News in Numbers, Jan 18, 2017: Stirring the ready-to-cook pot

$25 million

What is it? The cost of 25% stake in a ready-to-cook food company, ID Fresh Foods, paid by Premji Invest, the investment firm of Wipro-owner Azim Premji.

Why is it important? With the increase in nuclear and double-income families, demand for ready-to-cook products is expected to grow faster and this has attracted investors wanting to tap this market. ID Fresh Foods had secured investment from Helion Ventures two years ago. Premji’s investment values it at $100 million. This would be Premji Invest’s fifteenth largest investment.

Tell me more: Premji Invest manages assets over $2 billion across 50 companies and has invested in companies such as Amagi Media Labs (over $500 million) and Lenskart ($115 million). ID Fresh Foods was started by IIM-Bangalore-alumnus PC Musthafa in 2006.

2

What is it? The number of Indian Police Service (IPS) officers compulsorily retired by the home ministry after a performance review.

Why is it important? It is a rare instance of performance-related rap for bureaucrats, the first removal in the last 10-15 years of IPS officers. The state cadres removed them for poor performance based on their service records, complaints and senior reviews.

Tell me more: Rule 16(3) of the All India Services (Death-cum-Retirement) Benefits Rules, 1958 provides for a service review, in consultation with the state government, of All India Services officers completing 15 and 25 years of service or attaining 50 years of age. Centre may also ask for such a review irrespective of the service years.
4 months

What is it? Remaining prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, after the rest of it was commuted by US President Barack Obama. Manning is a US army intelligence expert convicted of leaking America’s diplomatic and military activities in 2010.

Why is it important? The commutation marks a reversal of President Obama’s policy of actively pursuing criminal prosecution of people involved in leaking government secrets. With three days left in his presidency, Obama also pardoned 63 and commuted sentences of 208 prisoners, mostly drug offenders. Chelsea, who has spent seven years in jail, was originally serving a 35-year imprisonment.

Tell me more: Obama has granted clemency in only 3.7% of the total petitions received (35,944) till December 31, 2016. This compares favourably with George W.Bush who granted clemency only to 0.02% of applications in his eight-year tenure.
23

What is it? Number of railway stations that will be redeveloped and modernised by private companies at a cost of Rs 4,000 crore.

Why is it important? After announcing plans to redevelop 44 stations more than a year back, Indian Railways has roped in Bansal Construction to modernise Habibganj station near Bhopal. Work is expected to start from March this year. With the state-run monopoly not having resources to invest in modernisation of railway stations, the centre is roping in private players to redevelop the stations. In lieu, private players get to develop surplus land near the station on a lease of 45 years.

Tell me more: Railways have identified 332 stations for redevelopment and modernisation based on passenger earnings.
1,050

What is it? The number of village panchayats which will have free WiFi hotspots in three years.

Why is it important? It underlines the government’s efforts to speed up digitisation, especially with an eye on going cashless. Previously, the telecom secretary mentioned the target of making all gram panchayats WiFi-enabled. In December, Members of the Parliament were permitted to use their allocated funds to set up WiFi hotspots in villages and educational institutions.

Tell me more: Over Rs 400 crore would be spent in the first leg spanning three years in public-private partnerships.

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NGOs on notice: Getting to the bottom of the foreign funding tangle

This piece originally appeared on Livemint.com

 

In October, the ministry of home affairs (MHA) sent notices citing violations to 10,307 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) out of the 40,139 registered under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 (FCRA). The notices indicated that the NGOs hadn’t filed annual returns for the years 2009-10, 2010-2011 and 2011-12.

This April, according to an MHA communication, 8,975 NGOs were deemed ineligible to receive foreign funds and their licences suspended. Which are these NGOs, where are they based and what do they do? Is the MHA targeting certain non-profits because their work is rights-based, advocacy-related or have a religious agenda? Granular data for all 8,975 NGOs was not available. We were able to match 7,936 NGOs on the MHA’s website. Here’s a break-up.

By Activity

Non-profits with a licence to receive funding under FCRA must self-classify based on their primary activity. An NGO can list more than one activity, but we have taken into account the first listed. The five categories are social, cultural, religious, educational and economic. Only 28% of NGOs listed their primary activity as “economic” or “educational”. “Cultural” was listed by 24%, while 28% cited “social” as their primary activity. Is there a targeting of NGOs based on their activity? An analysis suggests otherwise: “religious” NGOs account for 18% of notices received, but the category itself accounts for 21% of NGOs listed under FCRA. It’s only in the “social” category that the notices received exceeded their overall share.

 

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By states

Fifteen states and Union territories accounted for 93% of the 40,139 NGOs with FCRA registration. Tamil Nadu has the maximum number of NGOs, followed by Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

 

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NGOs with FCRA registration from 24 states received notices. These can be divided into two categories: states whose share of notices exceeded their share in the total registered pie (depicted as a “positive differential” in the graphic below). For example, Uttar Pradesh, a non-BJP ruled state, accounts for 7.9% of all FCRA-registered NGOs in India, but it received 14% of all notices, resulting in a positive differential of 6.1 percentage points. There are nine such states, and eight of them have non-BJP governments. In the second category are the 14 states whose share of notices was lower than their share in the overall FCRA pie—a negative differential. The BJP or its allies were in power in eight of them. Gujarat has a zero differential.

 

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By religion

In their disclosures to the MHA, NGOs also need to indicate their faith if their listed activity is religion. About 78% of all religious NGOs that receive funding are Christian, which is about the same percentage as the religious NGOs who received notices from the MHA. In this set, only NGOs that follow Islam received notices in excess of their overall share. Further, among the top 10 states by notices to religious NGOs, there was no difference in the number of NGOs registered and notices received.

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By social

For NGOs classified as religious, economic, educational and cultural, the notices sent were largely in line with overall figures (see “By Activity” graphic). It’s primarily the “social” NGOs that saw a larger percentage of NGOs receiving notices compared with their presence in their respective states.

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