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News in Numbers Infosys settles severance pay row ready to pay Rajiv Bansal Rs 1738 crore



India December 07(IM): The number of times since 2007 when Time magazine’s Person of the Year was not one person, but a group or a movement. On Wednesday, Time declared ‘The Silence Breakers’—the women who have spoken out against sexual harassment and sexual assault at the workplace—as its 2017 Person of the Year.Why is it important? As actor after actor came out against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, it emboldened more women and men to narrate their incidents of sexual assault by men in positions of power. This had a domino effect, trickling down to the masses through the Twitter hashtag #MeToo, and bringing sexual harassment at the workplace into conversations and actions than ever before. The well-known names accused include actors Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman, TV host Bill O’Reilly and Silicon Valley investor Shervin Pishevar.Tell me more Time bestows this title to someone who impacted the world in a significant way, positive or negative. The previous two occasions since 2007 when it was not given to one person was 2014 (The Ebola Fighters) and 2011 (The Protestor).What is it? The amount by which cryptocurrency Bitcoin has increased in the past month. On Wednesday, it roared past the $13,000 mark.Why is it important? The latest price rise comes in amid news that Chicago exchanges CBOE Global Markets and CME Group have received regulatory approval to launch Bitcoin futures, and are planning to do so on 10 December and 18 December, respectively. It’s a move that has sparked new bouts of concern about regulatory preparedness and systemic risk for this one-of-a-kind asset class.Two disparate events in the past week highlight the contrast in Bitcoin: on the one hand, South Korean financial regulators banned Bitcoin futures; on the other, the Winklevoss twins, who sued Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg over the claim that he stole the idea for the social network from them, have become billionaires on the back of their investment in Bitcoin.What is it? The maximum number of players a franchise can retain for the upcoming seasons of the Indian Premier League (IPL).Why is it important? It means each franchise has some chance to hold on to their core players, while all other players go into the auction pool again. Details of the announcement come as a shot in the arm for the two franchises that were handed a two-year ban in 2015 for illegal betting and financial irregularities, Chennai and Rajasthan. Their retention pool includes former players who joined the Gujarat and Pune teams in the interim, paving the way for MS Dhoni to rejoin his old team Chennai. A franchise will retain players via two routes: retention before the auction (maximum three players) and right to match a bid in an auction (maximum three players, with a total of five under the two heads). Further, the salary cap of each IPL team has been increased from Rs66 crore to Rs80 crore.What is it? The rate at which India’s central bank held the benchmark repo rate—the interest rate at which it lends to banks—at its bimonthly policy review on Wednesday.Why is it important? This the second consecutive review in which the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has not touched the benchmark repo rate. This is despite clamour from industry and the government to do so in order to spur economic growth. The RBI noted risks to inflation, but expressed optimism that the slowdown in economic growth had bottomed out.

Five of the six MPC members—Chetan Ghate, Pami Dua, Michael Debabrata Patra, Viral Acharya and Urjit Patel—were in favour of the monetary policy decision. Only one member, Ravindra Dholakia, voted for a policy rate reduction of 0.25 percentage point.What is it? The amount Infosys agreed to pay former chief financial officer Rajiv Bansal as severance pay in October 2015.Why is it important? On Wednesday, Infosys filed a consent plea, without admitting wrongdoing, with capital market regulator Sebi (Securities and Exchange Board of India) over governance and disclosure issues related to this payout. Governance experts have expressed unhappiness over the latest move by Infosys—for long cited as the marker in corporate governance in India industry—to handle the issue, seeing it more as a way of achieving closure rather than coming clean on it.Tell me more: The severance pay to Bansal was one of the flashpoints in a tussle earlier this year that saw the Infosys board and previous CEO Vishal Sikka on one side and Infosys co-founders, notably N.R. Narayana Murthy, on the other side. Sikka was eventually ousted and the board had a new chair in Nandan Nilekani.

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