News in Numbers: Card transaction volume down by 3.6% in April over previous month

In other news, Rs34,000-crore amount in taxes has been evaded by companies, according to a fresh list drawn up by Sebi


Photo: iStockphoto
Photo: iStockphoto

30 basis points

What is it? The cut in home loan rates by some banks, especially for affordable housing.

Why is it important? The cuts by Housing Development Finance Corp. (HDFC), ICICI Bank, and LIC Housing Finance, follow a rate cut by State Bank of India (SBI). The rate cut is for loans up to Rs30 lakh, which is applicable for low-cost and affordable housing. The rates look to capitalise on the government’s thrust on affordable housing projects as seen in this year’s budget measures.

Tell me more: Earlier this year, there were wider cuts in home loan rates, with a host of banks passing on the reduced cost of funds.

Rs18,000 crore

What is it? The amount India’s Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) will invest in FY18 in stocks.

Why is it important? The news will boost the stock markets further, even as they rally on monsoon forecast and easing inflation. In FY16, the EPFO had invested 5% of its annual incremental corpus in the markets, and in FY17, 10%. This year it is going to be 15%.

Tell me more: Some of the equity-traded funds it has invested in so far are SBI mutual fund ETFs and UTI mutual fund ETFs.

Rs34,000 crore

What is it? The amount in taxes evaded by companies, according to a fresh list drawn up by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi).

Why is it important? This is a follow-up investigation of January’s unearthing of 32,000 entities (companies/directors) which used stock price manipulation to avail the long-term capital gains tax benefit, committing tax fraud. This time Sebi has 11,000 such cases, of penny-stock manipulation, on its hands. It has given the list to the income tax department.

Tell me more: The bogus beneficiaries involve inactive or penny stock companies, listed on the bourses. After a series of preferential share allotment, stock splits, share price manipulation, bonus issues and inflated capital base, the beneficiaries exit at jacked-up prices for their one year of LTCG. But cash settlements between such companies and false claimants are likely to scuttle legal persecution.

14,000

What is it? The number of confidential files pilfered by an Uber engineer from his former employer Waymo

Why is it important? This is yet another instance of Uber getting on the wrong side of the law. Earlier this year, Uber was caught using a secret programme to avoid being caught by government in cities where Uber was operating without full legal clearance. In the latest case, according to a ruling made public, an Uber engineer stole documents pertaining to lidar technology from its former employer owned by Google’s parent company Waymo.

Tell me more: The federal judge had ruled that all the files be returned to Waymo and Uber’s work related to lidar be opened to Waymo’s lawyers. Lidar is a laser-based sensor that improves self driving cars’ vision significantly.

3.6%

What is it? The percentage by which card transaction volume came down in April 2017 from a month earlier.

Why is it important? It’s an indication that cash transactions are picking up in the country, contrary to the expectations that demonetisation has given an irreversible push to digital transactions.

Tell me more: IMPS (Immediate Payments System), cards, prepaid instruments and mobile banking all came down by both volume and value in April 2017 from March 2017.

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