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Rs 15.4 lakh crore that was taken out of circulation when high denomination currency notes (Rs 500 and Rs 1,000) were withdrawn.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.

Read More

Chart of the Day: India’s Shrinking Gold Imports

Gold imports fell in July to $ 1.07 billion, contracting year on year for the sixth month in a row. One of the largest importers of gold in the world, India uses most of it to meet the demand in the jewellery industry. The sustained contraction over the last six months, which began with the strike of jewellery sellers in February, has helped narrow the trade deficit for the country. It is now down to $ 7.76 billion in July this year, compared to $ 13 billion a year ago.

Read More

News in Numbers, August 9, 2016: Impact of diesel ban on Toyota, single-teacher schools…

Rs 1,700 crore

What is it? The total business Toyota Kirloskar Motors claims it has lost due to the ban on diesel vehicles in the Delhi-NCR region since last December.

Why is it important? The company says it has lost business of around 8,500 units of Innova and the Fortuner and that the ban has halted the company’s future investments in the country. The Supreme Court had banned the registration of 2,000 cc and above diesel vehicles in Delhi on December 2016 as a measure to curb the high pollution levels in the city. This comes at a time when the government is aggressively trying to promote its ‘Make in India’ campaign, which is aimed at attracting foreign companies to help convert the country into a global design and manufacturing hub.

Tell me more: Mercedes-Benz, another auto firm hit by this ban, has moved the Supreme Court and has asked for it to be lifted. It has said it is ready to pay 1% environmental cess on the sale of diesel cars.

 

6.5%

What is it? The stake the promoters of Max Financial would get in the merged entity approved by the boards of HDFC Life Insurance Company and Max Life Insurance Company in addition to a Rs 850 crore non-compete fee, subject to approval of public shareholders.

Why is it important? With this deal, the merged entity would have Rs 1.1 lakh crore in assets and overtake ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company and become India’s largest private life insurer and the second biggest life insurer after Life Insurance Corporation of India. After the merger, the entity would have a 10.8% market share. This could also signal the beginning of consolidation in the insurance sector.

Tell me more: The merger involves a three-step process: Max Life would be merged with its parent Max Financial Services, after which the insurance unit would be demerged from this entity to be combined with HDFC Life and the non-insurance businesses of Max Financial would be merged with group company Max India.

 

Rs 5,000 crore

What is it? The additional amount India’s flagship rural employment guarantee scheme would get in 2016-17, taking the total to Rs 43,500 crore.

Why is it important? This is likely to aid many in the rural areas affected by two consecutive years of drought in 2014-15 and 2015-16. Ten states had declared drought last year. However, since the current year is expected to be an above-normal monsoon one, there are concerns about inflationary pressures due to an increase in the budget. The increased budget overlay reportedly lays to rest doubts about whether the scheme would be continued or not.

Tell me more: Under the scheme, jobs to 48.2 million families were provided in 2015-16.

 

105,630

What is it? The number of government elementary and secondary schools in India which are run by a single teacher, according to a report tabled in the Parliament on Monday.

Why is it important? Indicates the extent of paucity of teachers in the country, especially in state-run schools and partially explains the clamour for private ones, despite the huge difference in fees. According to the Right to Education rules, the recommended student-teacher ratio is 30:1 for primary classes and 35:1 for upper primary classes.

Tell me more: Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of single-teacher schools followed by Uttar Pradesh and together, these two states account for a third of such schools. The next three worst states in this regard – Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand – account for nearly 29% of single-teacher schools.

 

$52.7 billion

What is it? India’s trade deficit with China in 2015-16.

Why is it important? The deficit might widen further if India cuts its tariff on Chinese imports in line with tariff reductions for other members in Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). So far, India has been favouring a three-tier system for tariff reductions – offering more cuts to some countries, and less to others including China. Now, it has changed its approach. This is likely to benefit China more with whom India does not have a free trade agreement (FTA). It remains to be seen what India is offered in return for agreeing to such a deal.

Tell me more: The RCEP is a proposed FTA between the 10 members of the Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN and the six countries with which the ASEAN has existing FTAs.

Read More