News in Numbers, Feb 17, 2017: TN gets a new CM, 🇪🇰🇵


What is it? The number of legislators claimed to be backing Edappadi K Palanisamy, the newly sworn in chief minister of Tamil Nadu

Why is it important? Palanisamy is expected to seek vote of confidence in the assembly on Saturday. Palanisamy’s elevation as chief minister comes after the Supreme Court upheld VK Sasikala’s conviction, which will keep her behind the bars for more than three and a half years and prevent her from contesting elections for another six. Palanisamy has mostly kept the ministerial positions unchanged.

Tell me more: Palanisamy, 63, is the 13th chief minister of the state, and the third in the last six months. He has been representing Salem district’s Edapadi constituency and was the  minister for highways & minor ports under J Jayalalithaa and O Panneerselvam.


What is it? The number of seats on Saras, the indigenous aircraft made by National Aerospace Laboratories.

Why is it important? This would be India’s first indigenous passenger aircraft. The twin-turboprop plane, 30 years in the making, could ease efforts to activate remote air-routes in the country. However, India’s home-made aircrafts have not gotten off to a flying start. The combat aircraft, Tejas, produced by Hindustan Aeronautics, proved too heavy for the Navy’s requirements, though the Indian Air Force (IAF) has adopted it. Saras would have to overcome its own grim past that includes the crash of the second prototype’s test flight in 2009, killing all three on-board. It is currently being tested.

Tell me more: The IAF has committed to buying Saras as well, and will have to test it before sale to commercial airlines.


What is it? The new entrants in the oil and gas sector that won bids in the government auction after the last one in 2010.

Why is it important? The small debutants won around 16 contract areas, or 52% of total number of blocks (31) that were awarded. Their entry will boost local oil and gas production as these blocks were lying untapped earlier. Larger players, some of whom stayed away from the auctions, concentrated elsewhere from these blocks for reasons such as these being isolated, small in size, having high development costs etc. But their development is needed if Narendra Modi’s plan to reduce oil imports by 10% by 2022 is to be realised, as these blocks would increase oil output by 15,000 barrels a day and gas production by 2 million standard cubic metre a day. A total reserve of 62 million tonne of oil and oil equivalent gas is expected to be monetised from the auctioned areas.

Tell me more: The gross revenue is estimated at Rs 46,400 crore including Rs 5,000 crore in royalty and Rs 9,300 crore in central government revenue.

$19.5-22.3 billion

What is it? Snap Inc., owner of photo-messaging app, Snapchat’s reported valuation.

Why is it important? The parent of one of the fastest-growing and widely-popular mobile applications was expected to value its IPO (initial public offering) at $20-25 billion. But it is being said the unprofitable company revised it downwards on initial investor feedback as its daily average user (DAU) growth slowed to 46% in Q4, 2016. The world of listed social media companies is already seeing two outcomes playing out: Facebook which has managed to make profits on its social media platform and Twitter which is still trying to. With Snapchat’s growth in new users, mainly comprising short-on-attention millennials, slowing, its business model could be under a cloud.

Tell me more: By valuing its shares at $14-16, Snap Inc. wants to ensure enough demand for its stock to trade up on its debut. Snapchat has a learning curve which could deter new users and keep non-users from turning to it.


What is it? The ceiling on merchant discount rate (MDR) for small merchants using a physical point of sale terminal for card transactions, as proposed by Reserve Bank of India. MDR is the rate charged to a merchant by a bank for card / digital transactions. For digital transactions the proposed ceiling is 0.3%.

Why is it important? MDR has been a point of contention in India ever since the government announced demonetisation and sought to push digital transactions by cutting MDR to zero for transactions up to Rs 2000 till 31 March 2017.  MDR’s slabs are usually based on ticket size. RBI has proposed to the banks to consider the turnover of merchants too, and charge the small merchants (with turnover of less than Rs 20 lakh, for example) lower rate.

Tell me more: Reserve Bank has also proposed that banks charge lower rate for transactions that don’t involve physical point of sale terminals that are usually supplied by the banks.

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News in Numbers, Feb 15, 2017: Jailbird

3 years, 6 months

What is it? The time left in AIADMK General Secretary V K Sasikala’s sentence in the disproportionate assets case.

Why is it important? She was convicted by the Supreme Court yesterday, which upheld the trial court verdict and punishment over a later Madras High Court judgement. As Sasikala has to surrender soon to serve the remaining sentence, the knot over the state’s leadership may finally unravel with MLAs expected to return to the floor to cast their votes.


Tell me more: Sasikala and her two relatives will have to pay a fine of Rs 10 crore each, and she won’t be able contest elections for six more years after she returns from jail (having served for four years).


2.2 million

What is it? Number of people in India and China who died prematurely from long-term exposure to the potent air pollutant particulate matter, PM 2.5, in 2015.

Why is it important? The death count equals 52% of PM 2.5’s toll on the world in 2015. The annual average PM 2.5 level of 58 µg/m3 in China and 74 µg/m3 are extreme concentrations of the pollutant, when 50% of the global population is exposed to 35 µg/m3.

Tell me more: India also saw an increase of 67%, above the global average of 60%, in ozone-attributable deaths.



What is it? Those who got sick from Ebola and infected 61% of the total stricken by the virus, called superspreaders.

Why is it important? The small count of superspreaders infecting scores of others, points to how transmission of the deadly Ebola virus could have been controlled. The West African epidemic which began in 2014, quickly got out of control, to claim over 11,300 lives and over 28,000 confirmed cases of infection. Africa’s communal burial rituals led to greater contact of healthy individuals with Ebola’s most dangerous carriers — dead bodies or the dying. Keeping these superspreaders away from others could have prevented two-thirds of the cases.


Tell me more: It was found once admitted, patients in hospitals and care centres did not transmit the virus.


Rs 111.57 crore

What is it? Tata Motor’s net profit in quarter ended 31, December 2016.

Why is it important? That’s down 96% from Rs 2,953 crore during the same quarter last year. While analysts anticipated a hit in profits, it was worse than expected. Commercial vehicles sales were down, and the margins of its UK subsidiary Jaguar Land Rover, a money spinnerfor Tata Motors, fell sharply.

Tell me more: Tata Motors sales dropped 2.2% to Rs 67,864.95 crore in the October-December quarter from Rs 69,398 crore during the same period last year.


Rs 136 crore

What is it? India’s investment in a second Hindustan Aeronautics production line to manufacture Tejas, indigenously developed light combat aircraft

Why is it important? Indian airforce is mostly dependent on import of foreign aircraft, and the additional production line will help HAL supply 16 LACs. It will replace Russian made  MiG-21 planes.

Tell me more: After a delay of over 33 years post approval, Tejas entered service last year. HAL has supplied only three of them so far, due to production constraints.

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News in Numbers – May 31, 2016


What is it? Number of people infected by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) during blood transfusions in last 17 months.

Why is it important? Indicates poor blood transfusion practices at hospitals and blood banks as by law all donors and donated blood have to be screened for infections including HIV.  Between April – September 2014, 30 lakh units of blood were donated via National AIDS Control Organization’s blood banks.

Tell me more: HIV prevalence among pregnant women – considered as proxy for general population – is estimated at 0.29% in 2014-15.

Rs 50,000

What is it?  The amount a provident fund subscriber can withdraw without having to pay tax at source.

Why is it important? The move will help 40 million subscribers. The earlier limit was Rs 30,000. Each subscriber can potentially save Rs 2,000 as tax at source is 10%.

Tell me more: At present, no tax is deducted if a subscriber withdraws after a period of five years


What is it? Increase in Tata Motors’ domestic sales of medium and heavy duty trucks in the  first three months of this year.

Why is it important? It’s an indicator of uptick in economic activity. Medium and heavy duty trucks are the mainstay for freight transport in India and Tata Motors has dominant market share in this segment of truck market.

Tell me more: The company reported a net profit of Rs 5,177 crore in March quarter, representing a threefold increase from year-ago period. Better performance by Jaguar Land Rover unit aided this performance.

Rs 350 crore

What is it? Amount spent by state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) to develop Hindustan Turbo Trainer – 40 (or HTT-40), which will take its maiden flight today.

Why is it important? The trainer was developed without any financial support or purchase commitment from Indian Air Force and the entire amount was mobilised from HAL’s internal resources. Air Force purchased 75 Swiss-made aircraft trainers for Rs 3,770 crore in 2012. It has requirement for further 106 trainers. HAL is hoping to secure a part of this remaining requirement.

Tell me more: The trainer could also be converted into a basic fighter aircraft for countries that can’t afford expensive fighters.


What is it? The percentage of consumer complaints that are pending at various consumer redressal forums and commission from district to national level.

Why is it important? Long delays defeats the purpose of consumer courts, which were designed as low cost option to redress consumer complaints. A Supreme Court appointed panel found most consumer courts are working with poor infrastructure including inadequate space and bad internet connections. The panel suggest immediate revamp of facilities.

Tell me more: Nearly three-fourths of pending cases are at district forums with pendency rate of 91%.

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