News in Numbers – September 9, 2016

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4,845

What is it? The number of cars and vans sold by Mahindra & Mahindra in the three-month period from April to July.

Why is it important? On Thursday, the automaker stitched a Rs 2,600 crore deal to sell and finance on preferential terms vehicles for 40,000 drivers of Ola, the shared-transportation platform, by 2018. At Mahindra’s current run rate of car and van sales, that’s additional sales of nearly two years.

Tell me more: Mahindra has struggled to establish itself in the cars segment, where it is remembered more for a parting of ways with its joint venture partner Renault and for acquiring Indian electric-car marker Reva.

219

What is it? The film Pink, which hits cinemas next week, will be Amitabh Bachchan’s 219th film, in a decorated career spanning 47 years.

Why is it important? Although not as prolific as he once was—in both 2004 and 2005, he featured in 11 films, against 3 in 2015—the 74-year-old is one of the rare actors in mainstream Hindi cinema still having meaty roles come his way.

Tell me more: It’s an indicator of his enduring appeal that Bachchan has made ‘special appearance’ playing himself in 23 of these 219 films.

1.64 million

What is it? The number of two wheelers sold in August 2016

Why is it important? It’s 26.3% more than the units sold last August, and fastest since November 2011. Two wheeler sales is considered to be a proxy for rural demand. After two years of drought. India is seeing normal monsoon this year. Implementation of the sixth pay commission recommendations, which left more money on the hands of government workers is also likely to have helped push sales.

Tell me more: Four wheeler sales went up 16.7% to 258,000, a 16.7% increase that prompted Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers to increase its growth projections for the year to 11-13% (from 6-8% earlier).

> $5 trillion

What is it? The cost to the global economy from premature deaths and illnesses caused by air pollution in 2013, according to a new study by World Bank.

Why is it important? India, China and other emerging Asian economies bear more than half that burden. India lost 7.69% of its GDP to air pollution, the report said. (The equivalent number for China is nearly 10%). Air pollution is the fourth leading cause of premature deaths globally, after metabolic and dietary factors and tobacco smoke.

Tell me more: The bank arrived at these numbers by the lost work days due to premature death ($225 billion) and the welfare cost (based on what people were prepared to pay to avoid dying from air pollution ($5 trillion). The bank said the costs would be even higher if health costs were included.

$50 million

What is it? The amount online education start-up Byju’s raised in a round led by Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Why is it important? For Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a fund set up by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, this is the first investment in Asia. It will help Byju’s (founded by Byju Raveendran in November 2011 andregistered as Think & Learn Private Limited) expand to more subjects and enter US and UK markets. The startup is reportedly valued at about $470 million, and is an indication that funded startups pool is getting more diversified.

Tell me more: Byju’s has 250,000 subscribers who use the app for an average of 40 minutes a day, Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post. In the past, Byju’s has raised funding from Aarin Capital, Sequoia Capital and Sofina.

 

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