Mayday Mayday

Rs 2,313.66 crore

What is it? The consolidated loss before tax of Ola, the Indian cab-hailing app in FY16.

Why is it important? Nearly three times more than FY15’s loss, this is being seen as Ola’s cost to remain a block ahead of Uber, its American rival. Revenue increased seven times to Rs 758 crore, but a four-times rise in advertising (Rs 385.5 crore) and over five-times increase in employee costs (Rs 379 crore), have ensured the losses pile up.

Tell me more: Ola-parent, ANI Technologies’ standalone operating revenue was Rs 383.44 crore, with which Uber India was almost neck and neck at Rs 374.79 crore.



What is it? Number of civilians killed in Iraq and Syria by US strikes against Isis targets since 2014, according to the Pentagon.

Why is it important? The Pentagon number is far less than the estimates of non-profit monitoring groups. Airwars, for example, puts coalition-led civilian deaths in Libya and Syria at 3,164 people atleast. High civilian deaths have remained the coalition fighting Isis’ Achilles heel, as human rights organisations have often criticised them for indiscriminate targeting.

Tell me more: Pentagon further said it was assessing the deaths of 42 people reported recently.



What is it? The number of states that have notified rules for the new Real Estate Act.

Why is it important? The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act , 2016, which promises transparency and protection of consumer rights, comes into effect on 1st May. The act was passed by both houses of parliament last year, and being a model law, it leaves the state governments to pass their own specific rules. The low number indicates the states are not prepared, but might face public pressure to notify rules.

Tell me more: Among other guidelines, the real estate act mandates developers to separately deposit 70% of the funds collected exclusively for construction.



What is it? Import duty on gold at present.

Why is it important? Indian government is reportedly looking at bringing import duty down ahead of Goods and Services Tax (GST) rollout. Think tank Niti Aayog had suggested reducing the duty to make more gold available for small and medium firms, which in turn can increase jewelry exports. Lower duties also tend to bring down smuggling.

Tell me more: GST of 12% plus the current import duty is likely to make gold more expensive, according to industry players.


$1 billion

What is it? The cost of the anti-missile system called Thaad (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) , deployed by South Korea.

Why is it important? US President Donald Trump’s recent remarks of South Korea footing the bill for Thaad, which the US military built and deployed to South Korea, had put it in a spot. The US has now reassured it will pay for it. The anti-missile system installed as its neighbour, North Korea, lines up more missile and nuclear tests, has stirred up quite a few problems for the Asian country. They include China’s disapproval and political opposition in the ongoing presidential race in its country. The reassurance will bring some relief to South Korea.

Tell me more: North Korea test-launched another missile on Saturday, which was unsuccessful.

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News in Numbers, Jan 25, 2017: Deep-pocketed rival rattles leader

Rs 503.7 crore

What is it? Bharti Airtel’s consolidated profit for the third quarter of fiscal 2017.

Why is it important? The lowest profit since the quarter ended December, 2012, shows the largest telecom player is far from being immune to market forces. The sector again has a competitor, Reliance Jio, with deep pockets dragging other players into a price war. Bharti Airtel, like its counterparts, has had to take deep cuts in its voice and data tariffs to counter its promotional run. Demonetisation-driven cash crunch also affected its prepaid customers while the devaluation of the Nigerian currency raised losses from its African operations.

Tell me more: Bharti Airtel’s average revenue per user fell close to 7% from the second quarter to Rs 123. Its consolidated revenue at Rs 23,364 crore, dipped year-on-year for the first time.


Rs 660.5 crore

What is it? The interest waiver for November and December, 2016, for farmers who have taken short-term loans from cooperative banks.

Why is it important? The government will be taking on an additional Rs 1,060.5 crore liability besides the FY17-budgeted Rs 15,000-crore for the Interest Subvention Scheme, to make amends for the demonetisation impact. It was ill-timed as farmers could neither encash their cheques from the recent sale of their Kharif crops nor buy resources for their next Rabi sowings, making it difficult to serve their loans. They had been given additional 60 days to repay crop loans but this waiver could be a much-needed breather. Those who have paid, would get their amounts refunded.

Tell me more: The National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (Nabard) has gotten the nod to facilitate cooperative banks. It will make short-term borrowings of Rs 20,000 crore at market rate to lend it to them at 4.5% interest rate so more loans can be disbursed.



What is it? The Grand Slam semi-finals Roger Federer would have played in, after his quarter-final win over Germany’s Mischa Zverev, at the Australian Open, on Tuesday .

Why is it important? Could signal a comeback for the Swiss great from last year, riddled with a knee injury. Unable to play since his withdrawal from the 2016 French Open, he had earlier never missed a Grand Slam since 1999. He goes up against fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka whom he has defeated 18 times of 21 matches they have played.

Tell me more: At Australian Open, Federer has appeared in 12 semi-finals, with the thirteenth cued.


$8.03 billion

What is it? The aid requested by the United Nations for 2017 to help Syrians, both refugees and within Syria.

Why is it important? The amount for Syria forms 31% of UN’s total humanitarian aid plea for 2017. Terming the Syrian people’s crisis as far from over, the UN asked for $4.63 billion for food, rent, education and healthcare of 4.7 million Syrian refugees and their 4.4 million hosts in five neighbouring countries: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. The remaining $3.4 billion would bring life-saving resources to 13.5 million Syrians still in the country.

Tell me more: Hosts are helping Syrian refugees with very few in camps. In Syria, 13 besieged areas have650,000 people cut off from aid.


Rs 7,832.98 crore

What is it? The income of political parties, both national and regional, from unknown sources between FY05 and FY15.

Why is it important? The amount comprising 69% of the total declared income of political parties in the 10 years, show the scope black money and illegitimate means of funding have in our democracy. The demonetisation move brought into sharp focus the need to monitor funds received by political parties with voices advocating a receipt-only approach. However, the Supreme Court turned down a plea earlier this month to make it mandatory for political parties to declare all sources of income, not just those from donors giving above Rs 20,000 as is the law.

Tell me more: The Delhi thinktank, Association for Democratic Reforms, studied IT returns with the Election Commission to arrive at the amount. National political parties were brought under the RTI Act in 2013 but are yet to comply.

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