Monsoon cracks on ☔

6%

What is it? The percentage above normal registered by monsoon rainfall till July 2.

Why is it important? The monsoon, which accounts for over 70% of India’s annual rainfall, is the primary source of irrigation for half of the country’s cropland and refills over 80 nationally-monitored water reservoirs (important for drinking purposes, power and irrigation).

Tell me more: The monsoon is expected to cover the country by July 15, on schedule. The onset of the southwest monsoon has led farmers to plant 19% more hectare with rain-dependent kharif crops than last year (22.2 million hectare over 18.7 million hectare).

 

8%

What is it? The hike in Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal’s annual pay in 2016-17.

Why is it important? Mittal’s pay increased despite India’s largest telecom operator  suffering a sharp decline in annual consolidated profit this year due to intense competition. In 2016-17, Bharti Airtel’s consolidated net profit was Rs 3,799 crore, registering a fall of 37.5%. Mittal’s income rose from Rs 27.8 crore to Rs 30.1 crore in the same year.

Tell me more: Bharti Airtel Managing Director and CEO (India and South Asia) Gopal Vittal earned nearly 50% more than last year, as well. It is unlike the trend in another sector: chiefs in the IT industry such as Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka and Wipro Chairman Azim Premji have taken cuts in their pay, in line with performance goals.

 

28%

What is it? The percentage of women students who secured admission to the post graduate programme in management at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) – the premier business school.

Why is it important? This was achieved without giving extra marks or gender-specific quotas. IIMA decided to give lower weightage to the score from the Common Admission Test, an entrance exam for getting admission to business schools, and invite candidates from non-engineering background for the interviews.

Tell me more: Around 85% of students in IIM, Bangalore are from engineering background, and within that 50% are from Indian Institute of Technology and National Institute of Technology.

 

33.6 million

What is it? The number of youth in the 18-19 age group who remain unregistered on the voters’ list.

Why is it important? This number is 60% of eligible voters in the age group of 18-19 years. However, the number of eligible voters not enrolled has come down from 90% six years back. Indian citizens are allowed to vote after reaching 18 years.

Tell me more: The Election Commission of India is running a month-long drive in July to persuade them to register. For the generation hooked on social media, EC has tied up with Facebook to host a special button for registration.

 

Upto Rs 32

What is it? The hike in the cost of an LPG or cooking gas cylinder.

Why is it important? Household LPG cylinders are set to become costlier because under GST it is under the slab of 5% taxation, higher than the VAT levied earlier by some states at 2-4%. Further cuts in subsidy of LPG connections in June will compound the price rise, and go up to Rs 32 extra for each cylinder in some states.

Tell me more: The last subsidy cut was in May of around Rs 2, implementing the government’s target of eliminating it through small increases.

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A truck 🚛 shortage for cars 🚗

7 years

What is it? The number of years for which start-ups will be eligible to receive tax benefits under Startup India Scheme. Start-ups can avail tax exemption for three years within seven years of incorporation.

Why is it important? The move could help bring more start-up under the Startup India Scheme, which has seen limited success so far. Till April 2017, only 10 startup have availed tax benefits under the scheme. Government has removed the requirement to get a certificate from an incubator or industry association to be eligible for tax benefits.

Tell me more: Finance Bill 2017 had proposed the same but said the implementation will be from April next year. Industries Ministry has not spelt out from when the change would be rolled out.

 

248,000

What is it? Net migration number for UK in 2016.

Why is it important? The number, a difference between how many immigrated and emigrated from the island nation, has fallen by 84,000 from 2015. It was mainly driven by 115,000 European Union citizens who emigrated in 2016, as compared to 31,000 in 2015.

Tell me more: In June last year, UK voted to move out of the European Union. The status of EU citizens in UK is still not clear, as UK wants to extract reciprocal rights for its citizens.

 

30%

What is it? The supply gap in new automobiles created by a shortage of car carriers.

Why is it important? The supply crunch, estimated to last for 45-90 days, is a result of car carriers, or the large trucks transporting new cars from factories to warehouses and showrooms, reducing their length to meet new regulation. New Central Motor Vehicles Rules stipulate car carriers to measure no more than 18.7 metre. Around 15,000 such trucks are in line to be modified from their usual size of 22 metre or longer, leading to the shortage.

Tell me more: The smaller carriers would also mean more trips for each as their carrying capacity would be cut by 20%. The rule came into effect from April this year, doing away with illegal sizes of car-transporter trailers.

 

40,000

What is it? The number of ideas generated by the ‘Zero Bench’ at Infosys.

Why is it important? ‘Zero Bench’ a coin termed as part of Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka’s Zero Distance initiative, is geared to keep the software giant’s 8,500-employee-strong bench motivated. Roped in for its innovation and problem-solving drive, the bench, comprising engineers not assigned a project at the time, have implemented 2,000 ideas and generated 9,500 master projects.

Tell me more: The engagement involves over 4% of Infosys total employee strength (200,364 as on March, 2017).

 

50 metre

What is it? A draft coastal regulation zone proposal aims to reduce the no-development zone in rural areas to 50 metre from the high tide line, as compared to 200 metre at present.

Why is it important? This could fuel economic activities alone India’s 7,500 km-long coastline, but environmentalists fear such a move would damage marine environment. The draft permits housing and basic infrastructure for local population after 50 metre from the high tide line, from 100 metre as of now.

Tell me more: Coastal Regulation Zone notification was first issued in 1991 to limit industrial activities. Since then, it has been amended 25 times.

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Mother of all bombs? 💣

7.4%

What is it? The rate at which Infosys revenues grew in the fiscal year 2016-17.  It closed the year with $10.21 billion in revenue.

Why is it important? The growth rate disappointed the market and its stock price fell by over 3% in trading on Thursday. Volume growth for the quarter was 7.7%, down from 15.39% in the same period last year, essentially bringing it closer to the growth rates when Vishal Sikka took over as CEO.

Tell me more: Infosys, which was in the news recently after the company founder NR Narayana Murthy publicly expressed his displeasure over compensation given to top managers, has also appointed Ravi Venkatesan as co-chairman along with R Seshasayee. The company also said it will payout Rs 13,000 crore via share buyback or as dividends.

 

67%

What is it? The increase in the number of corruption complaints against government departments by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC).

Why is it important? The bulk of the complaints, 11,200 out of a total of 49,847, were against the Railways, one of the largest-consumer facing government institutions. Other departments which attracted large number of corruption complaints were mostly consumer-facing such as banking and the IT department, or overseeing highly-regulated sectors such as the Ministry of Petroleum, Telecommunications. But data shows the CVC has been passing on less cases against senior government officials to the CBI or Central Vigilance Officers for investigation, referring only 0.16% in 2014 and 0.001% in 2017 of all such cases, down from 1.88% in 2014.

Tell me more: In the year 2015, complaints had declined by 50% than in 2014, at 29,838. The news about the rise in complaints comes after just a few weeks of the CVC’s portal’s crash when data against corrupt officials were reportedly deleted.

 

9,797 kg

What is it? The weight of the GBU-43 bomb dropped by US on a cave and tunnel complex used by Islamic State  in Afghanistan.

Why is it important? It is one of the largest non-nuclear bombs in the US military arsenal, officially called Massive Ordnance Air Blast, or Moab, and unofficially referred to as “the mother of all bombs”.  US President Donald Trump, who had vowed to wipe out Isis in his election campaign, called it “a very successful mission”. The US didn’t didn’t disclose the number of deaths caused by the bomb – militants or civilian. Some experts have said the bombing was symbolic, rather than tactical, and might not alter the course of the war, now in its 16th year.

Tell me more: Originally developed for the invasion of  Iraq in 2003, Moab is 30-feet long, and was dropped from a cargo plane. This is the first time the bomb was used.

 

$10.4 billion

What is it? The foreign trade deficit of India in March, 2017.

Why is it important? The trade deficit, after decreasing, to less than $10 billion, for two consecutive months in Jan-Feb, on strong exports, sprang back to a wider gap than Oct-Dec, in March. Even though exports continued to strengthen, growing at 27.59% year-on-year, the rise in crude oil (101.43% rise) and gold imports widened the deficit.

Tell me more: The trade deficit for the whole of FY17, however, narrowed by 11% from a year ago, to $105.7 billion.

 

Rs 1,675 crore

What is it? The latest funding raised by Ola, the Indian cab-booking app, from SoftBank, the Japanese telecom and Internet company.

Why is it important? While all eyes are on Softbank’s next move with its other major Indian investment, Snapdeal, its fresh funds worth $250 million for Ola, closed last year, has now been made public. However, Ola, like other Indian unicorns, reportedly raised the money at a valuation lower than the last round of funding, from $4.5 billion to $3 billion.

Tell me more: SoftBank’s subsidiary SIMI Pacific made the investment in Ola’s parent company ANI Technologies, before it had floated its new investment vehicle in India, Vision Fund.

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News in Numbers, Feb 08, 2017: Infosys: a question of governance

$11 million

What is it? Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka’s salary, including variable component.

Why is it important? The founders of Infosys have reportedly raised concerns over the remuneration of the offshoring giant’s first non-promoter CEO, besides the severance packages given to Rajiv Bansal, former CFO, and David Kennedy, former compliance officer and the appointment of Punita Sinha, wife of Union minister Jayant Sinha, as an independent director.

Tell me more: Vishal Sikka’s $11 million package is linked to Infosys achieving $20 billion revenue target. Rajiv Bansal received a severance package of Rs 17.38 crore in 2015, while Kennedy received $868,250 when he quit end of last year.

Rs 16,200 crore

What is it? The detected amount of black money stashed away by Indians in foreign accounts, following revelations by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)

Why is it important? Demonetisation revived questions about efforts to recover illegal funds squirrelled away in accounts abroad. The government shared the total illegal money tracked so far, even though it could not estimate the total quantity.

 

Tell me more: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley mentioned the government could track Rs 8,000 crore worth of credits in offshore accounts by Indians named in the ICIJ report, while in about two years through systematic investigations, it could bring to tax Rs 8,200 crore in black money deposited abroad in secret bank accounts in HSBC.

 

96%

What is it? The record disposal rate of grievances of the Income Tax department.

Why is it important? The IT department proved to be more technologically savvy than many of its peers. It has redressed over 20,000 complaints last year since the launch of its ‘e-nirvan’ service for taxpayer grievances.

Tell me more: The resolved complaints between July and September, 2016 were 9,444 while in October-December, 2016, they were 11,345, making organisation the most efficient on the government’s Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System.

 

101

What is it? The number of foreign satellites Indian Space Research Organisation’s (Isro) will launch next week (February 15), mounted on its trusty PSLV-C37 rocket.

Why is it important? As private players increase their play in space exploration around the globe, costs will play a crucial part as government funding won’t remain the main source. Isro, even though a government agency, has one of the lowest price tags for services that other countries can avail. Elon Musks’ SpaceX’s Falcon-9 satellite launch can cost $60 million, low by global standards, but Isro’s PSLV can be launched at one-third the cost.

 

Tell me more: In addition to three Indian satellites mounted on the rocket, the 101 foreign nano-satellites, taking up 600 kgs on the rocket, will earn the space agency half of the total cost for the launch. Isro has been earning foreign exchange by accommodating other countries and till July, 2015, it had earned Rs 637.35 crore. In June, 2016, it had launched another 17.

 

20

What is it? The number of days of paid leave Facebook workers will get to bereave a family member

Why is it important? This comes at a time when conversations on paid leave in US are mostly around births, and not deaths. Only 60% of private companies in the US give paid leaves for mourning, and only for a few days, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO wrote in the social networking site. Given the influence Facebook has, it could lead to other companies following its footsteps

Tell me more: Facebook employees will have 20 days to mourn the death of an immediate family member, and 10 to mourn the death of an extended family member. They will also have up to  six weeks to take care of a sick relative, (and three days off in case of short term illnesses).

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