Banks’ capital crisis

Rs 95,000 crore

What is it? The external equity capital that 11 state-run/public sector unit (PSU) banks would need by March, 2019 to meet Basel III norms, according Moody’s Investor Services.

Why is it important? It is about four times more than the amount India’s government has pledged (Rs 20,000 crore) to support the PSU banks. The rest has to come from the market. However, with high NPAs and low valuations, it might be a stretch for most PSU banks to raise the amount, and they might need further infusion from the government.

Tell me more: The State Bank of India will be trying to raise Rs 15,000 crore equity capital by itself in FY18.

 

Rs 16,580 crore

What is it? The estimated amount of loan the Uttar Pradesh government is considering to take to fund developmental projects.

Why is it important? Saddled with a farm-loan waiver of Rs 36,359 crore, the UP government will need financing for roads such as the Purvanchal Expressway and bridges, and also development schemes including affordable houses.

Tell me more: The news coincides with farmer protests in other states such as Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu for financial aid from governments, primarily in the form of loan waivers. By the time of the 2019 general elections, a Bank of America Merrill Lynch report estimates loan waivers would cost states Rs 2.57 lakh-crore.

 

$2.8 billion

What is it? The increase in net worth of Alibaba Group Holding’s chief, Jack Ma, overnight.

Why is it important? The richest person in Asia, Ma’s wealth stands at $34 billion in real-time. The surge was triggered by better-than-expected forecast of 45-49% revenue growth of the e-commerce company, China’s largest.

Tell me more: But the growth of the group is not just from online shopping, but also cloud  computing and media streaming.

 

37

What is it? The number of underground mines that Coal India reportedly plans to shut by end of this year.

Why is it important? The move is facing resistance from the labour unions, but shutting down the unprofitable mines could help the mining company cut costs. Its profits came down by more than a third to Rs2,716 crore in the quarter ending March 2017.

Tell me more: Coal India is the world’s largest coal miner and operates 413 mines including 207 underground mines. It accounts of 80% of coal produced in India.

 

22 minutes

What is it? The time taken by an AI machine to finish a two hour Chinese university entrance exam.

Why is it important? While the robot, MATHS AI, finished the exam fast, its score was below average. It got 105 marks out of 150, against the average score of 109. About 9.4 million students took the test this year. The robot, which is about the size of a refrigerator, is aiming for a score of 130+ next year.

Tell me more: The machine was developed by Zhunxingyunxue Technology in 2014 in partnership with Tsinghua University.

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The way to a man’s purse

$80 million

What is it? The Series E funding raised by online food delivery startup Swiggy (Bundl Technologies) from Naspers and existing investors such as Accel Partners and SAIF Partners.

Why is it important? The funding will help Swiggy take on its rivals, including the well funded Zomato Media, in the highly competitive hyperlocal food delivery space. This is Swiggy’s largest funding to date accounting for 51% of the amount it has raised so far. The startup will use the money to step up its investments in automation and customer behaviour prediction to improve user experience.

Tell me more: Naspers, South Africa based internet and entertainment group, has been making a series of investments in food delivery startups across the world – including iFood in Brazil, SinDelantal in Mexico and Delivery Hero in Germany.

 

Rs 25,000 crore

What is it? The debt amount Reliance Communications (RCom) has said it would repay by September 30, 2017.

Why is it important? The money, to be recovered from two transactions, is over 50% of its debt (Rs 44,34547,332 crore till March, 2017). The reassurance follows a few days that saw RCom’s stock get pounded, to a record low of Rs 20.5 on Monday, as investors were wary about its debt. Rating agency Moody’s has downgraded the company on the back of its “weak operating performance, high leverage and fragile liquidity position.”

Tell me more: Compounding its problems is the telecom market’s intense price competition with Reliance Industries’ Jio’s entry. The price war led to a Rs 948 crore-loss for RCom in the March quarter.

 

1 billion Euro

What is it? Development assistance Germany has pledged to India during prime minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the country.

Why is it important? PM Modi is on a four-country tour with Germany as the first stop to strengthen trade ties. Germany has alsobeen reported to push for the European Union free trade agreement with India during a meeting between Modi and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Tell me more: The free trade agreement is seen as a counter to the growing protectionism propagated by US President Donald Trump, including his recent rant against German-made cars sold in the US. China’s One Belt One Road policy is also a cause for concern for European trade as it strengthens its hold on Asian trade networks.

 

7%

What is it? Underwriting fees charged by investment banks for initial public offerings in the US.

Why is it important? Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, in a recent report, cited absence of competition as a reason for the high fees. It said it was akin “akin to tacit collusion” and called for review by competition authorities. In Europe, the underwriting fee is about 3%, while in China it has doubled to 8% in the last few years.

Tell me more: The high fees is a strain on businesses that want to raise money from capital markets, and it’s particularly so for smaller businesses which shell out 11% of the amount raised as expenses. In India, IPO related expenses come to about 7% on average and 10% for smaller companies.

 

538

What is it? The number of harassment cases filed by “Anti-Romeo” squads of Uttar Pradesh police.

Why is it important? The drive to check harassment of women in public places is among the most criticised policies launched by Yogi Adityanath government. Rights activists called for disbanding the squads, arguing that it won’t stop harassment, and will increase the risk of infringement on civil liberties.

Tell me more: According to data released by the state, 3.38 lakh people, among the 7.42 lakh who were checked, were warned between March 22 to May 28.  Lucknow zone had the highest number of people who were warned by the squads – 1.14 lakh.

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Buyology

$10 million

What is it? The amount Quikr, the online classifieds company, will pay to acquire Zimmber, a home services startup.

Why is it important? Quikr itself is a startup, competing with international online classified names like Olx, but it has committed to spend Rs 250 crore earlier this year to expand. Zimmber would be its 10th acquisition, with seven made in 2016. Home services will help Quikr to diversify further, adding to its portfolio of online sales of real estate, automobiles etc.

Tell me more: Zimmber, competing with a host of other homegrown services companies, had raised $7.4 million so far. Quikr’s last known valuation was  $979 million, in 2016.

 

25

What is it? The number of IAS officers transferred by the new BJP government in Uttar Pradesh, the third such reshuffle after it came to power.

Why is it important? The transfers follow those of 20 IAS officers the first time, and 84 IAS and 54 IPS officers the second time. The Yogi Adityanath-led government continues the tradition of major reshuffles in bureaucracy seen when a new party takes office, to tailor  the administration according to its liking. It gives rise to the notorious transfer culture of IAS officers, which afflicts well-meaning public servants as well.

Tell me more: The transfers include those of chief development officers in 16 districts.

 

62%

What is it? The proportion of votes French independent centrist, Emmanuel Macron, is polled to win in the second round of the presidential race, on Sunday.

Why is it important? Since the first round in the race, Macron has gained three points over rival and far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen of the National Front. The run for France’s president, featuring none of its major political parties, is being seen as symbol of the fight between radical right activism and a more moderate approach in a key European economy.

Tell me more: Macron benefits in the Elabe poll from public opinion of a win in a televised final debate with Le Pen.

 

> 50

What is it? The number of Saudi and Pakistani channels being broadcast in Kashmir without government clearance.

Why is it important? Many of these channels are said to promote secession and a conservative version of Islam. Indian government has been struggling to get its act right in Kashmir, even as Indian forces face stone pelting on ground, and criticism about some of the extreme measures they have used intending to bring order to the region.

Tell me more: The channels that are being aired include Zakir Naik’s Peace TV, which is banned in the country.

 

217

What is it? The number of votes American Health Care Act got in US House of Representatives.

Why is it important? In effect, the House has annulled Obamacare, the flagship policy of Obama administration, handing a victory to President Donald Trump who had promised he would repeal the act if he were elected. All the democrats in the house, along with 20 republicans, voted against the new act, making it a close shave. It will now go on to the Senate.

Tell me more: The act needed 216 votes to pass in the House, and it got 217.  The repealing of Obamacare is likely to cause millions of Americans lose their health insurance.

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Kashmir: Missing the woods for the trees?

22

What is it? The number of social networking sites and applications banned in Kashmir, for either a month or till further orders.

Why is it important? Such sites are being blamed for fanning trouble by letting protesters circulate messages and videos, instigating mob fury further. However, it is also being criticised as a stop-gap measure. Internet access was already hobbled by an earlier ban on mobile high-speed data, as students took to the streets in droves to voice dissent from the administration and military force.

Tell me more: Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Wechat, QQ, Qzone, Google Plus, Skype, Line, Pinterest, Snapchat, Youtube, Vine and Flickr are some of the apps being banned.

 

84

What is it? The number of Uttar Pradesh IAS officers who have transferred under Yogi Adityanath administration on Wednesday.

Why is it important? It’s the biggest administrative change that UP chief minister has made since he came to power on March 19th. Large scale transfers are often used by the political leadership to assert themselves. Data shows one out 10 of postings in 20 key departments in the state cadres last only 33 to 71 days. One out of five IAS officers spend less than a year in a posting on average.

Tell me more: 54 IPS officers have also been transferred.

 

7.6%

What is it? The estimated average increment for employees of mobile phone operators this year.

Why is it important? Compared to 8.4% last year, the increment is set to decrease as carriers’ profitability is strained in the cutthroat competition. Price wars and imminent consolidation in the industry have dented performances of the leading players.

Tell me more: Aon Hewitt which has published the report expects overall India Inc increments to hover at 9.5%.

 

~$1.1 billion

What is it? The amount of the deal South Korean Kia Motors, a Hyundai subsidiary, is expected to sign on Thursday for its first Indian factory.

Why is it important? While the investment will be a feather in the cap of Andhra Pradesh, India also gains more importance for Hyundai and Kia.  China’s consumers sentiments turn against Korean chaebols as South Korea tests a US-made anti-missile system. India has been the fastest-growing passenger car market, though China is over seven times its size.

Tell me more: The new plant will produce 300,000 a year, and become operational by the second half of 2019.

 

~20 percentage points

What is it? The reduction in corporate tax rate in the United States, per president Donald Trump’s new tax plan.

Why is it important? This is the first big tax reform since 1986, and is aimed at encouraging businesses to invest more, boost the economy and create jobs. However, there are concerns that it might also increase deficit.

Tell me more: Trump has reduced the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15%, and the number of individual income brackets from seven to three.

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