News in Numbers, June 20, 2016: Early impact of Rajan’s exit, Karnataka cabinet reshuffle…

26,486.57 points

What is it? The level at which Sensex, the benchmark of the Bombay Stock Exchange, was trading at (9.16 am) today down 139.34 points or 0.52% lower from Friday’s close at 26,625.91 points.

Why is it important? The markets were expected to slump today, after RBI governor Raghuram Rajan announced that he would return to academia when his term expires in September. Rajan is credited for arresting the decline in the rupee among other things and his announcement influenced the currency to fall by 60 points to Rs 67.68 in early trade today. This only adds to worries about Britain’s exit from the European Union, which may result in capital flight from emerging markets such as India, and delayed monsoon in the country.

Tell me more: Under Rajan, the wholesale price inflation and consumer price inflation, which were as high as 10.5% and 7.05% in September 2013 when he took over, slowed down to 5.76% and 0.79% respectively.

 

700

What is it? The number of tablets the Statistics Ministry reportedly would use to conduct its Periodic Labour Force Survey.

Why is it important? This would be the first time ever that a government data collection exercise would be done using modern technology instead of the usual pen-paper method. This would improve accuracy of data collected and also, be faster – reducing the lag between the time data gathered and data disseminated.

Tell me more: The Periodic Labour Force Survey is conducted every three months and provides information on data points including Labour Force Participation Rate, Worker Population Ratio, Unemployment Rate and average earnings of self-employed, regular wage/salaried and casual workers.

 

Rs 20,000

What is it? The cap on coaching for competitive examinations for students belonging to the scheduled castes (SCs) and other backward classes (OBCs). This will now be done away with and the entire expenditure will be borne by the central government.

Why is it important? This would help students in these categories pursue higher education and employment. Right now, as a group, they lag behind the general population. The Census 2011 data shows that education levels are lower among SC groups across the states, compared to the non-SC population.

Tell me more: Under the revised guidelines, the central government would ask the states and the union territories to propose the names 5-10 coaching institutes with good record of past performance and from this, a final list would be made to provide coaching to the SC and OBC students.

 

14

What is it? The number of ministers Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah has fired reportedly for underperformance or involvement in controversies.

Why is it important? The move is an attempt to strengthen the Congress party ahead of the state elections in 2018. However, this is also likely to intensify infighting within the party. Karnataka is the only major state where the party is ruling, after being defeated in recently-concluded polls in Kerala and Assam.

Tell me more: The sacking of the 14 ministers led to protests by their supporters, resulting in violence and road blocks. They would be replaced by 13 newly-inducted members.

 

6/10

What is it? The number of people who share links on social media without reading the story.

Why is it important? Shows the role headline and summaries play. The age of social media, which comes with the advantages of having any information at one’s fingertips, has also resulted in propagating decontextualized, inaccurate, or even false information that in turn, could shape collective opinions and agendas.

Tell me more: The study was done by Columbia University and French National Institute. According to another recent study by Science Post, 70% of Facebook users only read the headline of science stories before commenting on it.

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News in Numbers, Dec 17, 2015: Ban on diesel vehicles’ registration, US Fed rate hike

 

15%

 

What is it? Delhi’s share in Mercedes-Benz’s sales.

 

Why is it important? Supreme Court has banned registration of new diesel engines above 2000cc in Delhi, a big market for the luxury car maker, until March 31. The initiative is to curb alarming levels of pollution in Delhi. The ban might favour its rivals, since most of the diesel models of BMW, Audi and Volvo have engines below 2,000 cc. Mercedes-Benz has said that this order “will severely impact” their expansion plans and future investments already in place for the Indian market.

 

Tell me more: Mahindra & Mahindra, India’s largest utility vehicle maker, has said that this order would affect 2% of its monthly sales.

 

400

 

What is it? Number of start-ups Karnataka government hopes to help build with the help of its newly launched warehouse, launched in partnership with industry body Nasscom.

 

Why is it important? This is the second such warehouse by the state government and is on a bigger scale than the first, which incubated 64 start-ups. In the first warehouse, a quarter of the 64 start-ups have raised combined funds of Rs 600 crore. Bangalore ranks 15th in terms of best start-up ecosystems globally, according to a report by Silicon Valley-based start-up benchmarking firm and such measures are likely to advance its standing as a hub for start-ups in India as well as worldwide.

 

Tell me more: The state government recently launched a start-up policy with the view to aid the growth of 20,000 tech start-ups and generating 6 lakh direct and 12 lakh indirect jobs.

 

0.25-0.5%

 

What is it? United States benchmark interest rate, set by US Federal Reserve.

 

Why is it important? That’s 0.25% hike. It affects financial markets globally and therefore, is closely watched. As for India, this hike could mean investors may pull out their money from emerging markets like India to invest in the US in anticipation of higher returns and it remains to be seen how they react to the hike. Foreign institutional investors have pulled out $2.5 billion from Indian markets since November in anticipation of the hike. This, in turn, could weaken the rupee, making imports costlier and negatively impacting inflation in India.

 

Tell me more: This is the first time in nearly a decade that the US has gone for a hike in interest rates after keeping it around zero since the 2008 financial crisis. For the US, this is a sign of economic recovery.

 

0.59 hectares

 

What is it? The average landholding per rural household as of 2013, according to data from the National Sample Survey Office.

 

Why is it important? This has almost halved from 1.01 in 1992. A farm household needs to have at least 1 hectare of land to earn enough to fulfill its consumption expenditure. A farm household with 0.01-0.4 hectares of land earns an income of Rs 4,152 per month but its monthly consumption expenditure amounts to Rs 5,401. Also, farm households with less than 1 hectare account for over two-thirds of agricultural households that are indebted, with the debt levels decreasing with increase in landholding.

 

Tell me more: Every four out of five rural household have landholdings of less than one hectare and over 7% own more than two hectares.

 

€26 million

 

What is it? Amount Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has earned by launching six satellites for Singapore on Wednesday.

 

Why is it important? Underlines the commercial potential of India’s space programme. So far, India has earned around $36.7 million (at today’s exchange rate) from the launch of foreign satellites while around $74 million have been committed for those in the pipeline. It’s also yet another confirmation of the robustness of ISRO’s workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C29), which recorded its 32nd flight.

 

Tell me more: With Wednesday’s launch, ISRO has launched 57 satellites for 20 countries.

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News in Numbers – September 29, 2015

News In Numbers: September 29

 

52%

 

What it is: The extent to which the Indian government is willing to cut its stake in public sector banks

 

Why is it important: Bringing down government stake in public sector banks will help in two ways.  One, it will help government mobilise money from disinvestment so that budget deficit is contained. Two, it indicates the government’s intention of not willing to give up control over state-run banks.

 

Tell me more: Axis Bank was once controlled by government. After the government became a minority shareholder, the bank has grown to be one of India’s largest private sector players with Rs 120,506.72 crore market capitalization.

 

Rs 24,000 crore

 

What it is: Loans disbursed under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana

 

Why is it important: This scheme recently launched by the Indian government disburses loans to small entrepreneurs who find it difficult to raise capital for their businesses. The share of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) in Indian GDP (gross domestic product) was 37.54% in 2012-13. It employs nearly 80-100 million people.

 

Tell me more: The government wants to disburse loans totaling to Rs 1,22,000 crore to at least 2 crore people and 60% of Mudra loans would be given under the ‘Shishu’ category (credit up to Rs 50,000).

 

75%

 

What it is: South India’s share of top 20 CBSE schools by Class XII score.

 

Why is it important: Shows that schools with excellent performance are not equally distributed across the country.

 

Tell me more: Of the top 20, seven are from Tamil Nadu, five from Karnataka, two from Kerala and one each from Jharkhand, Gujarat, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi and Andhra Pradesh. Interestingly, the share of south indian states in number of schools is 19% compared to Delhi’s 12.7%, which has the highest share among all states.

 

$3 billion

 

What it is: Size of defence deal signed between India and the US

 

Why is it important: This strengthens US’ position as India’s second largest arms supplier at a time when India is looking to become a global defence exporter. India is the largest (or the second largest) arms importer in the world.

 

Tell me more: In this deal, the Indian Air Force will buy 22 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and and 15 CH-47F Chinook multi-mission heavy lift helicopters.

 

Rs 44,000 crore

 

What it is: Bailout amount from British Virgin Islands-based Helvetica Group for Sahara Group

 

Why is it important: Shows Subrata Roy is making some progress in settling with the courts. But, one has to wait and watch.

 

Tell me more: The group has failed to comply with a court order to refund Rs 20,000 crore it raised from investors by selling bonds, which were later ruled to be illegal. Subrata Roy, founder of the group, and two directors have been in jail for nearly 18 months and their bail amount has been set at Rs 10,000 crore, half in cash and the rest as a bank guarantee.

 

 

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News in Numbers – September 7, 2015

News In Numbers: September 7, 2015

 

27%

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.

 

25%

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.

 

10%

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.

 

12,000-14,000

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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