We wanted flying cars, instead we got…




What is it? The number of employees reportedly fired by Wipro after its annual performance appraisal.

Why is it important? Observers comment on the timing, amidst the uncertainty surrounding sending employees to their revenue-earning countries on temporary work visas. Not just the US with its H1-B visa but other countries such as Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, are tightening work visa rules as well. This leaves Indian IT companies to mull ways of keeping operational costs in check when hiring local talent and artificial intelligence for their client sites, while pruning a large domestic employee bench in India.

Tell me more: Wipro had over 179,000 employees at the end of December, 2016. It insists it is performing its ‘rigorous performance appraisal’ which is undertaken on a regular basis and is not a one-off, without confirming thenumber of people fired.


$186 million

What is it? The amount (Rs 1,200 crore) earned by the government through a 9.2% stake sale in National Aluminium Co (Nalco).

Why is it important? The asset sale kicks off this year’s disinvestment programme of the government. It plans to raise Rs 72,500 crore ($11.26 billion) in all, though the initial investment target is seldom met, with the central government often revising it lower through a fiscal.

Tell me more: Last year, it managed to earn Rs 46,247 crore through disinvestment. Nalco’s share sale was oversubscribed 1.43 times.



What is it? The number of casualties (one death and two injuries) in the central Paris shooting  attack by an Isis terrorist on Thursday night.

Why is it important? This is the latest in a slew of militant attacks in France, mostly perpetrated by Islamists from France and Belgium, killing more than 230 people since 2015. The attack on Champs Elysees has occurred just a few days from the presidential elections (Sunday).

Tell me more: Tourists and locals were cleared of the area. It is reported there was intimation of a dangerous individual coming into France from Belgium, though whether it is the same terrorist, now killed, is unclear.


$4.1 billion

What is it? Royalty payments outflow from India in 2012-13.

Why is it important? Regulation of royalty payments could turn out to be one of the levers India might pull in response to US president Donald Trump passing an executive order which placed curbs on H1B visas, used primarily in Indian IT companies. Commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman, speaking at an event on Thursday said, “it is a situation which is not where only the Indian companies have to face the US executive order.”

Tell me more: Finance minister Arun Jaitley, who is on a visit to US, has also raised H1B visa issue with US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross.


$1.3 million

What is it? Starting price of flying car, from AeroMobil, a Slovakia-based startup.

Why is it important? While the company is expected to ship the cars only in 2020, it is all set to take pre-orders from customers. Two other flying car companies, Terrafugia and Pal-V Liberty are also taking reservations for their products. This might put to rest some complaints about startups that they are not living up to their promise of delivering transformational products, underlined by Peter Thiel’s famous comment, “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.”

Tell me more: AeroMobil’s car can transform itself into a flight in about 3 minutes, and has a flight range of about 750 kms. It’s top ground speed is 160 kmph and flight speed of 360 kmph. Fictional spy James Bond has used a flying car in The Man with the Golden Gun.

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