Uber’s reality check


What is it? The number of anti-riots police sent to Mandsaur district in Madhya Pradesh on account of ongoing farmers protest.

Why is it important? The protests by MP farmers – who are demanding loan waiver, higher minimum support price among others – have spread to six other districts in the state. The protests have intensified following the killing of five protesters in firing on Tuesday.

Tell me more: As protests continue, MP chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced a Rs 1000-crore price stabilisation fund and that the state would buy tur, urad and moong from farmers starting June 10. The central and state governments might have to do more than providing sops to pull the country out of the farm crisis.


$11.2 billion

What is it? The net worth of Sun Pharma founder Dilip Shanghvi.

Why is it important? It’s down from $21.5 billion in 2015, which made him India’s richest person. The drop of over 50% reflects the troubles faced by India’s generic drug industry – including intense scrutiny by US Food and Drug Administration, and pricing pressure in the market.

Tell me more: Sun Pharma Stock has fallen by nearly 30% in the last one year.



What is it? The percentage of currency that has been remonetised, according to the Reserve Bank of India.

Why is it important? This partly explains why some parts of the country continues to face cash shortages. In November, the government demonetised nearly 87% of currency in circulation or an estimated Rs 15.5 lakh-crore in old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. The growth in digital transactions, which saw a spike during demonetisation, is back to earlier range.

Tell me more: The percentage of remonetised currency has doubled since January.  By volume, 108% of currency is back in circulation, RBI said.



What is it? The estimated number of employees fired by Uber Technologies, the US-based cab-hailing app company.

Why is it important? The move comes after a company-wide investigation into 215 human resources claims of harassment. Uber has been plagued by questions about its company culture and accused of doing little to fix it.

Tell me more: In addition, head of Uber’s Asia Pacific business, Eric Alexander has left the firm. According to recode, Alexander had obtained the medical records a 26 year old woman who was raped by an Uber driver in Delhi in December 2014, and shared it with Uber CEO because they suspected that she was was not raped.


$239 million

What is it? The amount Marissa Mayer got for her five years of work as Yahoo CEO, according to Equilar, a research firm.

Why is it important? Mayer oversaw the sale of the firm to Verizon for $4.5 billion, which is expected to complete next week, with Verizon shareholders voting on the bid on Thursday. Mayer’s $900,000 a week paycheck has become a talking point even as 1000 employees are reported to be facing pink slips after the merger.

Tell me more: Mayer took over the reins of Yahoo with much fanfare, and according to several observers, didn’t live up to the expectations (except those of the shareholders). Two big privacy breaches took place during her tenure.

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News in Numbers, Feb 16, 2017: 💸 Investment bankers get an idea

$9,840.91 million

What is it? The trade deficit in January, 2017.

Why is it important? The trade deficit, or the difference in value of exports and imports, shrank to its lowest in four months. It was brought about by growth in exports for the fifth straight month, buoyed by petroleum products and engineering goods. The shrinking trade deficit also showed the impact of decreasing gold imports which shrank by 30%.

Tell me more: Demand in US, Europe and Japan led to the 4.32% increase in exports.



What is it? The number of Taiwanese parliamentarians in the delegation that visited India this week

Why is it important? It drew a diplomatic protest from China which objected to India hosting anyone from self-ruled Taiwan. China blocks Taiwan’s right to diplomatic relations with others as it considers it to be one of its own provinces. It also resists attempts of other countries with ties to it from acknowledging official institutions of Taiwan, encouraging, instead, the ‘one China’ principle. The complaint marks another entry in the uneasy Indo-China relations, plagued by border disputes and conflicting stands on the fight against terrorism.

Tell me more: India has termed the visit as informal and nothing unusual, for purposes of business, religion and tourism.


$40 million

What is it? The estimated fee for investment banks advising on the Vodafone India and Idea Cellular merger.

Why is it important? A deal that would create India’s largest telecom operator with around Rs 78,000 crore ($12 billion) sales would generate almost 10% of last year’s total investment fees earned by investment banks in India. Hence, quite a few banks are vying for a slice of the pie.

Tell me more: Banks in the fray reportedly include BofA Merrill Lynch, UBS, Standard Chartered and Rothschild, while Morgan Stanley has already been appointed.


Rs 37 trillion

What is it? Asset base of State Bank of India (SBI) post merger with five of its subsidiaries.

Why is it important? The cabinet approved the merger on Wednesday. State Bank of India is already the largest bank in the country, and the merger will push the bank into the top global 50 list in terms of assets (It’s at number 52 now). The merger is also expected to create operational efficiency, saving the bank Rs 10 billion in the first year.

Tell me more: The banks to be merged with SBI are State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore , State Bank of Patiala and State Bank of Travancore. All put together, SBI will have 22,500 branches, 58,000 ATMs and over 50 crore customers.


$300 million

What is it? The amount Yahoo and Verizon have reportedly decided to lop off from the $4.8 billion acquisition deal

Why is it important? The reduction in the value comes after Yahoo disclosed two security breaches in the second half of 2016. The hack had compromised millions of Yahoo Users, and occurred in 2013 and 2014. The disclosure came after Verizon agreed to acquire Yahoo for $4.8 billion in July 2016 – and raised concerns about digital security, and the responsibility of tech firms that handle user data when a breach happens to various stakeholders including users and investors.

Tell me more: The first breach, in August 2013, affected over a billion accounts, and the second, in late 2014, affected over 500 million accounts.

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News in Numbers, Sep 23, 2016: Kharif harvest likely to be highest, economic impact of digital finance…

Rs 47,700 crore

What is it? The equity infusion by Vodafone Group Plc into its Indian unit in the first half of the current fiscal year.

Why is it important? This is said to be the largest-ever infusion by the company in India and comes about a week ahead of the country’s biggest-ever spectrum auction. The already aggressive telecom industry is witnessing increased competition with the entrance of Reliance Jio this month where the company said it’s offering ‘free calls’ and 4G services at low rates.

Tell me more: Vodafone India is the second-largest telecom service provider in the country by revenue and customers. With a 22.5% market share in terms of revenue, the company also announced it has 200 million customers in India.


135 million tonnes

What is it? India’s estimated kharif foodgrain production in 2016-17, 9% higher than the previous year’s production.

Why is it important? If the estimates are correct, then it would be the highest-ever kharif harvest in the country’s history. This would be 3.7% more than the record production of 131.3 million tonnes in 2011-12. The favourable monsoon helped push this year’s estimates up, boosted by kharif pulses and rice (the latter is likely to be the highest ever). This is likely to cool down retail inflation and may prompt the central bank to cut interest rates.

Tell me more: Sugarcane was the only kharif crop that suffered: its estimated production is likely to be 13% less than the previous year’s.


$700 billion

What is it? The addition to India’s gross domestic product (GDP) due to digital finance by 2025, which has the potential to create 21 million new jobs across sectors, according to a report.

Why is it important? This is the first time a report has tried to quantify the economic impact of digital finance. Around two-thirds of India’s GDP growth would be due to increased productivity of businesses and governments on the back of digital payments and a third from additional investment brought in due to financial inclusion of people and micro, small and medium-sized businesses. The rest would be due to time saved by individuals, which they can spend on work.

Tell me more: The report by McKinsey Global Institute says Indians lose over $2 billion in foregone income due to the time taken for travelling to and from a bank. Overall, digital finance is expected to boost the GDP of emerging economies by $3.7 trillion and create 95 million new jobs.



What is it? The number of outside experts that the government has named as members of Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee(MPC).

Why is it important? The MPC, with three outside members and three RBI officials, will replace a system in which RBI governor and his internal team had complete control over the monetary policy. The new system follows global standards and is one of the legacies of Raghuram Rajan, the previous governor. The committee will have its first monetary policy review meeting on 4th October.

Tell me more: The outside experts are Chetan Ghate from Indian Statistical Institute, Pami Dua from Delhi School of Economics and Ravindra Dholakia from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.


500 million

What is it? The number of Yahoo accounts that were hacked in 2014.

Why is it important? It’s one of the largest security breaches. This comes at a time when Yahoo is finalizing its $4.8 billion sale to Verizon – and could jeopardize the deal. Yahoo’s statement was not entirely out of blue as there were reports in August about the breach. The security breach will have a bigger impact beyond Yahoo accounts since many people use same password across services – mails, social media, banks, etc.

Tell me more: Yahoo has said that the hack was carried out by a “state sponsored actor,” without revealing other details. The stolen account information names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers.

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News in Numbers, July 26, 2016: Yahoo-Verizon $5 billion deal, telcos to install more towers…

$4.83 billion

What is it? The price at which Yahoo has agreed to sell its core internet operations to telecom firm Verizon Communications on Monday.

Why is it important? This brings an end to the iconic brand and company, which was a much talked about startup before Google leaped ahead of it in overall sales in 2005. Yahoo, which was estimated to be valued at $125 billion during the peak of the dot-com boom period (January 2000), has been struggling to compete with rivals Google and Facebook. It would be merged with AOL, the firm which was acquired by Verizon last year, which is likely to help boost its media and advertising businesses. It remains to be seen how Verizon leverages on this deal.

Tell me more: Once the deal is through, Yahoo would change its name and would be left with cash, patents, its stakes in Alibaba Group Holdings and Yahoo Japan – with a total market value of $40 billion.



What is it? The number of years between Salman Khan’s alleged shooting of endangered blackbucks in Rajasthan and Monday’s High Court judgement on the case. He was acquitted.

Why is it important? This would come as a relief to the actor, who is caught in another high-profile case of drunk-driving and hit-and-run where five men sleeping on a pavement in Mumbai were run over, killing one of them. He was acquitted in this case last year though the Maharashtra government has challenged it in the apex court. Khan’s acquittal has drawn criticism from various quarters with animal rights organisation PETA saying the judgment comes as a “massive shock and disappointment”.

Tell me more: The court said the investigating authorities failed to identify the spot where the animals were allegedly killed by Khan, the carcasses of the animals are yet to be discovered and mainly, there was no evidence that the bullets recovered from the animals were fired from Khan’s licensed gun. The movie star and seven others (some of them Hindi actors) were accused of killing a gazelle and two antelopes over two days during a film shooting.


Rs 20,000 crore

What is it? The amount telecom firms have reportedly committed to invest to install 100,000 towers over the next one year to curb call drops.

Why is it important? This is in addition to investing Rs 12,000 crore to erect 60,000 towers over a 100-day period, of which 48,000 have been installed in the last 45 days. This comes at a time when the department of telecom is examining a proposal by the telecom regulator to impose penalty and jail term if telecom firms fail to adhere to prescribed standards. In May, the regulator had published a study that said most firms, other than Reliance Communications (for 2G) and Vodafone India (for 3G), have failed to meet the benchmark for call drops.

Tell me more: The telecom minister who met the chief executive officers of telecom firms on Monday said the government would address the main issues faced by them over the next 2-3 months.



What is it? The chances of Republican nominee Donald Trump winning the Presidential race this year, according to electoral forecasts by Nate Silver, an American statistician and writer.

Why is it important? When Trump entered the race, not many believed he would even win the Republican nomination but now there is a good chance he might even become the US President. His chances of winning have nearly tripled from 18.8% on June 8 to over 50% now. In contrast, the chances of Hillary Clinton, the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party for President, winning has halved from 81.8% on June 8 to 46.2% now. Silver’s forecasts have been among the most accurate – he correctly predicted results for 49 of 50 states in 2008 Presidential elections and 50 of 50 in the 2012 polls.

Tell me more: In terms of popular vote, it’s a tight race between the two – 45.4% for Clinton and 45.2% for Trump and in terms of electoral votes, Clinton would get 261.1 votes compared to 276.6 for Trump.



What is it? The number of Rio-bound Indian athletes who have tested positive for banned substances so far.

Why is it important? Just after wrestler Narsingh Yadav failed the dope test, shot putter Inderjeet Singh was caught using a banned steroid and the news comes 10 days ahead of the commencement of Rio Olympics. This casts cloud over the initial euphoria which surrounded the reports of India sending its strongest-ever contingent of 120 athletes with the hope that it would bring back home more medals than the six it won at the 2012 London Olympics.

Tell me more: With this, the total count of Indian men to compete in 2016 Olympics comes down to 64 while the number of Indian women competing is 54.

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