What is it? The number of investors interested in buying a stake in Air India.
Why is it important? The government’s plan to sell 76% in the national carrier did not attract any bidders as on Thursday, the deadline for showing initial interest, in the world’s fastest growing aviation market. This is a blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plans to dispose off the loss-making entity. The government may look to raise Rs 1 lakh crore in 2018-19 by the sale of state assets of which Air India was supposed to be a significant contributor.
Tell me more: The government, which had eased some terms and extended the deadline to receive bids, is now thinking of changing the terms of the sale.
What is it? The GDP (gross domestic product) growth rate of the Indian economy in the January-March quarter of 2017-18.
Why is it important? The growth, which beat analysts’ estimates, has helped India to retain the tag of the fastest growing economy in the world. It has surpassed China’s growth of 6.8% in the three months ended March and is the quickest pace in nearly two years. However, it remains to be seen if India can sustain the momentum of growth given the risks of surging oil prices and the resultant threat of higher inflation, in addition to a slump in currency, bad loans and bank frauds.
Tell me more:In the previous quarter, the Indian GDP growth was a revised 7% and in 2017-18, it expanded at 6.7%, the slowest since Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed office.
What is it? The number of seats– four Lok Sabha and 11 assembly – for which by-polls were held across 10 states recently, the results of which were declared on Thursday.
Why is it important? BJP managed to win just one of each (Parliamentary and assembly). Among the losses, the Kairana Lok Sabha election seems significant as the opposition parties were able to unite and defeat BJP, a strategy that they are looking to emulate in the 2019 General Elections. Winning in Uttar Pradesh, which sends 80 members to the Lok Sabha, is vital for BJP to retain power in the upcoming elections. In 2014, it won 71 of the 80 seats, which is crucial for its majority status in the Lower House.
Tell me more: Tabassum Hasan, who won the Kairana seat, became the first muslim representative to enter Lok Sabha from Uttar Pradesh since 2014. BJP, which won 70 out of 80 seats in 2014, did not field any muslim candidates, though Muslims account for 18.5% of the state population as per Census 2011 data.
What is it? India’s fiscal deficit for financial year ended March 2018.
Why is it important?The government was able to meet the revised fiscal deficit target of 3.5% of GDP, as there were fears of further slippage in containing fiscal deficit. Arun Jaitley, while presenting the Budget last year, had projected a fiscal deficit of 3.2% in 2017-18. Higher deficit would mean extra market borrowings, which in turn, has the potential to increase cost of funds for other borrowers.
Tell me more:Introduction of Goods and Service Tax (GST) was cited as one of the reasons for slippage of deficit target to 3.5%. Under GST, tax payers can remit the tax by 20th of the following month. So tax collected in March would be collected by April 20th. Government follows cash accounting system, so this receipt in the following month couldn’t be recorded in March 2018.
What is it?The growth of non-food credit in April 2018, as compared to 4.5% in same month last year.
Why is it important?Higher non-food credit is an indicator of economic growth, as firms anticipating higher demand would borrow to increase capacity or individuals feeling confident of their future earnings. Lending to services sector and personal loans grew by 20.7% and 19.1% respectively, while credit flow to industry increased only by 1%.
Tell me more:Higher credit growth is not met by higher deposit growth, which has plateaued after huge inflows during demonetisation. State Bank of India increased deposit rate on tenure between 1 and 2 years by 25 basis points (one basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point) to attract more deposits.