News in Numbers: India seeks $2 trillion investment for infrastructure sector over next 2 years, says Piyush Goyal

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Piyush Goyal wants businessmen to blow whistle on tax evasion

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What is it? The number of Lok Sabha seats Shiv Sena is confident of winning in Maharashtra in the 2019 general elections, following a political resolution passed by it on Tuesday that says it would contest all future elections on its own.

Why is it important? With this, the regional party has ended its 29-year-old alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which makes it the first political outfit to do so since Narendra Modi became prime minister in 2014. It is unclear if Shiv Sena would withdraw its support to the state government in Maharashtra, where it has 63 seats and BJP 122 in the 288-member assembly. Shiv Sena’s parting of ways comes at a time when the BJP has been on the rise in the state.

Tell me more: The national executive of Shiv Sena unanimously re-elected Uddhav Thackeray as party president and his son, Aaditya Thackeray, who is head of the party’s youth wing, to a group of top Sena leaders.

$2 trillion

What is it? The total investment India is seeking in the infrastructure sector over the next two years, according to railways minister Piyush Goyal, who spoke to the media on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos on Tuesday.

Why is it important? This is nearly thrice the unmet infrastructure needs outlined last year by finance minister Arun Jaitley, who said that India would require about $646 billion over a five-year period until 2022. According to S&P Global Ratings, India and Indonesia would lead infrastructure investments among the South and South-East Asian countries over the next two years. The sector, which is beset with time and cost overruns in project implementation and has high exposure to banks’ stressed assets, is a major driver of Indian economic growth.

Tell me more: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the opening session of the WEF in Davos on Tuesday, becoming the first Indian PM to do so in over two decades, where he projected India as a favourable investment destination.

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What is it? The number of companies—GlaxoSmithKline, Shionogi, Pfizer and Novartis—that have taken steps to separate bonus payments to sales representatives from the volume of antibiotics sold, according to an analysis by Access to Medicine Foundation, a non-profit organisation.

Why is it important? This is in recognition of a part of the industry’s efforts to tackle the growing antibiotic resistance crisis globally, though drug manufacturers’ response to this still remains inconsistent. Antibiotic resistance has been described as one of the biggest threats to global health by the World Health Organization, where bacteria change in response to the use of antibiotics in the prevention and treatment of bacterial infections. According to some experts, drug-resistant infections kill 700,000 people per year globally and this could increase to 10 million by 2050.

Tell me more: In 2010, India was the world’s biggest consumer of antibiotics for human health, according to a 2016 study.

$100 billion

What is it? The market capitalisation that video streaming service Netflix crossed for the first time on Monday.

Why is it important? It is a vote of confidence in its business model. Netflix achieved this feat on the back of a solid fourth quarter, in which its revenues increased 32% to $3.2 billion and it added 8.33 million subscribers, surpassing its own prediction of 6.3 million subscribers. Analysts feel the company is still on the high-growth curve—for Q1 of 2018, the company has projected 6.35 million new subscribers, of which 4.9 million are projected to come from markets outside the US.

Tell me more: In Q4 of 2017, Netflix recorded a net profit of $186 million, against $67 million in Q4 of 2016.

17.7%

What is it? The year-on-year increase in air traffic recorded by domestic airlines in December, according to latest numbers released by the aviation regulator.

Why is it important? It continues Indian aviation’s strong run of double-digit growth over the past three years. This period has coincided with a slump in fuel prices, giving airlines considerable room in managing growth along with improving profitability. But with fuel prices surging 20% in the past six months, this state of doing business could be challenged, and could also have a bearing on industry growth.

Tell me more: India remains one of the top growth markets in domestic aviation: in November, it grew the fastest among the seven largest world markets.livemint