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.

259,685

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.

 

100

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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News in Numbers, June 16, 2016: India’s first civil aviation policy, coffee not cancer-causing…

$7 billion

What is it? The amount Didi Chuxing has raised recently.

Why is it important? This is double of what Uber had raised about a fortnight ago, leaving the Chinese company flush with $10 billion in cash – signalling intensifying competition in China. This may force Uber, which spent $1 billion this year to grow its share in China, to increase its focus on India that only makes it a tougher battle for Ola Cabs in India.

Tell me more: Uber, which received $3.5 billion funding from Saudi Arabia’s wealth fund a few days ago, is looking at the leveraged-loan market to raise as much as $2 billion. Didi has a pact with US’ Lyft, India’s Ola and Grab in Southeast Asia – to take on Uber- to use each other’s apps when customers travel to other markets in their network.

 

Rs 2,500

What is it? The maximum airlines can charge per hour of flying on regional routes, as per India’s first National Civil Aviation Policy.

Why is it important? This, along with other rules, are aimed to encouraging more people to take up air travel and boost economic growth. The policy is aimed at helping the government achieve its target of growing domestic passengers from 80 million to 300 million by 2022. India’s annual trips per capita is just 0.04 compared to 0.3 in China.

Tell me more: The other decisions include: allowing all airlines to fly international routes but they need to deploy 20 aircraft or 20% of their total capacity (whichever is higher) for domestic operations, development of ‘no-frills’ airport at an indicative cost of Rs 50-100 crore and stricter rules for making airlines fly on underserved routes.

 

1,000

What is it? The number of studies on humans and animals reviewed by an international working group of 23 scientists, after which they concluded that there is inadequate evidence to show that drinking coffee causes cancer.

Why is it important? This surely brings cheer to the millions of coffee-lovers across the world, who may or may not have known that the World Health Organization (WHO) had listed the beverage as a “possibly carcinogenic” agent for nearly 25 years. While coffee drinking has been observed to have reduce the risks of liver and uterine cancers, the evidence was inconclusive for 20 other types of cancer.

Tell me more: The scientists, however, found positive associations between drinking very hot beverages (65 degree Celsius or more) and cancer of the esophagus and it is now classified as “possibly carcinogenic”.

 

0.79%

What is it? The year-on-year decline in exports in May to $22.17 billion.

Why is it important? This is the slowest pace of contraction in 18 months, driven by exports of gems and jewellery, chemicals and engineering goods. Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the decline in exports has bottomed-out though the pick-up may be slow. The Federation of Indian Export Organisations expects double-digit growth in exports from October onwards, which could help in achieving $300 billion in exports in 2016-17.

Tell me more: Imports declined 13.16% in May to $28.44 billion, leaving a trade deficit of $6.27 billion.

 

1.15 lakh tonnes

What is it? The quantity of pulses procured by the Indian government during the kharif and rabi seasons for buffer stock creation, against the target of 1.5 lakh tonnes this year.

Why is it important? Despite this, a sudden shortage in stocks has pushed the prices of pulses to as much as Rs 170 per kg. To bring down the prices of pulses, the government has increased the buffer stock of pulses to 8 lakh tonnes for this year and the Cabinet has okayed imports of pulses from Myanmar and some African countries.

Tell me more: The food ministry has asked private agencies that import pulses to dispose off the stocks within 45 days to ensure proper supply in markets and the state governments to take action against the hoarders.

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