News in Numbers, Aug 11, 2016: Online census of MSMEs, maternity leave likely to increase…

October 2015: China’s Didi Chuxing invested in Ola.

August 1, 2016: Didi Chuxing buys Uber’s China unit.

Today: Uber indirectly owns Ola, which is trying to raise funds to compete with it in India!

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The confusion doesn’t end here. Do read on to know more about the quandary Ola is in. What do you think Ola should do? Do write to us.


What is it? The number of passenger vehicles sold in July, an increase of 16.78% from the corresponding month last year.

Why is it important? This is the fastest pace of growth since October 2015, fuelled by new launches in the utility vehicle segment, the upbeat sentiment due to monsoon rains boosting farm output and the rollout of the Seventh Pay Commission payout. Utility vehicle sales increased by 41.85% to 64,105 units compared to 45,191 units in the same month last year.

Tell me more: Passenger car sales increased by 9.62% to 177,604 units in July from 162,022 units in the same month a year ago, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).


Rs 1 crore

What is it? The cost of conducting a census of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). The databank would be launched today.

Why is it important? This is the first time the census of MSMEs is being carried out online, thereby saving money as the previous offline census conducted in 2008 cost Rs 50 crore. This would help the government plan development activities and incentive programmes for MSMEs in a better way. Besides, the government would launch six online finance facilitation centres today that would provide collective financing options for MSMEs. Inadequate and delayed credit is one of the main reasons for the increase in the number of sick MSMEs from 2.2 lakh in March 2013 to 4.74 lakh by March 2015.

Tell me more: MSMEs account for around a third of the manufacturing output in India. There are 47.89 lakh such firms in India as of July 18, 2016.


26 weeks

What is it? The proposed length of maternity leave in India, per the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016, that the cabinet approved on Wednesday.

Why is it important? It’s 12 weeks at present. The bill also proposed 12 weeks maternity leave for women who go for adoption or surrogacy. Legislations such as these might increase increase women participation in the labour force, which is low at 22.5% at present.

Tell me more: The government is looking to pass this bill in the current session of the Parliament, which concludes tomorrow. The amendments to the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, include facilitation of working from home and mandatory provision of a creche in firms having 50 or more employees.



What is it? The number of overtime work hours in factories in a quarter, doubled from 50, as per the Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2016. Under special circumstances, this can be increased to 125 hours through a special notification. This bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

Why is it important? Despite opposition from some members of Parliament (MPs) and trade unions from different parties, the government passed the bill on the grounds that it would help cover up the shortage in labour, especially technical, and that it is less than the upper limit of 144 hours recommended by the International Labour Organization. Some of the reasons for the Opposition MPs protesting against the bill include: it would affect fresh recruitments and employment generation and the need to pass this bill when the more “comprehensive” Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2014, which supposedly benefits the workers and provides for safety measures, was pending.

Tell me more: The bill will now be introduced in the Rajya Sabha. Itwas not tabled with the detailed amendments in the Lower House on Wednesday, which were introduced in the Lok Sabha in 2014 and then, referred to the Standing Committee. According to Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, the bill with amendments to only two clauses was introduced to facilitate ease of doing business.


Rs 64 crore

What is it? Didi Chuxing’s investment in Ola last October.

Why is it important? Didi Chuxing may have violated the shareholder agreement it signed with Ola by its recent acquisition of Uber’s operations in China. Earlier, Didi Chuxing signed a non-compete agreement with Ola, which states that it must not engage with any firm that competes with Ola as long as it holds shares in the firm or for a period of two years after it sells its shares in it. With Uber indirectly owning a part of Ola, it remains to be seen what Ola and Didi Chuxing decide to do.

Tell me more: This is the first time that a startup has faced such a conundrum: not only does it have to share its financial information with Didi Chuxing but this situation may also hamper its ongoing fundraising efforts. On top of it, three of Ola’s four largest investors have invested in Uber too.

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Who should get government welfare benefits? And who should not?

This piece originally appeared on


For Angus Deaton, the winner of the Nobel Prize for economics this year, poverty and its measurement has been an area of interest and practice, especially in the Indian context. While being critical of poverty estimation frameworks adopted by India, he makes a case for delinking welfare benefits from poverty estimates.

Interestingly, after the poverty line, the Indian government is looking to move to a new framework to determine beneficiaries of welfare entitlements. This framework is grounded in the Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC), the numbers for which were released this July for rural India.

The data visualization below shows the impact this new framework, if adopted, will have at the state level in terms of inclusion and exclusion. SECC divides households into three brackets:

Automatic exclusion: SECC looks at 14 questions relating to attributes like income, asset ownership and living standards. If a household has answered ‘yes’ to any one of these 14 questions, it is automatically excluded from government welfare schemes. Across India, around 40% of households fall in this bucket.

Automatic inclusion: It also looks at five questions related to social position and standard of living. If a household answers ‘yes’ to even one, it is automatically eligible for welfare schemes. Across India, less than 1% of households were placed in this category.

Conditional inclusion: That leaves about 59% of households. To place them, the SECC looks at seven questions on deprivation to assess a household’s social and economic vulnerability.

Scores for each household will be calculated, depending on their responses to the seven deprivation criteria. Those scoring above a cutoff could be included in the beneficiaries’ list, others left out.

In this framework, the key question will be where the government sets the cutoff. The range is wide: while 18% of households across India answered ‘yes’ to any one of the seven deprivation criteria, only 1% did so for all seven. The differences are also stark across different types of households: for instance, 45% of general households will be excluded in this framework, but only 21% of tribal households. It could well come down to a number.

Chart 1 shows where different states are, based on SECC questions. Slide the deprivation criteria filter to see the change and use the drop down to select different types of households.

Chart 2 visualizes all SECC data for all states for six kind of households. Click on smaller charts to view them in greater detail. Charts where all points are vertically aligned indicate lower inter-state variations.



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