News in Numbers, Sep 19, 2016: Uri attack, value of self-driving talent…


What is it? The number of Indian soldiers killed in a militant attack in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday. Around 30 were injured.

Why is it important? It is said to be the worst attack on the Indian army in a decade by ‘fidayeen’ (belonging to a suicide squad) militants. There is usually heavy military presence in and around Uri, which a few kilometres away from the Line of Control. India suspects the hand of Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed behind the attack.

Tell me more: Four militants attacked the rear office of an Indian Army infantry installation early in the morning yesterday when there was a change in command (one unit was replacing another one). They threw grenades and fired randomly. All four have been killed.


$1.04 billion

What is it? The cost of a 588 km road construction and upgradation project that will link India to Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.

Why is it important? This is expected to help increase intra-regional trade within South Asia by 60%. This could also boost the Motor Vehicles Agreement signed by the four countries last year that looks to increase passenger and goods movement across borders. South Asia has a trade potential of $80 billion compared to the current $28 billion and its constrained by a lack of connectivity, according to experts.

Tell me more: The Asian Development Bank will fund 50% of the project cost and the initiative would cover West Bengal and Manipur on the Indian side.



What is it? India’s share of global maternal deaths in 2015, according to a report in UK medical journal Lancet. There were 45,000 maternal deaths in India last year.

Why is it important? Globally, maternal deaths per 100,000 live births decreased by 44% (from 385 to 216) between 1990 and 2015. India is one of the 5% of countries that accounted for over half of such deaths.

Tell me more:  India’s maternal mortality ratio was 174 per 100,000 live births in 2015 (from 215 per 100,000 live births in 2010). It was supposed to decrease it to 109 per 100,000 live births by last year, as per the United Nations Development Programme’s Millennium Development Goals.



What is it? The number of government subsidy schemes in which cash will be directly transferred to beneficiaries’ accounts.

Why is it important? It is expected to plug the leakages, and ensure the intended benefits reaches the target population in full. The expansion of schemes under direct benefit of transfer comes after government saw huge savings in cooking gas subsidies, even though some argue that limitations of technology leaves out a good number of the poor.

Tell me more: The government already has pilots for food, kerosene and fertiliser subsidies, and uses direct cash transfers in 74 schemes of 17 departments and ministries. It wants to increase this to 147 by March 2017.


$10 million per person

What is it? Value of self-driving talent, according to Stanford University professor and former Google engineer Sebastian Thrun.

Why is it important? Thrun, who is often referred to as father of self driving cars in Silicon valley, arrived at this number from acquisitions in the sector, which were mainly for talent. Uber, for example bought six month old startup Otto for $700 million. It employed 70 people. While the exact number can be debated, this reflects the intensity of competition among companies to win the self-driving vehicles race. 33 companies are working on autonomous vehicles, and the talent is scarce.

Tell me more: Last week Uber launched self driving cars in Pittsburg. More recently, the CEO of its rival Lyft said a majority of rides in five years will be on self driving cars.

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