News in numbers, Nov 13, 2015: Telecom firms’ call drop woes, vacant faculty posts at IITs…



What is it? Percentage by which the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), which measures growth in mining, manufacturing and electricity, grew in September.


Why is it important? Industry accounts for a fourth of India’s GDP. Fluctuating growth trends doesn’t reflect a steady recovery. More importantly, consumer non-durables shrunk by 4.6% in September, striking as an anomaly, given the ongoing festive season.


Tell me more: The manufacturing sector, which constitutes over 75% of the index, grew by 2.6% compared to 2.9% in the same month a year ago.


Rs 23.8 crore


What is it? Spicejet’s net profit in July-September quarter of 2015-16, as compared to a loss of Rs 310.4 crore in year-ago period.


Why is it important? This is the third successive quarterly profit posted by the airline, helped by lower fuel prices and its ability to fill seats. Nearly a year ago, the airline was near bankruptcy – there was a sudden reduction in fleet size, flights were cancelled and huge debts remained unpaid.


Tell me more: The airline, whose net worth is still in the negative, has been looking to raise funds including strategic investment.  


Rs 800 crore


What is it? Telecom companies’ cost implications for providing compensation to mobile users for call drops, according to estimates by the telecom regulator.

Why is it important? Highlights the stand-off between the regulator and the mobile service providers. The Cellular Operators Association of India and the Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India have conveyed to the regulator that this rule would force them to increase mobile service rates to cover costs. Also, estimates by these organisations are way higher at Rs 10,000 crore – Rs 54,000 crore (if 10%-50% of subscribers claim compensation for call drops).


Tell me more: Under the new norms introduced by the regulator last month, mobile users would get Re 1 for every call dropped for a maximum of three calls dropped per day, effective from January 1, 2016.  




What is it? Number of railway stations that would be made disabled-friendly by next July.


Why is it important? This would help the 2.7 crore population with disabilities – by providing them with better accessibility in not only the railway stations but in all the international airports and 5,000 public buildings where plans are on to make them disabled-friendly. The Accessible India campaign would be formally launched by the government on December 3. Hopefully, this would increase awareness about the difficulties faced by people with disabilities, encouraging the private sector also steps up to make their premises disabled-friendly.


Tell me more: The Indian government has started auditing 27 international airports and 75 railway stations to check accessibility and identify areas to be improved and made disabled-friendly.




What is it? Share of vacancies of faculty posts across the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in 2014-15, according to data shared in response to an RTI query.


Why is it important? A consistent problem among the premier institutions in the country, 37% of faculty posts at the 16 IITs are vacant. This is a likely indicator for compromised quality in research and training and raises concerns if the move by the Indian government to set up five more IITs is a good idea.


Tell me more: IIT-Delhi, which entered the Quacquarelli Symonds’ (QS) list of top 200 universities globally for the first time, has a faculty shortage of 33.1%.

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