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2.18%

What is it? The retail price inflation in May, 2017.

Why is it important? The consumer price inflation growth was the lowest since India started publishing it in 2012. This might increase the pressure on the central bank to cut the key rate of repo, on hold since October, 2016, at 6.25%. Rate cuts, however, depend on how RBI sees inflation moving in the quarters ahead.

Tell me more: Food prices in retail markets decreased by 1.05% in May, leading to the low overall price rise. Another government indicator, the quick estimate of industrial production, showed a positive trend of 3.1% growth in April, higher than in February and March, 2017.

 

28.6%

What is it? The percentage of tobacco users (in all forms) in India in 2016-17, according to World Health Organisation’s Global Adult Tobacco Survey.

Why is it important? The prevalence of tobacco users has gone down by 6 percentage points from 34.6% in the same study in 2009, a positive outcome as tobacco contributes to poverty. It translates to a reduction of 8.1 million less tobacco users in the country, which is the second-largest consumer of tobacco products in the world.

Tell me more: Between 54-62% of smokers of bidis and cigarettes have thought about quitting on seeing the warning labels on the packets, while it was 30-38% in 2009.

 

$25 million

What is it? The investment Tata Motors’ Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) will make in the US ride services company, Lyft, to develop self-driving cars.

Why is it important? The mobility services arm of JLR, InMotion, will make the investment as other automakers such as General Motors, Ford, Tesla, Mercedes, BMW and tech companies such as Alphabet and Intel are scrambling to help get the first self-driving prototype out in the market. Car-sharing and hiring apps like Lyft and Uber, too, are conducting their own R&D.

Tell me more: JLR will provide its cars to Lyft for the research and development. Self-driving cars, which saw increased focus from 2016 onwards, is expected to change the way customers buy cars and reduce cost of ride services as well.

 

10%

What is it? The percentage by which pharmaceutical companies can increase the price of non-scheduled drugs every year, according to Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) 2013.

Why is it important? The companies want the cap to be increased to counter the increase in taxation with 12% from 9% for 80% (non-essential) of drugs, under the imminent Goods and Services Tax (GST) system.

Tell me more: Life-saving or essential drugs will have a tax rate of 5% under GST.

 

11,761

What is it? The shortage in Delhi police staff in the lower-middle ranks.

Why is it important? Delhi Police has been plagued by a top-heavy structure, with more senior staff than sanctioned strength but with most of the lower positions remaining unfilled. When nearly 26,000 constables and assistant sub-inspectors were promoted last year, it left a lacuna in the lower ranks. The current requirement is for over 14,000 personnel, from around 81,000.

Tell me more: Last November, there were 76,237 policemen and women in Delhi, against the sanctioned 82,378 posts. The working strength came down from 77,117 the year before, an RTI revealed.

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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.

 

3%

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 – August 14

News In Numbers: August 14

 

18.9%

The 2014-15 operating margin of Jaguar Land Rover, the iconic high-end carmaker and overseas subsidiary of Tata Motors that has been its sole profit driver for the last two years. Between 2009-10 and 2014-15, when the operating margin of Tata Motors’ Indian business fell from 11.7% to -2.2%, JLR’s vaulted from 5.4% to 18.9%. However, with JLR hitting a roadbump in China, its margin dropped to 9.7% for the quarter ended June 2015. In the backdrop of this, and a mixed domestic performance, Tata Motors skipped dividend for 2014-15, drawing the ire of shareholders at its annual general meeting on Thursday.

 

65%

The jump in the rate of call drops on 3G networks in the January to March quarter this year, over the same period in 2014, according to India’s telecom regulator: 15.96% versus 9.68%. Increasing congestion on 3G networks, and lack of adequate spectrum in relation to the number of subscribers using that spectrum, have led to a deterioration of quality across service providers. The deterioration in quality of service on 2G networks was even worse, with the call drop rate rising seven-fold in the same period. To help ease congestion, the government on Wednesday allowed telecom companies in the same circle to share their airwaves.

 

Rs 65,896 crore

The total surplus generated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) through its investment activities in 2014-15 (July to June financial year), the entire amount of which it will transfer to the government. This is a 25% increase over the surplus transferred by the central bank to the government in 2013-14. A committee, chaired by Y H Malegam, director of the central board of the RBI, had recommended in 2014 that the central bank transfer all its surpluses generated to the government for three years as it had enough reserve funds for contingency and other purposes. As of June 26, 2015, the central bank had Rs 18,94,800 crore in reserve money, a sum of several components, including currency in circulation and bankers’ deposits with the RBI.

 

12.8%

Share of black people in the total population in the United States. Apple’s first official diversity filing, dated July 2014 but released yesterday, shows there were only two black people in its group of 83 senior executives, or 2.4%. Across the company, 8% of employees were black. At senior levels, this representation is just as poor in other major technology companies: 4% in Amazon and 2% in Facebook. By comparison, Asians, who account of 5.1% of the US population, have a share in the senior management of 18% in Amazon, 19% in Facebook and 10% in Apple.

 

413,670

The number of beggars in India, according to the Indian government: about 54% male and 46% female. West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh account for over one-third of the beggars in the country. Lakshadweep has the least number of beggars: two. As many as 22 states and union territories have legislations against begging. Although India criminalises begging, the central government recently announced that it would train 3,000 beggars to sing in public places to publicise its initiatives such as Swachh Bharat and ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ (Save girl child, educate girl child).

 

 

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