What is it? The amount budget hotel aggregator Oyo (owned by Oravel Stays) has raised from Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp.
Why is it important? This comes at a time when investors including SoftBank have slowed down their funding plans amid concerns about valuations of start-ups. However, a couple of other start-ups in the budget accommodation space have raised funding in recent times—Stayzilla raised about Rs.87 crore in May, FabHotels raised around Rs.54 crore in June and Treebo Hotels raised Rs.112 crore in July.
Tell me more: Recently, Oyo has started offering holiday packages (besides its core operations of budget accommodation) and introduced Oyo Flagship, where it leases properties, which is different from its previous strategy of booking hotels’ inventories for its customers in advance.
What is it? The combined net loss of listed public sector banks in the April-June quarter of 2016-17 compared to a net profit of Rs.9,449 crore in the same period a year ago.
Why is it important? It’s down from Rs.23,493 crore in the fourth quarter of 2015-16. The Reserve Bank of India had directed the banks to recognize and provide for bad loans and clean up their balance sheets by March 2017. The reducing losses might make it easier for them to raise fresh capital.
Tell me more: Gross non-performing assets (NPAs) or bad loans have almost doubled from Rs.288,743 crore in the first quarter of 2015-16 to Rs.576,158 crore in the same quarter in the current fiscal. High NPAs have led to slow credit growth .
What is it? India’s ranking on the Global Innovation Index 2016, up 15 positions from the previous year.
Why is it important? This is a reversal of trend. India was slipping over the last few years: it was 66 in 2013 , 76 in 2014 and 81 in 2015 . India’s 2016 ranking is mainly due to its high score on tertiary education and research and development, the quality of its universities and scientific publications, its market sophistication and ICT (Information and Communication Technology) services exports where it ranks the first in the world. Among middle-income economies, India is in the second position on innovation quality, after having overtaken Brazil.
Tell me more: China has become the first middle-income country to break into the top 25 of the index. The index is by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization, and is being published for the last nine years.
What is it? The total number of seats at Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) by 2020, according to a proposal to be considered next week.
Why is it important? If approved, this would be the biggest seat increase at the IITs since the other backward class quota was implemented at the institutions between 2008-09 and 2010-11. As a consequence, IITs may have to admit day scholars (they have a hostellers-only policy now). Currently, there are around 72,000 students in all the 23 IITs.
Tell me more: The IIT Council, the highest decision-making body of the premier organisations, would consider adding seats to their B.Tech, M.Tech and research programmes, of which the former is likely to see an addition of nearly 3,500 seats.
What is it? The number of private medical colleges that were denied permission for enrolment and teaching by the Medical Council of India (MCI) after physical inspections.
Why is it important? The decision has been overturned for 26 of these colleges by the Supreme Court-appointed Lodha Committee, which allows them to admit students for the new session that begins on 30 September. This raises questions about the Lodha Committee’s decision against the backdrop of the poor quality of medical education in India, which is plagued by fraud and unprofessional teaching practices. For instance, one out of every six of India’s medical schools has been accused of cheating, according to a Reuters analysis.
Tell me more: The enrolment allowed for the 26 colleges is conditional: the Lodha Committee has asked the colleges to submit an undertaking to assure that they would comply with all the rules before the new session begins and that it can withdraw its permission if it finds any of the colleges to be non-compliant.
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