Surge comes to trains – News in Numbers September 8



What is it? The maximum mark-up allowed under surge pricing, introduced by the Indian Railways yesterday for Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi trains.

Why is it important? At a 50% mark-up, the price of a Delhi-Mumbai second AC Rajdhani ticket will increase from Rs 2,825 to Rs 4,237—a level where airlines can compete with it on advance bookings. At 10.30 PM on September 7, the cheapest Delhi-Mumbai 6 am flight on September 8 was for Rs 7,422. But, for September 15, it was for Rs 2,550.

Tell me more: For the loss-making, state-owned organisation whose attempts to increase passenger fares meet with stiff resistance, this is its first attempt to raise passenger fares with demand. And it’s bold: only 10% of seats will be available at the base fare.


What is it? The amount of equity stake that ICICI Prudential Life Insurance will offload via the Initial Public Offer (IPO) later this month.

Why is it important? This is the first IPO by an insurance company in India. If successful, the share issuance is likely to be biggest in six years. The likely valuation for the company is between Rs 45,000 crore and Rs 48,000 crore.

Tell me more: ICICI Prudential is India’s largest private life insurance company. But will lose its number 1 status, if its two rivals- HDFC Standard Life and Max Life Insurance Company- agree to combine. State-owned Life Insurance Corporation is still India’s largest life insurance company.


What is it? The increase in revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) recorded by airlines on domestic Indian routes in July, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Why is it important? Of the seven countries for which IATA released domestic air traffic data and which account for 82% of global domestic traffic, India was the fastest growing in RPKs by a country mile. The next best was China at 10.2% and US at 1.6%. Globally, the domestic piece grew at 3.8%.

Tell me more: India’s domestic airlines did not just fly more than others. They also expanded more, posting the highest increase in available seat km (ASK), of 20.5%. Riding on such tailwinds, the once-beleaguered SpiceJet yesterday reported its sixth consecutive profitable quarter.

2,211 kg

What is it? The launch mass of Insat 3DR weather satellite to be launched on Thursday at

Why is it important? The satellite will provide better measurements of vertical changes of humidity, temperature and ozone content in Earth’s atmosphere and of night time clouds and sea temperature, improving India’s ability to make better weather forecasts. In the rocket launches space, today’s is a landmark because this is the first operational launch with  Indian built cryogenic engine.

Tell me more: India has had much better success rate with its workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle series compared to GSLV. India has launched 9 GSLVs so far, of which four failed.

138 grams

What is it? Weight of the new iPhone 7, which is about 3.5% lighter than iPhone 6S

Why is it important? The lighter weight is thanks to internal changes such as doing away with the audio jack, even though the new model’s design is the same as iPhone 6 launched two years ago. The removal of 3.5mm audio jack has met with mixed reactions, with some calling it an “annoy-ovation” (an improvement that annoys customers). The audio jack is ubiquitous, and can work with any headphone picked up from the market. But then Apple has often led the way in changing trends. It was the first to do away with floppy disks on computers. Apple argued that the sound quality is better on bluetooth headphones or on lightning port.

Tell me more: In some of the other changes in the latest version of the company’s flagship product, Apple has only been keeping up with the competition. For example, Samsung had introduced water resistant body back in 2014. The dual cameras for depth of field (in iPhone 7 plus) were already available in LG and Huawei earlier this year. Apple’s iPhone sales have been sluggish this year, and many analysts believe Apple has to do something disruptive to maintain its lead.



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News in Numbers, June 14, 2016: Microsoft acquires LinkedIn, air ambulances in India…

$26.2 billion

What is it? The size of Microsoft – LinkedIn deal.

Why is it important? This is Microsoft’s biggest acquisition ever. It’s expected to help Microsoft in its path to become a business services company, and strengthen its suite of products – with Linkedin’s networking platform complementing Microsoft’s work tools including Office (which has 1.2 billion users).

Tell me more: Microsoft is buying Linkedin at $196 per share, a 50% premium to the closing price on Friday. “Essentially, we’re both trying to do the same thing but coming at it from two different places: For LinkedIn, it’s the professional network, and for Microsoft, the professional cloud,” according to Jeff Weiner, chief executive officer of LinkedIn.


210-220 million

What is it? Overall estimated iPhone shipments in 2016, 8.6% lower than those in 2015.

Why is it important? This would the first fall in Apple’s flagship smartphone since its launch in 2007. Apple still relies on iPhones for two-thirds of its total sales and reported its first quarterly revenue decline since 2003 in the January-March 2016 period.

Tell me more: In a May report, Yuanta Investment Consulting had estimated that iPhone shipments would see a year-on-year decline of 12% to 207 million units this year. Apple is expected to launch its new model (iPhone 7) in September and new versions tend to boost sales, if they are significantly better than the previous ones.


Rs 2,250

What is it? The amount passengers of Spicejet, Indigo and GoAir need to pay (in addition to fare difference) for changing the name on tickets now. In 2010, this was Rs 1,500 plus fare difference, according to a study.

Why is it important? An example of how Indian airlines have increased the prices for almost all the different services including seat cancellation and infants or minors travelling unaccompanied, except for the tickets. While this may be viewed as an additional burden on unsuspecting passengers, experts say such a move would encourage first-time customers and expand the market.

Tell me more: Last weekend, the Civil Aviation Ministry proposed some new norms for services/charges including excess baggage, denied boarding and cancellation, and has given two weeks to its stakeholders to submit their suggestions and comments on the same.



What is it? The number of MLAs whose fate hangs in the balance after the President rejected a Bill of the Delhi government that seeks to amend the law on ‘Office of Profit’.

Why is it important? The Delhi government passed a bill that seeks to retrospectively exempt these MLAs, appointed as Parliamentary Secretaries last March, from the list of ‘Office of Profit’ and validate their posts. An elected member cannot hold an office of profit or hold positions that give them more financial and executive powers. There is a possibility that the 21 seats may now face by-elections.

Tell me more: The President has referred the issue to the Election Commission, which has sought the replies of the legislators and will fix a date for hearing to decide the fate of the legislators.


Rs 17,999

What is it? The annual subscription for a family for helicopter ambulance services to be launched by Bengaluru-based Aviators Air Rescue in the five southern states – Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana – in three months.

Why is it important? The company would be the first one in India to offer services under the recently notified Helicopter Emergency Medical Services guidelines. Besides being airlifted to a healthcare facility in case of an emergency, the subscription would also cover last-mile ambulance charges of Rs 15,000 and preliminary hospital charges of Rs 85,000.

Tell me more: The air ambulances would land on pre-approved helipads and has partnered with 2,000 hospitals and ambulance services for the last-mile connectivity. The company, which will launch its services with three helicopters, plans to add seven more to its fleet to extend its coverage to the entire country by April 2017. For an individual, the annual subscription is Rs 8,999.

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