Lend us your ears

Rs 29,524 crore

What is it? The revised revenue target of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for fiscal 2018.

Why is it important? This is a 40% reduction from the projection made by the Finance Ministry, of Rs 47,305 crore. The dipping revenues of Indian operators has led to a drop in licence fees (8%) and spectrum usage charges (3-6% of gross revenue) paid to Dot.

Tell me more: DoT says the fourth quarter licence fees is Rs 2,686 crore, down from Rs 3,450 crore in the third quarter. The gross revenue, according to Business Standard, was Rs 2.10 lakh-crore in FY17, from Rs 2.36 lakh-crore in FY16. In May, an inter-ministerial panel was constituted to bring relief to the financially strained telecom sector through policy reforms.

83.6 million

What is it? The number of Tata Motors’ shares Tata Sons will buy from Tata Steel.

Why is it important? It’s an indicator that Tata Sons is reducing cross-holdings among its group companies. Tata Sons’ stake would increase from the current 28.71%, and Tata Steel’s go down to nil from 2.9% in Tata Motors. Tata Motors still owns 0.46% in Tata Steel. Tata Steel had earlier brought down its stake in Titan.

Tell me more: Tata Sons was reportedly planning to spend about Rs 7000 crore to buy shares from group companies and reduce cross holding.

62

What is it? The number of people killed in a raging forest fire in central Portugal since Saturday.

Why is it important? Portugal is prone to forest fires during the summer months, but this disaster has been termed the country’s biggest tragedy in memory by its Prime Minister Antonio Costa. People were killed in their cars, trapped by the flames as they tried to evacuate.

Tell me more: A lightning strike during a dry thunderstorm (in which the rain evaporates before hitting the ground due to heat) and caused a forest fire.

62%

What is it? The percentage of marginal farmers (those with less than 1 hectare of land) that have borrowed from non-institutional lenders.

Why is it important? Non-institutional lenders include moneylenders, family and friends, according to PRS Legislative Research based on 2013 data. This suggests that farm loan waivers – being considered by some state governments – will have minimal impact on marginal farmers. In contrast, in case of large (10+ hectares) and medium (4-10 hectares) farmers, loans from non institutional sources stand at 21% and 29% respectively.

Tell me more: Among states, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu have most number of households in debt – at 93%, 89% and 83% respectively. All India average is about 52%. Reserve Bank of India, among others, have pointed outthe negative impact of farm loan waivers in the recent past.

2 months

What is it? Grace time for filing Goods and Services Tax (GST) returns post its planned launch on July 1st.

Why is it important? This will help Indian companies, especially small businesses, transition to the new system, which requires them to file three returns a month. Some have raised concerns that the country might not be ready yet for GST, given the complexity of the new tax laws, and the current IT infrastructure in the country. They have proposed that it should be either postponed or rolled out in a phases, starting with a few industries. But GST Council, which governs GST under the chairmanship of India’s finance minister, has said there will be no delay.

Tell me more: GST Council also approved an anti-profiteering authority to penalise businesses that don’t pass on the benefits of GST to customers. The authority will be in force for two years.

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News in Numbers, Mar 01, 2017: Saying ‘Tata’ to DoCoMo

$1.18 billion

 

What is it? The amount Tata Sons will pay Japanese telecom firm, NTT DoCoMo for its stake in their Indian joint venture.

 

Why is it important? This ends the dispute between two former partners in the telecom venture. The settlement was 60% lower than what DoCoMo demanded initially in a London court. The resolution was finally done in an out-of-court settlement.

 

Tell me more: DoCoMo had decided to withdraw from India in 2014 but a pre-determined price of either half of its original investment of $2.2 billion in 2009 or a fair market value was opposed by India’s central bank. Unable to find another buyer, Tata Sons had offered to buy back the stake which was devalued by a PWC audit.

 

 

4.4%

 

What is it? The official estimated rate of growth of the farm sector (agriculture, forestry and fishing) in fiscal 2017.

 

Why is it important? The sector, 60% of which is made up by crop output including fruits, vegetables and grains, contributes 16.11% to India’s Gross Added Value (GVA). But the expected growth above 5% after two years of drought is still elusive.

 

Tell me more: Production of food grains in the Kharif and Rabi seasons of 2016-17 grew by 9.9% and 6.3%, respectively, compared to the decline of 2.3% and growth of 2.0%, respectively, in the previous year.

 

 

$5.37 billion

 

What is it? The valuation of Flipkart by one of its investors, Morgan Stanley Institutional Fund Trust, as revised by it in the December, 2016 quarter.

 

Why is it important? Morgan Stanley is the fifth investor to revise downwards the valuation of Flipkart, India’s largest e-commerce player. It did it for the fifth time. Other investors such as Fidelity, T Rowe Price, Valic Co and Vanguard have cut their estimates of Flipkart’s value over the past year as well.

 

Tell me more: Flipkart’s valuation from its last funding had stood at $15 billion. It is now looking to raise $1.5 billion, according to reports, valuing the company at $10-12 billion.

 

 

6

 

What is it? Number of engine snags reported in Airbus ‘A320neo’ in the last one month, forcing India’s civil aviation regulator to start an investigation.

 

Why is it important? Though only 21 A320neo are operated in India by Indigo and GoAir, these two airlines have cumulatively ordered 500 jets of this model mainly on account of superior fuel efficiency.

 

Tell me more: Indigo, the market leader, will go ahead with planned expansion of its fleet despite the latest snags in engines manufactured by Pratt & Whitney. Airbus launched ‘A320neo’ in January last year.

 

 

Up to 1.0 degree Celsius

 

What is it? India will experience higher than normal (up to 1.0 degree C) temperature in the summer months of March-to-May, according to the Indian Meteorological Department

 

Why is it important? Above normal temperature impacts monsoon and causes heatwave conditions. Last year was the warmest on record since 1901, but India experienced normal monsoon in 2016 after two consecutive droughts in 2014 and 2015.

 

Tell me more: More than 700 people died last year because of heatwave conditions in India.

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News in Numbers, Feb 07, 2017: A season of crackdowns

Rs 14,779 crore

What is it? The principal balance the Supreme Court wants to expedite recovering from the  Sahara Group for its investors.

Why is it important? Striking down Sahara’s appeal for time till 2019, the apex court ordered attaching its star property in Pune, the Aamby Valley, as part of the recovery process. Around Rs 600 crore of its Rs-25,780-crore principal owed was paid on Monday.  SC’s order was the latest entry in a season of crackdowns on erring business houses/moguls. The property will be under the court’s custody.

Tell me more: The court has asked for a list of other Sahara properties free from litigation for recovery of its dues to investors in two of Sahara’s companies. The due totals Rs 37,000 crore, as calculated by Sebi, including interest, of which around Rs 11,000 crore has been paid so far.

97

What is it? Number of companies, 96% of them tech giants, that filed a court motion challenging US President Donald Trump’s order on immigration.

Why is it important? Companies such as Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook, Intel, Netflix and Twitter, and three consumer-goods companies including fashion brand Levi Strauss, have taken a step further than just denouncing the executive order by taking legal recourse. They join federal judges who have legally rebuffed Trump’s move to restrict immigration of certain nationalities, with one even restraining it nationwide. The companies’ motion was filed in the very appeals court which rejected the government’s emergency request to resume the travel ban.

Tell me more: The motion filed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said the travel ban “violates the immigration laws and the Constitution”.

Rs 2.5 lakh

What is it? The upper limit of deposits for which the Income Tax department will ask no questions, reiterated by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) chairman Sushil Chandra.

Why is it important? Amidst growing concern about the expanding reach of the tax officer with all the cash-scrutiny, the senior official’s statement should bring relief. The limit means the IT department will for now refrain from running analytics on deposits below it.

Tell me more: It would study larger single deposits or multiple deposits against a single PAN card that don’t match IT returns.

80%

What is it? Percentage of Tata Sons’ shareholder votes that were in favour of removing former chairman Cyrus Mistry from Tata Sons’ board of directors

Why is it important? The move is a part of the ongoing fight between Tatas and Mistry that started with the removal of Mistry from the chairmanship of Tata Sons in October, followed by similar actions in various Tata companies, including Tata Motors and Tata Consultancy Services. The latest was expected. Tata Trusts controls 66% of Tata Sons, and a simple majority is enough to oust a director. Shapoorji Pallonji family, to which Cyrus Mistry belongs, and which owns 18.4% in Tata Sons, now has no representation in the board for the first time in over ten years.

Tell me more: Cyrus Mistry did not attend the board meeting. Ratan Tata’s half brother Noel Tata, whose sister is married to Mistry, voted in favour of Mistry’s removal from the board.

9

What is it? The number of chief justices recommended by Supreme Court collegium for various high courts

Why is it important? If the government approves, this would likely be the highest number of appointments of chief justices in one go. Many high courts in the country are being served by interim chief justices. More importantly, it’s an indicator that the tension between the government and the judiciary over appointment of judges could be easing. At its height, Supreme Court had struck down National Judicial Appointments Commission in October 2015 and revived the collegium system in which a panel of judges make the judicial appointments.

Tell me more: Besides High Courts, the Supreme Court also faces vacancies as a result of the tug of war. The apex court has been functioning with 23 judges since early this year, falling short of the sanctioned strength of 31.

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News in Numbers, Jan 13, 2017: Lucky seven for Tata?

30

What is it? The number of years Natarajan Chandrasekaran, CEO of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), has worked in the company (his entire career).

Why is it important? Popularly known as ‘Chandra’, he was appointed as Tata Sons’ chairman on Thursday – the seventh chief of the holding company of the group.  The move is likely to end the uncertainty that gripped the $116-billion coffee-to-cars group present in around 100 businesses. Less than three months ago, the previous chairman Cyrus Mistry, whose tenure was the shortest in Tata Sons’ history, was ousted unceremoniously – this spiralled into one of the ugliest corporate spats in Indian history. Chandrasekaran was the unanimous choice of a five-member search committee set up in October, which was tasked to find the next head within four months.

Tell me more: Under Chandrasekaran’s leadership, the profits of TCS was up more than threefold to Rs 24,375 crore in 2015-16 from Rs 7,093 crore in 2009-2010. TCS accounts for 60% of the group’s market capitalization and contributes to around 70% of its revenue.

 

5.7%

What is it? The percentage by which Index of Industrial Production (IIP), which measures growth in mining, manufacturing and electricity, grew in November 2016.

Why is it important? This is the fastest pace in 13 months (likely aided by the positive base effect) and compares with a contraction of 1.3% in the previous month and a contraction of 3.4% in November 2015. Also, this is the first set of industrial activity figures released after the government’s decision to demonetise high-value currency notes in November. However, its impact was felt on consumer prices inflation, which grew by 3.41% in December compared to 3.63% in the previous month, recording the slowest pace since November 2014.

Tell me more: Manufacturing grew at 5.5% in November 2016 compared to a contraction of 4.6% in the same period a year ago while electricity and mining grew at 8.9% and 3.9% in November as against 0.7% and 1.7% respectively in the corresponding period the previous year.

 

34,500

What is it? The increase in India’s annual haj quota by Saudi Arabia to 170,520.

Why is it important? This is the highest increase in nearly three decades and has renewed the debate on Haj subsidy. The government has set up a six-member committee to examine the viability of the subsidy and to explore ways to make it economical even without the subsidy. The Supreme Court in 2012 had asked the government to see how this can be phased out in 10 years. The setting up of the committee comes at a time when Uttar Pradesh elections are round the corner – a state where Muslim voters have about 20% share in its population.

Tell me more: In 2016, about 99,903 people from 21 embarkation points across India went to Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) for haj through the Haj Committee of India while 36,000 went for their annual pilgrimage through private tour operators.

 

1.5%

What is it? The drop in the annual world food price index in 2016.

Why is it important? The world food price index, mapped since 1996, averaged 161.6 for the whole of 2016, falling for the fifth year in a row. Published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the index eased as promising harvests in staple cereals offset price rise in sugar and palm oil. Food price inflation softened despite the impact of adverse weather conditions such as El Niño (the occasional warming of waters in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean) on some crops like sugar.

Tell me more: Meat and dairy products also fell, and along with cereals fell by nearly 40% below their 2011 peak. But Abdolreza Abbassian, senior economist at FAO, warns, “Economic uncertainties, including movements in exchange rates, are likely to influence food markets even more so this year (2017).”

 

7.7%

What is it? China’s annual fall in exports in 2016.

Why is it important? China’s exports affect a large number of countries as it is the world’s largest trading nation. Its December exports fell by 6.1%, owing to slowing global demand. Declines were seen in electro-mechanical and labour-intensive goods. Later this year, China could see heavy tariffs on its goods levied by the US under its new administration, led by Donald Trump if he follows through his campaign promise.

Tell me more: China’s trade surplus stood at $40.82 billion as imports grew by 3.1% on demand for coal and iron ore, while its 2016 trade surplus was at $509.96 billion.

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News in Numbers, Dec 16, 2016: Will the lottery system work?

 

Rs 340 crore

What is it? The estimated cost at which Niti Aayog, the government think-tank body, is implementing two schemes (Lucky Grahak Yojana for consumers and Digi-dhan Vyapar Yojana for merchants).

Why is it important? These schemes, probably the first of their kinds announced by the government, are aimed encouraging customers to go for digital payments by incentivising them. Under the first scheme, lucky draws would enable 15,000 winners to get cashback prizes of Rs 1,000 each day for a 100-day period starting December 25 besides weekly awards worth Rs 5,000, Rs 10,000 and Rs 1 lakh. The second scheme would offer weekly prizes worth Rs 2,500, Rs 5,000 and Rs 50,000 for merchants. Currently, an estimated 5% of Indians use digital payment modes and point-of-sale transactions saw an increase of 95% since November 8.

Tell me more: The National Payment Corporation of India will implement these schemes, which will cover transactions between Rs 50 and Rs 3,000 done through UPI, USSD, Aadhaar Enabled Payment System and RuPay Cards. These would not be applicable for transactions done through private credit cards and e-wallets of private companies.

 

Rs 5 lakh crore

What is it? The amount that has been supplied to the market in new currency notes since November 8 (the date when the demonetisation move was announced).

Why is it important? This is about 32.5% of the Rs 15.4 lakh crore that was taken out of circulation when high denomination currency notes (Rs 500 and Rs 1,000) were withdrawn. The government says that by the end of this month, this number would reach at least 50% of the demonetised amount – in new and existing denominations. However, according to a calculation based on India’s printing capacity of currency notes and the need for notes in smaller denominations, it would take up to April 2017 to introduce Rs 9 lakh crore (58.4% of the demonetised amount) – the main problem being the inability of the presses to print Rs 500 notes.

Tell me more: The Reserve Bank of India had said that Rs 12.44 lakh crore has been deposited in banks as of December 10 but the government has expressed doubts about this figure and has asked it to countercheck to weed out discrepancies that might have creeped in due to double counting.

 

Rs 3,000 crore

What is it? The amount sought by Nusli Wadia, an independent director on the boards of three Tata Group companies, in damages. He has filed a defamation suit in the Bombay High Court on Thursday against chairman emeritus Ratan Tata and Tata Sons.

Why is it important? Suggests that the Tata Sons-Cyrus Mistry corporate battle is getting uglier and is showing no signs of abatement. His defamation suit comes after Tata Sons had said that he was working in concert Mistry, the ousted chairman of Tata Sons, and against the interests of the Tata companies and shareholders, and moved a resolution seeking to remove him from the boards of Tata Motors, Tata Steel and Tata Chemicals. Wadia asked the company to prove the charges levelled against him and served three legal notices to Tata Sons in November asking them to withdraw the allegations but the group failed to do so. This has been followed by the Rs 3,000-crore defamation suit.

Tell me more: The High Court is expected to take up the matter on December 19 and Wadia faces a shareholders’ vote on December 23 after the group’s holding company moved the resolution to remove him as an independent director.

 

$13 billion

What is it? India’s trade deficit (excess of imports over exports) in November.

Why is it important? This was the highest in the last 16 months and sharply wider than the $10.41 billion recorded the previous month. Though exports rose for the third straight month in November on a year-on-year basis, it was lower than that in October – a likely impact of demonetisation and US Fed Reserve’s imminent decision to hike interest rates (it did so on Wednesday). The currency reset could have also resulted in a spike in gold imports (a 25.7% increase month-on-month and 23% from a year ago), which in turn, pushed up the trade deficit.

Tell me more: Of the 30 major product groups, 20 registered positive growth in November.

 

$14.6 billion

What is it? The amount media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox has agreed to pay to gain full control over London-based Sky Plc.

Why is it important? This is Murdoch’s second attempt at gaining control after his previous bid was thwarted in 2011 over a phone-hacking scandal at his UK newspapers. However, this takeover attempt may not be a smooth one as minority shareholders have expressed concern at how the pay-TV company’s independent directors accepted the offer at seemingly low share price levels. Besides, there are also fears that this acquisition would threaten media plurality in the UK.

Tell me more: The deal values Sky at and Fox, which is the founding shareholder of Sky, currently owns 39.1% of the company’s shares.$23.4 billion.

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