5 kms = 500 kms 🚌 – News in Numbers July 13, 2016

Please accept my apologies for the rather cryptic subject line. I promise it’s not some kind of clickbait. It’s a reality for thousands of our fellow citizens living in rural areas. For years there were no roads, and when the roads came, there were no inexpensive but comfortable way to go from one place to another. If the photo below is cliche, it’s a cliche because the scene is so common for a lot of people.

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One of the numbers we picked for you today hints at an answer. Let us know what you think about it.

25 paise

What is it? The amount by which Kerosene prices is likely to be raised every month till March 2017.

Why is it important? This will cut down the subsidy bill by 30% in current financial year, and also reduce adulteration of other petroleum products by mixing Kerosene. At present, the subsidy per litre of Kerosene sold is Rs 13.12. Kerosene price was increased by 50 paise in the first of this month, after a gap of nearly five years.

Tell me more: If the decision to rise Kerosene prices are implemented, it would be replication of the strategy adopted earlier to cut down Diesel subsidies. Price was increased by 50 paisa per month until all subsidies were eliminated.   

125,000 villages

What is it?The number of villages the government plans to connect by purchasing 80,000 mini-buses.

Why is it important? This will increase the mobility of people living in rural India, expanding job opportunities and market access. Government built 190,413 kms of new roads and upgraded 258,189 kms of existing roads under the Bharat Nirman program. Despite the connectivity, public transport were not available as it was not viable for private operators and state transport undertakings did not have the resources to expand.

Tell me more: The program will be 60% funded by centre, with the states contributing the rest.

6 months

What is it? The number of months Honda’s top selling scooter model, Activa outsold Splendour, which is sold by its erstwhile partner, Hero Motors. Splendour was the highest selling vehicle for 17 years.

Why is it important? Underscores the increasing share of scooters in the two-wheeler market and the foothold of Honda Motorcycles and Scooters in the Indian market. Honda now sells every second scooter bought in India.

Tell me more: Scooter sales was 5 million units in last fiscal, and accounted for a third of two-wheeler market.

823

What is it? The number of students from the scheduled castes who made it to IITs (Indian Institute of Technology) in general ranking list, up from 515 last year. 22 of them were ranked among the top 2000.

Why is it important? IITs have come under heavy criticism for its lack of diversity, especially the low numbers of students from socially backward communities. The elite institutions responded by increasing the seats reserved for students from scheduled castes and scheduled tribes – and by waiving their fees. Their growing number in general list underlines the importance of education/training interventions outside the campus.

Tell me more: 49.5% of the total 10,500 seats in IITs are reserved for various castes – 7.5% for STs, 15% for SCs, 27% for OBCs. The students who got through the general list might still use the quota to get a campus of their choice.

2,36,000

What is it? The number of dollar millionaires in India end of 2015, according to ndia 2016 Wealth Report, by New World Wealth

Why is it important? The number is expected to almost double by 2025 to 5,54,000, the report says. This in a country where almost 30% of the population live in poverty spending  less than Rs 32 a day in rural areas or Rs 47 in urban areas. Whether the wealth of the few will create the much needed jobs remains the big question

Tell me more: The report attributed the growth of millionaires to growth in local construction, financial services, IT, business process outsourcing and healthcare sectors. The wealth of 2.36 lakh millionaires adds up to $1.5 trillion, the report said.

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