News in Numbers, Oct 14, 2016: The Times They Are a-Changin’…

Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for Literature got mixed reactions: some totally excited, some surprised while others critical. One of the numbers in today’s edition is interesting as it indicates the kind of influence he wielded through his songs. To those questioning the decision to award him this honour, ‘How many songs must he sing for you before you call him worthy of this?’ ‘The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind’!

Just kiddin’!

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What is it? The number of references to American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan’s lyrics in medical papers, according to a study.

Why is it important? It is an indicator of his influence. His songs not only reflected American culture but also helped shape it. According to a 2012 study, Dylan has been cited the most by judges at all levels in the country’s judicial system. He is the first singer-songwriter to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Some have questioned the decision.

Tell me more: Some of his songs include: “Blowing’ in the Wind”, “Subterranean Homesick Blues”, “Like a Rolling Stone” and “The Times They Are a-Changin’”.


What is it? Retail inflation rate in September, down from 5.05% in August.

Why is it important? This is the lowest in 13 months. This is due to a sharp fall in food prices (vegetables, fruits and pulses) – food inflation fell to 3.88% in September from 5.91% in the previous month. With strong crop sowing due to good rains, food prices are expected to be moderate in the coming months and it remains to be seen if this prompts the apex bank’s recently constituted monetary policy committee to go for another rate cut this financial year.

Tell me more: The committee cut repo rate (the rate at which the central bank lends to other banks) by 25 basis points (one-hundredth of a percentage point) to 6.25% earlier this month.


$1.05 billion

What is it? The investment into venture-backed capital companies in India in the July-September quarter this year, according to a report.

Why is it important? This is 69% lower than the investments recorded in the same period a year ago – $3.41 billion across 156 deals. However, the investments in the September quarter were nearly double than those in the previous quarter ($584 million). Though investments have declined compared to a year ago, investors have focused on companies with “clear business models” and “greater profitability potential”, according to the report.

Tell me more: Globally, venture-backed capital companies raised$24.1 billion across 1,983 deals, which was at a two-year low, as per the report by KPMG International and CB Insights. Compared to 25 companies that were valued at a billion dollars (popularly known as unicorns) between July and September 2015, just eight companies touched or crossed that level in the last quarter.


Rs 19,379.1 crore

What is it? The amount 21 companies have raised via initial public offerings (IPOs) in the January-September period of this year.

Why is it important? This is the highest amount raised during this period since 2007 when companies raised Rs 28,993.65 crore across 81 IPOs. The positive sentiment seems to be a result of a good monsoon after two years of successive drought, slowing inflation rates, expected boost to consumption demand due to pay and pension hikesto former and current government employees and the possibility of a faster economic growth than the 7.6% (which was at a 5-year high) recorded in the previous financial year.

Tell me more: The amount raised in the first nine months of 2016 is about triple the amount (Rs 6,346.01 crore) raised by 15 companies in 2015 and nearly 23 times that raised (Rs 850.51 crore) by four companies in 2014.


2.8 million

What is it? The number of new tuberculosis (TB) patients in India in 2015, higher than 2.2 million in 2014, according to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Why is it important? This is higher than any other country and accounts for over a fourth of the global estimates. The WHO increased India’s estimates from 1.7 million and 1.6 million new and relapse cases in 2015 and 2014 respectively. The change in estimates reflect the difficulty in getting accurate numbers. India is planning to conduct a prevalence study over the next three years to get a better picture. It is looking to provide free medicines and diagnostic tools to patients under private medical care just as it does for patients getting assistance from government-run programmes.

Tell me more: India’s estimates, which have been revised, have impacted the global figures: there were estimated 10.4 million new TB patients in 2015. The low estimates in India seems to be due to underreporting of cases in the private sector. The disease, which has been curable for decades, claimed the lives of an estimated 1.4 millionin 2015.

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