News in Numbers | Facebook gets second highest number of requests from India

What is it? The number of requests social networking firm Facebook has received from the Indian government seeking data on users. The requests pertain to 8,290 users in the January-July period of this year.

Why is it important? Facebook has received the second highest number of requests from India after the US. However, the number of requests received from the US government is nearly four times that received from India. The number of Indian requests has increased from 5,561 received by the social networking site in July-December 2015, a trend observed globally. Facebook provided ‘some data’ in 53.6% of the cases in the first half of 2016 compared to a little over 50% in the previous six months. It restricted access to 2,034 pieces of content during this period, the second highest after France.

Tell me more: This is the first time that Facebook has included government requests to preserve data (pending receipt of formal legal process). The Indian government made 609 preservation requests, the fourth highest among the countries listed; Facebook has preserved 850 users’ accounts with respect to India.

55.5 million hectares

What is it? The area in which winter or rabi crops have been sown, according to the latest estimates.

Why is it important? This is 87% of the total seasonal area of 63.8 million hectares. This comes amidst concerns about the cash crunch brought on by demonetisation affecting agriculture. Though the government relaxed certain cash withdrawal and insurance norms for farmers, the cash shortage has reportedly affected the prices of products (affecting farm incomes), buying of seeds and fertilisers, logistics support to transport the produce and employing of labour.

Tell me more: The sowing of wheat has been completed in 92% of the normal seasonal area so far and it remains to be seen if the government achieves its target of producing a record of 96.5 million tonnes in 2016-17.

Rs 3,572 crore

What is it? Amazon India’s losses in 2015-16, more than double of Rs1,724 crore posted in the previous year.

Why is it important? It indicates that the firm is going huge on spending to increase its market share in India. Its revenue also more than doubled to Rs 2,275 crore in this year from Rs 1,022 crore in the previous fiscal. Though these numbers cannot be directly compared with the losses posted by Flipkart Internet (marketplace arm of Flipkart) due to the complex holding structures of both the companies, Amazon India’s revenue in this period is higher than that of Flipkart Internet (Rs 1,952 crore).

Tell me more: In RedSeer Consulting’s E-tailing Leadership Index for the three months ended October 2016, Flipkart continued to lead with a score of 97 (up from 95 in the previous quarter) though Amazon India has almost caught up with the former with 95 points (up from 87 in the previous quarter).

Rs 955 crore

What is it? Debt of Pune-based steel products maker Innoventive Industries at the end of September.

Why is it important? ICICI Bank has filed an application in the National Company Law Tribunal against the firm to initiate a corporate insolvency process – the first case under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016, which became operational on December 1. This would be keenly watched to see how the new law would help bankers deal with bad loans worth nearly Rs 6.7 lakh crore. However, Innoventive Industries has contested the petition as the Maharashtra government had notified the firm’s liabilities to be suspended between July 22, 2016 and July 21, 2017. This would also help determine if the law would be applicable in such cases or not.

Tell me more: The gross non-performing assets (NPAs) of listed banks (in absolute terms) grew 6.44% in the September quarter (compared to the previous quarter), which is lower than the 8.87% growth recorded in the June quarter. While the increase in net NPAs also displayed a similar trend in the same periods, the tepid credit growth remains a concern.

92

What is it? The number of people aboard a Russian military plane that crashed en route to Syria.

Why is it important? No survivors have been found yet. Over 3,000 people are involved in rescue efforts. This comes six days after Russia’s ambassador to Turkey was assassinated by a man who shouted about the Syrian war after the shooting. Investigations are on to find out if he was the sole operator. Russia has been conducting airstrikes supporting the Syrian government against some rebels who are opposed to its President Bashar al-Assad.

Tell me more: Though Russia has downplayed the suggestion of a terror attack, Russia’s special investigative committee, which has opened a criminal inquiry, is considering all possibilities. There were 84 passengers (of which, 64 were members of the famous Red Army Choir) and eight crew members on board.