News in Numbers, Mar 17, 2017: 🚲 Green mobility

100+

What is it? The number of cities to be covered by the government’s green urban mobility scheme.

Why is it important? While vehicles are not the only pollutants in urban centres, they contribute significantly to pollution. Promotion of green vehicles can potentially improve the quality of life. Several studies have confirmed Indian cities have poor and unhealthy air quality.

Tell me more: The government plans to spend Rs 70,000 crore on the scheme, and it would include initiatives including creation of separate lanes for cyclists.

 

40%

What is it? The percentage of colleges in the US that reported a decline in the number of applications from international students.

Why is it important? Impact of US president Donald Trump’s immigration and protectionist policies. While the biggest decline is from students from West Asia, those from other countries, including India, are holding back, worried about how things might turn in the US. At least half a dozen bills seeking stricter work visa regulations are up for consideration by US Congress.

Tell me more: The number is from a survey of 250 colleges conducted by American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

 

6%

What is it? The increase in advance tax collection from top 100 companies for March 2017 quarter, compared to earlier quarter.

Why is it important? It’s an indicator of business outlook, and the slow growth is a reflection of the negative impact of demonetisation announced in November last year on the corporate sector. Yet another report says the advance tax collection in Mumbai zone, which contributes a third of all corporate taxes, fell by 10% compared to year ago period.

Tell me more: Of the top 100 companies, 43 contributed Rs 29,239 crore in March quarter, up 6% from Rs 27,584 crore in December quarter.

 

12

What is it? The number of world’s leading chocolate and cocoa manufacturers who pledged to tackle deforestation.

Why is it important? The companies include well known brands such as Mars, Mondelez and Nestlé. It underlines the agricultural impact on tropical forests, and the pressure companies are under to tackle some of the problems they create. In India, Pepsi and Coke have come under fire (even though they won a legal battle recently) for the usage of groundwater, even as South India faces a severe water shortage in the coming months.

Tell me more: The companies made the pledge to come up with an action plan by November in presence of Prince Charles, an active campaigner in this area, and will initially focus on Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, two largest sources of cocoa.

 

2.5%

What is it? The targeted public expenditure on health as a percentage of GDP, according to India’s new National Health Policy

Why is it important? It is 1.4% of GDP at present. While the policy doesn’t state when it proposes to achieve the target, it’s an indicator of the direction the government wants to move. India presently doesn’t fare well on health indicators. The policy spells out a few metrics that the state wants to focus on – under-five mortality rate, infant mortality rate, maternal mortality rate, life expectancy, number of hospital beds.

Tell me more: A National Healthcare Standards Organisation is also on cards. It would give guidelines and protocols for healthcare sector, and resolve disputes, according to the policy.

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