$231 million

What is it? The value of the perpetual bonds that Bank of Maharashtra is reportedly recalling on 17 March, much ahead of their call dates in 2020 and 2021.

Why is it important? This is an attempt by the regional lender to retire expensive debt and recharge its risk buffers. According to a senior India Ratings analyst, since the coupon for perpetual bonds can be paid only from current profits or distributable reserves, it is a challenge for banks with increasing bad loans and decreasing profits to service coupon payments on such bonds. Bank of Maharashtra has reported losses for seven consecutive quarters.

Tell me more: Perpetual or AT1 (additional tier 1) bonds are one of the ways in which public sector banks raise capital to meet Basel III norms.

30

What is it? The number of years in which the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) will get its first woman head.

Why is it important? Debjani Ghosh, former managing director of Intel South Asia, will take over as Nasscom chief this April. Her appointment brings to the fore the gender imbalance in the technology industry and the discrimination against women at all levels, not to forget the allegations of sexual harassment in the tech industry. The Indian IT services industry has about four million skilled workers, of which a third are women but none of the major firms has ever had a female chief.

Tell me more: According to a recent World Bank study, increasingly, Indian women were found to be dropping out of work due to reasons including marriage, motherhood, gender biases, more girls pursuing education instead of joining the workforce early and improved stability in household income acting as a disincentive for women to work.

141

What is it? The number of bank accounts and fixed deposits of Nirav Modi group, whose aggregate value is Rs145 crore, which have been attached by the Income Tax department. In addition, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) sealed his Alibaug farmhouse, which he had purchased for Rs32 crore in 2004.

Why is it important? This is a negligible share of the $1.77 billion (around Rs11,400 crore) worth of fraudulent transactions detected by Punjab National Bank (PNB), highlighting the rough journey ahead for the state lender. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has reportedly asked PNB to pay other banks for the loans disbursed to Modi and his uncle, Mehul Choksi. The bank has, however, expressed confidence of having enough assets to meet any liability as required by the law.

Tell me more: A court remanded six people including a general manager at PNB in police custody until 5 March for further questioning. Meanwhile, Modi has denied any wrongdoing on his part and has rejected the allegations levelled at him by PNB.

8.55%

What is it? The interest rate that will be earned by employees who have parked their retirement funds with the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO).

Why is it important? This is the lowest rate offered in five years, but still higher than what is offered by Public Provident fund (7.6% interest this quarter). EPFO, which parks up to 85% of the money in debt investments, earned less than 8% from those investments, according to Labour Ministry. Equity investments generated 16% returns till January-end.

Tell me more: EPFO has more than 50 million members and manages around Rs11 trillion of funds.

3

What is it? The number of companies in BSE 100 index that were classified as “leadership" based on corporate governance standards, according to a report by Institutional Investor Advisory Services.

Why is it important? Better governance standards have positive correlation with return on assets and negative correlation with bad loans. Firms with good governance standards have less price volatility. BSE Sensex, a list of 30 companies, have better corporate governance compared to rest of BSE 100.

Tell me more: IIAS measures corporate governance on four parameters—rights and equitable treatment of all shareholders, responsibilities of the board, role of stakeholders and disclosure and transparency.

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