News in Numbers – May 20, 2016

-0.1%

What is it? Net sales growth of 1,500 companies listed in stock exchanges in three months ended March 2016.

Why is it important? Near flat sales could be early indicator of recovery. In three quarters between March and December last year, sales of the same set of firms contracted by 5% and 7%. Consumer oriented sectors like auto, entertainment, garments and infrastructure companies performed well.

Tell me more: Fall in value of Rupee helped software and pharma firms to post double-digit sales growth.

20%

What is it? Increase in price of 1121 variety of Basmati rice in the last month to Rs 46 per kg in wholesale market.

Why is it important? The spike is due to impending rice ban to be imposed by Iran to protect its local farmers. The ban, which will be effective from July 23 this year, led to exporters signing contracts and export before the ban comes into force.

Tell me more: Basmati rice exports shrunk by 22% in dollar terms between April 2015 and February 2016. 1121 variety or known as PUSA 1121 rice is has dominant share in Basmati rice exports because of its grain length, aroma and non-sticky nature. For farmers, this variety needs less water and yields more.

260,000

What is it? The number of excess cancer-related deaths due to 2008-10 economic crisis in high and middle income countries.

Why is it important? Underlines the need for more government spending on healthcare. The 2008-10 economic crisis fueled unemployment, which in turn reduced the capacity of people to spend. This combined with absence of Universal Health Care led to deaths from cancer that could have been treated.

Tell me more: The data relates to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, a grouping of world’s richest countries.

4,700 acres

What is it? Land claimed to be owned by Sahara Group that’s up for sale now.  

Why is it important? The sale is to meet the Supreme Court conditions to grant bail to Subrata Roy, chief of Sahara group. The apex court has demanded Rs 5,000 crore to grant bail, and another Rs 5,000 crore as bank guarantee. This is after the Sahara group failed to repay Rs 20,500 crore of deposits deemed illegal by the market regulator.

Tell me more: The sale of land is spread across 14 states. HDFC Realty and SBI Capital are managing the sales.

46.66%

What is it? The pass percentage of class 10 students in Bihar. The pass rate dipped by 28 percentage points from last year.

Why is it important? The sharp dip was due to measures taken by education authorities to curb cheating. This followed after pictures of mass cheating in an examination centre in Vaishali went viral.

Tell me more: Pass percentage of boys in Bihar was 54% as compared to 38% among girls – in contrast to the rest of the country where girls have higher pass percentage than boys.

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