News in Numbers – September 9, 2016

the-eleventh-hour-1156792

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.

 

Read More

News in Numbers, June 17, 2016: Tax on sugar exports, Amazon decreases commission rates…

20%

What is it? The tax imposed by the Indian government on sugar exports.

Why is it important? This move, which comes after sugar prices increased from Rs 30 per kg to Rs 40 a kg in six months, is expected to boost domestic supplies. Due to drought in major sugar-growing areas, India’s sugar production is estimated to decline to 25 million tonnes in 2015-16 from 28.3 million tonnes in 2014-15.

Tell me more: Of the 366 sugar mills in the country, only about 60% were operating as on March 31.

 

34.05%

What is it? Percentage of women in rural areas who were open to living with their daughters in old age, according to a 2011-12 survey.

Why is it important? This was just 24.6% as per the 2004-05 survey, reflecting the changing norm of relying only on their sons in old age. People living in the urban areas also show a similar trend: it’s now 38.94% from 28.9% in 2004-05.

Tell me more: In terms of receiving financial support from daughters in old age, the trend is similar: 41.45% of women in rural areas (versus 30.48% per 2004-05 survey) and 44.75% of women in urban areas (versus 32.87% per 2004-05 survey) were okay with the idea, as per the 2011-12 survey.

 

$24 million

What is it? The amount New-York based company Andela has raised, led by the Chan Zuckerberg initiative (CZI).

Why is it important? This is CZI’s first private-sector investment and it is leading a financing round for the first time since Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan launched their charitable foundation last December. The initiative drew criticism as it was incorporated as a limited liability company, which is not governed by the rules for a non-profit organisation.

Tell me more: Andela trains software coders in Kenya and Nigeria to help them get jobs at large technology firms. Others who participated in the funding include: GV (formerly, Google Ventures), Spark Capital, Omidyar Network, Learn Capital and CRE Ventures.

 

3.5%

What is it? The new commission rate sellers of mobile devices and tablets will pay Amazon India effective today, down from about 5.5% earlier.

Why is it important? The move could help sellers to offer products at a lower cost by bypassing foreign direct investment rules that do not allow online marketplaces to influence product prices. This is in contrast to its rival Flipkart which recently decided to increase seller commissions by 5-6% from June 20, even as it struggles to raise funds.  

Tell me more: Amazon India has reduced the commission rates for sellers on certain categories including desktops, laptops, electronic devices, movies and educational software. This comes after Amazon reportedly increased its commission rates up to 9% on various categories a couple of months ago.

 

17,540

What is it? The number of Pakistani citizens whose visas were rejected by the Indian government between January 1 to May 31 this year.

Why is it important? This is around 50% of those who applied for visa to visit India, which is significantly higher than the rejection rate of 22.2% in 2015 and 17% in 2014. This is reportedly due to increased security concerns after the attack on the Pathankot Air Force base by Pakistani terrorists in January this year.

Tell me more: The Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan has written a letter to the Union Home Secretary asking for the reasons behind the high rejection rates.

Read More