News in Numbers, July 4, 2016: Uttarakhand floods and landslides, Aadhaar enrolment…

40

What is it? The number of people feared dead due to flash floods and landslides in Uttarakhand over the weekend.

Why is it important? The toll could be higher as many people are missing and/or stranded due to the blockage of hundreds of roads by landslides. Continuous rains have added to the problem. The previous major floods were in 2013, where the state government announced that 5,748 people were presumed to be dead as they remained untraced. A report by the National Institute of Disaster Management had attributed the 2013 disaster to climatic conditions in addition to haphazard human intervention.

Tell me more: The Uttarakhand government has announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the victims’ families.

 

125

What is it? The number of people killed in a terrorist attack in central Baghdad on Saturday night.

Why is it important? The attack has been claimed by ISIS. The bombing happened a week after Iraqi security forces recaptured the city of Falluja (an hour away from Baghdad), which was used as a base to launch attacks by the ISIS militants on Baghdad.

Tell me more: It is the deadliest attack in Iraq this year and has left around 200 people wounded. This came a day after the group claimed responsibility for an attack on a cafe in Bangladesh that saw 20 people dead, including an 18-year-old Indian student.

 

9-43%

What is it? The range of error for energy expenditure recorded by popular wrist-worn fitness monitors, according to a study.

Why is it important? The demand for these devices have been going up (estimated to touch 5.8 billion by 2018), despite inaccuracies. The metrics recorded by such devices were compared to electrocardiography (measures the electrical activity of the heartbeat) readings and a portable gas analysis system that measured the number of calories burnt.

Tell me more: A total of 22 healthy people (an even split of males and females) were monitored while completing different activities such as running, walking, cycling, seated and rested.

 

150

What is it? The number of public meetings Priyanka Vadra will hold in Uttar Pradesh ahead of the assembly elections in 2017, as the likely leader of the campaign in India’s most populous state.

Why is it important? It indicates that Vadra may have a bigger role to play in the Congress, which has failed to revive under Rahul Gandhi’s leadership. The party which has been routed in the last few state elections has also had a poor performance in the state earlier: winning 28 of the 403 seats in the last assembly elections and just two seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Tell me more: Vadra has so far limited her campaigning to Rae Bareli and Amethi where Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have contested from.

 

16

What is it? The number of states in which the enrolment levels of Aadhaar exceeds 100% of the estimated 2015 adult population figures as of June 15. These include Maharashtra, Punjab, Kerala and Rajasthan.

Why is it important? It’s an indicator that migrants have enrolled for Aadhaar in states where they are employed – providing them some form of identification. The high numbers would also enable implementation of applications such as e-KYC (know your customer), payment services, e-signatures, besides helping plug leakages in government services.

Tell me more: Delhi has the highest Aadhaar enrolment rates at 127% of the projected adult population. Enrollments in Bihar and Gujarat are at 85% and 91% respectively.

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News in Numbers, June 28, 2016: E-commerce in India, committee to maintain inflation targets…

$10.2 billion

What is it? The total gross merchandise value (GMV) of the top e-commerce firms in India at the end of May 2016. GMV is the total value of goods sold excluding discounts.

Why is it important? This is just a 13.3% growth from the GMV the top e-commerce firms recorded last May – and that primarily came from Amazon India, which grew from $1 billion to $2.7 billion in a year. Flipkart’s GMV has remained almost constant at $4 billion for the last one year and Snapdeal’s dropped 50% to $1.2 billion as of June, according to numbers collected by the Economic Times.

Tell me more: Due to the festive season and the discounts e-tailers offered, the total GMV clocked was $10.5 billion in December 2015. Of the total GMV of $10.2 billion recorded in May 2016, others such as ShopClues and Paytm accounted for 22.54% ($2.3 billion).

 

14

What is it? The number of Andhra Pradesh state government departments that have shifted from Hyderabad to Vijayawada, Guntur and Mangalagiri on Monday.

Why is it important? Signals Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu’s anxiety to move out of Hyderabad (which went to Telangana following the bifurcation two years back) as early as possible. Technically, AP government can function out of Hyderabad for the next eight years, and Amaravati, the new capital is not ready yet.

Tell me more: Government departments would relocate between June 29 and July 21 to the new capital region of Amaravati. However, the Andhra Pradesh government would have to make do with a scattered set-up until the administrative city in the core capital area is developed. The state government has pooled 33,000 acres of land for the development of Amaravati.

 

6

What is it? The number of members on the panel that would be responsible for maintaining inflation targets under the new monetary policy framework.

Why is it important? The RBI has initiated the process to set this panel up, marking it as one of the major changes monetary policy saw under Raghuram Rajan.

Tell me more: The panel will have three members from RBI and three recommended by the government. The panel’s main objective is to make sure the inflation remains within the range agreed by them. Now, retail inflation is 5.76% (May). The committee may be formed before August 9.

 

20

What is it? The number of educational institutions for which the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has sought greater autonomy from the Human Resource Development Ministry.

Why is it important? A sign that the PMO believes that educational institutions need more freedom to set their own course structure, fee, admission procedures, etc. is needed to become world class. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced during Budget 2016 that easier rules would be provided for 10 public and private institutions to emerge as world-class teaching and research institutions.

Tell me more: HRD had proposed lighter rules earlier for the “world-class” institutions earlier, but PMO has now suggested they relax it even further.

 

272

What is it? The number of Income Tax Department appeals dismissed by the Delhi High Court in a recent order.

Why is it important? The reason for the dismissal was because the department failed to do something simple: correct the defects in the appeals and re-file them without much delay. The errors included: missing pages, illegible script, wrong font, lack of stamps and proper handing over of case records. The court has directed its registry to ensure that these appeals are not filed again, most of which have tax liability exceeding Rs 20 lakh, leading to a likely revenue loss for the government.

Tell me more: The court was waiting since 2012 for the department to correct the errors in the 272 appeals.

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