News in Numbers, Feb 20, 2017: The cost of a Tirupathi Laddu

Rs 2,500 crore

What is it? The estimated cost of re-verification of existing mobile subscribers through Aadhaar-based electronic know-your-customer process.

Why is it important? The attempt to weed out fake or forged identities used to secure telecom connections, especially wireless ones, will be a costly one. In January, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) proposed the e-KYC for Aadhaar-based ratification of users, and suggested incentives to help it.

Tell me more: In a letter to the Telecom Department, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) estimates that not just the cost, but the process would also require resources to rope in about 1,000 million subscribers.

 

26

What is it? The number of army personnel that died in the first 50 days of 2017.

Why is it important? The unrest in Kashmir from summer last year continues this year, triggering more counter-insurgency measures that claimed six soldiers in 2017. The rest of the security forces were killed in avalanches in the valley, a result of global warming. These deadly 50 days follow a year with the highest death count of 82 among the J&K forces since 2008.

Tell me more: But the counter-insurgency operations led to the death of 22 militants, the highest since 2010.

 

-$1,020 million

What is it? The difference in income of terror group, Islamic State, between 2014 and 2016.

Why is it important? The effects of political moves against ISIS, such as Operation Tidal Wave II, reduction in cross-border smuggling in Turkish and Kurdish-controlled areas in Iraq etc. and military opposition to its expansion are starting to show. Unlike other terror groups, donors play a negligible part in ISIS’ finances. Its territories yield natural resources, and properties, businesses and people to pillage and tax, for its to extract revenue from. But a shrinking territorial grasp has hit its coffers too.

Tell me more: Its biggest source of money — looting, confiscations and fines — have declined from 52% of its income of $970-1,890 million in 2014 to 22% of its  $520-870 million income in 2016, according to a report by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence .

 

Rs 140 crore

What is it? The annual loss to Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam, the trust that manages the famous Tirumala temple in Andhra Pradesh, on account of laddus, an offering made to the deity of the temple, and sold at subsidised rates or given away free to the pilgrims.

Why is it important?  It costs Rs 32.50 to make a laddu and it’s sold for Rs 25 for the pilgrims in general, at Rs 10 for those who opt for free entry into the temple, and for free to those who walk up the hill. About 70 lakh people reach the temple every year by foot. About 4 crore to 5 crore people visit the temple annually.

 

Tell me more: TTD earns over Rs 2000 every year, primarily from hundi collection.

 

~ 50%

What is it? The share of coal in total exports of North Korea to China.

Why is it important? China has banned coal imports from North Korea following the country’s claim that it has successfully tested ballistic missiles recently. China also accounts for over two thirds of North Korea’s exports. The move is expected to cause a shock to the struggling North Korean economy under Kim Jong-un and aimed to increase pressure on the country to stop its nuclear programme.

Tell me more: North Korea tested a medium long range ballistic missile on February 12, which landed in the Sea of Japan. China has been reducing trade with North Korea partly due to local economic compulsions and partly because of international pressure to impose trade sanctions on the country.

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News in Numbers, June 24, 2016: CNG-powered two-wheelers in India, voters say yes to Brexit…

10

What is it? The number of popular iconic places that will be cleaned up/maintained to international standards. It includes Taj Mahal, Jagannath Temple, Tirupati and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.

Why is it important? If successful, it would provide a fillip to tourism, to the Indian government’s Swachh Bharat Mission and could have a trickle-down effect on the other monuments and religious structures. At a two-day workshop next month, experts would be consulted to make site-specific plans, fix international standards and decide on the timeline and financial resources required. The World Bank would provide technical assistance for the same.

Tell me more: Besides these iconic places, the government is working on creating standard operating procedures to improve cleanliness in popular national parks, sanctuaries and tiger reserves including Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary, Gir Wildlife Sanctuary and Flamingo Sanctuary.

 

$1.17 billion

What is it? The amount Tata Sons has been ordered by the London Court of International Arbitration to pay to Japan’s largest mobile-phone carrier NTT Docomo for breach of an agreement over Tata Teleservices.

Why is it important? This is a victory for Docomo, though it’s unclear if Tata Sons would make the payment. In 2014, Docomo had exercised its right to ask Tata Sons to find a buyer for its stake at a fair price of 50% of the acquired cost (whichever was higher). However, Tata failed to find a buyer and India’s central bank did not allow it to buy the stake due to a rule that prevents foreign buyers from selling their stakes in Indian companies at a predetermined price.

Tell me more: Docomo paid $2.6 billion in 2009 and 2011 for a 26.5% stake in Tata Teleservices.

 

50

What is it? The number of Honda Activas that would be retro-fitted with CNG (compressed natural gas) kits as part of the government’s pilot programme.

Why is it important? This is the first time that India will have two-wheelers running on CNG to determine their efficiency and emission rates. Based on its success, this would be available for the public. The CNG-vehicles would have 75% and 20% less hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions (according to the manufacturer of the kits) and the running cost on CNG is estimated to be 40% lower than that of petrol.

Tell me more: The CNG kits are made by the Indian arm of Iranian firm ITUK Manufacturing at its Pune factory and the pilot is being conducted by GAIL (India) and Indraprastha Gas Ltd. The retrofitted two-wheelers would be given to the delivery boys of Domino’s Pizza for free.

 

71

What is it? The number of BSE 100 companies that fully complied with disclosure norms in 2015, according to India Disclosure Index 2016 by FTI Consulting.

Why is it important? This is up from 41% in 2015, suggesting better compliance of reporting and disclosure rules by the top 100 large-size companies on the Bombay Stock Exchange, though still nearly a third are not up to the mark. Just 3% of the top 100 companies had mandatory disclosure scores of less than 2.5 (out of 4) compared to over half of the companies scoring lesser than 2.5 in 2015.

Tell me more: In terms of voluntary disclosure, the average score of the BSE 100 companies marginally improved from 3.5 (out of 6) in 2015 to 3.7. However, over three-fourths of the companies did not provide enough information on risk management metrics while 37% did not provide convenient whistleblowing mechanisms to report fraud or unethical practices in their firms.

 

51.8%

What is it? Percentage of voters who want the United Kingdom to leave the European Union (at around 10 am Indian time).

Why is it important? Though this is not legally binding, the government may not go against the will of the people expressed in the referendum. It is the first time that a full member has voted to leave the 28-nation political and economic union. Those favouring the exit argue that the UK would be free from the EU’s undue bureaucratic, legal and financial control and prevent the free movement of EU nationals into the UK. Those against leaving fear that UK’s economy would be hit, jobs would be lost and the rate of growth would go down to 3-6%.

Tell me more: The Brexit may affect the 800 Indian companies in the UK, which employ over a lakh people. The annual profit of Jaguar Land Rover, owned by the Tata Group, is reportedly estimated to decline by around $1.47 billion in the next 10 years.

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