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Food And Fuel Are Getting Pricier

 

Last month, retail inflation meaning cereal, eggs, vegetable and fruits, clothes, and, fuel, and basically everything that we mostly care about, weighed heavily on our pockets. It surpassed RBI’s expectations and according to RBI’s projection, inflation is likely to stay high for next six months as well. But, did we hear anything about rise in personal incomes, yet?

Well, there’s plenty more in news in numbers, today. Read on.

 

1-2 years

What is it? The number of years in which Reliance Jio may go for an IPO (initial public offering).

Why is it important? It is another marker of the importance that India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani has placed for his telecom venture, which continues to indulge in tariff wars initiated by it over a year ago when it was launched. This comes at a time when incumbents are trying to battle against the newest entrant’s competitive tariffs and their high debt levels even as they continue to witness plunging profits or losses. Jio is likely to improve its financial performance before it goes for the stake sale.

Tell me more: At the end of October, Reliance Jio had 145 million subscribers to be the fourth-largest telecom operator in the country.

 

4.88%

What is it? The rate at which India’s annual retail inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, increased in November from a year ago.

Why is important? This is the fastest pace in 15 months, driven by an increase in fuel and food prices. This has exceeded the Reserve Bank of India’s medium-term target of 4%. Last week, the central bank had kept key interest rates unchanged due to inflationary concerns and also raised its inflation projection to 4.3-4.7% for the six months ending March 2018.

Tell me more: The government released a separate set of data on Tuesday, which showed that growth in industrial output slowed to 2.2% in October from an upwardly revised 4.14% in September.

 

37.7 million bales

What is it? India’s estimated cotton production in 2017-18, according to the Cotton Advisory Board. One bale is equivalent to about 170 kg.

Why is it important? Although this would be an increase of about 9% over last year’s 34.5 million bales, it would fall short of the record 40 million bales that industry analysts were expecting. This is due to pink bollworm infestation in India’s key cotton-growing regions of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka, and is likely to boost exports of other major cotton exporters such as the US, Brazil and Australia.

Tell me more: In recent years, Indian farmers have switched to Monsanto’s Bt cotton, which increased yields and helped India become the world’s second-largest cotton exporter. However, according to scientists, pink bollworms are developing resistance to the genetically modified seeds.

 

1969

What is it? The number of trips that a customer of cab-hailing app Uber in the National Capital Region has taken in 2017 so far, or an average of about six trips a day. That’s the maximum number of trips recorded by a customer of Uber India.

Why is it important? It underscores the importance of the Delhi NCR market, which has emerged as the biggest market in India for the cab-hailing app and is one of the sites for the bruising fight between Uber and Ola. Such data-based facts and trivia were released by Uber India, as part of documenting a year gone by. It said that 6 Pm was the busiest hour for its drivers, Friday the most hectic day and August 11 (pre-independence day Friday) the day it recorded the most rides.

Tell me more: Indian customers hailed a Uber cab in 566 cities across 80 nations. Uber also launched a feature that lets customers review their 2017 set to a music video.

 

20

What is it? The number of centuries that Chris Gayle has scored in the T20 format, his latest effort helping the Rangpur Riders win the Bangladesh Premier League on Tuesday.

Why is it important? Gayle is the first batsman to reach 20 centuries in the T20 format. He is also leaps ahead of other batsmen in the centurion list. The next best is 7 centuries (Michael Klinger, Luke Wright and Brendon McCullum). The best Indian in the list is Virat Kohli, with 4 centuries.

Tell me more: Chris Gayle, the modern-day archetype of a free-agent cricketer, has played 320 T20 matches, across 22 teams. He called Tuesday’s knock—in which he racked up 146 not out in 69 balls, including 18 sixes—as one of his top five knocks.

 

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Two States Ban ‘Padmavati’

 

‘Padmavati’ is in dire straits. In the tech world, Uber hid a massive data breach for a year. Indian Air Force has bolstered its capabilities. Now it can strike enemy warships 1,500 kilometers off the coast within a few minutes. While, India is planning to become a huge market for electric vehicle batteries by 2030. 

 

57 million

What is it? The number of customers and drivers whose personal data was stolen by hackers from Uber Technologies about a year ago.

Why is it important? The ride-hailing app concealed the massive data breach for a year. It fired its chief security officer and one of his deputies for their involvement in keeping this a secret, which includes a $100,000 payment to the hackers. Regulators in some countries have said they would investigate the matter further that makes the ride rougher for Uber, which has been battling top-level executive exits over issues such as sexual harassment, data privacy concerns and working conditions of drivers.

Tell me more: Compromised data from the October 2016 breach included names, email addresses and phone numbers of 50 million Uber customers, in addition to personal information of 7 million drivers.

 

290 km

What is it? The strike range of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile.

Why is it important? The missile was successfully tested for the first time from a Sukhoi-30MKI fighter against a sea-based target on Wednesday. This means the Indian Air Force now has the capability to strike enemy warships 1,500 kilometers off the coast within a few minutes. The world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile is now capable of being launched from air, sea and land.

Tell me more: The BrahMos missile, developed in a joint venture between India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation and NPOM of Russia, is the heaviest weapon to be deployed on Sukhoi-30MKI aircraft.

 

$300 billion

What is it? The projected size of the market for electric vehicle (EV) batteries in India by 2030, according to a report by Niti Aayog and Rocky Mountain Institute.

Why is it important? A stated aspiration of the Indian government is to have only electric vehicles entering the market from 2030. If it presses on these and if the report projections are met, India would account for 40% of global EV battery demand in the next 13 years. However, it remains to be seen how feasible the electric dream of various countries (including India) is, given that EV batteries use nickel, cobalt, aluminium, graphite and lithium. These are rare earths, and their availability is much lesser than that of coal and oil.

Tell me more: The report says India’s demand for EV batteries could bring down global battery prices by 16% to $60 per KWh by 2030.

 

1

What is it? The number of test series in Australia that England have won in their last five tries, dating back to 1998-99.

Why is it important? The two oldest cricketing nations renew their cricketing rivalry today. The first test of the five-match test series, better known as the Ashes, is underway at Brisbane, Australia. England, smarting from the loss of talismanic all-rounder Ben Stokes, are not tipped to change that dismal record in this trip.

Tell me more: The last time that England won in Australia was in 2010-11, when they won 3-1, with all three wins being by an innings margin.

 

2

What is it? Number of states to have banned the yet-to-be-released Hindi period film Padmavati. On Wednesday, Gujarat became the second state, after Madhya Pradesh, to do so by issuing a notification.

Why is it important? This further jeopardizes the film’s prospects from having a timely and disruption-free release, which could trigger commercial losses across the board. So far, chief ministers of at least five states—four of them ruled by the BJP (Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan) and one ruled by the Congress (Punjab)—have spoken publicly against the film.

Tell me more: A sixth chief minister, Manohar Lal Khattar in BJP-ruled Haryana, said the state would wait for the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC)’s notification on the film.

 

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Virat’s Road To Fifty 100s

 

Government is striving to meet its disinvestment target. In the cricketing world, Virat Kohli has shown his best game and has been consistent in doing so. India’s coal imports have risen as states become environment-conscious. Sanjay leela Bhansali’s film Padmavati’s destiny hangs in balance as certification board takes it own sweet time.  And, Uber is planning to build its own fleet of cars. Self Driving Cars. 

 

Rs 14,500 crore

What is it? The amount the Indian government has raised through the Bharat 22 exchange traded fund (ETF), which attracted bids worth Rs 32,000 crore.

Why is it important? With this, the government has raised Rs 52,500 crore through disinvestment in 2017-18, which is 72% of its disinvestment target for the current fiscal. Since the time the idea of disinvestment came into being in 1992-93, respective governments have met their stated disinvestment targets just thrice in 16 years.

Tell me more: The Bharat 22 ETF, which tracks the S&P BSE Bharat 22 Index, comprising of 22 stocks is an alternative mechanism to divest its stake in central public sector enterprises. This is the second such ETF, with the first one being launched in March 2014.

 

50

What is it? The number of international centuries that Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli has scored in all three formats of the game.

Why is it important? Kohli notched up his 18th test century against Sri Lanka yesterday. In the list of top 10 batsmen with the most international hundreds, which is led by Sachin Tendulkar (100 centuries) and contains three Indians, Kohli is ranked eighth. He also equalled South Africa’s Hashim Amla’s record of fewest innings to 50 international hundreds.

Tell me more: Despite being affected by rain, the first test match ended in a thrilling stalemate as India fought back with both bat and ball.

 

2.1 million tonnes

What is it? The volume of India’s coal imports from the US in October.

Why is it important? This is the highest since at least January 2015. Some Indian states have banned the use of petroleum coke, which is better-burning but also more polluting than coal. This could partly be the reason for the increase in India’s coal imports from the US. With environmentalists urging other states to ban petroleum coke, this trend might continue. The increase in imports also indicates there might be a shortage in domestic coal supply, forcing the industry to step up imports.

Tell me more: India has imported 1.5 million tonnes of North American coal in November so far, which is 71% of the previous month’s purchase.

 

24,000

What is it? The number of self-driving cars that Uber plans to buy from Volvo over three years, starting 2019.

Why is it important? If the sale goes through, it would be Volvo’s largest order and the biggest sale in the autonomous vehicle industry. For Uber, this would mark a major transition in the company’s profile: from being an app used to hail a cab to becoming the owner and operator of a fleet of cars. Although this is likely to give a boost to Uber’s ambitions of perfecting its self-driving systems, there are doubts about how it would pan out as no country has any framework or laws to allow this currently.

Tell me more: The firm is locked in a legal dispute with Waymo, a self-drive business owned by Alphabet, which is seeking $1.9 billion in damages for alleged theft of some of its trade secrets by Uber.

 

68 days

What is it? The maximum duration set by India’s Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to certify a film, in a seven-part process.

Why is it important? On Monday, CBFC chief Prasoon Joshi cited this window to take its time to arrive at a decision on certifying the Sanjay Leela Bhansali film Padmavati, which is mired in a controversy with religious and political overtones. Last week, the CBFC returned the film’s application citing “technical issues” and the film’s producers deferred its released date. Also, yesterday, the Supreme Court refused to wade into the issue, saying it would wait for CBFC’s certification.

Tell me more: The CBFC’s latest annual report shows it ‘initially refused’ 79 feature films in 2014-15 and 94 in 2015-16.

 

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Alibaba’s Singles’ Day Brings In Moolah

 

Alibaba raked in billions with its Singles’ day shopping festival, outdoing Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. SoftBank is padding Uber with more money. Air India is borrowing yet again while it sits on a mountain of debt. Industrial output bounced a little but is still lower than August’s. 

 

$10 billion

What is it? The amount that SoftBank Group could end up committing to ride-hailing service Uber, both in fresh funding and in buying out existing investors.

Why is it important? Uber yesterday announced it had entered into an agreement with a consortium led by SoftBank and Dragoneer on a potential investment. For Uber, which is in a state of flux on several fronts, it marks its association with the weightiest investor in the Internet economy. For SoftBank, it gives it a piece of the leader of the unicorn club and a pivotal seat in the ride-hailing sector.

Tell me more: SoftBank is also an investor in other ride-hailing companies, notably Didi in China, GrabTaxi in Singapore and Ola in India.

 

$25.3 billion

What is it? The sales generated by Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce firm, from its 11.11 Global Shopping Festival in 24 hours, which celebrates single people.

Why is it important? The ninth edition of the annual sale is its highest ever, up 42% from 2016, cementing its position as the world’s largest shopping event. It is almost twice the combined sales from Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the US in 2016. Seen another way, it is higher than the GDP of Cameroon. Some experts say the massive growth is due to retailers competing with each other to grab a pie of consumer spending in the growing Chinese economy.

Tell me more: The online extravaganza broke other records too. Alibaba surpassed last year’s sales figure in 13 hours. Chinese postal and courier companies handled at least 331 million packages, over 30% higher than those in the same day a year ago.

 

Rs 1,500 crore

What is it? The value of loan reportedly received by Air India from Bank of India to meet its working capital needs.

Why is it important? It highlights the financial situation of Air India, which has a total debt of Rs 52,000 crore and recently received an in-principle nod for disinvestment. However, according to a report, the new owners are likely to take over only the aircraft debt and not working capital loans, which would be transferred to a special purpose vehicle (to be managed by it) before the sale. Of the total debt, Rs 33,000 crore is on account of working capital loans.

Tell me more: The recent working capital loan comes nearly a month after the national carrier floated a tender seeking government-backed short-term loans for the mentioned amount.

 

3.8%

What is it? The rate at which India’s industrial output grew in September on a year-on-year basis.

Why is it important? While this was lower than the 4.3% recorded in August, it was significantly higher than the depths of June and July, two months that also contained the overhang of the transition to a new goods and services tax (GST).

Tell me more: Of the 23 industries, 11 registered growth, indicating that stability was gradually returning to the industrial sector after the disruptions caused by demonetization and GST.

 

Rs 25,000-30,000

What is it? The amount Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) reportedly spends on a cricketer for DNA testing.

Why is it important? This is to understand each player’s body needs to maintain a particular fat percentage, whose limit for a senior Indian player is 23%. This test is believed to help cricketers improve their speed in fat burning, endurance, recovery and muscle building by developing a customised and comprehensive fitness programme. However, researchers are divided on the usefulness of such tests to improve athletes’ performance: one study claims these are ‘virtually meaningless‘, while another says DNA-matched training programmes improve their performance by three times than the mismatched ones.

Tell me more: Earlier, Indian cricketers took Skinfold tests and DEXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) scans to measure body fat percentage.

 

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