News In Numbers – August 10

News In Numbers: August 10



After losing out to Gujarat in two of the last three years, Maharashtra is prepping itself for a return to the top of the list of states in terms of investments drawn in calendar 2015. Government data on memorandums signed in 2015, till June, between states and entrepreneurs for projects that were implemented shows Maharashtra leading Rajasthan and Gujarat. Since then, Maharashtra has beaten Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh for a $5 billion investment by Taiwanese company Foxconn, and also sealed two other significant deals with General Motors for a car factory and with the Anil Ambani group for an aerospace park.



Percentage of people in Bihar in the age bracket of 20-34 years who were graduates, according to Census 2011. Among states and union territories, this is the third-lowest, after Tripura and Assam. Chandigarh was the highest, with 28.3%. On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the BJP, as part of a broadside on his party’s political rivals in the state, lamented the youth of Bihar were forced to leave the state because it did not provide them enough opportunities for higher education. Bihar goes to polls later this year.



The lowest existing expense ratio for exchange traded funds (ETFs) in India currently. ‘Expense ratio’ is the cost of managing a mutual fund scheme, expressed as a percentage of the assets managed by it. Mutual funds are slashing their fees, or expense ratios, in ETFs–which mirror stock indices–to attract investors. Before the recent cut, the lowest expense ratio for equity ETFs in India was 0.07%, whereas the average was 0.6%. Lower expense ratio of equity ETFs is cited as an advantage over actively-managed funds. The total assets under management in ETFs more than tripled from Rs 4,283 crore in May 2012 to Rs 14,008 crore in May 2015.



Print publications are receding in the West, but not in India. Not yet anyway. The number of registered print publications grew to 105,443 in March 2015, an increase of about 12% over the March 2013 figure. Among states, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Delhi, in that order, have the highest number of registered publications. Even as the number of Internet users  increases steadily in India, the print industry still commands about 43% share of all advertising revenue. A recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers has predicted that while the global newspaper industry will continue to decline in established markets, countries such as China and India will be exceptions, accounting for 57.3% of global average daily print circulation in 2019.



The number of yoga asanas the Indian government has shortlisted in order to prevent foreign companies and individuals from obtaining patents or trademarks for ancient yoga techniques. The Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL), a unit under the Ministry of Science and Technology, is responsible for challenging claims at global patent offices. As many as 250 asanas have been video-recorded, with an aim to complete the rest in about six months. In the last five to six years, TKDL has thwarted over 200 attempts to patent Indian products/techniques. A few days ago, a British company’s bid to patent a medicinal composition containing turmeric, pine bark and green tea for hair loss treatment was foiled by India, which argued this was part of India’s traditional knowledge. is a search engine for public data


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News In Numbers – July 29

News In Numbers: July 29


3.5 years

The last reign of Japan’s Toyota as the world’s largest automaker by sales. On Wednesday, this ended when the numbers for the first half of 2015 were released, and Volkswagen leapfrogged Toyota to the top slot. Toyota was also number one from 2008 to 2010, before ceding it for a year to General Motors in 2011. In India, however, none of the top three global makers dominate the pecking order, which is led by Suzuki (global ranking of 9 in 2014) and Hyundai (global ranking of 4 in 2014).



The interest coverage ratio, a measure of the ability of companies to pay interest on their loans, of 4,797 companies from India — the lowest among countries surveyed by the International Monetary Fund. This effectively means the debt levels are at risk and could deteriorate further. Indian companies fared the worst in a recent stress test conducted by the IMF, indicating that borrowing costs and earnings would worsen if the dollar continues to appreciate. Elsewhere in the Indian economy, the total stressed advances at all banks in India increased to 11.1% of total advances in March 2015; as of December 2014, the infrastructure sector had the highest share in this.


28.5 years

The average age of startup founders in Bengaluru, according to a report by a San Francisco-based research firm. Thus, the city, sometimes termed “India’s Silicon Valley”, has the youngest entrepreneurs in the world, with an average age that is eight years less than that in Silicon Valley. Bangalore is the only Indian city to figure in this list of top 20 startup ecosystems in the world. Although Silicon Valley beat Bangalore in almost all aspects such as fund raised, number of women founders, number of employees with startup experience, the Indian city has a higher percentage of startups with at least one tech founder than the former.


Rs 32,239 crore

The loss to the government in 2014 due to counterfeiting and illicit trade in seven industries — tobacco, alcoholic beverages, auto components, computer hardware, FMCG and mobile phones — according to a FICCI report. The grey market in the tobacco industry accounted for the maximum revenue loss, nearly a quarter of the total amount mentioned above. This marks an increase of nearly 50% from 2012. Due to illicit trade, the estimated loss to these sectors increased by over 44% to Rs 1,05,381 crore in 2013-14, from Rs 72,969 crore in 2011-12.



Number of people who died in Gujarat due to incessant rains in the 48-hour period up to 4 pm on Tuesday. Banaskantha district was the worst affected, accounting for eight deaths. The National Disaster Response Force has shifted around 1,000 people to safer locations. Gujarat has received over half its average annual rainfall, of which 25% was reported in just five days till Tuesday. Last month, around 50 people reportedly lost their lives due to heavy rains in the state, with the Saurashtra region being the worst affected. is a search engine for public data


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Like General Motors, there’s a pensions bomb ticking at Indian Railways

This piece originally appeared on


One is a venerable private American institution, the other, the very definition of job safety in India. Auto maker General Motors employed close to a million at its peak, the Indian Railways, 1.65 million. When they started, in an era of low life expectancy, an employer paying pension for life was a noble HR practice. But their workforces grew, people started living longer, it turned into a cross for employers, cramping growth and possibilities.

Mounting pension liabilities contributed to pushing GM to the verge of bankruptcy during the 2008 credit crisis, before the US government bailed it out. The company has since aggressively—and painstakingly—been addressing its estimated pensions obligations, which exceeded its revenues in 2008. At the beginning of 2014, that obligation stood at $105 billion, an amount that can potentially buy it Ford Motors, Tesla Motors and Fiat Chrysler today.

GM has been offering payouts to former employees and transferring the burden to insurers. It has also shifted from so-called defined benefit plans (where the employer promises pension for life, regardless of employee contributions) to defined contribution plans (what employees receive is a function of what they contribute). And the occurrence of the words pension and pensions in GM’s annual report has come down from 433 in 2008 to 134 in 2014.

Back in 2004, the government of India also made the switch from defined benefits to defined contributions, but only for employees joining service after 2004. The Indian Railways had 1.44 million employees in 2004. It’s been setting aside progressively larger sums to fund their pension, leaving it with little to finance the expansion and modernization of the country’s rail network. And even then, its pension problem is far from over.






















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