Monsoon cracks on ☔

6%

What is it? The percentage above normal registered by monsoon rainfall till July 2.

Why is it important? The monsoon, which accounts for over 70% of India’s annual rainfall, is the primary source of irrigation for half of the country’s cropland and refills over 80 nationally-monitored water reservoirs (important for drinking purposes, power and irrigation).

Tell me more: The monsoon is expected to cover the country by July 15, on schedule. The onset of the southwest monsoon has led farmers to plant 19% more hectare with rain-dependent kharif crops than last year (22.2 million hectare over 18.7 million hectare).

 

8%

What is it? The hike in Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal’s annual pay in 2016-17.

Why is it important? Mittal’s pay increased despite India’s largest telecom operator  suffering a sharp decline in annual consolidated profit this year due to intense competition. In 2016-17, Bharti Airtel’s consolidated net profit was Rs 3,799 crore, registering a fall of 37.5%. Mittal’s income rose from Rs 27.8 crore to Rs 30.1 crore in the same year.

Tell me more: Bharti Airtel Managing Director and CEO (India and South Asia) Gopal Vittal earned nearly 50% more than last year, as well. It is unlike the trend in another sector: chiefs in the IT industry such as Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka and Wipro Chairman Azim Premji have taken cuts in their pay, in line with performance goals.

 

28%

What is it? The percentage of women students who secured admission to the post graduate programme in management at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) – the premier business school.

Why is it important? This was achieved without giving extra marks or gender-specific quotas. IIMA decided to give lower weightage to the score from the Common Admission Test, an entrance exam for getting admission to business schools, and invite candidates from non-engineering background for the interviews.

Tell me more: Around 85% of students in IIM, Bangalore are from engineering background, and within that 50% are from Indian Institute of Technology and National Institute of Technology.

 

33.6 million

What is it? The number of youth in the 18-19 age group who remain unregistered on the voters’ list.

Why is it important? This number is 60% of eligible voters in the age group of 18-19 years. However, the number of eligible voters not enrolled has come down from 90% six years back. Indian citizens are allowed to vote after reaching 18 years.

Tell me more: The Election Commission of India is running a month-long drive in July to persuade them to register. For the generation hooked on social media, EC has tied up with Facebook to host a special button for registration.

 

Upto Rs 32

What is it? The hike in the cost of an LPG or cooking gas cylinder.

Why is it important? Household LPG cylinders are set to become costlier because under GST it is under the slab of 5% taxation, higher than the VAT levied earlier by some states at 2-4%. Further cuts in subsidy of LPG connections in June will compound the price rise, and go up to Rs 32 extra for each cylinder in some states.

Tell me more: The last subsidy cut was in May of around Rs 2, implementing the government’s target of eliminating it through small increases.

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News in Numbers, June 6, 2016: 29 killed in Mathura violence, India & Qatar sign 7 deals…

29

What is it? The number of people who have died in the Mathura clashes so far.

Why is it important? Violence erupted in Mathura on Thursday when the police tried to evict encroachers belonging to a religious group called Azad Bharat Vidhik Vaicharik Kranti Satyagrahi from government land (Jawahar Bagh). This may become one of the key issues in Uttar Pradesh, which faces elections next year.

Tell me more: Over 3,000 people of the cult attacked around a thousand policemen with swords, guns, knives and grenades when they went on the eviction drive. The leader of the cult group, who ran a private army and had eight cases (including murder and land-grabbing) cases against him, died in the clash.

 

7

What is it? Number of bilateral agreements signed by India and Qatar on Sunday.

Why is it important? The agreements cover tourism, health, skill development, youth and sports, and investment in India’s Rs 40,000-crore National Investment and Infrastructure Fund. India has also expressed interest in joint exploration of new oil and gas fields and development of discovered assets in Qatar, which is the largest supplier of LNG (liquefied natural gas) and LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) to the country.

Tell me more: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on a five-nation tour and he is currently in Switzerland where he is likely to seek support for India’s membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group and also, raise the issue of black money.

 

Rs 15,800 crore

What is it? The minimum amount India would need to spend on family planning services by 2020, according to a study.

Why is it important? This is necessary if India wants to keep up its 2012 global commitment of covering 48 million new users of family planning services such as access to contraceptive methods and reproductive healthcare by 2020 while sustaining the existing 100 million users. A delay may result in high maternal and infant mortality and morbidity and poor child health due to poorly-spaced pregnancies, the study says.

Tell me more: Family planning budget allocation has decreased by 54% between 2013-14 and 2015-16 though that under the National Health Mission increased by 47% but still fell short of the required amount, as per the study by the International Institute of Health Management Research, Jaipur – commissioned by the Population Foundation of India.

 

6

What is it? Number of bulk drugs and medical devices parks Indian government is considering setting up under the public-private partnership mode. There will be three of each.

Why is it important? India is heavily reliant on imports for bulk drugs or active pharmaceutical ingredients (80%) and medical devices (65%). The setting up of such parks would help bring down the costs of production of devices and drugs by a minimum of 30% in the long-term, according to the Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers.

Tell me more: The government is considering to provide a one-time financial support for these bulk drug parks. The six bulk drug and medical devices parks would require an investment of around Rs 60,000 crore.

 

78%

What is it? Percentage of voters in Switzerland who opposed a plan to give a monthly income of 2,500 Swiss francs ($2,555) for adults per month whether they work or not, according to projections by GFS polling outfit for Swiss broadcaster SRF.

Why is it important? Switzerland is the first country to vote on such a proposal. As technology increasingly replaces jobs, other countries including Finland are considering a similar proposal. Those who supported the proposal argued that productivity would be better if one is not obliged to work to earn money and unpaid work would be more valued. Those against (including the government) cited high costs, decrease in inclination to work and likely large-scale immigration as the reasons.

Tell me more: The government had estimated that this proposal would cost 208 billion Swiss francs and most of the current social security programmes would have made up for this though it would have had to resort to spending cuts and tax increases to make up for a gap of 25 billion Swiss francs.

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News in numbers, Apr 26, 2016: The water wasters, India’s malaria elimination plans…

1.32

What is it? The number of times Punjab’s water footprint exceeds world average for growing wheat.

Why is it important? It’s an indicator of inefficient water usage across the country. For example, UP’s water footprint for wheat is 2.27% and Madhya Pradesh’s is 0.93%. With the drought affecting several parts of the country, this indicates the need for taking a fresh approach towards the crops India grows and how efficiently it grows them.  

Tell me more: The government procurement also seems to be tilted towards water inefficient states. For example, Rajasthan, the highest wheat producing state in 2014-15 and which has a low water footprint of 0.69 has a procurement share of just 4.6%.

Rs 22,085 crore

What is it? Government subsidy for petroleum products such as LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) and kerosene in the first nine months of 2015-16, 71% lower than the subsidies in 2014-15.

Why is it important? While reduction can be attributed to low crude oil prices, it also shows market reforms are working. The government had linked diesel and petrol prices to market and introduced direct benefit transfer scheme. India, which imports 80% of its oil needs, can use this saving along with the amount gained due to lower oil import bills, to spend on other purposes such as education and health.

Tell me more: India’s crude oil import bill is expected to almost reduce by half (45%) to $62 billion in 2015-16 from $113 billion the previous year.

3

What is it? The number of students who have been rusticated by Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) for allegedly raising anti-national slogans at an event organised in support of Afzal Guru, a convicted terrorist.

Why is it important? JNU can be expected to sizzle for some more time. Kumar said he rejects the punishment as it is biased and that the students “will fight back and will win”.

Tell me more: A university committee set up to probe the incident found the students guilty on various charges such as not following university procedures, providing misinformation, instigating communal violence, participating in sloganeering, indiscipline, misconduct, and creating discord among students. Reportedly, financial penalty has been imposed on 14 students including student leader Kanhaiya Kumar. Some of the students including Kumar were arrested on sedition charges and are currently, out on bail.

200,000

What is it? The number of households in Mandla district in Madhya Pradesh where a malaria elimination project will be implemented by the Indian Council for Medical Research and Sun Pharma over the next 3-5 years. Mandla is one of the most malaria-endemic districts in the state.

Why is it important? This is India’s first public-private-partnership for research and innovation in preventive health care. This is likely to help India in its goal of eliminating malaria by 2030. According to official estimates, there were 561 deaths due to malaria in 2014 though this is much lesser than WHO’s estimates of 15,000 deaths a year and an independent research, which claims malaria kills over 200,000 people a year in India.

Tell me more: The project would include measures such as strengthening existing health systems, development and testing of medical products and disease surveillance and the learnings would be used to draw strategies for malaria elimination in other parts of the country.

458

What is it? The number of examiners the Indian government has hired for clearing applications for patents, designs and trademarks.

Why is it important? This increases the examiner strength by over 3.5 times, which would help in bringing down the time taken to process applications to 18 months by March 2018 from the current 5-7 years. As many as 237,000 patents and 544,000 trademarks registrations are pending approval.

Tell me more: Another 263 examiners would be hired on a contract basis to help clear the backlog.

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