News in Numbers – May 31, 2016

2,234

What is it? Number of people infected by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) during blood transfusions in last 17 months.

Why is it important? Indicates poor blood transfusion practices at hospitals and blood banks as by law all donors and donated blood have to be screened for infections including HIV.  Between April – September 2014, 30 lakh units of blood were donated via National AIDS Control Organization’s blood banks.

Tell me more: HIV prevalence among pregnant women – considered as proxy for general population – is estimated at 0.29% in 2014-15.

Rs 50,000

What is it?  The amount a provident fund subscriber can withdraw without having to pay tax at source.

Why is it important? The move will help 40 million subscribers. The earlier limit was Rs 30,000. Each subscriber can potentially save Rs 2,000 as tax at source is 10%.

Tell me more: At present, no tax is deducted if a subscriber withdraws after a period of five years

26%

What is it? Increase in Tata Motors’ domestic sales of medium and heavy duty trucks in the  first three months of this year.

Why is it important? It’s an indicator of uptick in economic activity. Medium and heavy duty trucks are the mainstay for freight transport in India and Tata Motors has dominant market share in this segment of truck market.

Tell me more: The company reported a net profit of Rs 5,177 crore in March quarter, representing a threefold increase from year-ago period. Better performance by Jaguar Land Rover unit aided this performance.

Rs 350 crore

What is it? Amount spent by state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) to develop Hindustan Turbo Trainer – 40 (or HTT-40), which will take its maiden flight today.

Why is it important? The trainer was developed without any financial support or purchase commitment from Indian Air Force and the entire amount was mobilised from HAL’s internal resources. Air Force purchased 75 Swiss-made aircraft trainers for Rs 3,770 crore in 2012. It has requirement for further 106 trainers. HAL is hoping to secure a part of this remaining requirement.

Tell me more: The trainer could also be converted into a basic fighter aircraft for countries that can’t afford expensive fighters.

91.22%

What is it? The percentage of consumer complaints that are pending at various consumer redressal forums and commission from district to national level.

Why is it important? Long delays defeats the purpose of consumer courts, which were designed as low cost option to redress consumer complaints. A Supreme Court appointed panel found most consumer courts are working with poor infrastructure including inadequate space and bad internet connections. The panel suggest immediate revamp of facilities.

Tell me more: Nearly three-fourths of pending cases are at district forums with pendency rate of 91%.

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News in numbers, Apr 25, 2016: Mixed signs of economic recovery, judge-population ratio…

13.8%

What is it? The year-on-year net profit growth of 60 companies in the January-March 2016.

Why is it important? This is the lowest in four quarters, though it is better than the 10.6% growth a year ago. The analysis of companies that have declared their fourth quarter results so far indicates mixed signs of economic recovery. The net profit growth numbers disappointed observers, but the combined revenue growth at 0.6% the highest in seven quarters provided some cheer.

Tell me more: A better picture would emerge after key manufacturing and infrastructure companies declare their results. This sample of companies analysed includes some of the biggest companies in India – Reliance Industries, Infosys, HDFC Bank, Wipro – which account for a majority of the combined net profit and revenues in the three months to March 2016.

15

What is it? The number of judges for every 10 lakh population in India.

Why is it important? Lack of judges is one of the main factors for India’s slow justice system. It has serious economic costs too. A survey by Bengaluru-based NGO Daksh estimated that the loss of wages and business for litigants attending lower court hearings, in addition to legal fees and other costs works out to be over Rs 80,000 crore a year, 0.7% of India’s GDP in 2015-16.

Tell me more: The Supreme Court has six vacancies while as of February 29, the High Courts had 464 vacancies of judges. This has resulted in high pendency of cases – as of February 19, 59,468 cases were pending before the apex court; around 45 lakh cases pending before all 24 high courts and 2.75 crore cases before the trial courts as reported in early January.

750

What is it? The number of complaints against private universities received by the Indian government and University Grants Commission (UGC) in the last three years.

Why is it important? The government and UGC have stepped up their scrutiny of private universities, which are loosely regulated and enjoy a great amount of freedom in their operations. The challenge for India is to improve the quality of higher education even as it aims to increase gross enrolment ratio to 30% by 2020 from 23.6% in 2014-15.

Tell me more: The complaints – including on fake degrees and irregularities in finance – have seen a threefold increase in the last couple of years.

~ $1 billion

What is it? The value of offshore loans, which SSG Capital Management, a Hong Kong-based distressed-asset investor, is reportedly interested in buying from Standard Chartered’s India portfolio. It’s the only firm that has shown interest so far.

Why is it important? Indicates tepid response to the sale of distressed assets in India as banks scramble to clean their balance sheets before the March 2017 deadline set by the central bank.

Tell me more: Standard Chartered’s sale of India loans was reported about a fortnight ago. The Hong Kong-based firm is also seeking a 30% discount on the value of the assets.

2

What is it? The number of people killed in a gun battle between two rival groups at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) during the weekend.

Why is it important? AMU is ranked among the top 10 universities in India, and it comes on the back of unrest at Jawharlal Nehru University and Hyderabad University. The AMU incident was said to be due to groupism, which also resulted in the destruction of 28,000 students records in fire.

Tell me more: Reports say that trouble began when a hostel student was assaulted and an attempt was made to set his room afire. Following the student’s complaint to the proctor against this, a rival gang arrived with weapons and both the groups resorted to firing at each other.

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