What is it? The share of Indian family businesses with a succession plan that is robust, documented and has been communicated, according to a PwC survey.
Why is it important? The low figure highlights the challenges in striking a judicious balance between maintaining a family business and bringing in professionals, with the most recent one being the ongoing spat between the Tata Group and its sacked chairman, Cyrus Mistry. However, 85% of Indian family businesses surveyed said they had a mechanism to deal with family conflict via shareholder agreements, family councils and performance appraisal. In terms of family dynamics, 76% of respondents said the family and business strategy are completely aligned.
Tell me more: Of the 102 family business leaders surveyed, 35% plan to pass on their business to the next generation (down from 40% in 2014), while close to half (up from 40% in 2014) plan to pass on ownership but also bring in professional expertise.
What is it? The number of additional days the Reserve Bank of India has given small borrowers to repay their loans.
Why is it important? The notification is in response to the cash crunch following the government’s recent demonetisation move, which saw currency notes in Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations ceasing to be legal tender. This relaxation applies to housing, car, farm and other loans of up to Rs 1 crore to be repaid between November 1 and December 31. The deferment will not result in these loans being classified as sub-standard, requiring restructuring (generally, loans unpaid for 90 days are treated as bad loans, the first category of which is termed as sub-standard asset).
Tell me more: These rules are applicable for loans availed from banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), including NBFC-MFIs (microfinance institutions); loans sanctioned by banks to NBFC-MFIs, NBFCs, housing finance companies and Primary Agricultural Credit Societies; and loans by state cooperative banks to district central cooperative banks.
Why is it important? India’s ‘observer’ status (until this September) has been upgraded at the world’s largest nuclear and particle physics laboratory. This will enable India to increase the participation of scientists and engineers in CERN projects, and apply the knowledge gained to domestic initiatives. Indian organisations will also be eligible to bid for CERN contracts.
Tell me more: The organization uses accelerators and detectors to study fundamental particles that are made to collide at nearly the speed of light, which offers them insights into how the particles interact, throwing light on the fundamental structure of the universe. CERN has 22 member states, while four states and three organizations enjoy observer status.
What is it? The shortage in the number of frontline employees working in the “safety category” of the Indian Railways. These include patrolmen, trackmen, technicians, pointmen and station masters.
Why is it important? This personnel shortage could be a factor for rail accidents, with the most recent being the derailment of a train in Uttar Pradesh that left 146 dead and 200 injured. Between 2009-10 and 2013-14, 803 rail accidents (nearly half of them due to derailments) killed 620 people and injured 1,855. Such vacancies are likely to put pressure on existing employees, leading to them overworking and increasing their chances of making mistakes.
Tell me more: The Indian Railways has a shortage of 2.17 lakh employees overall, of which 56% work in the safety category.
What is it? The rate of growth of urban population in India in 2011, down from 38.1% in 2001.
Why is it important? This indicates that India’s urbanisation story may not be as attractive as believed to be, especially given the government’s focus on its ambitious Smart Cities Mission. The growth in share of urban population has also declined to 10.2% in 2011 from 11.9% in 2001. One of the possible explanations for this, as explained by Chinmay Tumbe (assistant professor of economics at IIM-Ahmedabad), is ‘circular migration’: seasonal employment opportunities in urban areas attract mainly men from villages, who work for a while and return to their villages, and send their younger family members to cities.
Tell me more: Another study puts agriculture’s contribution to poverty reduction to be nearly five times that of metropolitan cities, and makes a strong case for rural transformation by increasing villages’ access to new markets, credit and technology.