News in Numbers, Mar 10, 2017: What’s C in C-section?

26 weeks

What is it? The duration of paid maternity leave mandated by the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016, passed in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

Why is it important? It had been a long-standing demand of women’s rights organisations. If passed by the President of India, the amendment would extend the current provision of 12 weeks of fully-paid leave for the mother to 26 weeks, giving her more security and time to spend with her child and recover her health. India would then be second to only a few countries in the world.

Tell me more: Norway, Estonia and Canada have government-mandated maternity (fully-paid) leaves lasting 35 weeks. Most European companies are at 18 weeks but partly-paid leaves combined with it make for stronger allowances than India’s.


$1 billion

What is it? The amount online room renting service, Airbnb Inc, raised in its latest round.

Why is it important? The second-most valuable startup, behind Uber Technologies, the service app will now be valued at $31 billion. But unlike the ride-booking app, Airbnb turned profitable in thesecond half of 2016, and expects EBITDA profit in 2017.

Tell me more: In September, it had raised $555 million as part of the same funding round, and closed it with the recent $447.85 million.


Rs 22,521 crore

What is it? The revenue the civil aviation ministry expects state-run Air India to clock in fiscal 2017.

Why is it important? The loss-making airline is expecting a 10% increase in revenue this year. Its passenger load factor, measuring revenue per seat, should increase from 75.6% to 76.4%, indicating more efficient operations, said the ministry.

Tell me more: Existing on government handouts, the airline is said to be moving towards milestones mentioned in the turnaround plan (TAP) involving an infusion of Rs 30,231 crore till 2021. It has gone in for route rationalisation, newer fleet and new routes, and ancillary charges such as preferred seat selection charge.


$20 million

What is it? The amount Tata Trusts plans to invest in social enterprises over the next 10 years in association with Department of Science (DST) and Technology and Lockheed Martin.

Why is it important? The decision by one of the country’s leading trusts underlines the increasing influence of social enterprises in social sector, an area traditionally dominated by non-profits funded mostly by charity.


Tell me more: The investments will be for the second edition of India Innovation Growth Programme. The first was launched in 2007 by DST.



What is it? The percentage of cesarean deliveries in private hospitals in India in 2015-16, according to National Family Health Survey.

Why is it important? This contrasts with 11.9% in public hospitals, and raises questions about medical ethics in private hospitals. C-section deliveries cost more, and privatised medical profession has long been accused of recommending costly procedures that might not be necessary – that might even be dangerous – for patients.

Tell me more: Compared to 10 years ago, the percentage of c-section deliveries has gone up in private hospitals – from 27.7% in 2005-06, and has gone down in public hospitals from 15.2% in 2005-06.

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News in Numbers, Feb 10, 2017: How safe are your debit cards?

3.2 million


What is it? Bank customers whose debit card data was stolen in 2016 due to the hacking of Hitachi Payment Services that manages ATMs of certain banks.


Why is it important? While millions of users were stricken between May and July of 2016 and had their money stolen, Hitachi Payments only now admitted on Thursday it still does not know the amount of user data compromised. The hacking, detected in September, led to an audit of Hitachi Payments, whose ATMs for banks like ICICI Bank, Yes Bank, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, SBI were affected the most.


Tell me more: The audit results, now out, by SISA Information Security and commissioned by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), tells of a sophisticated malware that concealed its tracks and was able to delete them. Hitachi in its admission says containment measures have been deployed.





What is it? The productivity of the Lok Sabha in the first phase of the Budget session for 2017.


Why is it important? The phase which saw the Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Bill or the bill on demonetisation, along with others such as the Finance Bill, Payment of Wages (Amendment) Bill, passed, saw the Lok Sabha accomplish 13% more work than scheduled. This was less than the first phase productivity of 2016’s Budget session (123%). While the data was shared by the Parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar, it reiterates a study by think-tank PRS Legislative Research which showed having a majority in the lower house helped keep up Budget session productivity levels for this government. While productivity hovered between 49-89% in 2010-2013 Budget sessions, 2014 onwards, it was at 103-121%.


Tell me more: Rajya Sabha productivity in the first phase of the ongoing session was 97%.



>3 million


What is it? The number of people forced from their homes by the civil war going on in South Sudan, the world’s youngest country.


Why is it important? The United Nations now says the fighting between the government and rebel forces is reaching “worrying proportions”. Aid workers have had to be evacuated and military supplies and reinforcements find their way to the country.


Tell me more: South Sudan’s brief history has been fraught with the ongoing civil war leading to a humanitarian crisis, rife with displacement and food insecurity. A tentative peace agreement struck in 2015 is still to be acted upon.



$ 250 billion


What is it? The amount analysts expect India to spend on defense modernisation over the next 10 years


Why is it important? With this large budget, it hopes to get manufacturers shift their production facilities to India, boosting its Make in India campaign. Its deal with Lockheed Martin to make its F-16 combat jets in India was in this direction. However, the defense firm has now said US government under Trump might take a fresh look at the deal, which could be a setback for Make in India efforts.
Tell me more: One of the key campaign promises of Donald Trump was to bring back jobs to America, and the indications are that he will try protectionist measures to achieve that.



2 million


What is it? The number of users Twitter added in the last quarter of 2016. It now has 319 million monthly active users.


Why is it important? In contrast, Facebook, its rival in the social media space, added 72 million users. It came during the height of American presidential campaign, with Donald Trump making his most impactful statements on Twitter. The user growth, as well as the merely 1% increase in quarterly revenues hammered the stock price down by 11%.


Tell me more: Despite this, Twitter suggested its users are getting more addicted to the platform pointed to the growth (11% quarter on quarter) in daily active user numbers.

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