A New Unicorn

$210 million

What is it? The amount India’s largest online food ordering startup Swiggy said it has raised from a set of investors, led by Naspers and DST Global.

Why is it important? With this, the total amount raised by the startup is $465.5 million and it has achieved the status of unicorn (privately-held companies valued above $1 billion), only the second one after Zomato in the food technology space. The funds, which would be used to improve its supply chain network and expand into new markets, would help it to better compete with Zomato and new entrants such as UberEats and Ola’s Foodpanda.

Tell me more: The new investors in this deal include DST Global and Coatue Management, who joined existing ones, Naspers and Meituan Dianping.


What is it? The time provided to announce the price band of an initial public offering (IPO), according to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), from the earlier five days’ duration.

Why is it important? The markets regulator announced some measures on Thursday, especially related to IPOs and share buybacks, with the aim of reducing redundancies and simplifying language. The other changes include harmonisation of shareholding limits across market infrastructure institutions, auditor disclosures to be in line with Kotak committee recommendations and mandatory auditor disclosures effective from April.

Tell me more: SEBI said it has begun initiating action against entities and individuals in the case where National Stock Exchange officials had allegedly provided high-frequency traders unfair access to co-location servers at the exchange site.

1 million 

What is it? The amount in barrels per day by which countries belonging to the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and its allies are likely to increase production of crude oil.

Why is it important? The group meets on Friday in Vienna for its biannual meeting, which will decide output policy. The meeting is happening in the backdrop of calls from major consumers like US, China and India to increase production, which would lower prices. Iran, the third-largest producer in Opec and which saw new sanctions from the US in May, is opposed to the deal.

Tell me more: Since last year, OPEC and its allies have cut output by 1.8 million barrels per day. In the past 18 months, crude prices have increased from $42 a barrel to about $70 in the past year.

Rs 75-80 crore

What is it?The amount that the white water rafting industry earns from this activity in Uttarakhand.

Why is it important?On Thursday, this was temporarily in peril after the Uttarakhand High Court released its order in a case banning paragliding, white water rafting and other water sports until the administration put in place a policy to regulate them across the state. It gave the state two weeks to draft a policy.

Tell me more: Besides environmental violations and excesses, the rafting industry in Uttarakhand has also been rocked by deaths in recent years.


What is it? The number of World Cup matches that talismanic Argentinian footballer Lionel Messi has failed to score in now.

Why is it important? On Thursday, Croatia made Argentina pay for defensive lapses, and beat them 3-0 in group match in the 2018 world cup to leave them on the brink of elimination. Argentina now have only 1 point from two matches, and will need a big win in their last match against Nigeria, and some help from other results.

Tell me more: France on Thursday qualified for the round of 16, beating Peru 1-0.

Read More

Videocon in defaulters club

Rs 520 crore

What is it? Amount of loan given to Videocon that Dena Bank has classified as a non-performing asset.

Why is it important? Videocon owes more than Rs 22,000 crore to domestic financial institutions, and an equivalent amount to international banks. The diversified conglomerate has asked Dena bank to extend tenure of the loan. This move by Dena bank has eroded market capitalisation of Videocon by a third in last two days of trading.

Tell me more: Bad debts is Rs7.7 trillion problem for Indian banks, and the last Economic Survey says 57 out of the top 100 stressed debtors would require debt reductions of 75% or more.



What is it? The number of non-performing government officers forced to seek early retirement after a review.

Why is it important? Periodical review of performance and weeding out of non-performers is expected to improve productivity of government officers. This dismissal of Group A and B officers follows January’s compulsory retirement for two IPS officers on the same grounds. But 2017 is not the first year when the government has meted out punishments to bureaucrats for under-performance.

Tell me more: The officers were picked after a review of the records of 24,000 Group A and 42,251 Group B officers. Reviews of 34,451 Group A and over 42,000 Group B officers are imminent.



What is it? The number of members in the National Commission for Minorities (NCM), after the last member retired in March 9 this year.

Why is it important? NCM has served as a forum of appeal for minorities and the delay in appointing the chairperson, vice chairperson and seven members have rendered this statutory body non-functional.

Tell me more: Delhi High Court, on May 20th, has asked the central government to reply why appointments haven’t been made to NCM.



What is it? A proposal under consideration by Law Commission to limit the incarceration of undertrials to one-third of the maximum punishment for offences that attract up to seven years of imprisonment.

Why is it important? If accepted, it will bring relief to undertrials who are unable to execute bail conditions or afford lawyers because of their poor economic conditions. There are 2.82 lakh prisoners who are undertrials. At present, undertrials are eligible to get released only after serving half the term of the maximum punishment.

Tell me more: For offences that attract imprisonment more than seven years, undertrials to be released after serving half the time.



What is it? The number of people killed when their bus, full of pilgrims on the Char Dham route, fell into a gorge in Uttarakhand.

Why is it important? This adds to the death toll of pilgrims in this season of the Char Dham pilgrimage in the Himalayas and foothills, whose routes opened in April. While 13 died of a natural calamity — a massive landslide — last week, many others have died of preventable causes. Since April, 16 have died from cardiac arrest, reportedly due to the lack of medical aid. Yesterday’s accident could have been avoided with adequate road safety measures in a route that turns busy in these months.

Tell me more: Officials have now been asked to identify dangerous areas on the pilgrimage routes to set up speed monitors, warnings and crash barriers.

Read More

Uttarakhand election results: The BJP sweep in maps

In Uttarakhand, the neck-and-neck assembly from 2012 is giving way to a thumping Bharatiya Janata Party majority in 2017. At 1.45 pm, BJP candidates had won or were leading in 56 of the 70 seats. That’s a gain of 25 seats over 2012 for the party. Here are three pockets where the BJP registered some of those sizeable gains.

Hill-region seats

The Congress’s win in 2012 stemmed in large part from a dominant showing in the hilly northern, central and eastern part of the state. The BJP had a presence in the plains from 2012 and, in 2017, it made significant inroads in the upper reaches of the state to dislodge the Congress.





Rural seats (23/32)

There are 32 assembly constituencies in Uttarakhand where the rural population is above 82%. The BJP was leading in 23 of these, against 15 in 2012. The Congress, by comparison, saw its count in these seats reduce from 13 to 5. If the rural population bar was set at 65%, the count for BJP would be 38 out of 51, against 20 seats in 2012.





High female-literacy seats (20/22)

The BJP is near to sweeping seats where female literacy was above 73%. There are 22 such seats, and the BJP was leading in 20 of them—double its count in 2012. The Congress, by comparison, was down from 11 to 2 in such assembly constituencies.





Track the Uttarakhand Election Results 2017 here

Read More

News in Numbers, July 8, 2016: Demand notices to 6 telecom firms, sale of bad loans in 2015-16…

Rs 12,488.93 crore

What is it? The amount in demand notices likely to be issued by the Department of Telecommunications to six telecom operators for having under-reported their adjusted gross revenues of Rs 46,045.75 crore between 2006-07 and 2009-10. This was pointed out by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in March.

Why is it important? The telecom industry is already reeling under debts of Rs 4 lakh crore (as of March 31) and the notices come ahead of the expensive spectrum auction scheduled for mid-July. The demand from DoT is unlikely to be resolved soon. The telecom companies had contested this earlier saying the definition of adjusted gross revenue for calculating license fee is under litigation in various courts, which calls for clearer rules and policies.

Tell me more: The CAG had pointed out various instances of under-reporting of revenue, which the telcos had contested and said those issues have either been settled or stayed by various courts.



What is it? The percentage of Indian banks’ bad loans that were sold to asset reconstruction companies (ARCs) in 2015-16, according to a report. An ARC buys bad loans from banks, explores ways of making the asset attractive and then sells it.

Why is it important? Highlights the need for more tools for bad loans recovery. The percentage of non performing assets (NPAs) sold to ARCs decreased from 5% in 2014-15 to 2% in 2015-16 even as the NPAs pile up. Banks put up bad loans worth Rs 1.3 lakh crore for sale in 2015-16, of which only Rs 20,000 crore got sold.

Tell me more: Gross NPA increased from 4.6% of total advances in 2014-15 to 7.6% in 2015-16 (highest in 12 years) and could rise to 8.5% by March 2017.



What is it? The number of words reportedly copied by the Indian environment ministry from the 3,850-word Supplemental Environmental Projects Policy draft adopted by the US government.

Why is it important? Besides plagiarism, the proposal that those who go ahead with projects without prior clearance under the Environment Impact Assessment Notification must remediate the damage and provide compensation, has raised concerns. At present, starting an environmental project without the government consent is a crime and can lead to imprisonment under Indian laws. Experts say this is a misuse of executive powers to dilute laws made by the legislature.

Tell me more: In the US, environmental violations are civil offences. The joint secretary who issued the draft notification on May 10 (open for comments for two months) has denied copying the content from the US policy and has said that the idea has been borrowed.



What is it? Uttarakhand’s score in the provisional ease of doing business rankings among states. The score and rankings could change based on more data that the states might submit till end of this month.

Why is it important? The state, which was ranked 23 last year, has jumped to the first position as of this morning. Gujarat, which was on top of the rankings last year, has fallen to the 11th position. Shows intense competition among states with some of the most industrialised ones such as Maharashtra and Karnataka dropping out of the top 10. Such competition might help India improve its ranking in the ease of doing business globally, which is at 130, according to the 2016 report.

Tell me more: The final rankings would be released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion in August after verification of the submissions made by the states.



What is it? The number of people who have been shot and killed by the police in the US in 2016 so far, according to data compiled by the Washington Post.

Why is it important? Such police action – directed disproportionately at the blacks –  has come to global attention after two black men were killed by the police in Louisiana and Minnesota on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively. US President Barack Obama called for changes to the criminal justice system and said such incidents reflect racial biases in the criminal justice system and that African-Americans and Latinos are more likely to be questioned by the police than the whites.

Tell me more: The Post has collated the numbers based on news reports, public records, social media and other sources. At this rate, 2016 might equal or surpass the number of people killed by the policemen in 2015- 990.

Read More