News in Numbers, Mar 28, 2017: Aadhaar, again 🔒

0.60 degree-C

What is it? The rise in India’s mean temperature over the last 110 years.

Why is it important? India’s climate is not immune to global warming that has increased land and ocean surface temperatures by 0.85 degree-Celsius. On India’s plate was extreme weather events such as heat waves which rose in the last 30 years.

Tell me more: Pointing to this increase in a Rajya Sabha reply, the ministry of state for environment, forest and climate change, said it would focus on afforestation and renewable energy to combat the ill effects of global warming.

 

6,604 km

What is it? The length of National Highways constructed in FY17, till end of February.

Why is it important? In 11 months of this fiscal, the government has been able to achieve only 44% of its target for FY17 of 15,000 km of National Highways construction.

Tell me more: Unlike previous years, when anywhere between 76% and 99% of funds allocated for National Highways were used, this year, only 62% were utilised, albeit with a higher absolute value than the last three years.

 

1,200

What is it? The number of people Flipkart intends to hire this year.

Why is it important? The largest e-commerce company in India made the announcement on the heels of a $1-billion round of funding. The move could be seen as Flipkart turning a page after last year’s fiasco of delayed joining dates at IIT campuses. The news will also provide a ray of hope in the tech sector which has seen a spate of job cuts in 2017.

Tell me more: Flipkart’s hiring plans are 20-30% higher than last year’s and is a departure from its recent practice of depending on temporary staff to manage peak seasonal demand.

 

4.19 lakh

What is it? The number of prisoners in India’s 1401 jails, according to National Crime Records Bureau data.

Why is it important? India’s home ministry has now directed the state governments and director general of prisons to get all prisoners registered for Aadhaar, India’s biometric identification and authentication programme. Biometric authentication could help manage some prison activities better – including parole, transport and appearance before the court. It could eventually help in post-release rehabilitation of prisoners, a much neglected issue in India.

Tell me more: Home ministry has also directed that visitors be identified by Aadhaar.

 

$130 billion

What is it? The value of merged US chemical giants Dow and DuPont.

Why is it important? European Commission approved their merger on Monday. The companies had to agree to heavy concessions including sale of large parts of DuPont’s pesticide business to address EC’s concerns about competition and innovation. Post merger, it will be split to three firms focussing on agriculture, materials and specialty products.

Tell me more: This is one of the three big mergers in the sector that were awaiting EC’s go ahead. The other two are Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto and ChemChina’s $43 billion bid for Syngenta.

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News in Numbers – September 7

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Rs 249

What is it? The monthly price at which state-owned BSNL is offering unlimited usage broadband connection on a landline.

Why is it important? BSNL’s offer comes in the wake of Reliance Jio shaking up the Internet access segment, offering 4G wireless services free till December and subsequently at an effective cost of Rs 50 per GB. As of April, BSNL was number one in broadband in the landline segment (9.9 million subscribers) and number five in mobile broadband (10.6 million).

Tell me more: BSNL will offer a speed of 2Mbps for 1 GB of data and 1 Mbps subsequently. This offer is for six months, after which subscribers will move to a BSNL plan with less generous terms.

8

What is it? Number of additional teams that Gianni Infantino, president of the world soccer governing body, is pitching for in the 2026 FIFA World Cup—from the current 32 to 40.

Why is it important? More teams means greater viewer interest—and commercial value—in the event around the world. But it can also entail a format rejig, potentially translating into a longer tournament and even fewer matchups between top teams.

Tell me more: After staying constant at 16 for nearly five decades, the number of teams in the World Cup increased to 24 in 1982 and then to 32 in 1998.

15,000 cusecs 

What is it? The amount of water to be released by Karnataka per day for the next 10 days to Tamil Nadu, per Supreme Court order on Tuesday.

Why is it important? Violent protests erupted in Karnataka almost immediately after the Supreme Court delivered its verdict. This adversely impacted the inter-state movement of people as Tamil Nadu registered buses were stopped from crossing the border fearing safety of passengers and buses.

Tell me more: As per the final verdict of Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, Karnataka has to release 192 thousands million cubic feet of water to Tamil Nadu. It specified how much should be released each month. The problem arises when monsoon is deficit like this year so far. The tribunal only stated water share should be proportionately reduced, but did not spell out a formula.

6

What is it? The number of Karnataka-based schools that lost their CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) affiliation because they produced fake minority certificates to circumvent Right to Education Act provisions.

Why is it important? RTE Act stipulates that 25% of the seats be reserved for economically backward and disadvantaged sections of the society. While it highlights CBSE’s tough stance, the incident also reflects the extent to which educational institutions flout rules. It comes a day after an UNESCO report warned that India will be late by 50 years in achieving its education goals.

Tell me more: The six schools – five based in Bangalore and one in Mysore – belong to National Public Schools group.

$65 billion

What is it? German pharma and crop chemical giant Bayer’s bid for agro-biotech major Monsanto

Why is it important? If it goes through, it will be the biggest ever corporate takeover in cash. The deal would also reflect the consolidation taking place in farm supplies sector. Bloomberg points out  China National Chemical Corp agreed to buy Swiss seed company Syngenta, and  DuPont and Dow Chemical plan a crop-science unit post merger. Monsanto tried buying Syngenta earlier, and was in talks with BASF, world’s largest chemical producer to buy its agro chemicals unit.

Tell me more: Bayer offered to pay $122 a share in May, increased it to $125/share in July. Now it stands at $127.50/share (i.e $65 billion overall) and some analysts expect it to go even higher.

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