Data recap: Capex push, road accidents, Ambani’s investment

A cashier checks Indian rupee notes inside a room at a fuel station in Ahmedabad, India. (REUTERS)
A cashier checks Indian rupee notes inside a room at a fuel station in Ahmedabad, India. (REUTERS)

Summary

  • News and developments from the week gone by, through numbers and charts.

Every Friday, Plain Facts publishes a compilation of data-based insights, complete with easy-to-read charts, to help you delve deeper into the stories reported by Mint in the week gone by. The government is on track to meet its ambitious aim of 10 trillion capital expenditure. Latest data show road accidents have become more fatal in recent years. Meanwhile, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani has revealed his investment plans for West Bengal.

All-out spending

To support the Indian economy, the central government announced a sizable 10 trillion capital expenditure in the Budget for 2023-24. While the target looked ambitious, the government has walked the talk by having exhausted half the budgeted amount in the first half of the current financial year. For the rest of the year, the government will be able to meet its record capex targets as well as the fiscal deficit target, boosted by record tax collections for the year so far, Mint reported, quoting officials.

Watch your speed

Road accidents in India have been becoming more lethal over time, with more than one-third of all accidents in 2022 killing at least one person. The biggest reason for fatalities and injuries is overspeeding, a Mint analysis showed. Though the 2019 amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act introduced stricter penalties on traffic offences, the flouting of rules remains common. Nearly one-third of the road accident victims were not wearing helmets, according to transport ministry data.

Setting goals

20,000 crore: That’s the worth of investments Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani plans over the next three years in West Bengal. This will be on top of the 45,000 crore that the conglomerate has already invested in the state, Ambani said at the 7th Edition of Bengal Global Business Summit in Kolkata. The investment by the conglomerate will majorly be done in three areas: telecom, retail and bio energy.

Illusion of hikes

While many companies are likely to offer a median hike of 9-10% in the upcoming cycle, it may not feel enough due to high inflation, Mint reported. Inflation is expected to remain above 5% in the current financial year, and this could eat into more than half of the hike given by companies. Even though the median remuneration had risen 9.5% on average in 2022-23, the average inflation during the year was 6.7%, leaving very little room for real increase in the salary.

 

Election jitters

Even as three key central banks—the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the Bank of England—held their benchmark interest rates after an unprecedented series of hikes, the appreciation in the rupee was not much despite strong growth prospects of India. One reason could be uncertainty before major elections. The rupee has depreciated before each of the past three general elections, a Plain Facts analysis showed. However, the level of uncertainty has decreased with each election.

 

Byju’s troubles

9,362 crore: That’s the amount for which the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued a show-cause notice to edtech giant Byju’s and its founder Byju Raveendran for various violations of the Foreign Exchange Management Act. The ED had searched several offices of Byju’s and residences of its top executives on 24 and 28 April. The company has been issued show-cause notice for allegedly failing to submit documents related to imports and foreign direct investments, among other reasons.

Rural reach

The exponential growth in digital payments is one of India’s success stories. Another is the rise in micro-ATMs—portable machines operated by banking correspondents at a fraction of the cost—which are ensuring deeper penetration into the rural areas. The number of micro-ATMs doubled between September 2021 and September 2022, and increased another 20% over the next 12 months, a howindialives.com analysis showed. They currently number about six times standard ATMs, filling the gap.

 

Chart of the week: Business blues

 

On 19 November, the world celebrates Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, and while more Indian women are running successful businesses now, India remains worse than its peers in terms of conducive environment for women entrepreneurs, ranking 57th among 65 countries in a Mastercard index on women entrepreneurs in 2021.

Follow our data stories on the “In Charts" and “Plain Facts" pages on the Mint website

 

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