News in Numbers, Nov 30, 2016: Security breach…


What is it? The number of Indian Army personnel killed in a terrorist attack in Nagrota near Jammu on Tuesday.

Why is it important? This is the biggest attack on an Indian Army unit since the attack in Uri when 17 army men were killed on September 18. Heavily-armed terrorists stormed into an army unit and their attempt to create a hostage-like situation was foiled by the Indian army – 16 people were rescued. Three terrorists were killed in this incident. This raises questions as to how the terrorists managed to travel to Nagrota, if the security measures taken by India are adequate and how effective surgical strikes carried out by India in late September have been in deterring militant groups operating from across the border.

Tell me more: In another strike, terrorists attacked a Border Security Force patrol at Chamliyal (Samba district) where four army personnel were injured. Again, three terrorists were gunned down here.


$5.54 billion

What is it? Flipkart’s valuation, according to a mutual fund managed by Morgan Stanley, one of the e-commerce firm’s investors.

Why is it important? Morgan Stanley has slashed down the value of its shares by about 38.2% to $52.13 a share from $84.29 a share in the June quarter. The e-commerce firm’s valuation is down from $9 billionin the June quarter and is about a third of its valuation ($15 billion) when it last raised funds in July 2015. This is the fourth time the investor has marked down the value of its shares in the last nine months and comes at a time when Flipkart is looking to raise funds (reportedly, about $500 million to $1 billion) by the end of the year to compete with cash-rich Amazon in India.

Tell me more: Two other investors Valic and Fidelity marked down the value of their shares in Flipkart earlier this month by 11.3% and 3.2% respectively for the quarter ended August. Meanwhile, Flipkart Internet’s vice-president and private label head Mausam Bhatt and senior vice-president of engineering Peeyush Ranjan have quit the company. At least seven Flipkart employees (at the level of senior vice-president) have left the company this year.



What is it? The number of seats the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won out of a total of 123 in local bodies elections in different parts of Gujarat.

Why is it important? This comes about a year ahead of the state elections in Gujarat and at a time when people seem to be polarised on the issue of demonetisation. This was by gaining 40 seats from the Congress, which managed to bag just 17 seats. The victory follows BJP winning 851 of 3,705 seats across 147 municipal councils and 17 panchayats in Maharashtra. The party’s candidates also won in 52 councils in the state. BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi attributed the victories to people supporting its demonetisation move.

Tell me more: Five states – Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur and Goa – are due for elections early next year and it remains to be seen how BJP fares in these polls.


$58 billion

What is it? Loss to India’s economy due to road accidents every year, according to a study by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

Why is it important? This translates to about 3% of India’s gross domestic product (GDP) annually. It follows Japan ($63 billion) in value terms among 19 countries covered by the study in the Asia Pacific region while in terms of percentage to GDP, it comes behind Iran (6%). Last year saw the greatest increase in the number of accidents in five years. On an average, 55 accidents were recorded per hour killing 15 people (or one death every four minutes). The top 13 states account for 86.7% of all road accidents in India.

Tell me more: In the Asia Pacific region, 15,000 lives are lost due to road accidents per week (or one person every 40 seconds) and the loss to the GDP of these countries is $293,568 million annually.


Rs 18,110 crore

What is it? The potential additional costs Indian banks would have to bear annually due to the central bank’s introduction of incremental cash reserve ratio (CRR) of 100% on all deposits between September 16 and November 11, according to CARE Ratings.

Why is it important? This means despite a surge in deposits following the government’s demonetisation move, banks would not be able to earn on them either by lending or investing in government securities and instead, would have to bear additional costs. This is likely to hurt the finances of banks, which are already reeling under increasing bad loans. Before the CRR move, there were hopes that banks would cut lending rates after they reduced the deposit rates but now, there is uncertainty as to what would follow. It remains to be seen if there is a cut in interest rates in the next monetary policy review on December 9.

Tell me more: The incremental deposits with the banks during the period mentioned above were around Rs 3.24 lakh crore and CARE Ratings estimates the banks’ potential earnings to have increased by around Rs 25,205 crore (from lending and investments in government-securities). The difference between earnings from these incremental deposits and costs incurred would have been around Rs 7,100 crore.

Read More

News in Numbers, Sep 19, 2016: Uri attack, value of self-driving talent…


What is it? The number of Indian soldiers killed in a militant attack in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday. Around 30 were injured.

Why is it important? It is said to be the worst attack on the Indian army in a decade by ‘fidayeen’ (belonging to a suicide squad) militants. There is usually heavy military presence in and around Uri, which a few kilometres away from the Line of Control. India suspects the hand of Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed behind the attack.

Tell me more: Four militants attacked the rear office of an Indian Army infantry installation early in the morning yesterday when there was a change in command (one unit was replacing another one). They threw grenades and fired randomly. All four have been killed.


$1.04 billion

What is it? The cost of a 588 km road construction and upgradation project that will link India to Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.

Why is it important? This is expected to help increase intra-regional trade within South Asia by 60%. This could also boost the Motor Vehicles Agreement signed by the four countries last year that looks to increase passenger and goods movement across borders. South Asia has a trade potential of $80 billion compared to the current $28 billion and its constrained by a lack of connectivity, according to experts.

Tell me more: The Asian Development Bank will fund 50% of the project cost and the initiative would cover West Bengal and Manipur on the Indian side.



What is it? India’s share of global maternal deaths in 2015, according to a report in UK medical journal Lancet. There were 45,000 maternal deaths in India last year.

Why is it important? Globally, maternal deaths per 100,000 live births decreased by 44% (from 385 to 216) between 1990 and 2015. India is one of the 5% of countries that accounted for over half of such deaths.

Tell me more:  India’s maternal mortality ratio was 174 per 100,000 live births in 2015 (from 215 per 100,000 live births in 2010). It was supposed to decrease it to 109 per 100,000 live births by last year, as per the United Nations Development Programme’s Millennium Development Goals.



What is it? The number of government subsidy schemes in which cash will be directly transferred to beneficiaries’ accounts.

Why is it important? It is expected to plug the leakages, and ensure the intended benefits reaches the target population in full. The expansion of schemes under direct benefit of transfer comes after government saw huge savings in cooking gas subsidies, even though some argue that limitations of technology leaves out a good number of the poor.

Tell me more: The government already has pilots for food, kerosene and fertiliser subsidies, and uses direct cash transfers in 74 schemes of 17 departments and ministries. It wants to increase this to 147 by March 2017.


$10 million per person

What is it? Value of self-driving talent, according to Stanford University professor and former Google engineer Sebastian Thrun.

Why is it important? Thrun, who is often referred to as father of self driving cars in Silicon valley, arrived at this number from acquisitions in the sector, which were mainly for talent. Uber, for example bought six month old startup Otto for $700 million. It employed 70 people. While the exact number can be debated, this reflects the intensity of competition among companies to win the self-driving vehicles race. 33 companies are working on autonomous vehicles, and the talent is scarce.

Tell me more: Last week Uber launched self driving cars in Pittsburg. More recently, the CEO of its rival Lyft said a majority of rides in five years will be on self driving cars.

Read More

News In Numbers – July 30

News In Numbers: July 30


Rs 64.4 crore

Nestle India’s first quarterly loss (April-June 2015) in more than 15 years. In the same period a year ago, the Swiss food maker had posted a profit of Rs 287.9 crore. Last month, India’s food regulator banned the company’s popular 2-minute Maggi noodles snack for containing excessive amounts of lead. This led to a one-time loss of over Rs 450 crore for Nestle India. The company had filed a petition before the Bombay High Court challenging the ban, and on Wednesday, Maharashtra’s Food and Drug Administration argued in court that if the company was confident about the quality of Maggi, it should have asked for re-tests of its samples or offered other samples for testing.



The number of people estimated to have been sentenced to death in 2014 across the world, according to a report by Amnesty International. This was a 28% increase over the figure for 2013. These figures do not include the number of people executed or sentenced to death in China as it is a “state secret”. In India, 1,303 capital punishment verdicts were given between 2004 and 2013, but only three executions took place. The Supreme Court twice rejected petitions, including an overnight plea, to stay the execution of of Yakub Memon, who was convicted for his involvement in the 1993 serial bomb blasts in Mumbai. He was hanged to death at around 7 AM today.


32 times

The number of times the initial share sale of Syngene International, a contract research firm, was subscribed, when the issue closed on Wednesday. The retail portion was subscribed 4.78 times, while demand from non-institutional investors like corporates and non-retail investors was 90.24 times. The success of Syngene, especially in terms of retail interest, will boost the prospects of other businesses that are looking to go public, including Cafe Coffee Day, Indigo Airlines and Matrix Cellular. Syngene will raise around Rs 550 crore by selling 16 million shares at between Rs 240 and Rs 250 per share.


1,100 jobs

General Motors Company will shut down its Gujarat plant and expand capacity at its other manufacturing facility in Maharashtra, a move that is expected to result in job losses for 1,100 workers. The US-based company, which is the world’s third largest automaker by sales, entered India in 1994, but has struggled to in a market that has so far been dominated by Maruti Suzuki, the Indian unit of Suzuki Motor Corporation. GM currently has less than 2% market share and wants to double it by 2020 with an additional investment of $1 billion. The move to shift the factory from Gujarat is a counter-trend, where companies like Maruti, Tata Motors, Ford and Honda are setting up manufacturing facilities in the western state.


Rs 3,200 crore

India’s Kalyani Group has tied up with Rafael Advanced Systems of Israel to make Spike missiles in India. State-run Bharat Dynamics will be the third partner. The deal, worth Rs 3,200 crore, will supply 8,000 anti-tank guided missiles to the Indian army. Ties between India and Israel have strengthened in recent years, with the Indian president likely to visit the Jewish state, making it the first visit by a top Indian statesperson. The Indian government is looking at defence projects to boost its ‘make in India’ programme by encouraging private companies to produce locally. So far, nearly all defence production made locally are from state-run units. is a search engine for public data


Read More

News in Numbers – June 10, 2015



In another round of de-registrations, the Indian government has cancelled the licence of 4,470 non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The list includes the names of prominent entities such as the Supreme Court Bar Association, Escorts Heart Institute, Panjab University (Chandigarh) and Gujarat National Law University. The Ministry of Home Affairs has cancelled the registration of these entities due to non-filing of annual returns and other irregularities. The new round of cancellation began on May 6 and 971 organisations (the highest number of such entities) were de-registered on June 9. Here is the link to a data story we did on NGOs receiving notices from the government and the foreign funding tangle.

1 lakh

Over 1,00,000 people have been affected by floods in Assam, a north-eastern state in India, this year. The flood has claimed the lives of two people since Monday. Heavy rains in the last three days have increased the water levels of Brahmaputra river and its tributaries, submerging many areas in the state. The districts of Tinsukia, Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Sonitpur, Darrang, Baksa, Nalbari, Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Goalpara, Kamrup (Metro) and Jorhat, have been affected by the floods. Take a look at some of the major disasters in India and the number deaths and victims.


Only those restaurants with air-conditioning (AC) facilities will charge service tax and the others cannot, the Ministry of Finance clarified on Tuesday. And, the AC restaurants will charge only on the 40% of the total bill amount. This clarification comes in when there is confusion over the levy of service tax and complaints of higher charges, after the increase in service tax to 14% (from 12.26%) came into effect from June 1. The effective service tax rate for eating out in an AC restaurant will be 5.6% of the total food bill when compared to the earlier rate of 4.94%.

For instance, if A’s bill at an AC restaurant is Rs 1,000 (including the service charge), then the effective service tax levied would be 5.6% of the total bill amount (5.6% of Rs 1,000), which is Rs 56. Before June 1, A would have paid Rs 49.4 as service tax, the increase being Rs 6.6 on a total food bill of Rs 1,000.


$1.6 billion

India’s equity mutual funds (MFs) have received net inflows of around $1.6 billion in May, marking the 13th consecutive month of positive net inflows into the equity MFs. This adds up to $14.9 billion or Rs 91,800 crore. A Deutsche Bank report released on Tuesday said this is almost equal to net cumulative inflows since January 2002 to April 2014 (over the last 12 years), on a nominal basis.



The Indian Army’s Special Operations Forces killed about 36 militants and destroyed two terror camps “in a hot pursuit” along the India-Myanmar border on Tuesday. The army men were targeting militants who were responsible for an ambush on an army convoy and killing 18 soldiers in Manipur last week.


Re 1

In a different way of getting people use the public toilet facilities instead of defecating in the open, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has announced a scheme titled ‘Use and Get Paid’. The conventional way is the user would have to pay to use the public toilet facilities but the local body of one of the largest cities in Gujarat has turned it around. Not all the users will be paid (Re 1) but those who defecate in the open would be sensitised and rewarded for using the public toilets. The municipal corporation has identified 1,200 such people and the list would be revised on a regular basis.About 40% of people defecate in the open in Gujarat and the percentage of people defecating in the open in Ahmedabad is much lower at 13%, as per the 2011 Census data.

Twitter: @Howindialives

Read More