News in Numbers, June 21, 2016: FDI norms relaxed in 9 sectors, Flipkart sellers on strike…


What is it? The number of sectors in which the Indian government has relaxed foreign direct investment (FDI) norms.

Why is it important? The timing – coming days after RBI governor Raghuram Rajan announced that he wouldn’t seek an extension after his term ends in September – is seen as government’s measures to assuage investor concerns. The government has denied this. In any case, the move is likely to help single-brand retailers such as Apple and Ikea, defence contractors and Walmart and Tesco (which could enter retailing through the food sector route).

Tell me more: The norms have been liberalised in food trading, aviation, pharmaceutical, defence, retail and television broadcasting, animal husbandry, broadcasting carriage services and private security agencies. India has reported a 29% increase to $40 billion in FDI in 2015-16.



What is it? The share of global urban population that is unconnected, either with fixed or mobile broadband, according to a study.

Why is it important? This goes against the popular perception that a majority of the global urban population is digitally connected. What’s more, about 37% of the unconnected urban population lives in some of the wealthiest cities such as Los Angeles and Shanghai. The Middle East and African regions are the most unconnected while Europe and North America are the least unconnected.

Tell me more: In New Delhi, the proportion of the urban population unconnected is 41.6%. The study is by the Wireless Broadband Alliance conducted by Maravedis Rethink Research, a wireless infrastructure analyst firm.



What is it? The approximate number of sellers on Flipkart’s platform who went on a strike on Monday to protest the e-commerce firm’s decision to increase seller commissions to be paid to Flipkart, according to the All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA).

Why is it important? Flipkart maintains that the number of sellers on strike are only a handful of the total 90,000 on its platform. Those on strike did not process any orders on Monday and put up out-of-stock notifications against their products. They claim higher commissions would increase product prices by 20-25%. Analysts say it is highly unlikely that sellers would leave Flipkart, though if the issue is not resolved quickly, it may affect customer experience.

Tell me more: Amazon, which has around 85,000 sellers, recently decreased its commission rates for sellers in a few categories while Snapdeal, which has over 300,000 sellers, decreased the commission for sellers with specific ratings and then put a cap of 70% on discounts.



What is it? The total number of graduates (including 253 postgraduates and 5 MPhils) who have applied for five posts of porters in Maharashtra.

Why is it important? The minimum educational qualification for this post is Class IV pass. Yet, about half of those vying for these posts are graduates and above. It shows the level of unemployment in the country, the desperateness to get some job (especially government jobs) and probably the high unemployability factor in professional degree holders.

Tell me more: There have been other such instances in the recent past. Over 1.75 lakh (of a total of 23 lakh applicants) graduates, postgraduates and PhD degree holders applying for the jobs of peons and 17,000 MBAs, B.Tech and B.Sc degree holders applying for the posts of sweepers – both in Uttar Pradesh.

65.3 million

What is it? The number of people forcibly displaced in 2015, about 0.9% of the world’s population or 1 person in 113.

Why is it important? This is the highest ever since global forced displacement records began. They are driven by old conflicts such as those in Somalia and Afghanistan lasting longer, emergence of new conflicts in countries including South Sudan, Yemen and Burundi in the last five years and the slowing pace at which solutions are being found to tackle the problem.

Tell me more: On an average, 24 people were forced to flee from their homes every minute in 2015, four times more than 10 years ago (six people every minute).

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News in Numbers – September 17, 2015

News In Numbers: September 17, 2015



The number of entities that have received ‘in principle’ approval for setting up small finance banks from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The central bank had received 72 applications. Last month, the RBI gave in principle approval to 11 entities to set up payment banks and PayTM has recently announced that it would be the first one to set up a payments bank in India by the end of the current financial year. A small bank, as the name suggests, would provide basic banking services such as deposits and loans but “in a limited area of operation”  whereas payment banks cannot offer loans but would provide small savings accounts, remittances and payments services. Small banks would help in financial inclusion  would help in the cause of furthering financial inclusion by “provision of savings vehicles”, giving credit to small business units, small and marginal farmers, micro and small industries and other unorganised sector entities through high-technology, low-cost operations. The minimum paid-up equity capital for small finance banks was set as Rs 100 crore.



After 100 smart cities, the Indian government is now planning to develop 300 ‘smart village clusters’ at a cost of Rs 5,142 crore in the next three years. These would be developed as economic hubs that would offer employment opportunities, skill development training linked to economic activities, agro-processing, digital literacy, better schools, provision of piped water and sanitation, among other things. Besides this, the cabinet also approved the increase the number of days of employment under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme to 150 days from 100 in the areas that have been hit by drought or natural calamities. These two decisions are aimed at alleviating rural distress building up due to below-average monsoon in many parts of the country.The number of farmers committing suicide due to agricultural stress in certain states including Karnataka and Maharashtra are on the rise. A Crisil report says four states (Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh) and five crops (jowar, soyabean, tur, maize and cotton) “are most hurt by deficient rains”. These states contribute to over a third of India’s total foodgrain production in India.


Rs 6 lakh

Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) decided to increase life cover for its 40 million subscribers to Rs 6 lakh, as compared to Rs 3.6 lakh at present. Life insurance payments were given to 30,000 subscribers’ families in 2014-15, at an estimated outgo of Rs 180 crore. Employers, who don’t provide health cover to their employees, contribute 0.5% towards the corpus, Employees Deposit Linked Insurance (EDLI). EPFO manages Rs 8.5 trillion corpus. At 40 million subscribers, they represent mostly the organised employment whereas bulk of India’s workforce are unorganized and don’t get to benefit from this move.



23 lakh

The number of people who have applied for 368 positions of peons at the state assembly in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. Of these, over 2 lakh applicants hold at least a graduate degree. There are 255 of them with doctorate degrees too. The requirements for this position is school education and bicycle-riding skills. A peon’s position would get pay a salary of at least Rs 16,000 per month plus other government benefits. The unemployment rate in India was estimated to be 4.9% in 2013-14 and that in the age group of 18-29 years was 12.9%. The unemployment rate of people in this age group who are at least graduates was 28%. The 66th round of National Sample Survey Organisation report has estimated that Uttar Pradesh would have 1 crore unemployed youth aged 15-35 years by 2017.



The percentage of drop in central government funding allocation to Delhi for controlling vector-borne diseases between 2012 and 2015. It stands at just Rs 17 crore now. The Delhi government, in turn, has allocated a smaller proportion of funds to the municipal corporations. Of the total expenditure by the directorate of health services, the share of funds for controlling malaria and dengue has come down to less than 5% from 10%. The Delhi Health Society, set up to receive funds from the central government, had asked for Rs 2.5 crore to fight dengue and malaria in 2015-16 but received only 50% of that amount. The state government has unspent balance of Rs 19 crore from the previous year. Until September 12, over 1,800 cases of dengue have been reported in Delhi and as on September 16, the death toll rose to 13. Delhi is witnessing its worst dengue outbreak since 2010. is a search engine for public data

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News in Numbers – September 7, 2015

News In Numbers: September 7, 2015



The extent by which India’s gross domestic product (GDP) would expand if India were to have as many women workers as men workers, according to International Monetary Fund estimates. Speaking at the launch of W20, a gathering of women leaders from the world’s largest economies, including India, IMF chief Christine Lagarde said the equivalent numbers for US and Japan were just 5% and 9%, respectively. Though women account for 48.5% of India’s population, gender inequality exists in most dimensions. However, recently, India has managed to bring down gender parity in schools, where the girls-to-boy ratio in primary classes is 1.02 and 0.94 in secondary schools. Overall, India ranks a poor 127 in the United Nations Gender Inequality Index for 2013.



Percentage of respondents in a survey by industry body Ficci that are likely to plan capacity addition in manufacturing in the next six months. The current subdued investment in manufacturing is mainly attributed to delay in clearances, poor demand and high interest rates. The respondents were from 386 manufacturing units of all sizes. The survey also says that hiring will remain muted, with 79% of respondents not planning to add workers in the next three months. The number of jobs created in manufacturing declined by 4% in 2012-13, over 2011-12, according to Assocham Economic Research Bureau.  Although the growth of Indian manufacturing has been sluggish, it is the only country (besides Vietnam) that has showed expansion in August from the previous month among emerging market Asian economies.



The percentage increase in entry-level salaries of engineering graduates who will join TCS and Cognizant Technology next year. This is the first time IT companies have increased salaries of entry-level engineers in about seven years, which was stagnant at about Rs 3 lakh per year. Brokerage firm Kotak Institutional Equities estimates that this would impact the companies’ profit margins by 0.25 percentage points in 2016-17 and their earnings per share by 1-2%. IT industry grouping Nasscom estimates technology majors will hire only 30,000 people in 2015-16, 13% fewer than 2014-15. With IT companies looking at automation and other ways to reduce cost, the excess supply of engineering graduates is likely to remain a problem.


Rs 37.22 crore

The amount Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s overseas trips have cost the exchequer, between June 2014 and June 2015. Although Modi visited 20 countries, expenses related to 16 countries were provided to an RTI (Right to Information) application. About 40% of this amount was spent on two trips: Australia and the US. In his first year as Prime Minister, Modi allocated 14.5% of his tenure to visit 17 countries, while his predecessor Manmohan Singh spent 12.9% of his tenure to visit 12 countries in his first year. Of the total inflow of foreign investment in 2014-15, India received about 26.1% foreign direct investment from 12 countries visited by Modi in the same period. Indian companies invested over 53% of the total outflow of foreign investment in 2014-15 in these 12 countries.



The estimated number of leopards in India, according the first ever census of the country’s leopards. The census did not cover Gujarat, parts of Rajasthan, and eastern and northeastern parts. Leopards were counted using the same methods as those employed for estimating India’s tiger population: camera-trapping and gathering other evidence of their presence. Madhya Pradesh has the highest estimate of leopards (1,817), followed by Karnataka (1,129) and Maharashtra (905). The lead scientist of the tiger census, who presented the leopard figures last week, said there was no way of knowing whether their numbers have increased or decreased. A recent study by three wildlife scientists estimated a 70-80% decline in the leopard population in the last 100 years. is a search engine for public data

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Why is Bengaluru the graduate capital of young India?


This piece originally appeared on

Be it technical disciplines such as engineering and medicine, or non-technical subjects, this Karnataka district has the largest catchment of graduates aged 20-34—a bracketing that captures young students and working professionals—among all districts, shows recently released Census 2011 data on higher education. Even at a city level, Bengaluru compares well against Mumbai and Delhi.

India is not a graduate country—just 12.5% of the 301 million people in 20-34 age bracket have at least a graduation degree or equivalent. It also shows deep disparities—in more than half the districts, this figure is below 10%. In just 8% of districts is this figure above 20% and five of the top 10 districts are in Delhi.





Top districts and cities

In terms of the absolute number of graduates in the 20-34 bracket, Bengaluru leads all districts. But a census district is often not an entire city as we know it. It is for Bengaluru, but not for any of the four main metros. For example, Delhi is divided into 10 districts. In order to show an indicative city picture, we remapped district-level graduate data for the four main metros by ‘urban agglomerations’ (the census equivalent of a city). Even here, Bengaluru compares well against more established economic centres like Delhi and Mumbai.






Engineering and technology

Just three states account for nine of the top 10 districts: Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Maharashtra. The remaining district—Bengaluru—has the maximum number of engineering/technology graduates, more than Delhi and Mumbai put together.







Bengaluru leads all districts in medicine. It even has more graduates than Chennai or Delhi, though not Mumbai. As a discipline, among states, medicine is the most popular choice in Kerala.





Non-technical graduate degree

Delhi and Mumbai are populated with graduates without a technical qualification. They still have opportunities to tap. The same cannot be said of states such as Bihar, where most graduates have non-technical qualifications but inadequate opportunities; and when they do go out, the non-technical qualifications become a disadvantage.





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