What is it? The number of times, in nine auction rounds, the bids per oil and gas block on offer by India has averaged below 2, according to research by The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. The same research cited the US average between 1954 and 1999 to be between 2.66 and 3.96.
Why is it important? The interest of global players in Indian oil and gas exploration has ranged from tepid to poor. One reason has been the policy construct that revolved around cost-recovery, as opposed to revenue-sharing. A draft paper released by the petroleum ministry on Monday recommended a move to revenue-sharing, as well as output pricing freedom.
Tell me more: In the last round of auctions, held in 2010, the government received 74 bids for 34 blocks, with 8 foreign and 29 Indian companies either bidding by themselves or in partnership.
Rs 5,500 cr
What is it? The reported drop in valuations of unlisted ICICI Prudential Life Insurance in the past 12 months or so. On Monday, its parent ICICI Bank announced the sale of 6% of its shareholding in the life insurer to Premji Invest and Temasek in a deal that valued the entire company at Rs 32,500 crore. Back in December 2014, the same was reportedly valued at Rs 38,000 crore.
Why is it important? It is a measure of the business environment for life insurance companies in India becoming tougher. After three consecutive years of decline in premiums collected, ICICI Prudential registered a 23% increase in premiums collected in 2014-15.
Tell me more: ICICI Prudential is India’s second-largest insurer and the largest among private players.
$ 3.6 billion
What is it? The estimated contribution to the economy of the US in academic year 2014-15 by students from India pursuing some form of higher education there, according to the US Department of Commerce.
Why is it important? India is the second largest source of foreign students in the US, after China. In 2014-15, 132,888 students from India were studying in the US, an increase of 29.4% over the previous year, which follows three years of decline, shows data released on Monday.
Tell me more: The 2014-15 breakup of Indian students in the US is: 12.4% undergraduate, 64% graduate, 1.4% other and 22.1% optional practical training.
What is it? The price of a 70 gm packet of Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali atta noodles, launched on Monday, undercutting the erstwhile market leader by about 30%.
Why is it important? Ramdev’s latest FMCG product launch comes on the same day the Indian food regulator moved the Supreme Court against the dismissal of its order by a lower court to ban Nestle’s popular Maggi instant noodles for allegedly containing lead beyond permissible limits. It also comes just a week after Nestle reintroduced Maggi noodles after a five-month ban; its atta variant was selling online at Rs 20 per 80 gm packet.
Tell me more: Besides its existing facility in Haridwar in Uttarakhand, Patanjali Ayurved plans to set up six more manufacturing plants to make these noodles, which carry the tag line ‘jhatpat banao’ (make it quickly).
What is it? The increase in wholesale prices of pulses in October over the corresponding month of 2014, the second-highest among all commodities, after onion.
Why is it important? Unlike onion, which is cooling off, prices of pulses are showing no sign of abating. In the months from May to October, the year-on-year increase in prices of pulses has ranged from 23% to 53%, due to declining production and higher global prices. According to a recent Crisil research report, pulses are the second-most important part of an Indian food palette, after cereals, with an average Indian household spending 5% of their monthly budget on it.
Tell me more: Pulses apart, prices at the wholesale level fell in October on a year-on-year basis by 3.8%, for the 12th straight month.