News in numbers, Feb 5, 2016: Reliance-Birla deal, India’s estimated exports in FY16…


Rs 4,800 crore

What is it? Amount for which Reliance Infrastructure has agreed to sell its cement assets to Birla Corp.

Why is it important? This would help Reliance Infrastructure reduce some of its debts (total is Rs 16,000 crore). And for Birla Corp., this would mean its capacity would go up to 15 million tonnes from 9.3 tonnes and may be, quicker than it intends to.

Tell me more: Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group is counted among the top 10 indebted groups in India according to a Credit Suisse report, with total debt of Rs 1.14 trillion.

Rs 15,000 crore

What is it? Amount the Petroleum Ministry has sought from the Finance Ministry to shore up India’s second phase of strategic oil reserves.

Why is it important? Crude oil is stored in underground rock caverns that can be used in case external supply is cut off. India imports around 80% of its oil needs and this is expected to go up to 90% in the next 20 years, according to an India Tech-PwC report.

Tell me more: India is spending nearly Rs 5,000 crore “towards crude filling costs” in three storage facilities – Vishakapatnam, Mangalore and Padur – which can hold over 5.1 lakh truck-tanker loads of crude oil. This can power India for about 13 days as against strategic oil reserves of 90 days of net oil imports, the global standard set by the International Energy Association.

$265-270 billion

What is it? India’s estimated exports in 2015-16, according to the Federation of Indian Exports Organization (FIEO). This is 13-15% lower than the exports recorded in 2014-15.

Why is it important? Lower commodity prices account for a large portion of this fall, but export volume too is shrinking. Nearly half of 76 commodities for which volume data is available registered a drop in quantity sold in April – October 2015. These 76 commodities account for 44% of exports.

Tell me more: Job creation fell by a net 43,000 in April-June 2015, of which export-oriented companies reported a decline of 26,000.


What is it? Projected growth of India’s IT and software services export revenue to about $121 billion in 2016-17 by industry lobby Nasscom.

Why is it important? Software industry employs 3.7 million people and lower growth rate would mean hiring would stagnate at 200,000 in next financial year. In comparison, nearly 1.6 million engineers graduate each year, and most of them vie to gain employment in the software industry.

Tell me more: The growth forecast of 12-14% in the current fiscal and also, the third consecutive year in which there is a decline in projections. The lower end of the projection for next fiscal is the lowest in five years.

$120 million (over Rs 800 crore)

What is it? Amount 400 food delivery startups in India have raised from venture capital firms and other investors in the last three years.

Why is it important? Despite all the funding, the startups have failed to replace the traditional delivery networks that have been in existence since the 1890s. The famous Mumbai’s ‘dabbawalas’ (colloquial term for those who deliver the meal boxes) provide approximately 200,000 lunch boxes from central kitchens and cooks’ homes every day. The biggest food startups in India including FoodPanda, TinyOwl and Zomato have had to let go of people and scale down operations in the last few months.

Tell me more: Mumbai’s dabbawalas have been popular for their low error rate (of meal boxes going astray) despite being run by a group of semi-literate people who use no technology and charge a nominal amount of Rs 400-1,200 per month depending on the distance and time taken.

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News in numbers, Jan 25, 2016: Share of tobacco users down, Zomato’s operating revenue…


What is it? Percentage of male tobacco users in 13 states in India in 2015, according to the recently released National Family Health Survey-4 report.

Why is it important? This is a decline from 50.1% in 2005-06. Similarly, tobacco use among women have also come down from 5.2% in 2005-06 to 4.4% in 2015. Though it has come down in terms of prevalence, it has increased in absolute terms. Smoking kills over a million people per year and is the fourth leading cause of non-communicable diseases such as cancer and heart diseases, according to a report by the World Health Organization. The economic burden due to tobacco use is over Rs 1 lakh crore, as per the Healthy Ministry of India. In the first quarter of 2015-15, ITC’s cigarette volumes were down 17% year-on-year due to four years of successive tax increases, the highest decline in at least the last 15 years.

Tell me more: Alcohol consumption has also fallen from 2005-06 to 2015. Among men, its consumption is down from 38.2% to 34.2% while among women, the decline is from 3.2% to 1.6%.



What is it? Number of companies that have received the market regulator’s approval to launch their initial public offerings (IPOs) this month. These companies, which include, GVR Infra Projects, GNA Axles and Maini Products, are likely to raise a combined amount of at least Rs 2,500 crore.

Why is it important? This comes at a time when BSE Sensex, India’s benchmark stock index, neared the bear market territory (a fall of 20% from a recent peak) last week. Some of these companies might not follow through. In 2015, for example, 2 companies let their IPO approvals from the market regulator, lapse. Concerns over China’s faltering economic growth, declining commodity prices, foreign investors pulling out money from Indian markets and domestic factors including falling exports, delay in revival of investment demand and economic reforms have pulled the stocks down to the levels when the present government got elected a year ago.

Tell me more: In 2015, there were 20 main-board IPOs and together, the companies raised around $2.1 billion (Rs 15,000 crore), a seven-fold increase from the previous year’s proceeds. A Reuters report quoting investment bankers says in 2016, India would see IPO proceeds doubling to over $5 billion.


1.9 million

What is it? Number of subscribers who have enrolled for Atal Pension Yojana, a government-backed guaranteed pension scheme for all those who are not part of any social security programme.

Why is it important? This is just around 10% of the 20-million target set for December 31, 2015. Shows the scheme has not picked-up momentum even though the government had offered to contribute 50% of the subscriber’s’ contribution if they enrolled before December. This deadline has now been extended to March 31, 2016. New changes are being considered to attract more people to the scheme. These include allowing the widow of the subscriber to continue with the scheme, extend the offer of government’s contribution to next financial year as well and changes regarding withdrawal and contributions.

Tell me more: This pension scheme is mainly focused on unorganised workers and subscribers would get pension amounts varying from Rs 1,000-5,000 per month.


Rs 96.7 crore

What is it? Operating revenue of online restaurant discovery firm Zomato in 2014-15.

Why is it important? The company plans to double its revenue in the fiscal ending March 31, 2015 and expects to break-even at the operational level by mid-2016, according to Pankaj Chaddah, co-founder of Zomato. Zomato’s loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation in 2014-15 stood at Rs 136 crore. If it breaks even, then the firm will likely be the first among unicorns (startups that are valued at over $1 billion) to do so. Other unicorns in India include Flipkart, Snapdeal, Ola and Quikr. This comes at a time when Indian food tech companies have been facing problems including layoffs and funding trouble.

Tell me more: The company raised $60 million in its latest round of funding last September, taking the total funds raised to $225 million. Though Zomato hopes to overtake FoodPanda and Swiggy, its core ads business would continue to be the main contributor of revenue, accounting for 80-85%.



What is it? Number of vessels (of a total of 17) containing combustible chemicals at the Government Opium and Alkaloid Works, Asia’s biggest opium alkaloid processing plant in Madhya Pradesh, that are in a dilapidated state and leaking. This is according to a report dated January 15, 2015, by a government-approved chartered engineer, who inspected this factory.

Why is it important? The plant hasn’t stopped operations per latest available information. The vessels, which operate at very high temperatures, could explode and the leaking fumes from the vessels contain harmful chemicals including acetic acid, sulphuric acid, toluene and alcohol. The effects of these chemicals, which range from affecting a human being’s central nervous system to birth defects to respiratory problems to skin burns and eye damage, could affect over 1 lakh residents of Neemuch district where the factory is located. The general manager of the processing plant said that “an accident is waiting to happen” though all precautions are being taken and that he has alerted officials in Delhi.

Tell me more: The last inspection of this factory was carried out in 2010 and according to Indian rules, such checks are supposed to be done once in every four years. However, the latest inspection has been done after a delay of two years.

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News in Numbers – September 8, 2015

News In Numbers: September 8, 2015


Rs 9,625 crore

The investments in equity mutual funds in August, a 63% increase from July and the 16th consecutive month of inflows, according to the Association of Mutual Funds in India. This is despite Indian share markets having their worst August in four years. Also, Indian equity markets have seen the third-largest outflows in Asia since China devalued its currency last month, with foreign institutional investors pulling out pulling out $3.3 billion. Household ownership in equities , both direct and indirect, has halved in the past 15 years. Just about 2% of Indian households’ total financial assets are invested in stocks, against 35% in the US. A research report by Morgan Stanley estimates that Indian households are likely to invest $300 billion in equities over the next 10 years.


Rs 16,000 crore

The likely cost of implementation of the one rank, one pension programme (OROP) for ex-servicemen in 2015-16, according to an HSBC report, which adds this would “have a significant impact on the fiscal bill”. Japanese brokerage Nomura’s estimates of Rs 10,000 crore for 2015-16 are closer to the government’s calculation (Rs 8,000-10,000 crore). Both HSBC and Nomura say OROP would add to the fiscal burden, though the latter does not expect it to derail the 2015-16 fiscal deficit target of 3.9% of GDP. HSBC says the key determinant will be tax revenue growth. The government maintains it has the “fiscal space” to absorb the OROP expenses without affecting its fiscal deficit target.


$1 billion

The estimated valuation of Zomato Media in April 2015, which yesterday said it had raised $60 million in fresh capital. The restaurant search and review website is planning to deploy half of the funds raised to grow its India business, with the rest for services business in other countries, besides venturing into two new undisclosed markets. The Indian food services industry is expected to reach $78 billion by 2018, while the overall food ordering business was estimated to be around Rs 5,000-6,000 crore in 2014, according to India Brand Equity Foundation. Several food start-ups in India have entered the online ordering space in the last few years, including FoodPanda, JustEat, Tiny Owl and Swiggy.



British scientists have discovered a blood test that determines the “biological age” of a person, rather than the one calculated using the date of birth, to predict the rate of ageing in a person. This test, discovered by a team from King’s College London, compares the behaviour of 150 different genes. Instead of looking at genes associated with diseases or extreme longevity, the researchers found out that the ‘activation’ of 150 genes in blood, brain and muscle tissue signalled good health at 65 years of age. For instance, one might be 50 years old but have a body of a 30-year-old due to a good lifestyle. This research also found that people with lower “healthy age gene scores” had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.


Rs 1.7 lakh

The price per sq ft of the built-up area of the property that Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla is close to purchasing in Malabar Hill in Mumbai. At a reported price of Rs 425 crore, this will be one of the most expensive residential property deals in the city. Yet, the price per sq ft of the built-up area for this property is slightly lower than the bungalow (Rs 1.9 lakh) purchased by the managing director of an apparel manufacturing company in Central Delhi for Rs 173 crore. On a total area basis, though, the Mumbai house is priced at Rs 1.3 lakh per sq ft, against the Delhi house of Rs 60,637. The iconic Mumbai property, Jatia House, is currently owned by Chem Mach, a company promoted by industrialist Yashvardhan Jatia. is a search engine for public data

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