Pre-trump trouble

5,436

What is it? The drop in approved new petitions of India-based companies for HIB visas in 2016.

Why is it important? The number represents a drop of 37% at 9,356 new petitions for the top seven India-based companies seeking approval in fiscal 2016, says a report by National Foundation for American Policy. It’s an indicator that the opportunities for Indian technology workers in the US started narrowing even before Trump administration took charge. The companies affected in 2016 include TCS, Infosys, Cognizant, Wipro.

Tell me more: Indian companies have been accused of flooding the visa lottery system earlier.

 

Rs 11,000 crore

What is it? The amount State Bank of India (SBI) is looking to raise in a share sale to qualified institutional investors (or a private placement).

Why is it important? The move to raise its capital base could bring in 73% of the equity capital (Rs 15,000 crore) that was approved to be raised in FY18 at SBI’s central board meeting in March. Meeting with Basel III norms and provisioning for bad loans have necessitated raising of fresh capital by Indian banks.

Tell me more: SBI had last sold shares in 2014.

 

Rs 100 crore

What is it? The cost of redeveloping a railway station in Bhopal, Habibganj, by Bansal Group. The work will commence on June 9.

Why is it important? This is the first redevelopment of an Indian Railways (IR) station through a public-private partnership. The project marks a major step to modernise and privatise IR. Not only upgrading passenger facilities at stations, this would boost IR’s non-fare revenues, for example, through land monetisation. The Bansal Group will invest Rs 350 crore for commercial development of land parcels around the station, on a 45-year lease, according to an agreement in 2016.

Tell me more: The Bhopal-based Bansal Group will be operating and maintaining the station for a period of eight years.

 

7

What is it? The number of countries which have cut ties with Qatar, the West Asian country, accusing it of supporting Islamist terrorism. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain were the first to cut diplomatic and transport ties, followed by Yemen, Libya and Maldives.

Why is it important? The geopolitical rift among the Arab neighbours would have ripple effects on the globe, including oil prices, which dropped 1%. While both Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been accused earlier of funding Islamists and terrorists, Qatar has drawn the ire of others due to its supposed support of Iran. The boycott is being seen as a move to target Iran as well.

Tell me more: Qatar will bear the brunt of the ban as transport links with neighbours have been severed and will make food imports (40% of the nation’s supplies) and travel out of the country dearer. The Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has raised his concerns for the650,000-strong Indian population in Qatar, by writing to the Centre.

 

10

What is it? The number of students whose admissions got rescinded at Harvard for posting obscene memes in a private Facebook group chat.

Why is it important? It’s an indicator of the worrying trend of social media being used to spread content which is obscene, hateful, abusive and even illegal; and how organisations are trying to tackle it. Last year, prospective students at Harvard who posted similar messages were let go with a strongly worded, but generic statement..

Tell me more: Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have been making some attempts to clean up such content, but it has proven to be a difficult task. It might also be hurting these firms. Salesforce might have walked away from a Twitter acquisition deal last year because of Twitter’s inability to tackle abusive content.

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Overstaying our welcome

Rs 43,000 crore

What is it? The value of the Sahara Group’s flagship project, Aamby Valley, in Lonavala, Maharashtra, estimated by the official liquidator appointed by the Bombay High Court for an imminent auction.

Why is it important? The updated value, in recent reports, is a little higher than the range of Rs 37,00039,000 crore previously stipulated. However, it is still much less than the value claimed by the group of late: Rs 1 lakh-crore. The market value is expected to be higher than the estimate.

Tell me more: The group has said there would be no auctions, as it had paid the Rs 1,500-crore cheque it scheduled for June. However, its failure to deposit Rs 5,092.64 crore with the market regulator, Sebi, had led the Supreme Court to order its auction in April. The apex court had attached the property in February to recover the dues, whose main claimant Sebi is now joined by the Income Tax department as well.

 

19

What is it? The number of people killed in an explosion in a concert arena, being suspected as a terror attack, in Manchester, UK.

Why is it important? If it is confirmed as an attack by terrorists, this would be the second deadliest in the UK after London’s July-2005train and bus bombings. The 2005 attack had claimed the lives of over 50 people.

Tell me more: The explosion occurred at the end of a concert, as the audience was exiting the building, injuring over 50 people as well.

 

18,000

What is it? Estimated stock of General Motors (GM) vehicles with various dealers in India.

Why is it important? Dealers are unlikely to get any buyers for these vehicles, as the American automaker decided to exit India by December this year. GM’s dealers also warn of 15,000 job losses.

Tell me more: Suzuki Motor Corp, which sells every second car in India, had quit US market in 2012 because of low sales volume.

 

100%

What is it? The percentage of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) that government is planning to allow in multi brand retail in India.

Why is it important? If permitted, this represents a change in the thinking of Bharatiya Janata Party, which has opposed such moves when the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance was in power. Domestic retail market is estimated at $ 630 billion market and employs around 5% of labour force.

Tell me more: At present, 51% FDI is allowed in multi brand retail in cities with population of more than a million, and with approval of state governments. Current proposal bans selling of imported products.

 

30,399

What is it? The number of Indians who have overstayed in US, beyond what was permitted under different visa categories.

Why is it important? Indians account for 4.8% of total number of people who have overstayed, estimated at 628,799 at the end of September 2016. Around 1.4 million Indians holding various visas (business, tourism, student, and others) were expected to leave US by September 2016.

Tell me more: 50.43 million people who entered US were expected to depart in 2016, and out of which, 1.47% overstayed. Overstay rate for Indians is 2.1%.

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