News in Numbers, May 2, 2016: Gujarat’s 10% quota for poor, Uttarakhand’s forest fire crisis…

10%

What is it? Reservation quota in education and jobs for those with less than Rs 6 lakh of annual family income in general category, as announced by Gujarat government on Friday.

Why is it important? This is a move to appease the protesting Patel community, which has been demanding ‘Other Backward Class’ status to avail reservations in education and jobs. This comes ahead of the state elections next year, and after Congress won 23 of 31 district panchayats in the civic polls last year. The BJP has been in power for the last 18 years in the state.

Tell me more: The Patels are unhappy with the state government’s offer and have demanded that its community get a separate quota, similar to what the Haryana government has offered the Jats. The reservation move will exceed the 50% reservation limit set by the Supreme Court but the BJP says it is ready to go legal to defend its move.

7.5 tonnes

What is it? The quantity of gold Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), which manages the famous temple on the hill in southern Andhra Pradesh, is considering moving under the Indian government’s gold monetisation schemes.

Why is it important? This would be biggest mobilisation under the schemes launched last November. Over 1.5 tonnes have been deposited so far, and the board may move its entire reserves of 7.5 tonnes. The schemes are aimed at lowering India’s gold imports, which form the second highest component in the imports bill after crude oil. India imported 926 tonnes of gold in 2015-16, 16% less than the previous fiscal.

Tell me more: TTD wants the government to pay the interest component on medium and long-term schemes to be paid in gold instead of cash and also, calculate the interest on gold at the time of return instead of at the time of the deposit. This, on top of some changes the government had announced on Friday.

6,000

What is it? The number of people from state agencies involved in putting out the forest fire in Uttarakhand.

Why is it important? This is one of the biggest disaster the state has faced with 1,233 cases of fire covering 1,900 hectares of forest. While the effective area under fire has come down by 70%, the government hopes to put out the fire in the next 3-4 days by putting  10,000 more people on the job.

Tell me more: The area under fire is many times more compared to previous two years- 930.3 hectares in 2015 and 384.5 hectares in 2014. On Sunday, the government announced a pre-fire alert system that will issue warnings to the concerned departments via text messages. As on April 21, 20,667 forest fire incidents have already been reported, compared to 15,937 in 2015 and 19,054 in 2014.

1.25 crore

What is it? The number of people who paid taxes in 2012-13.

Why is it important? This was just 1% of India’s population at that time, indicating the extent of domestic tax evasion. Direct taxes accounted for 51% of the total tax revenue in 2015-16, the lowest since 2007-08. Indirect taxes (levied on goods and services) puts a greater burden on the poor.

Tell me more: Only 2.9 crore individuals filed their income tax returns in 2012-13 and nearly 89% of them paid taxes less than Rs 1.5 lakh with the average tax outgo being less than Rs 21,000.

13.2 lakh

What is it? The number of individual household toilets built in urban areas in 2015-16.

Why is it important? This is just around 53% of its 25 lakh target for the year and indicates that India would be hard-pressed to achieve open defecation-free status by 2019.

Tell me more: 11 states reported they have not constructed even a single household toilet. Gujarat accounted for around a third of the total individual household toilets last fiscal. States were also unable to meet their targets in the community and public toilet category where they have reported construction of only 68,500 toilets as against the target of 1 lakh.

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News in numbers, Apr 22, 2016: FDI into India in 2015, Time’s list of 100 most influential people…

$63 billion

What is it? Foreign direct investment into India in 2015.

Why is it important?  It’s more than what China, which has been a huge magnet for greenfield capital investments last few decades, received during the same period. China attracted $56.6 billion in 2015, spread over 789 projects. India’s $63 billion was spread over 697 projects. The FDI has created 2.25 lakh new jobs in 2015 in India (compared to 1.6 lakh new jobs in 2013).

Tell me more:  The report is from fDi Intelligence, data division of Financial Times. The report said the Asia Pacific region accounted for 45% of all greenfield investments, taking in $302.5 billion and 3883 projects.

 

25%

What is it? The stake United Kingdom government is willing to buy in Tata Steel’s UK business.

Why is it important?  It might help Tata find a credible buyer, and in turn, help UK save about 15,000 jobs. Tata has been trying to sell its UK steel business, bought through its $12.9 billion acquisition of Corus Group in 2007. The business has turned sour with rising costs, drop in steel demand and cheap imports from China as well as a series of internal issues.

Tell me more:  Earlier this month, Greybull Capital offered to buy its long products business for one pound, and possibly save around 4,400 jobs. Tata Steel is in talks with a number of potential buyers.  

 

$42 million

What is it? The penalty on West Indies Cricket Board that BCCI (Board Of Control For Cricket In India) has now waived. It was imposed on WICB for West Indies team abandoning the 2014 tour midway.

Why is it important? This brings an end to a long spat between West Indies and India. The unfinished games will be played next year, as it was hinted last December. It also clears ground for more matches between the two teams since BCCI had suspended all bilateral tours till the issue was resolved.

Tell me more:  In 2014, West Indies, under captainship of Dwayne Bravo, had abandoned its tour in India midway over payment structure dispute between the players, WICB and West Indies Players’ Association.

 

> 150

What is it? The number of countries that will sign the Paris Climate Agreement on Friday, 22 April Earth Day in New York.

Why is it important? It’s the first significant step in taking forward the landmark deal struck in Paris last December, which seeks to limit the global temperature rise to below 2 degree C. It comes at a time when the effects of global warming are causing increasingly more concern. For example, the first three months this year has been the hottest ever.

Tell me more:  While it’s a significant first step, experts believe countries need more ambitious plans to tackle the impact of climate change – heat waves, food shortages and fast rising seas.  

 

6

What is it? The number of Indians in Time magazine’s 2016 list of 100 most influential people.

Why is it important? It’s a sign of soft power and widely followed and debated in India, even if the process of measuring people’s influence or someone making it to the list is far from perfect. Raghuram Rajan, Priyanka Chopra,  Sania Mirza, Sachin Bansal, Binny Bansal, Sunita Narain made it to the list. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, widely expected to be in the list, did not.

Tell me more: The first Time 100 list was published in 1999, with a list of 100 most influential people of 20th century. (Albert Einstein was ranked number 1, followed by Mahatma Gandhi). US President Barack Obama holds the record for maximum appearance, making to the list 11 times. The 2016 list also featured Aziz Ansari, Sundar Pichai, Raj Panjabi and Nikki Haley, all persons of Indian origin.

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News in numbers, Oct 20, 2015: India’s remittances, electronics imports’ record…

221,000

What is it? The number of jobs created in textiles industry between April 2014 and March 2015, as per Labour Bureau survey of employment in eight sectors.

Why is it important? Textiles industry created four out of 10 jobs created in those eight sectors last fiscal, even though Indian rupee fell only by 5% against the US dollar – and – textile exports declined between April and June 2015. Textiles sector employs more than 45 million people, the second highest after agriculture.      

Tell me more: Information technology contributed the most with net addition of 234,000 jobs.     Among domestic industry, automobile sector hired the highest between January – March 2015, signalling upbeat mood among manufacturers about local demand for cars and commercial vehicles.  

 

2

What is it? Number of states that lifted the ban on Maggi, Nestle’s instant noodles brand, yesterday. They are Karnataka (which also houses a Nestle manufacturing plant) and Gujarat.

Why is it important? It’s another step in the return of the popular instant noodle, which was banned by India’s food regulator in June for containing lead and monosodium glutamate (MSG) beyond permissible limits. On August 13, questioning the tests conducted earlier, the Bombay High Court struck down the ban.

Tell me more? Nestle has eight manufacturing facilities across seven states in India. Besides Karnataka, there’s Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand.

 

8

What is it? Number of years since India and Pakistan, one of the storied cricketing rivalries, have squared up in test cricket. They last played a three-match series in 2007, which India won 1-0.

Why is it important? In a series of pushbacks yesterday to the resumption of bilateral cricket between the two countries, Shiv Sena workers protested inside the Mumbai office of BCCI chief Shashank Manohar, who was supposed to meet his Pakistan counterpart, Shahryar Khan, to discuss the fate of the scheduled Indo-Pak series in December. Elsewhere, the ICC pulled out Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar from the ongoing India-South Africa one-day series. And former Pakistani cricketers Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar will not commentate in the last one-day match in Mumbai in the same series.

Tell me more? India and Pakistan have played 59 tests, with Pakistan leading India 12-9, the remaining being draws. In one-day matches, Pakistan lead India 72-51.

 

11.2

What is it? The multiple by which outflow of remittance from India towards ‘maintenance of close relatives’ abroad grew in one year. Indians have remitted $ 124.2 million abroad in July 2015, compared to $90.2 million during the same month year-ago.  

Why is it important? This could be impact of Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act passed by US to unearth undisclosed money abroad. Indians living in US who had not disclosed their assets and bank accounts in India might be using this route to transfer money back to US, and at the same time avoid tax too. Under liberalized transfer scheme, Indians can remit $ 250,000 each year. In addition, remittance under maintenance of relatives need not be disclosed in tax returns.   

Tell me more: Remittance under ‘studies abroad’ too saw 6.25 times jump in July 2015 at $ 113.9 million, when number of Indians studied haven’t increased that much.

 

$19 billion

What is it? Electronics imports in six months ended September 2015.

Why is it important? This is the the first time, imports of electronics exceeded that of gold and silver. This shows how domestic production (estimated at $ 31 billion) falls short of market size of $ 70 billion in 2014-15, to meet the ever growing demand for modern gadgets like smartphones and for creating telecom infrastructure.

Tell me more? Electronics exports was $ 6 billion in 2014-15. India’s exports represent 0.28% of global trade.

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News In Numbers – August 24

News In Numbers: August 24

 

58%

The percentage of water of the total live storage capacity currently held by the 91 main reservoirs in India. This is about 14% lower than the water stored by these reservoirs in the same period last year. Worse, this is also less than the last 10 years’ average storage of 98.7 billion cubic metres of water. Region-wise, only the northern (Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan) and the central (Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh) regions have more water than the last 10 years’ average storage. According to a Central Water Commission member, the reservoir storage has been directly impacted by less rainfall across India. With the country showing signs of slipping into a drought year, the weather department said 58% of India received normal rainfall, 29% deficient and 13% excess.

 

Rs 80 crore

The amount the newest bank in India, Bandhan Bank, garnered in deposits by opening 60,000 new accounts on its first day. Bandhan, which is the first microfinance institution to morph into a bank, began operations with 1.43 crore accounts, a Rs 10,500-crore loan book and 19,500 employees. The bank will have nearly 70% of its branches in rural areas to focus on the unbanked or under-banked rural poor. Bandhan had borrowed about Rs 9,000 crore from various banks when it was a microfinance institution and has sought “relaxation” from the Reserve Bank of India to repay these loans as banks are not allowed to borrow from each other.

 

$10.84 billion

The value of Uber Technologies’ projected global bookings in 2015, against $2.91 billion last year. For 2016, the taxi-hailing service has estimated doubling its 2015 figure: $26.1 billion. Uber operates in 50 countries and takes 20% of the booking revenue. In India, it is aggressively trying to catch up with homegrown Ola Cabs and recently raised around $75-100 million from a Tata Group private equity fund. The company plans to invest around $1 billion in the next 6-9 months in India to achieve its target of 1 million rides a day, from the current 200,000. Ola, which raised $400 million this April as well as an undisclosed amount from Tata Sons Chairman Emeritus Ratan Tata last month, clocks 750,000 rides a day and hopes to hit the one-million mark this month.

 

5 million

The number of jobs lost between 2004-05 and 2009-10, at a time when India’s economy grew at about 8% annually, according to a study by industry body Assocham. It says that though the number of people seeking employment grew at an annual rate of 2.23% between 2001 and 2011, growth in actual employment in this period was only 1.4%. India’s unemployment rate (measured as the number of people actively looking for a job as a percentage of the total labour force) decreased to 4.9% in 2013 from 5.2% in the previous year. Average unemployment rate in India was 7.32% between 1983 and 2013, peaking at 9.4% in 2009.

 

13.4%

The percentage of India’s disinvestment target for 2015-16 the government will achieve if it mops up the targeted Rs 9,302 crore from a 10% stake sale in Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), scheduled for today. With the IOC stake sale, the government would have garnered Rs 12,600 crore, the best ‘first half’ in the last seven financial years. This year, so far, the government has raised around Rs 3,300 crore by selling minority stakes in Power Finance Corporation, Rural Electrical Corporation and Dredging Corporation of India. India’s disinvestments are crucial for achieving its fiscal deficit targets; its target for 2015-16 is 3.9% of GDP. Although it managed to meet its fiscal deficit target in 2014-15, it has missed its disinvestment targets the last five financial years.

 

 

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