News in Numbers, June 8, 2016: India closer to its NSG aspirations, Amazon’s India push…

$21.3 billion

What is it? The estimated cost of delay and additional fuel consumption due to freight vehicles being stopped at check posts and/or state borders, long queues at check posts, poor road conditions etc., according to a study.

Why is it important? Underscores the need for Goods and Services Tax – which would bring in a single tax rate in place of the myriad existing ones, and reduce paperwork at checkposts and state borders. This would cut some costs. However, it would also need better infrastructure – wider roads and focus on multi-modal transportation – and action against unnecessary police intervention.

Tell me more: The study by IIM-Calcutta and logistics firm Transport Corporation of India gave the break up of the cost incurred due to delays and cost of fuel consumption due to such delays: $6.6 billion and $14.7 billion respectively.



What is it? The total number of member-nations of the Missile Technology Control Regime, an international anti-proliferation grouping, with the latest addition being India.

Why is it important? This would help India to buy high-end missile technology and also bring it closer to becoming a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a body that controls global nuclear trade. Though India has received support from the US for India’s entry into this coveted group, China has been against this and favouring Pakistan’s membership.

Tell me more: India has the capabilities of exporting nuclear fuel such as thorium and supply nuclear technology in the future but it cannot do so until it is a member of the NSG. India’s entry into this group will also give it a strategic victory over Pakistan as it can block it from joining the NSG.



What is it? The present Repo rate – the rate at which the central bank lends to the banks.  It was kept unchanged by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday.

Why is it important?  RBI holding the rates was expected, but it comes at time when there is debate – fuelled primarily by Rajya Sabha member Subramanian Swamy – on whether the central bank is too reluctant to bring down rates, which might help small and medium industries.

Tell me more: The RBI has cited concerns about an upside in inflation risks mainly due to increase in international commodity prices, especially oil, and the implementation of the Seventh Central Pay Commission. The central bank may not go for any interest rate cuts this year as RBI’s survey of professional forecasters have assigned the highest probability of 49% for average inflation to be 5-5.9% in 2016-17 against its target of containing it within 5%. The RBI also left the cash reserve ratio, the portion of their deposits that banks have to keep with the central bank, at 4%.


Rs 404

What is it? The amount a passenger would have typically got as refund, if they had cancelled a Delhi-Mumbai ticket costing Rs 2,419 (base fare: Rs 1,559) booked on June 7.

Why is it important? Highlights how cancellation charges can sometimes exceed the base fare amount (in this case, it is 1.29 times the base fare). India’s aviation regulator will reportedly announce new rules barring airliners from levying cancellation charges exceeding the base fares.

Tell me more: A couple of months ago, airlines in India offered discounts and brought down airfares but increased the cancellation charges up by 50-100%.


$3 billion

What is it? Additional investment commitment by Amazon in India.

Why is it important? This is likely hit Indian e-commerce firms such as Flipkart and Snapdeal, which have been struggling to raise funds to keep up in the race as competition intensifies. It also shows how badly Amazon needs to win in India, after losing out to Alibaba Group Holding in China. In July 2014, the company had announced a $2 billion investment in the country, which it spent in less than two years.

Tell me more: With the additional funds coming in, Amazon’s total pledged amount would exceed $5 billion (over Rs 33,000 crore) in India.

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News In Numbers – August 20

News In Numbers: August 20



The equity stake in Uber the Tata Opportunities Fund, a private equity fund, would have received for $100 million at the taxi-hailing services provider’s last valuation of around $50 billion. According to Reuters, the Tata fund invested around $75-100 million in Uber. The fund’s managing partner had also said it invests up to $100 million in its deals. With 150,000 contracted drivers and a 40% growth on a month-on-month basis, Uber says it commands a 35% market share in India. Uber is looking to accelerate its growth in India, where the leader is homegrown taxi app, Ola. Bangalore-based Ola raised $400 million in April to become the third-most valuable venture-backed company in India.



The number of entities that received an in-principle approval yesterday from the Reserve Bank of India for setting up payment banks, out of 41 applications. These entities include telecom companies (Vodafone and Airtel), conglomerates (Aditya Birla Nuvo and Reliance Industries), technology providers (Tech Mahindra) and the Department of Posts, among others. The idea of payment banks, first suggested by a committee headed by Dr Nachiket Mor, is to provide basic banking services such as deposits, payment and remittances to the unbanked and the under-banked. Interestingly, a report by Morgan Stanley India says though the bigger cities such as Bangalore rank high in terms of job opportunities, the smaller ones are better in terms of financial infrastructure (ATMs and bank branches). Nashik and Varanasi are the toppers in terms of financial penetration.



Of the total CSR (corporate social responsibility) amount Nestle India should have spent in 2014 (the company follows a calendar year), it ended up utilising only 28%. The Companies Act 2013 stipulates that companies meeting certain benchmarks in terms of net worth, revenue and net profit must spend 2% of the profits generated in the last three years on CSR initiatives. Of the six major FMCG companies, including ITC and Hindustan Unilever, Nestle India is the only one to have missed its CSR targets. As many companies missed their targets in 2014-15, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs cut down its estimates of the corpus to be created through CSR spending by nearly half.


Rs 27.92 crore

The total disproportionate assets former telecom minister A Raja has been accused of amassing between 1999 and 2010. The fresh charge against him, his relatives and close associates has come about after the team investigating the 2G spectrum case submitted a report suggesting the possibility of disproportionate assets. This May, Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa was acquitted in an 18-year-old disproportionate assets case, though BJP leader Subramanian Swamy (who filed the case against her) termed the Karnataka High Court judgment as a “tragedy of arithmetic errors” and had decided to appeal against the judgment in the Supreme Court.



The rate of total cognizable crimes per lakh population in Indore, the highest among 53 cities with a population of over 1 million people. Surat has the lowest rate of total crimes per lakh population at 95.9. The three biggest reasons for murder in India in 2014 were: personal vendetta, property dispute and love affairs. Madhya Pradesh recorded the highest number of honour killings. Delhi recorded the highest number of rape cases per 1 lakh citizens at 1,813 followed by Mumbai. is a search engine for public data


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News In Numbers – July 22

News In Numbers: July 22



Share of revenues from areas other than voice calls for telecom company Idea Cellular in the April to June quarter. This is a marked increase from the 17.8% share of non-voice revenues for Idea in the corresponding quarter a year ago, underscoring the voracious data consumption via mobile that is providing a fillip to telecom companies in India. The Idea results declared yesterday showed that, on an average, its 37.2 million subscribers who have data services on their mobile used 600 MB of data, a near 50% increase over a year ago. Yesterday, shares of Bharti Airtel, the leader in India by market share, also hit a six-year high.



The loan-to-value (LTV) ratio currently followed by non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) engaged in financing against gold jewellery, where ‘value’ is computed as the average of gold prices in the last 30 days. In global markets on Monday, gold prices fell to a five-year low, prompting lenders who provide loans against the yellow metal to start asking their customers to make part-payments of their loans. In January 2014, the central bank had allowed NBFCs to offer loans of up to 75% of the pledged gold/jewellery. The maximum LTV permissible, fixed by the Association of Gold Loan companies, is Rs 1,818 per gram (against value of gold jewellery worth Rs 2,423) until the end of this week (July 25).



The number of defamation cases filed by AIADMK, one of the major regional parties in India, against media and political rivals. The latest is a criminal defamation case against BJP leader Subramanian Swamy for a tweet on the health of J Jayalalithaa, Tamil Nadu chief minister and AIADMK leader. Earlier, Swamy had challenged Sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code, arguing that these sections, which allow the initiation of criminal proceedings for defamation, restrict freedom of speech and expression. Last week, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre why these IPC provisions cannot be diluted to remove the perception that it violated the fundamental right to free speech.


4.6 million

The number of unique entries in the caste field thrown up by the caste survey of 330 million Indian households. The Niti Aayog now has the onerous task of matching this database of 4.6 million entries with the correct caste to table India’s population by caste. Political parties have been demanding the release of the caste data, documented as part of the Socio Economic and Caste Census, commissioned in 2011. The Central government recently said it would release the data after rectifying errors in 14.6 million cases.


Rs 35 crore

The cost of scrapping a contentious 5.8 km bus rapid transit (BRT) corridor in New Delhi, according to Delhi government’s estimates. This is about a quarter of what it cost to build the corridor. A pet project of the erstwhile Congress government in Delhi and one that was to serve as the model for 26 more such corridors in the city, it attracted criticism for causing traffic snarls and pedestrian deaths. According to one study, the number of accidents and accident-related deaths on the stretch increased by 40% and 48%, respectively, after the BRT became operational. Yesterday, the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi decided to scrap the corridor.
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