Indians Are ‘Partly Free’ On The Internet


Indians are only partly free on the internet, and so are the 28% of the world’s internet users. A recent report pointed that share of non communicable diseases among all diseases has gone up. India’s trade deficit has shot up. Amazon is shoring up its war chest, Flipkart watch out!



What is it? The share of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in India’s total disease burden in 2016, up from 30.5% in 1990, according to a report released by the government.

Why is it important? There has been a reversal in trend. In 1990, communicable, maternal, neonatal and nutritional diseases (CMNNDs) accounted for 60.9% of the disease burden; this is down to 32.7% in 2016. The transition from CMNNDs responsible for a majority of disability-adjusted life years (disease burden expressed as the number of years of life lost due to ill-health, disability or death) in 1990 to NCDs dominating in 2016 varies from state to state, highlighting the need for different policy approaches in each state.

Tell me more: Last year, three of the five leading individual causes of disease burden were NCDs-ischaemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and stroke. The main types of NCDs are cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, cancers and diabetes and they kill 40 million people globally, or 70% of all deaths.


$14 billion

What is it? India’s trade deficit—the difference between imports and exports—in October, compared to $9 billion in September and $11.1 billion a year ago.

Why is it important? This is the highest in 35 months as India’s merchandise exports declined for the first time in 13 months in October to $23.1 billion and imports expanded at the slowest pace in nine months to $37.1 billion last month. Exporters put up a poor show as their money was stuck in refunds under the goods and services tax regime. A nearly 28% increase in petroleum imports and higher crude oil prices also widened the trade deficit.

Tell me more: For the April-October period, exports increased 9.6% on a year-on-year basis to $170 billion and imports 22.2% to $256.4 billion.



What is it? India’s Internet Freedom Score out of a 100 with, according to a report by human rights group Freedom House. A score of 0 means most free and that of a 100 represents least free.

Why is it important? India falls under the category of ‘partly free’ in terms of Internet Freedom in 2017, and has showed no change since 2016. Between June 2016 and May 2017, India employed key Internet controls—that reflect restrictions in social, political and religious content—in five of the nine parameters studied. This included social media or communications apps blocked, political/social/religious content blocked, localised or nationwide ICT shutdown, blogger or ICT user arrested, imprisoned or in prolonged detention for political or social content, and blogger or ICT user physically attacked or killed (including custody).

Tell me more: Of the 65 countries assessed covering 87% of the world’s Internet users, only 23% come under the category of ‘free’, 28% ‘partly free’ and 36% ‘not free’. Nearly half the countries posted declines in the coverage period and only 13 made gains, that too minor.


$4.74 billion

What is it? The latest authorised capital—the limit for equity capital declared by a company—of Amazon India, up from $2.4 billion previously.

Why is it important? This gives Amazon more room to channel capital into its Indian operations, as and when it likes. In its fight against Flipkart for e-commerce supremacy in India, far from stepping back, Amazon is willing to raise the stakes even more in a market it has identified to be pivotal for it.

Tell me more: The Amazon move comes about three months after Flipkart added $1.4 billion to its own capital chest from new investor SoftBank.



What is it? The number of initial route proposals received by the government yesterday in the second round of the Udan regional connectivity scheme, which aims to make air travel affordable in less-serviced or unserviced routes, partly via a government subsidy.

Why is it important? In the first round of this scheme, the government cleared 128 routes in March, but only about 20 have become operational for a variety of reasons at both the airline and the airport end. How the second round, the routes for which will be allotted next month, plays out remains to be seen.

Tell me more: Airlines have been moving on their plans to add smaller aircraft to their fleet. IndiGo has placed an order for 50 ATRs and expects to launch its first regional flight in December.


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