News in Numbers, July 26, 2016: Yahoo-Verizon $5 billion deal, telcos to install more towers…

$4.83 billion

What is it? The price at which Yahoo has agreed to sell its core internet operations to telecom firm Verizon Communications on Monday.

Why is it important? This brings an end to the iconic brand and company, which was a much talked about startup before Google leaped ahead of it in overall sales in 2005. Yahoo, which was estimated to be valued at $125 billion during the peak of the dot-com boom period (January 2000), has been struggling to compete with rivals Google and Facebook. It would be merged with AOL, the firm which was acquired by Verizon last year, which is likely to help boost its media and advertising businesses. It remains to be seen how Verizon leverages on this deal.

Tell me more: Once the deal is through, Yahoo would change its name and would be left with cash, patents, its stakes in Alibaba Group Holdings and Yahoo Japan – with a total market value of $40 billion.

 

18

What is it? The number of years between Salman Khan’s alleged shooting of endangered blackbucks in Rajasthan and Monday’s High Court judgement on the case. He was acquitted.

Why is it important? This would come as a relief to the actor, who is caught in another high-profile case of drunk-driving and hit-and-run where five men sleeping on a pavement in Mumbai were run over, killing one of them. He was acquitted in this case last year though the Maharashtra government has challenged it in the apex court. Khan’s acquittal has drawn criticism from various quarters with animal rights organisation PETA saying the judgment comes as a “massive shock and disappointment”.

Tell me more: The court said the investigating authorities failed to identify the spot where the animals were allegedly killed by Khan, the carcasses of the animals are yet to be discovered and mainly, there was no evidence that the bullets recovered from the animals were fired from Khan’s licensed gun. The movie star and seven others (some of them Hindi actors) were accused of killing a gazelle and two antelopes over two days during a film shooting.

 

Rs 20,000 crore

What is it? The amount telecom firms have reportedly committed to invest to install 100,000 towers over the next one year to curb call drops.

Why is it important? This is in addition to investing Rs 12,000 crore to erect 60,000 towers over a 100-day period, of which 48,000 have been installed in the last 45 days. This comes at a time when the department of telecom is examining a proposal by the telecom regulator to impose penalty and jail term if telecom firms fail to adhere to prescribed standards. In May, the regulator had published a study that said most firms, other than Reliance Communications (for 2G) and Vodafone India (for 3G), have failed to meet the benchmark for call drops.

Tell me more: The telecom minister who met the chief executive officers of telecom firms on Monday said the government would address the main issues faced by them over the next 2-3 months.

 

53.8%

What is it? The chances of Republican nominee Donald Trump winning the Presidential race this year, according to electoral forecasts by Nate Silver, an American statistician and writer.

Why is it important? When Trump entered the race, not many believed he would even win the Republican nomination but now there is a good chance he might even become the US President. His chances of winning have nearly tripled from 18.8% on June 8 to over 50% now. In contrast, the chances of Hillary Clinton, the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party for President, winning has halved from 81.8% on June 8 to 46.2% now. Silver’s forecasts have been among the most accurate – he correctly predicted results for 49 of 50 states in 2008 Presidential elections and 50 of 50 in the 2012 polls.

Tell me more: In terms of popular vote, it’s a tight race between the two – 45.4% for Clinton and 45.2% for Trump and in terms of electoral votes, Clinton would get 261.1 votes compared to 276.6 for Trump.

 

2

What is it? The number of Rio-bound Indian athletes who have tested positive for banned substances so far.

Why is it important? Just after wrestler Narsingh Yadav failed the dope test, shot putter Inderjeet Singh was caught using a banned steroid and the news comes 10 days ahead of the commencement of Rio Olympics. This casts cloud over the initial euphoria which surrounded the reports of India sending its strongest-ever contingent of 120 athletes with the hope that it would bring back home more medals than the six it won at the 2012 London Olympics.

Tell me more: With this, the total count of Indian men to compete in 2016 Olympics comes down to 64 while the number of Indian women competing is 54.

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News in Numbers, June 9, 2016: The cost of peace, better weather forecasting system soon…

$679.8 billion (Rs 45.3 trillion)

What is it? Estimated spend by India to contain violence in 2015. It’s 9% of India’s GDP (gross domestic product) on a purchasing power parity basis, according to a study.

Why is it important? In 2014, it was 4.7% of India’s GDP, resulting in the decrease in its overall peace score. Though its ranking improved by two spots to 141 of 163 countries, the report suggests India has a long way to go to be as peaceful as Iceland, Denmark and Austria (the top three ranking nations on the peace index).

Tell me more: The index is calculated based on three broad metrics: the level of safety and security in society, the extent of domestic or international conflict, and the degree of militarisation. Global peace declined in 2015 and the economic impact of violence was $13.6 trillion in terms of purchasing power parity basis – approximately, 11 times the size of global foreign direct investment.

 

$60 million

What is it? The amount India’s meteorology office is spending on a new supercomputer to improve India’s forecasting of the monsoon.

Why is it important? The system would be 10 times faster than the current one – and make better weather predictions. This in turn would help farmers in choosing when to sow, irrigate and apply fertilisers and ultimately improve farm output by around 15%. Improved weather monitoring would also help the central and state governments in taking action during delayed or less rains.

Tell me more: Around two-thirds of India’s population depend on agriculture as their main source of income, which in turn, is heavily reliant on the rains. Annual monsoon rains hit the Kerala coast on Wednesday, easing concerns after two years of successive droughts in the country.

 

5

What is it? The number of locations (of a total of six) at which dummy terrorists reportedly managed to ‘infiltrate’ Mumbai during ‘Operation Sagar Kavach’, a mock exercise to test Indian forces’ preparedness against terror attacks from the sea.

Why is it important? Highlights the difficulties of keeping India secure, and might send the message that people in general should be more alert to the danger. The biannual exercise was started after the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks where terrorists entered the city through the sea and killed 164 people and wounded 308.

Tell me more: The Indian Coastal Guard personnel reportedly posed as terrorists and they were to transport boxes containing ‘explosives’ and ‘arms’ into Mumbai without being noticed by the coastal wing of the Mumbai police. However, five of the six Coast Guard officials managed to dodge the coastal police.

 

5,000

What is it? The number of people in India who manage to get a kidney transplant, of the 1-2 lakh people who need it every year.

Why is it important? India is one of top kidney exporters in South Asia, the leading transplant tourism hub globally, according to the World Health Organization. About 2,000 Indians are estimated to be selling their kidneys every year, many of them exported.

Tell me more:  The recent arrest of the suspected leader of an illegal kidney trading gang in one of India’s leading private hospitals (Apollo Hospitals) in Delhi brought to the fore the practices of the lucrative black market trade in the country. The hospital has claimed it was cheated by fake identification papers that passed off the victims as the relatives of the organ recipients. Eight people, including five of the hospital employees, have been arrested in this case.

Rs 10 crore

What is it? The penalty that the telecom regulator wants to impose on mobile operators besides a jail term of up to two years for their executives for any violation of regulations.

Why is it important? This comes after the Supreme Court quashed an order by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) that had asked operators to compensate subscribers for call drops (Re 1 for every call dropped with a cap of Rs 3 per day). The regulator says this would give it greater powers in protecting consumers’ interests, grievance redressal and better enforcement of its rules.

Tell me more: In case the violation continues, TRAI has asked for the provision to impose an additional fine of up to Rs 15 lakh per day till the default continues. Currently, the regulator can impose a fine of up to Rs 2 lakh for a violation.

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News in numbers, Nov 13, 2015: Telecom firms’ call drop woes, vacant faculty posts at IITs…

3.6%

What is it? Percentage by which the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), which measures growth in mining, manufacturing and electricity, grew in September.

Why is it important? Industry accounts for a fourth of India’s GDP. Fluctuating growth trends doesn’t reflect a steady recovery. More importantly, consumer non-durables shrunk by 4.6% in September, striking as an anomaly, given the ongoing festive season.

Tell me more: The manufacturing sector, which constitutes over 75% of the index, grew by 2.6% compared to 2.9% in the same month a year ago.

 

Rs 23.8 crore

What is it? Spicejet’s net profit in July-September quarter of 2015-16, as compared to a loss of Rs 310.4 crore in year-ago period.

Why is it important? This is the third successive quarterly profit posted by the airline, helped by lower fuel prices and its ability to fill seats. Nearly a year ago, the airline was near bankruptcy – there was a sudden reduction in fleet size, flights were cancelled and huge debts remained unpaid.

Tell me more: The airline, whose net worth is still in the negative, has been looking to raise funds including strategic investment.  

 

Rs 800 crore

What is it? Telecom companies’ cost implications for providing compensation to mobile users for call drops per year, according to estimates by the telecom regulator.

Why is it important? Highlights the stand-off between the regulator and the mobile service providers. The Cellular Operators Association of India and the Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India have conveyed to the regulator that this rule would force them to increase mobile service rates to cover costs. Also, estimates by these organisations are way higher at Rs 10,000 crore – Rs 54,000 crore (if 10%-50% of subscribers claim compensation for call drops).

Tell me more: Under the new norms introduced by the regulator last month, mobile users would get Re 1 for every call dropped for a maximum of three calls dropped per day, effective from January 1, 2016.  

 

75

What is it? Number of railway stations that would be made disabled-friendly by next July.

Why is it important? This would help the 2.7 crore population with disabilities – by providing them with better accessibility in not only the railway stations but in all the international airports and 5,000 public buildings where plans are on to make them disabled-friendly. The Accessible India campaign would be formally launched by the government on December 3. Hopefully, this would increase awareness about the difficulties faced by people with disabilities, encouraging the private sector also steps up to make their premises disabled-friendly.

Tell me more: The Indian government has started auditing 27 international airports and 75 railway stations to check accessibility and identify areas to be improved and made disabled-friendly.

 

10-56.7%

What is it? Share of vacancies of faculty posts across the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in 2014-15, according to data shared in response to an RTI query.

Why is it important? A consistent problem among the premier institutions in the country, 37% of faculty posts at the 16 IITs are vacant. This is a likely indicator for compromised quality in research and training and raises concerns if the move by the Indian government to set up five more IITs is a good idea.

Tell me more: IIT-Delhi, which entered the Quacquarelli Symonds’ (QS) list of top 200 universities globally for the first time, has a faculty shortage of 33.1%.

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News in numbers, Nov 13, 2015: Telecom firms’ call drop woes, vacant faculty posts at IITs…

3.6%

 

What is it? Percentage by which the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), which measures growth in mining, manufacturing and electricity, grew in September.

 

Why is it important? Industry accounts for a fourth of India’s GDP. Fluctuating growth trends doesn’t reflect a steady recovery. More importantly, consumer non-durables shrunk by 4.6% in September, striking as an anomaly, given the ongoing festive season.

 

Tell me more: The manufacturing sector, which constitutes over 75% of the index, grew by 2.6% compared to 2.9% in the same month a year ago.

 

Rs 23.8 crore

 

What is it? Spicejet’s net profit in July-September quarter of 2015-16, as compared to a loss of Rs 310.4 crore in year-ago period.

 

Why is it important? This is the third successive quarterly profit posted by the airline, helped by lower fuel prices and its ability to fill seats. Nearly a year ago, the airline was near bankruptcy – there was a sudden reduction in fleet size, flights were cancelled and huge debts remained unpaid.

 

Tell me more: The airline, whose net worth is still in the negative, has been looking to raise funds including strategic investment.  

 

Rs 800 crore

 

What is it? Telecom companies’ cost implications for providing compensation to mobile users for call drops, according to estimates by the telecom regulator.

Why is it important? Highlights the stand-off between the regulator and the mobile service providers. The Cellular Operators Association of India and the Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India have conveyed to the regulator that this rule would force them to increase mobile service rates to cover costs. Also, estimates by these organisations are way higher at Rs 10,000 crore – Rs 54,000 crore (if 10%-50% of subscribers claim compensation for call drops).

 

Tell me more: Under the new norms introduced by the regulator last month, mobile users would get Re 1 for every call dropped for a maximum of three calls dropped per day, effective from January 1, 2016.  

 

75

 

What is it? Number of railway stations that would be made disabled-friendly by next July.

 

Why is it important? This would help the 2.7 crore population with disabilities – by providing them with better accessibility in not only the railway stations but in all the international airports and 5,000 public buildings where plans are on to make them disabled-friendly. The Accessible India campaign would be formally launched by the government on December 3. Hopefully, this would increase awareness about the difficulties faced by people with disabilities, encouraging the private sector also steps up to make their premises disabled-friendly.

 

Tell me more: The Indian government has started auditing 27 international airports and 75 railway stations to check accessibility and identify areas to be improved and made disabled-friendly.

 

10-56.7%

 

What is it? Share of vacancies of faculty posts across the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in 2014-15, according to data shared in response to an RTI query.

 

Why is it important? A consistent problem among the premier institutions in the country, 37% of faculty posts at the 16 IITs are vacant. This is a likely indicator for compromised quality in research and training and raises concerns if the move by the Indian government to set up five more IITs is a good idea.

 

Tell me more: IIT-Delhi, which entered the Quacquarelli Symonds’ (QS) list of top 200 universities globally for the first time, has a faculty shortage of 33.1%.

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