The heat is on

0.88 degree-Celsius

What is it? The magnitude by which April 2017 was warmer than the global mean temperature from 1951-1980 (base period).

Why is it important? The deviation makes last month the second-warmest April in history, according to Nasa. Last year’s April was 1.06 degree-Celsius warmer than the base temperature and was the hottest. Both 2015 and 2016 clocked high temperatures consistently, with 2016 being the warmest year in history, a result carbon dioxide and other human-led emissions into the atmosphere. This year the mercury has not shot up as much as in 2016 but since February, has clocked second-highest temperatures ever.

Tell me more: Modern record-keeping of temperatures began in 1880 and 2017 would be its 138th year.

 

Rs 1,168.02 crore

What is it? The consolidated net loss of steel major, Tata Steel, in the fourth quarter of 2016-17.

Why is it important? The loss was less than the one in the fourth quarter of FY16 (of Rs 3,041.88 crore) but it marks the removal of an obstacle to merging its European operations with the German ThyssenKrupp in a joint venture. The pensions scheme at its UK operations had been the hurdle. This quarter, the loss was primarily due to exceptional items amounting to Rs 4,069 crore, which included resolution of the pension claims of its UK employees.

Tell me more: Consolidated profit before the exceptional items are added, amounted to Rs 3,352 crore in Q4 FY17.

 

>9.1 million

What is it? The number of new taxpayers brought within the income tax ambit by the authorities after the demonetisation drive.

Why is it important? The new taxpayers amount to almost 25% of the count of taxpayers last season (37 2015-16). The finance minister, Arun Jaitley, says out of the new taxpayers in the net this year, 1.8 million have been identified with cash transactions not in line with their income profiles.

Tell me more: More than 972,000 of those under the scanner have responded to the IT department’s queries, providing answers for 1.3 million bank accounts with cash deposits of Rs 2.89 crore.

 

$234 million

What is it? The amount Incred, a non banking finance company backed by Anshu Jain, former Co-Chief of Deutsche Bank aims to disburse by March next year, primarily to small and medium sector.

Why is it important? It comes at a time when big banks, saddled by bad loans, are shying away from lending to SMEs. Incred said in April that it has disbursed Rs 100 crore (or a little over $15 million) in its first 100 days of its operations.

Tell me more: Non banking finance sector in general has been getting more active in the SME sector, and have doubled their market share in this segment in the last five years, according to Crisil, a credit rating agency.

 

~3.8 million

What is it? The number of plastic pieces on the beaches of Henderson Island.

Why is it important? Henderson Island, located in the South Pacific Ocean, is uninhabited, remote, and visited only once in five to 10 years. It has the highest concentration of human-activities generated debris – estimated to weigh over 250,000 tonnes – recorded anywhere in the world, washed ashore by the sea, and serves as an indicator of marine pollution.

Tell me more: The nearest major population centre to this Unesco World Heritage site is 5000 kms away.

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News in Numbers, Jan 17, 2017:

Rs 10,000

What is it? The daily limit of cash withdrawal at ATMs, raised from Rs 4,500 by the Reserve Bank of India.

Why is it important? Higher ATM withdrawal limit could be a signal from the central bank that it can now handle cash better since the withdrawal of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. Though the overall withdrawal limit a week remains unchanged at Rs 24,000, the decision will reduce the number of trips one has to make to the ATM.

Tell me more: Cash withdrawal limit at ATMs has been raised from the initial Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,500 two days into demonetisation, to Rs 4,500 on December 31, to the current value. Limits on current accounts have been revised from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1,00,000.

8 million

What is it? Estimated tax-payers under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, slated to be unveiled from July 1 of this year.

Why is it important? A crucial milestone was reached on Monday as the centre and the states agreed on the ratio of control over small taxpayers and when to roll out the GST. Small taxpayers with turnover below Rs 1.5-crore will be shared between centre and the states in the ratio of 10:90 for audit and scrutiny. This will be randomly generated.

Tell me more: The draft laws for GST and various tax slabs are yet to be constituted. But in the ninth GST council meeting, there was consensus to meet the new deadline.

Rs 1,243 crore

What is it? The amount of money the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) may raise in its initial public offering (IPO) next week.

Why is it important? BSE, Asia’s oldest stock exchange, will be the first IPO in 2017. Last year, 26 firms raised Rs 26,000 crore through IPOs – the third biggest in the last 25 years. Seventeen out of the 26 firms are trading above their listing price.

Tell me more: Singapore Exchange Ltd, Atticus Mauritius and billionaire George Soros’ Quantum will be selling 15.4 million shares for Rs 805-806 a share. The other Indian stock exchange, National Stock Exchange, too, is looking to dilute 22.5% stake for Rs 10,000 crore

$30-50 billion

What is it? Saudi Arabia’s investment in its renewables energy programme to produce 10 gigawatts of power.

Why is it important? The producer of 13.6% of the world’s crude oil production is betting on non-fossil fuels to generate energy for itself. The project’s first stage would be generating nuclear energy. With crude oil bringing in 85% of its forex and accounting for 50% of its GDP, Saudi Arabia is taking steps to ensure its continuity by resorting to other fuels at home and cutting back crude production to prop up global prices.

Tell me more: The first two nuclear reactors would be for 2.8 gigawatts of energy. It will also look to connect to other countries such as Jordan and Egypt for the renewables energy projects

35%

What is it? US President-elect Donald Trump threatened to levy the import tax on German-made cars if they are not locally made.

Why is it important? Trump has legal powers to impose 15% import tariff for 150 days without US Congress approval, and if companies file litigation, it will take 18 months to decide, says Simon Evenett, an international trade expert. Earlier, Trump asked GM and Toyota to shift operations from Mexico to service local demand.

Tell me more: The German automakers’ shares were hit, following the outburst. BMW shares fell by 1.5% in Frankfurt, VW by 1.8% and Daimler (Mercedes Benz-owner) by 1.6%

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Four charts that explain the advances and retreats on the direct tax front

This piece originally appeared on Livemint.com

 

Tax collections in nine states grew faster than Delhi.

In an indication of the broadening of economic activity beyond Mumbai and Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan posted perceptible gains in direct tax collections—and overall share—between 2008-09 and 2014-15. Among the top 10 states by share, Delhi recorded the slowest increase. Interestingly, two key states that saw a regime change during this period, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, have both registered a drop in share.

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News in Numbers, May 2, 2016: Gujarat’s 10% quota for poor, Uttarakhand’s forest fire crisis…

10%

What is it? Reservation quota in education and jobs for those with less than Rs 6 lakh of annual family income in general category, as announced by Gujarat government on Friday.

Why is it important? This is a move to appease the protesting Patel community, which has been demanding ‘Other Backward Class’ status to avail reservations in education and jobs. This comes ahead of the state elections next year, and after Congress won 23 of 31 district panchayats in the civic polls last year. The BJP has been in power for the last 18 years in the state.

Tell me more: The Patels are unhappy with the state government’s offer and have demanded that its community get a separate quota, similar to what the Haryana government has offered the Jats. The reservation move will exceed the 50% reservation limit set by the Supreme Court but the BJP says it is ready to go legal to defend its move.

7.5 tonnes

What is it? The quantity of gold Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), which manages the famous temple on the hill in southern Andhra Pradesh, is considering moving under the Indian government’s gold monetisation schemes.

Why is it important? This would be biggest mobilisation under the schemes launched last November. Over 1.5 tonnes have been deposited so far, and the board may move its entire reserves of 7.5 tonnes. The schemes are aimed at lowering India’s gold imports, which form the second highest component in the imports bill after crude oil. India imported 926 tonnes of gold in 2015-16, 16% less than the previous fiscal.

Tell me more: TTD wants the government to pay the interest component on medium and long-term schemes to be paid in gold instead of cash and also, calculate the interest on gold at the time of return instead of at the time of the deposit. This, on top of some changes the government had announced on Friday.

6,000

What is it? The number of people from state agencies involved in putting out the forest fire in Uttarakhand.

Why is it important? This is one of the biggest disaster the state has faced with 1,233 cases of fire covering 1,900 hectares of forest. While the effective area under fire has come down by 70%, the government hopes to put out the fire in the next 3-4 days by putting  10,000 more people on the job.

Tell me more: The area under fire is many times more compared to previous two years- 930.3 hectares in 2015 and 384.5 hectares in 2014. On Sunday, the government announced a pre-fire alert system that will issue warnings to the concerned departments via text messages. As on April 21, 20,667 forest fire incidents have already been reported, compared to 15,937 in 2015 and 19,054 in 2014.

1.25 crore

What is it? The number of people who paid taxes in 2012-13.

Why is it important? This was just 1% of India’s population at that time, indicating the extent of domestic tax evasion. Direct taxes accounted for 51% of the total tax revenue in 2015-16, the lowest since 2007-08. Indirect taxes (levied on goods and services) puts a greater burden on the poor.

Tell me more: Only 2.9 crore individuals filed their income tax returns in 2012-13 and nearly 89% of them paid taxes less than Rs 1.5 lakh with the average tax outgo being less than Rs 21,000.

13.2 lakh

What is it? The number of individual household toilets built in urban areas in 2015-16.

Why is it important? This is just around 53% of its 25 lakh target for the year and indicates that India would be hard-pressed to achieve open defecation-free status by 2019.

Tell me more: 11 states reported they have not constructed even a single household toilet. Gujarat accounted for around a third of the total individual household toilets last fiscal. States were also unable to meet their targets in the community and public toilet category where they have reported construction of only 68,500 toilets as against the target of 1 lakh.

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