time offence.

Why is it important? This is likely to make famous personalities wary of endorsing just any brand, affecting their revenue from such deals. This also renews a debate on whether brand ambassadors should be held accountable for claims made by companies about their products or services.

Tell me more: For second time offenders, the proposed punishment is five years of imprisonment and a fine of Rs 50 lakh. These recommendations are as per a Parliamentary Committee report on changes in the Consumer Protection Bill, subject to the Central government’s approval.

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