News in Numbers, Dec 6, 2016: Deified and demonised in equal measure…

17

What is it? The crime rate against women (number of crimes registered per 100,000 people) in Tamil Nadu, according to the National Crime Records Bureau 2015.

Why is it important? This is the lowest among all Indian states and is one of the many social, crime and industrial indicators in which Tamil Nadu ranks among the top five. A five-time chief minister, J Jayalalithaa who breathed her last on December 5 in Chennai, played a key role in the development of the southern state. One of the decisions that made her extremely popular (and attracted a great deal of criticism too) was the record number of ‘freebies’ and welfare schemes that she doled out in the state. She was convicted in a disproportionate assets case by a special court in 2014, which was overturned by the Karnataka High Court a year later. She was acquitted of all charges. Her death now raises questions about the future of AIADMK and how this would change the dynamics of Tamil Nadu politics.

Tell me more: A former actor, she starred in over 140 films since the 1960s and was paired with the leading heroes of all South Indian languages. Popularly known as ‘Amma’ or ‘Puratchi Thalaivi’ (revolutionary leader), she was one of the longest serving women politicians and enjoyed a cult status among many Tamilians. Jayalalithaa was hospitalised on September 22 and just when the hospital authorities and her party members assured people that she would return to normal life, she suffered a cardiac arrest on Sunday and was declared dead on Monday.

 

12%

What is it? The reduction in India’s emission intensity of gross domestic product (GDP) between 2005 and 2010. Emission intensity is the volume of emissions per unit of GDP.

Why is it important? Indicates India is likely on track to keep up its promise of reducing emissions intensity of its GDP by 33-35% by 2030 from 2005 levels as part of an action plan submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Tell me more: The data is from India’s first biennial update report submitted to UNFCCC recently. India had committed to reduce the emission intensity of its GDP by 20-25% by 2020 from the 2005 levels under the UNFCCC though it is not bound by any obligations.

 

46.7

What is it? Nikkei’s Services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) in November, a composite indicator of India’s services based on a survey by Markit, a financial information and services company.

Why is it important? It has declined from 54.5 in October, which marked the first time the index fell below the 50 mark (separates growth and contraction) since June 2015. It was also the first time that the biggest decline was recorded since November 2008 after the global financial crisis hit the world economy. This is attributed to the government’s withdrawal of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes from circulation effective November 9 and is the among the first signs of indication of the impact of demonetisation on the Indian economy.

Tell me more: Sectors including financial services, hotels, restaurants, renting and business activities were hit due to the cash crunch. India’s services sector, which contributes about 60% of the country’s economy, is likely to affect its economic growth rate in the second half of the current fiscal. India’s private sector activity fell to 49.1 in November from 55.4 in October, which was close to a four-year high.

 

Rs 5,000

What is it? The minimum order value above which the finance ministry has mandated the government departments to make electronic payments to suppliers, contractors or grantee and loanee institutions with immediate effect. The earlier threshold was Rs 10,000.

Why is it important? This is one of the steps taken by the government recently to promote digital transactions, aimed at bringing more transparency and accountability, leaving a better money trail. The other steps include all toll plazas in national highways to accept payments through debit or credit cards and e-wallets (apart from accepting old notes until December 15), encouraging shop owners to use debit cards and asking government employees to use debit cards for transactions and become ambassadors for promoting digital payments.

Tell me more: Last month, the government asked all automobile manufacturers to provide a digital identity tag in all vehicles for e-payments at toll plazas and check posts and ensure their seamless movement.

 

$22.2 billion

What is it? The aid appealed for by the United Nations in 2017 for people hit by conflicts and disasters globally.

Why is it important? This is a record high, up from $20.1 billion requested in December 2015 for this year, which was later increased to $22.1 billion. However, donors managed only over half of this amount this year, raising questions about how much next year would bring in. This is the largest funding gap ever. Indicates that the extent of humanitarian crises is rapidly increasing and probably, lasting longer; the situation is only likely to worsen with climate change and natural disasters predicted to become more frequent and severe.

Tell me more: The amount requested for next year is to help 93 million people who are the most vulnerable across 33 countries. There are over 128 people who are affected by natural disasters, conflict and displacement. Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan, three war-torn countries alone account for a third of all the people in need of help.

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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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