News in numbers, Dec 2, 2015: Car sales in November, deaths due to floods in Tamil Nadu…




What is it? India’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki’s unit sales growth in November compared to same period last year.


Why is it important? It rose 24.7% year-on-year last month to 121,063 units, its best-ever monthly sales – driven by festive season demand. Now, the demand is back to normal. Car sales are seen as a proxy for economic growth.


Tell me more: Last month the growth was also broad-based. Not so in November. Mahindra and Mahindra and Hyundai Motor posted double digit year on year growth in November while Honda Cars, Tata Motors and Toyota Kirloskar reported a decline.



What is it? Number of deaths in Tamil Nadu due to rains since October.


Why is it important? The southern state has been battling with heavy rains since the beginning of November. Chennai has witnessed the worst rains in nearly a century. Roads and houses in many parts of the city are flooded, traffic has almost come to a halt, flights and trains have been delayed or cancelled – in short, life has come to a standstill. The situation is also a wake-up call for the civic and urban planning authorities to ensure that hydrological factors are taken into account while planning cities and towns.


Tell me more: The situation is not likely to ease up soon given that the weather department has forecast heavy to very heavy rains in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry for the next four days.


$91.8 billion


What is it? The amount Indian government spent on climate adaptation (such as measures of flood protection, buildings in low risk areas) in 2013-14, according to a study.


Why is it important? The adverse effects of climate change has already begun to affect 800 million people in India, which is nearly two-thirds of the country’s population. The study, by IIM Ahmedabad, IIT Gandhinagar and a think tank Council on Energy, Environment and Water, says the country would experience an increase of 1-1.5 degree Celsius increase in mean annual temperature from 2016 to 2045, which would have a great impact on agriculture and crop production.


Tell me more: India needs about $1 trillion from now until 2030 for climate adaptation.


Rs 1,750 crore


What is it? The amount the Indian government is likely to grant for strengthening the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and the state regulators.


Why is it important? The food regulator had come in for criticism when the Supreme Court had struck down its advisory that required clearances for products by ingredients even if those had received prior approval. Also, the recent ban on Maggi exposed the shortcomings in the food safety and regulating mechanism in the country.


Tell me more: It remains to be seen how this amount (if approved) would be put to use because according to the regulator’s 2013-14 annual report, of the total funds available (Rs 60 crore), only Rs 42.1 crore was utilised.




What is it? Number of adolescents (aged 15-19 years) living with HIV in the Asia Pacific region, according to a Unicef report.


Why is it important? It’s a “hidden epidemic”, Unicef says. An estimated 50,000 new HIV infections among youngsters accounted for 15% of new infections in 2014 in the region. As governments take steps to end the epidemic of AIDS, the growth in new infections among adolescents would be a huge block to that effort. AIDS might dent the demographic dividend developing countries are betting on.

Tell me more: Also, a UN report says India is home to the third highest number of people living with HIV in the world at 2.1 million. This is about four out of 10 affected with the virus in the Asia Pacific region.

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How did Volkswagen fare a month after the emissions cheating scandal?

This piece originally appeared on


Despite confessing to cheating on emissions, German auto maker Volkswagen AG was not totally deserted by buyers in October, the first full month after the scandal erupted, although it missed out on the brisk growth its rivals registered. A look at the numbers.

Cars sold

Volkswagen saw an annual drop of 5.3% in global car sales in October. But it has seen worse in the middle of this year.




Cars sold by region

South America is the only region where Volkswagen is facing serious growth issues. To be sure, that was the case even before the emissions scam, and it derives only 8.3% of its sales from there. In its two main markets of Europe and Asia Pacific, October has not been a washout.



Cars sold in US

Sales in the US, the epicentre of the emissions scandal, weren’t too bad either. Volkswagen handed out $1,000 gift cards and vouchers to buyers of diesel cars. That said, its flat growth in October needs to be seen in context of the US market, where rivals General Motors and Toyota registered brisk expansion.



Cars sold in US by models

In the US, 80% of Volkswagen’s sales are accounted by the Jetta, the Passat and the Polo. The Jetta saw a sharp fall in October, while the Passat and the Golf registered growth. But the Golf’s growth in October, while in double digits, was the lowest in 2015.



Cars sold in India

In India, Volkswagen has been trying hard to break in. It now faces challenges as it revealed that 314,000 cars sold in the country had engines that are at the heart of the emissions scandal. It took another hit in September when it stopped the sale of and recalled its Polo cars for a faulty handbrake. In a season of growth for car makers, Volkswagen went into negative territory in October.



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News in Numbers – September 16, 2015

News In Numbers: September 16, 2015



The combined wealth of India’s 198,000 high-net-worth-individual (HNWI) population as a percentage of India’s GDP (in 2014-15). The world’s second most populous nation is home to the 11th largest population of millionaires. India recorded the highest growth rates in the world for HNWI population (26.3%) and wealth (28.2%), due to falling oil prices and “constructive” election results. India and China led the growth of rich individuals and wealth in Asia Pacific, which surpassed North America’s HNWI population by a slim margin and is expected to overtake it in terms of wealth too, by the end of 2015. China’s HNWI population in 2014 stood at 890,000 whose wealth rose 19.3% to $4.5 trillion, which is more than twice of India’s GDP in 2014-15.



The drop in India’s merchandise exports in August, the steepest decline in five months and contracting for the ninth consecutive month. The two main reasons for this are lower commodity prices and a weak global demand. Exports stood at $21.2 billion while imports declined 9.95% to $33.7 billion in August. India’s trade deficit marginally narrowed to $12.5 billion in August from $12.8 billion in July. The decline in exports was mainly due to a 48% year-on-year fall in shipments of petroleum products to $2.8 billion. Reviving exports is critical as it accounts for nearly a fourth of India’s GDP. S C Ralhan, president of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations has called for the intervention of the Prime Minister and the Commerce and Industry Minister to immediately consult with the export bodies and draw up a roadmap to tackle the situation where reaching last financial year’s export target was looking difficult.


Rs 1 lakh crore

The amount Indian Railways is planning to seek from the Finance Ministry for safety upgrade, after a spate of recent railway accidents across India including Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, which has brought the spotlight once again on the safety aspects of the railways. Chairman of the Railway Board, A K Mital, has said the Indian railways is preparing a “comprehensive safety plan” that includes elimination of all level crossings and strengthening of tracks and bridges. Japanese railways and companies have agreed to help the Indian government in achieving its ‘zero accident mission’. In 2014, 27,581 people died in railway related accidents, of which 9.3% were railway crossing accidents.



The number of days within which private airlines would have to present their plans to reduce “excessive” fares on certain routes to the Indian government. Junior aviation minister Mahesh Sharma said the government is open to imposing price caps if the responses of the private carriers are inadequate. He also said that the last minute fares are on the higher side and that these are giving the airlines “a bad name”. However, he added that the government prefers to settle this issue without introducing any caps or other rules. The Indian aviation is struggling with $11.3 billion in debt and just two airlines- Indigo and GoAir – made a profit in 2014-15. GoEuro, a European travel website, ranked India as the most inexpensive country in terms of air travel where it costs about $10.36 per 100 km. Recently, chairman of Competition Commission of India, Ashok Chawla, said that there is no need to put a cap on airfares and that market forces would be able to fix the right fares in an unregulated environment.


Rs 20,000 crore

The estimated revenue that the festival of ‘Ganeshotsav’ generates across India, according to a report by industry body Assocham. ‘Ganeshotsav’ or ‘Ganesh Chathurti’ is an important Hindu festival celebrated to honour the elephant-headed God, Ganesha. Terming the festival as ‘recession-proof’, Assocham said expenditure on the festival is growing at an annual rate of 30% and the number of ‘mandals’ (elaborate, artificial structures erected with idols of Ganesha) is increasing at 5-10% per year. The report says the setting up of these ‘mandals’ attract “generous contribution by people from all walks of life” and generate employment for thousands of people. A proxy of how the big the festival: organisers of ‘mandals’ across Mumbai had taken a combined insurance cover worth Rs 450 crore last year. is a search engine for public data

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