Split Verdict Helps AIADMK Government survive


What is it? The number of estimated civilians killed by Indian security forces between mid-July 2016 and end of March 2018, according to the United Nations (UN). Its report says an additional 16-20 civilians were killed by the armed groups in the same period.

Why is it important? The report focuses on human rights in Jammu & Kashmir and has accused India of using excessive force to kill and wound civilians. However, India has rejected the report that has also asked it to conduct an international inquiry into the allegations of widespread and serious human rights. India says the report is a “selective compilation of largely unverified information” and that it sought to build a false narrative, violating the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Tell me more:  Shujaat Bukhari, editor of ‘Rising Kashmir’ newspaper was shot dead at close range in Srinagar on Thursday.


What is it? The number of AIADMK MLAs that were disqualified by the Tamil Nadu State Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal on September 18, 2017.

Why is it important? On Thursday, the Madras High Court gave a split verdict on petitions that challenged the disqualification of these legislators, who have owed allegiance to sidelined party leader TTV Dhinakaran. Though this gives a breather to the ruling faction of AIADMK, a third judge would pronounce his verdict and the majority view would be taken as judgment. This extends the political uncertainty in the state that has seen upheaval since the death of former CM J Jayalalithaa.

Tell me more: DMK, which has 98 MLAs along with its allies has claimed that the ruling government has been reduced to a minority after the disqualification of the 18 MLAs in the 234-member strong house.


What is it? India’s annual wholesale price inflation in May, compared with 3.18% in April.

Why is it important? This is the highest in 14 months; in March 2017, it had touched 5.11%. The higher inflation rate, which beat street estimates, was due to higher fuel and vegetable prices. Inflation of food articles was at 1.6% last month while that in vegetables rose 2.51% on an annual basis. The category of fuel and power rose recorded a rate of 11.22% while its build-up from March until May has been 3.16% compared to -2.88% in the same period a year ago.

Tell me more: In May, the retail inflation hit a four-month high of 4.87% on the back of higher fuel prices and a weaker rupee. The central bank recently raised the repo rate by 25 basis points to 6.25%, the first hike since January 2014.

Rs2,100 crore

What is it? The bank guarantee that Department of Telecommunications (DoT) may insist from Idea Cellular Ltd. before its merger with Vodafone India

Why is it important? The bank guarantee is towards one-time spectrum charges as a precondition to approve the merger. The merger will create the world’s second-largest and India’s largest telecom firm, aimed at countering the challenge that Reliance Jio has posed in recent times. In a previous case of acquisition of Telenor India by Bharti Airtel, the Supreme Court dismissed DoT’s claim for a bank guarantee of Rs1,499 crore against the acquisition.

Tell me more: While the two companies expect the merger to be completed by June-end, both companies have outlined the key leadership team which will lead the merged entity in March. Vodafone will own 45.1% in the combined entity, while the Aditya Birla Group will have 26% and the Idea shareholders 28.9%.


What is it? Number of states who have signed a MoU with Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for to launch the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS)

Why is it important? The NHPM, dubbed as “Modicare” will be the world’s largest health insurance scheme providing health insurance up to Rs5 lakh per year to 100 million cpoor households. The CEO of NHPS said that the number may increase up to 25 states by the end of the month.

Tell me more: As healthcare falls into the concurrent list, the states will own the scheme while the Centre will design the policy framework and pledge flexibility and support. The NHPS scheme will cover approximately 40% of the Indian population. Model tender documents and final operations guidelines have also been released at the conclave where the MoU was signed.

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News in Numbers, Nov 16, 2016: Productivity to be hit?

Even as the government announced a few measures to deal with the aftermath of the announcement of the withdrawal of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, the opposition parties have upped their decibel levels against this move. And, the Winter Session of the Parliament commences today. After a highly productive Monsoon Session, which also saw the passing of the GST Bill, it remains to be seen how the current session is going to pan out. Let’s hope some sense prevails amidst all the noise.


What is it? The number of new bills that are in line to be listed, considered and passed during the Winter Session of the Parliament, which begins today.

Why is it important? With opposition parties uniting against the government on its recent demonetisation move, this session could be a disruptive one, impeding productivity. The opposition is likely to demand a discussion on the decision to scrap old currency notes in Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations and seek a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the allegation that some, notably officials of the ruling BJP, knew about the move beforehand.

Tell me more: The nine new bills include three related to the Goods and Services Tax, one that declares the Indian Institutes of Management to be institutions of national importance and another for surrogacy regulation. This session’s agenda also lists 10 bills that have already been introduced, but are yet to be considered and passed.



What is it? Retail inflation rate in October, down from 4.39% in September.

Why is it important? The rate has eased for the third straight month, to a 14-month low in October, mainly due to smaller increases in food prices. Wholesale price inflation too eased to a four-month low of 3.39% in October, compared to 3.57% in September. This easing increases the chances of the central bank’s monetary policy committee cutting interest rates again next month. The government’s recent demonetisation move is likely to reduce cash transactions, easing inflation further.

Tell me more: Last month, the monetary policy committee cut the repo rate (the rate at which the central bank lends to banks) by 25 basis points to 6.25%, which was near a six-year low.



What is it? The debt-equity ratio of the smallest firms (by market capitalisation) among 305 non-financial BSE-500 companies in 2015-16.

Why is it important? The debt-equity ratio is a measure of a company’s financial leverage. This study, which divided the 305 companies into four quartiles, showed this ratio was the highest (2.41) for the bottom quartile (77 firms with the smallest market cap) and lowest (0.83) for the top quartile (76 firms with the highest market cap). This goes against the popular perception that debt problems plague larger firms only. In another indicator that points to this, the average debt of the least-valuable firms is 2.3 times their market cap, against 0.32 for the most-valuable ones.

Tell me more: For both sets, their ability to meet interest expenses hit a 10-year low in 2015-16. For the least-valuable firms, the interest coverage ratio fell below 1, indicating their operating income was insufficient to meet interest costs.



What is it? The projected salary hike to be offered by Indian companies to employees in 2017, according to Willis Towers Watson, an advisory, broking and business solutions company.

Why is it important? This is the highest among key emerging and developed markets in Asia. However, the expected rise in 2017 is marginally lower than the projected salary growth of 10.8% each in 2015 and 2016. Also, in the last two years, the actual salary growth has been below the projected figures: 10.45% in 2015 and 10% in 2016.

Tell me more: The Willis Towers Watson report says about 38% of the budget earmarked for salary increases is for top performers, against 34% for above-average and 28% for average performers.



What is it? The number of countries that have signed a framework agreement on the International Solar Alliance (ISA), a coalition-in-making of solar-resource rich countries.

Why is it important? The initiative, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at COP21, Paris Climate Summit last year, has taken its first major step forward. More countries are expected to join the ISA in the coming weeks and the agreement will come into force when at least 15 nations ratify it. The ISA seeks to boost global demand for solar energy to reduce solar energy deployment prices, standardise processes and equipment for solar generation to lower hardware costs, and promote research and development.

Tell me more: The ISA would be headquartered in India, which has promised to contribute $27 million towards creating infrastructure and recurring expenditure over five years.

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News in Numbers, Aug 17, 2016: Hike becomes a unicorn, dengue cases on the rise in Delhi…

$175 million

What is it? The amount Indian messaging startup Hike Messenger has raised from a group of investors led by Chinese Internet firm Tencent Holdings and Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Groupat a valuation of $1.4 billion.

Why is it important? This is Hike Messenger’s fourth and its biggest round of funding and with this, the startup has now entered the unicorn club. This would help the startup invest in services and make the product better even as it tries to catch up with the most popular or dominant messaging platform Whatsapp in India. Hike has over 100 million users, of which 95% are Indians while Whatsapp hit the 1 billion-mark globally in Feb this year.

Tell me more: Hike was launched by Kavin Bharti Mittal, son of Sunil Mittal who is the chairman of Bharti Enterprises, in December 2012. It has raised over $250 million so far.



What is it? The increase in India’s wholesale price inflation in July, up from 1.62% in June.

Why is it important? This was the fastest in nearly two years (23 months) and was due to increase in inflation of both food and non-food articles. While the former increased by 9.38% last month (compared to 8.18% in June) the latter quickened to 9.49% in July (from 5.72% in June). Cereals, pulses, vegetables and fruits were the main reasons for the increase in food inflation while fibers and oil seeds pushed up non-food inflation.

Tell me more: In the last one year or so, the gap between wholesale price index-based inflation (WPI-based) and consumer price index-based inflation (CPI-based) has narrowed: last month, CPI-based inflation accelerated to 6.07%, again the highest in 23 months.



What is it? The number of companies that have been asked by Bombay Stock Exchange to delist. They have been suspended from trading for the last 13 years.  

Why is it important? This will help public shareholders. The promoters of the delisted firms have to purchase shares from the public shareholders at a fair price arrived at by an independent valuer (who is appointed by the exchange). The markets regulator is taking steps to bring down the number of listed companies to reduce the risk of price manipulation through such firms and improve the governance of public markets.

Tell me more: The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) would reportedly attach the assets and properties of companies that fail to comply with the delisting notices. In June, it was reported that the BSE was finding it difficult to follow SEBI’s order of delisting firms that have been suspended from trading for more than seven years as half of the 509 letters sent by the exchange bounced back, indicating that the promoters are not traceable.



What is it? The number of dengue cases reported between June and August in Delhi.

Why is it important? With nearly 40% of the cases having been reported in the first two weeks of this month, the numbers suggest that the number of cases are displaying an increasing trend. A total of six cases were reported in May, 15 in June and 91 in July. Delhi reported 15,867 cases last year, the worst in 20 years and 60 lives were lost to the vector-borne disease.

Tell me more: As of June 28, India recorded 8,307 cases and at least 10 deaths from/due to dengue. According to one estimate, dengue costs India over $1.1 billion per year.



What is it? The number of airports in India that are not under the cover of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).

Why is it important? Soon, all 98 functional civil airports in the country would be brought under the security cover of the CISF, according to a decision taken at a meeting attended by ministers and officials of the Home and Civil Aviation Ministries. The Intelligence Bureau warned on Tuesday that none of the Indian airports are safe and do not have the capabilities to withstand an attack similar to that in Brussels that took place in March killing 32 people and injuring over 300.

Tell me more: The Home Ministry has ordered a security audit of all the airports and the probe committee is expected to submit its report in 20 days. The central government would then work with state governments to plug the loopholes at all airports.

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News in Numbers, July 15, 2016: Bastille Day attack in France, ban on cash transactions…

When a tragedy strikes, everyone gets confused. As consumers of news, it becomes all the more important to use our own filters to separate signal from noise. Here’s an interesting poster, “Breaking News Consumer’s Handbook” that might help.


Let us know what you think about News in Numbers, and please do share it with your friends http://howindialives.com/news/newsletter/ 



What is it? The number of people killed in Nice, France during Bastille Day (or French National Day) after a truck drove into a crowd on Thursday.

Why is it important? This attack, which seems to be the work of a lone assailant, comes after eight months when Islamic State terrorists killed 130 people in Paris. Since the Paris attacks, all major public events in France are guarded by armed police and troops; however, it took a few minutes for the forces to kill the truck driver.

Tell me more: The driver drove onto pavements and a pedestrian zone, mowing down people who had gathered to watch Bastille Day fireworks. There have been no reports of any Indians having been affected in the attack, as per the Ministry of External Affairs at around 7.16 am.



What is it? The number of cars Honda Motor Co’s India unit will recall to replace passenger front airbag inflators manufactured by Takata Corp.

Why is it important? The firm’s seventh recall in India in the last two years, this is part of its global recall of Takata airbags with inflators that have the potential to explode due to excessive force in hot and humid conditions. This has been linked to 13 deaths and over 100 injuries across the world. Carmakers in India have recalled 2.24 million vehicles between July 2012 and May 2016, according to an analysis.

Tell me more: The models to be recalled include City, Accord, Jazz, Civic and CR-V – manufactured between 2003 and 2011 – of which, over 70% are ‘City’ units.


Rs 3 lakh

What is it? The recommended upper limit on cash transactions by a special investigation team (SIT) constituted by the Supreme Court. Another suggestion is to allow a maximum of Rs 15 lakh cash holding by an individual and industry.

Why is it important? If these recommendations are accepted by the government, it would help establish a digital trail for major transactions and curb tax evasion. India’s black money is estimated to be over Rs 30 lakh crore or 20% of the country’s GDP – larger than the sizes of the economies of countries such as Thailand and Argentina – according to a study by Ambit Capital Research.

Tell me more: The SIT has suggested that if an individual or an industry wants to hold over Rs 15 lakh in cash, they ought to seek permission from the income tax department to do so.



What is it? The increase in wholesale price inflation in June.

Why is it important? The rate is the fastest in 20 months. The inflation rate more than doubled last month compared to the rate in the month of May, mainly due to an increase in the prices of vegetables and fruits for the fourth consecutive month. The above-normal monsoon is likely to result in subdued food prices, though interest rate cuts are unlikely in the next monetary policy on August 5.

Tell me more: Wholesale food inflation at 8.18% was high mainly due to increasing prices of potato (64.48%), pulses (26.61%), sugar (26.09%), vegetables (16.91%) and fruits (5.97%).


Rs 1,000 crore

What is it? The size of the deal that Salman Khan has reportedly signed with a top television network for the satellite rights of his next 10 films and for making appearances on the channel in the future.

Why is it important? With this, Khan has beaten Hrithik Roshan’s record of selling the satellite rights of six of his films for Rs 550 crore. All his recent movies such as ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’ and ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ have been major blockbusters and crossed the Rs 200-crore mark and it seems television channels are willing to bank on his future projects too. This, even as he has been battling two high-profile cases: the 2002 hit-and-run case and the black buck poaching case.

Tell me more: Other Hindi movie stars have signed similar deals: Ajay Devgn had signed a deal worth Rs 400 crore with a television network for 10 films while Varun Dhawan signed one for Rs 300 crore for the same number of films.

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