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Economy: Recovering But Slowly

Indian economy is forecasted to grow at a pace in 2017-2018 which is slowest in four years. Though, in comparison with the first six months of the current fiscal, the predicted growth is higher, and that signals that economy is recovering, but at a slower pace overall. In other news, Lalu Prasad Yadav is sentenced to prison for his role in fodder scam. That and there’s more in news in numbers today.

 

3.5 years

What is it? The number of years for which former Bihar chief minister and RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav was jailed by a special CBI court in Ranchi on Saturday in the second of the six fodder scam cases against him.

Why is it important? This is the second time Yadav is going to prison, resulting in his disqualification from contesting elections. In 2013, he was sent to jail for five years in a similar case, though he was out on bail after about three months. His legal troubles are far from over, as judgment on two other fodder scam cases is expected in about a month.

Tell me more: In the second case, the court had convicted Yadav for cheating and criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act. Last December, the court found Yadav and others guilty of fraudulently withdrawing Rs 89.23 lakh from the Deogarh Treasury using fake bills for fodder procurement between 1991 and 1993.

 

6.5%

What is it? India’s estimated economic growth rate in 2017-18, according to the first advance estimates released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) on Friday.

Why is it important? If the prediction holds, this would be the slowest pace in four years and a drop from the 7.1% registered in 2016-17. The estimated GDP (gross domestic product) growth in 2017-18, which is lower than the government’s earlier estimate of 7.5%, has been mainly hit by the 2016 demonetisation move and the rollout of the nationwide GST (goods and services tax) last July.

Tell me more: The CSO forecast implies the economy is recovering: it grew at 6% in the first six months of the current fiscal and is likely to grow at 7% in the second half. The farm sector is expected to grow at 2.1% (against 4.9% last year) and the manufacturing sector at 4.6% (against 7.9% last year) in the current fiscal.

 

25.2

What is it? The gross enrolment ratio (GER), which is the number of students enrolled in a specific level of education expressed as a percentage of the total eligible students in the same level, in higher education in 2016-17 in India, according to the 8th All India Survey on Higher Education.

Why is it important? This was 19.4 in 2010-11, which means more students are pursuing higher education. This means there will be a greater number of educated people looking for jobs in India, where the unemployment rate dipped to 5% in 2015-16, the lowest in five years. This could be an issue in the 2019 general elections, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while campaigning for the 2014 elections, had promised to provide a crore jobs.

Tell me more: The GER for women has improved to from 17.9 in 2010-11 to 24.5 in 2016-1 and that for men from 20.8 to 26.

 

30 years

What is it? The number of years that Mark Mobius would have spent at Franklin Templeton Investments. On Friday, the company announced Mobius would be retiring on January 31.

Why is it important? Mobius, 81, joined Franklin Templeton in 1987 as president of the Templeton Emerging Markets Fund. He has been synonymous with emerging markets, lifting its profile as an asset class. He made Singapore his base, and traveled about 250 days a year across the world in search of investment opportunities. His retirement had been coming since 2016, when it was announced that Stephen Dover would take over from Mobius as head of emerging market equity at the firm.

Tell me more: According to City Wire Americas, in the last five years, Mobius gave a total return of 17.9%, to be ranked 174 of 264 fund managers tracked. The best return in this set was 78.2% and the average return was 20.1%.

 

£142 million

What is it? The transfer fee paid by Spanish football club Barcelona to Liverpool to acquire Brazilian playmaker Phillippe Coutinho.

Why is it important? It brings to an end a six-month wrangling between the two clubs for Coutinho. The Catalan giants, smarting from the loss of Neymar, have wanted Coutinho since last summer’s transfer window, and had three bids rejected by Liverpool. His signing bolsters Barcelona, on the field and off the field. It leaves Liverpool with a question, though with added millions to plug it. Liverpool bought Coutinho from Italy’s Inter Milan five years ago for 7.5 million pounds, and he scored 41 goals for Liverpool in 152 appearances in the Premier League.

Tell me more: Coutinho is the world’s second-most expensive football signing, after Neymar’s move to Paris Saint-Germain, and Barcelona’s most expensive signing. Barcelona also have the third-most expensive signing of all-time, in the form of Ousmane Dembele.

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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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How infrastructure gains helped gender gains in school

This piece originally appeared on Livemint.com

 

Besides a changing society and rising aspirations, a schooling ecosystem and infrastructure that are more welcoming to girls—more toilets for girls, more women teachers, food in school, more rural and private schools—form the backdrop to this long-awaited gender reversal in school enrolments.

Where girls gained the most

The gross enrolment ratio (GER) for girls indicates what percentage of girls who should be in school at a certain level are in school. Likewise for boys. The difference between the girls GER and boys GER is the gender gap (columns 1 and 2 in the three tables below): a negative value points the needle in favour of boys, a positive value towards girls. In order to see which states made the most progress in bringing girls to school, we looked at the change in this metric between 2008-09 and 2014-15 (column 3).

 

g-charticle_gender_gains_in_school_chart_1

 

More schools with toilets for girls

All states showed an increase in the percentage of schools having toilets for girls. And the top 10 touched the North-East as well as some of the poorest states.

 

g-charticle_gender_gains_in_school_chart_2

 

Fewer schools with no women teachers

Of the 35 states and Union territories, 32 showed a decline in number of schools with male-only teachers.

 

g-charticle_gender_gains_in_school_chart_3

 

More schools with kitchen sheds

Previous studies had shown the absence of kitchen sheds was as a critical factor affecting mid-day meals and education. Storage and cooking was being done in classrooms or in the open. Hence, the importance of kitchen shades, and sizeable gains have been recorded here.

 

g-charticle_gender_gains_in_school_chart_4

 

More rural and private schools

The increase in the number schools is happening not only in urban areas and in the private sphere. Their shares are increasing, but rural has held its own, and the government, which accounts for 78% of all schools in India, has nearly matched private players in capacity addition.

 

g-charticle_gender_gains_in_school_chart_5

 

 

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