News in Numbers, Jan 18, 2017: Stirring the ready-to-cook pot

$25 million

What is it? The cost of 25% stake in a ready-to-cook food company, ID Fresh Foods, paid by Premji Invest, the investment firm of Wipro-owner Azim Premji.

Why is it important? With the increase in nuclear and double-income families, demand for ready-to-cook products is expected to grow faster and this has attracted investors wanting to tap this market. ID Fresh Foods had secured investment from Helion Ventures two years ago. Premji’s investment values it at $100 million. This would be Premji Invest’s fifteenth largest investment.

Tell me more: Premji Invest manages assets over $2 billion across 50 companies and has invested in companies such as Amagi Media Labs (over $500 million) and Lenskart ($115 million). ID Fresh Foods was started by IIM-Bangalore-alumnus PC Musthafa in 2006.


What is it? The number of Indian Police Service (IPS) officers compulsorily retired by the home ministry after a performance review.

Why is it important? It is a rare instance of performance-related rap for bureaucrats, the first removal in the last 10-15 years of IPS officers. The state cadres removed them for poor performance based on their service records, complaints and senior reviews.

Tell me more: Rule 16(3) of the All India Services (Death-cum-Retirement) Benefits Rules, 1958 provides for a service review, in consultation with the state government, of All India Services officers completing 15 and 25 years of service or attaining 50 years of age. Centre may also ask for such a review irrespective of the service years.
4 months

What is it? Remaining prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, after the rest of it was commuted by US President Barack Obama. Manning is a US army intelligence expert convicted of leaking America’s diplomatic and military activities in 2010.

Why is it important? The commutation marks a reversal of President Obama’s policy of actively pursuing criminal prosecution of people involved in leaking government secrets. With three days left in his presidency, Obama also pardoned 63 and commuted sentences of 208 prisoners, mostly drug offenders. Chelsea, who has spent seven years in jail, was originally serving a 35-year imprisonment.

Tell me more: Obama has granted clemency in only 3.7% of the total petitions received (35,944) till December 31, 2016. This compares favourably with George W.Bush who granted clemency only to 0.02% of applications in his eight-year tenure.

What is it? Number of railway stations that will be redeveloped and modernised by private companies at a cost of Rs 4,000 crore.

Why is it important? After announcing plans to redevelop 44 stations more than a year back, Indian Railways has roped in Bansal Construction to modernise Habibganj station near Bhopal. Work is expected to start from March this year. With the state-run monopoly not having resources to invest in modernisation of railway stations, the centre is roping in private players to redevelop the stations. In lieu, private players get to develop surplus land near the station on a lease of 45 years.

Tell me more: Railways have identified 332 stations for redevelopment and modernisation based on passenger earnings.

What is it? The number of village panchayats which will have free WiFi hotspots in three years.

Why is it important? It underlines the government’s efforts to speed up digitisation, especially with an eye on going cashless. Previously, the telecom secretary mentioned the target of making all gram panchayats WiFi-enabled. In December, Members of the Parliament were permitted to use their allocated funds to set up WiFi hotspots in villages and educational institutions.

Tell me more: Over Rs 400 crore would be spent in the first leg spanning three years in public-private partnerships.

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Just how big is data for Indian telcos today?

Data has been the battleground in Indian telecom for some years now. The big-bang entry of Reliance Jio — which will charge only for data and offer voice calls for free — promises to take the tussle over data to a new level. But just how big is data for Indian telecom companies right now?

According to figures released by the telecom regulator, in the quarter ended March 2016, telecom companies whose services are based on the GSM technology (95% of Indian subscribers) earned average revenue per user (ARPU) of Rs 131. At 48.2%, voice calls made the largest contribution. Data usage was second, at 21.6%.

Seen through this prism, the Reliance Jio strategy aims to open two fronts to the competition simultaneously. On the one hand, by offering voice calls for free, it aims to attack the revenue component that fetches other telecom companies nearly half their revenues. On the other hand, by offering data cheap, it aims to increase the share of data in the overall telecom revenue pie while trying to wean away users from rival networks.

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News In Numbers – August 14

News In Numbers: August 14



The 2014-15 operating margin of Jaguar Land Rover, the iconic high-end carmaker and overseas subsidiary of Tata Motors that has been its sole profit driver for the last two years. Between 2009-10 and 2014-15, when the operating margin of Tata Motors’ Indian business fell from 11.7% to -2.2%, JLR’s vaulted from 5.4% to 18.9%. However, with JLR hitting a roadbump in China, its margin dropped to 9.7% for the quarter ended June 2015. In the backdrop of this, and a mixed domestic performance, Tata Motors skipped dividend for 2014-15, drawing the ire of shareholders at its annual general meeting on Thursday.



The jump in the rate of call drops on 3G networks in the January to March quarter this year, over the same period in 2014, according to India’s telecom regulator: 15.96% versus 9.68%. Increasing congestion on 3G networks, and lack of adequate spectrum in relation to the number of subscribers using that spectrum, have led to a deterioration of quality across service providers. The deterioration in quality of service on 2G networks was even worse, with the call drop rate rising seven-fold in the same period. To help ease congestion, the government on Wednesday allowed telecom companies in the same circle to share their airwaves.


Rs 65,896 crore

The total surplus generated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) through its investment activities in 2014-15 (July to June financial year), the entire amount of which it will transfer to the government. This is a 25% increase over the surplus transferred by the central bank to the government in 2013-14. A committee, chaired by Y H Malegam, director of the central board of the RBI, had recommended in 2014 that the central bank transfer all its surpluses generated to the government for three years as it had enough reserve funds for contingency and other purposes. As of June 26, 2015, the central bank had Rs 18,94,800 crore in reserve money, a sum of several components, including currency in circulation and bankers’ deposits with the RBI.



Share of black people in the total population in the United States. Apple’s first official diversity filing, dated July 2014 but released yesterday, shows there were only two black people in its group of 83 senior executives, or 2.4%. Across the company, 8% of employees were black. At senior levels, this representation is just as poor in other major technology companies: 4% in Amazon and 2% in Facebook. By comparison, Asians, who account of 5.1% of the US population, have a share in the senior management of 18% in Amazon, 19% in Facebook and 10% in Apple.



The number of beggars in India, according to the Indian government: about 54% male and 46% female. West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh account for over one-third of the beggars in the country. Lakshadweep has the least number of beggars: two. As many as 22 states and union territories have legislations against begging. Although India criminalises begging, the central government recently announced that it would train 3,000 beggars to sing in public places to publicise its initiatives such as Swachh Bharat and ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ (Save girl child, educate girl child). 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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