For Indian IT, Japan May Be The New US


What is it? The number of Indian IT (Information Technology) professionals Japan is looking to recruit.

Why is it important? This comes at a time when the Indian IT industry is facing headwinds in the US, which recently made it tougher for professionals to get the coveted H-1B visas, given its President Donald Trump’s poll promises of hiring Americans. At home, the job prospects in this industry are not bright either, given that in 2017-18, net employee addition has been about 100,000 against the earlier projection of 150,000.

Tell me more: Japan is looking for highly-skilled professionals, especially in life sciences, finance, services and agriculture. It will issue green cards to recruits to help them receive permanent resident status within a year.


$4.8 billion

What is it?  The net worth of Travis Kalanick, former CEO of ride-hailing company Uber, according to Forbes.

Why is it important? Kalanick, who was forced to resign as CEO of Uber last year, on Thursday said he was launching his venture investment fund by the name of 10100 (pronounced ten one hundred) to oversee both his for-profit investments and his non-profit work. In the investments space, its big theme is “large-scale job creation”, with investments in real estate, e-commerce and emerging innovation in India and China. On the non-profit side, its initial focus will be on education and future of cities.

 Tell me more: Kalanick was reportedly looking to sell $1.4 billion worth of his Uber shares to SoftBank. He still holds a seat on the Uber board.


Rs 85,300 crore

What is it? The amount for which the Indian government on Thursday sought the Parliament’s approval for net additional spending in 2017-18.

Why is it important? The net additional spending request comes as the ruling government looks to boost its prospects in the 2019 general elections by spending more on rural infrastructure and sectors that would generate employment. This is, however, unlikely to affect India’s fiscal deficit target for 2017-18, which was raised to 3.5% of the GDP (gross domestic product), from 3.2% earlier, to boost spending.

Tell me more: This includes Rs 62,700 crore as goods and services tax compensation to state governments and union territories and Rs 9,260 crore for pension payments to armed forces.



What is it? The number of months after which the Supreme Court has scrapped the Kerala High Court order to restore the marriage of Hadiya, an alleged victim of ‘love jihad’.

Why is it important? The top court on Thursday said Hadiya’s marriage to Shafin Jahan is legal and valid, and that the former entered the relationship by her free will and consent. However, it also said the National Investigation Agency can continue to probe the ‘love jihad’ angle in accordance with the law. The term ‘love jihad’ refers to Muslim men allegedly getting into a conspiracy to lure Hindu women by marrying them to get them to embrace Islam.

Tell me more: Hadiya’s father said it is painful to send her with an ‘extremist’ and that he would consider filing a review petition in the Supreme Court.



What is it? The duty to be levied on steel imported into the US, along with 10% on aluminium imports. US president Donald Trump signed the order yesterday and the tariffs will kick in within 15 days.

Why is it important? It’s the first salvo fired by Trump in the name of protecting American jobs and he warned more such “reciprocal tariffs” were coming against countries whose tariffs were higher than the US. For a country that led the way to open world markets, this is a step in the other direction, and some have raised fears of tit-for-tat actions unsettling the global trade balance.

Tell me more: American steel and aluminium stocks fell on Thursday: Nucor, the largest American steel producer, fell 2.7%. Alcoa, the biggest US aluminium producer, ended down 0.9%.


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News in Numbers, Aug 29, 2016: Under-reporting of TB cases, ISRO’s scramjet engine test…

22 lakh

What is it? The number of patients that sought treatment from private doctors for tuberculosis in 2014, according to a study. Reporting TB cases by private doctors to the government is mandatory.

Why is it important? This indicates under-reporting by private doctors to the government about the number of TB cases. Private doctors reported just over a lakh of TB cases to the government in 2014. The patients who sought private care spent Rs 395 crore on drugs alone whereas the government offers free treatment in state-run hospitals.

Tell me more: The study was published in Lancet Infectious Diseases Journal. The government’s National Strategic Plan (201-17) aims for a TB-free India. Its had targeted to include early detection and diagnosis of at least 90% of the estimated TB cases by 2015. In addition, it had also aimed to extend the state-run Revised National TB Control Program to those diagnosed and treated in the private sector.



What is it? The number of scramjet engines that were tested at the launch of ISRO’s Advanced Technology Vehicle from Sriharikota on Sunday.

Why is it important? The technology used in this launch could bring down launch costs by up to 10-fold. Generally, rockets carry both fuel and oxidiser for combustion but in this case, the scramjet engines used oxygen from the atmosphere for combustion, which decreases their weight and increases their efficiency. India is the fourth countryto demonstrate the scramjet engines’ flight.

Tell me more: In addition to another current project that focuses ondevelopment of a reusable launch vehicle, this would help position ISRO as one of low-cost space transportation and exploration service providers.



What is it? The percentage of police officers in India that face mild to severe fatigue due to occupational hazards, according to a study.

Why is it important? This leads to poor concentration and judgment, reduced vigilance, eye-hand coordination and visual perception, impaired recollection of events and slow reaction times. The alarming percentage suggests that this could be one of the main but often-ignored reasons for the inefficient law enforcement system in the country. India ranked 59 among 102 countries on the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index 2015. In terms of order and security(includes threats such as conventional crime, political violence, violence used as a means to redress personal grievances), it ranks 90 in the list.

Tell me more: The reasons for a majority of the police officers experiencing fatigue include irregular working hours, lack of proper sleep, inadequate or untimely food, inability to meet family members even after work hours, alcohol use, smoking and the non-availability of basic facilities (even bathing), according to the study sponsored by theBureau of Police Research and Development.


Rs 30 crore

What is it? The amount the Sports Ministry spent on athletes in the last eight months before the Rio Olympics.

Why is it important? This was a classic case of too little, too late. Sports training requires vigorous and long years of training. The ministry launched the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) only in February 2015. Besides, there needs to be a better mechanism to spot talent: of the 109 athletes supported by the ministry, less than a third (27.5%) qualified for Rio Olympics while over two-thirds of those funded under TOPS qualified them to compete in the Games.

Tell me more: India spends Rs 3,200 crore on youth affairs and sports (according to an analysis of sports budgets of six large states), a third of what the UK spends annually on sports training and infrastructure (Rs 9,000 crore).



What is it? Japan’s Alzheimer’s disease rate in 2008, up from 1% in 1985 due to the country moving from its traditional to the Western diet, according to a study.

Why is it important? The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, says that consumption of traditional foods of countries such as Japan, India and Nigeria lowers the risk of the disease when compared to consumption of a Western diet, which has higher meat content, sweets and high-fat dairy items. Globally, there are 47 million people who have dementia, of which there are 4.1 million people in India, according to a 2015 report.

Tell me more: Consumption of fish, vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, low-fat dairy products are linked to reduced risks of this disease.

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News in Numbers – September 10, 2015

News In Numbers: September 10, 2015


Rs 50 lakh

The amount the National Stock Exchange (NSE) has been fined by the Mumbai High Court in a defamation case it had filed against financial news website Moneylife. The bourse filed a Rs 100 crore defamation suit against Moneylife following an article written by Sucheta Dalal alleging that NSE staffers were leaking sensitive information related to high-frequency trading, which helped a select set of investors to trade faster than their competitors. Despite repeated requests by Moneylife, NSE did not participate in the story. According to Hoot, a media watch website, there were 21 instances of defamation cases and legal notices being filed by politicians, business houses, lawyers, former judges and media houses to book publishers, advertisers, other media houses and journalists in 2014.


Share of revenue Infosys expects to earn by way of acquisitions of the total 2020 target revenue of $20 billion. The Bengaluru-based IT firm is working towards a 30% operating margin and $80,000 revenue per employee in another five years. In 2014-15, Infosys earned $8.7 billion in revenue. Quoting the way Accenture and Cognizant have acquired other companies, Vishal Sikka, managing director and chief executive of Infosys, said they need to do something similar without copying them. The company has made two acquisitions this year. Since the beginning of 2015, Accenture has acquired nine companies.


1.9 percentage points

The amount by which global corporate profits as a share of global GDP will fall by 2025, according to a new study by McKinsey, the consulting firm. According to McKinsey, the share of corporate profits as a share of world GDP was 9.8% in 2013. By 2025, this will fall to 7.9% due to a range of factors. Increased competition as firms in emerging markets continue to expand beyond their borders is one major reason.  Another reason, McKinsey says, is the fall in labour costs and interest rates observed over the last few decades is unlikely to continue.


According to a survey conducted by the Indian government, over a fifth of the toilets it has constructed are non-functional and effectively beyond use. The government has built 6 crore toilets. Chaudhary Birendra Singh, Union Rural development minister, said a change in mindset was needed to make people use toilets. The government is aiming to do away with open defecation under the Swachh Bharat mission by 2019. Over half a billion people in India – or 59% of the 1.1 billion people in the world — still defecate in the open, according to the World Health Organization.


The number of Indian railway stations Japan will help India redevelop by sending an official mission to “study the opportunities for industries”. Besides this, Japan has agreed to participate in Indian railways’ investment plan of $140 billion in the next five years and engage in technology cooperation for modernising and upgrading Indian railways. Japanese railways and companies would also assist India in its zero-accident mission. Indian railways posted a loss of Rs 30,000 crore in the passenger segment in 2014. Japan has announced a funding of $35 billion across various infrastructure projects over the next five years.



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News in Numbers – September 7, 2015

News In Numbers: September 7, 2015



The extent by which India’s gross domestic product (GDP) would expand if India were to have as many women workers as men workers, according to International Monetary Fund estimates. Speaking at the launch of W20, a gathering of women leaders from the world’s largest economies, including India, IMF chief Christine Lagarde said the equivalent numbers for US and Japan were just 5% and 9%, respectively. Though women account for 48.5% of India’s population, gender inequality exists in most dimensions. However, recently, India has managed to bring down gender parity in schools, where the girls-to-boy ratio in primary classes is 1.02 and 0.94 in secondary schools. Overall, India ranks a poor 127 in the United Nations Gender Inequality Index for 2013.



Percentage of respondents in a survey by industry body Ficci that are likely to plan capacity addition in manufacturing in the next six months. The current subdued investment in manufacturing is mainly attributed to delay in clearances, poor demand and high interest rates. The respondents were from 386 manufacturing units of all sizes. The survey also says that hiring will remain muted, with 79% of respondents not planning to add workers in the next three months. The number of jobs created in manufacturing declined by 4% in 2012-13, over 2011-12, according to Assocham Economic Research Bureau.  Although the growth of Indian manufacturing has been sluggish, it is the only country (besides Vietnam) that has showed expansion in August from the previous month among emerging market Asian economies.



The percentage increase in entry-level salaries of engineering graduates who will join TCS and Cognizant Technology next year. This is the first time IT companies have increased salaries of entry-level engineers in about seven years, which was stagnant at about Rs 3 lakh per year. Brokerage firm Kotak Institutional Equities estimates that this would impact the companies’ profit margins by 0.25 percentage points in 2016-17 and their earnings per share by 1-2%. IT industry grouping Nasscom estimates technology majors will hire only 30,000 people in 2015-16, 13% fewer than 2014-15. With IT companies looking at automation and other ways to reduce cost, the excess supply of engineering graduates is likely to remain a problem.


Rs 37.22 crore

The amount Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s overseas trips have cost the exchequer, between June 2014 and June 2015. Although Modi visited 20 countries, expenses related to 16 countries were provided to an RTI (Right to Information) application. About 40% of this amount was spent on two trips: Australia and the US. In his first year as Prime Minister, Modi allocated 14.5% of his tenure to visit 17 countries, while his predecessor Manmohan Singh spent 12.9% of his tenure to visit 12 countries in his first year. Of the total inflow of foreign investment in 2014-15, India received about 26.1% foreign direct investment from 12 countries visited by Modi in the same period. Indian companies invested over 53% of the total outflow of foreign investment in 2014-15 in these 12 countries.



The estimated number of leopards in India, according the first ever census of the country’s leopards. The census did not cover Gujarat, parts of Rajasthan, and eastern and northeastern parts. Leopards were counted using the same methods as those employed for estimating India’s tiger population: camera-trapping and gathering other evidence of their presence. Madhya Pradesh has the highest estimate of leopards (1,817), followed by Karnataka (1,129) and Maharashtra (905). The lead scientist of the tiger census, who presented the leopard figures last week, said there was no way of knowing whether their numbers have increased or decreased. A recent study by three wildlife scientists estimated a 70-80% decline in the leopard population in the last 100 years.



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