News in Numbers, Sep 19, 2016: Uri attack, value of self-driving talent…


What is it? The number of Indian soldiers killed in a militant attack in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday. Around 30 were injured.

Why is it important? It is said to be the worst attack on the Indian army in a decade by ‘fidayeen’ (belonging to a suicide squad) militants. There is usually heavy military presence in and around Uri, which a few kilometres away from the Line of Control. India suspects the hand of Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed behind the attack.

Tell me more: Four militants attacked the rear office of an Indian Army infantry installation early in the morning yesterday when there was a change in command (one unit was replacing another one). They threw grenades and fired randomly. All four have been killed.


$1.04 billion

What is it? The cost of a 588 km road construction and upgradation project that will link India to Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.

Why is it important? This is expected to help increase intra-regional trade within South Asia by 60%. This could also boost the Motor Vehicles Agreement signed by the four countries last year that looks to increase passenger and goods movement across borders. South Asia has a trade potential of $80 billion compared to the current $28 billion and its constrained by a lack of connectivity, according to experts.

Tell me more: The Asian Development Bank will fund 50% of the project cost and the initiative would cover West Bengal and Manipur on the Indian side.



What is it? India’s share of global maternal deaths in 2015, according to a report in UK medical journal Lancet. There were 45,000 maternal deaths in India last year.

Why is it important? Globally, maternal deaths per 100,000 live births decreased by 44% (from 385 to 216) between 1990 and 2015. India is one of the 5% of countries that accounted for over half of such deaths.

Tell me more:  India’s maternal mortality ratio was 174 per 100,000 live births in 2015 (from 215 per 100,000 live births in 2010). It was supposed to decrease it to 109 per 100,000 live births by last year, as per the United Nations Development Programme’s Millennium Development Goals.



What is it? The number of government subsidy schemes in which cash will be directly transferred to beneficiaries’ accounts.

Why is it important? It is expected to plug the leakages, and ensure the intended benefits reaches the target population in full. The expansion of schemes under direct benefit of transfer comes after government saw huge savings in cooking gas subsidies, even though some argue that limitations of technology leaves out a good number of the poor.

Tell me more: The government already has pilots for food, kerosene and fertiliser subsidies, and uses direct cash transfers in 74 schemes of 17 departments and ministries. It wants to increase this to 147 by March 2017.


$10 million per person

What is it? Value of self-driving talent, according to Stanford University professor and former Google engineer Sebastian Thrun.

Why is it important? Thrun, who is often referred to as father of self driving cars in Silicon valley, arrived at this number from acquisitions in the sector, which were mainly for talent. Uber, for example bought six month old startup Otto for $700 million. It employed 70 people. While the exact number can be debated, this reflects the intensity of competition among companies to win the self-driving vehicles race. 33 companies are working on autonomous vehicles, and the talent is scarce.

Tell me more: Last week Uber launched self driving cars in Pittsburg. More recently, the CEO of its rival Lyft said a majority of rides in five years will be on self driving cars.

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News in Numbers – September 2, 2015

News In Numbers: September 2, 2015


1 million

The number of workers who went on strike in 2014, nearly 45% down from the number registered in 2003. Ten central trade unions, which claim a combined membership of 15 million, have called for a nationwide strike on Wednesday to demand the withdrawal of the proposed changes in labour laws and stop disinvestment of public sector units. Essential services, including banking and public transportation, are likely to be affected. But data suggests that industrial unrest has gradually decreased in India. The number of person-days of work lost has dropped from 30.25 million in 2003 to 3.63 million in 2014. Likewise, the number of strikes and lockouts has come down from 552 in 2003 to 143 in 2014. The number of industrial closures, and workers affected and laid-off have also seen a gradual decline over the years.


The percentage of seabird species, including penguins, gulls and albatrosses, that have plastic in their gut, which is likely to increase to 99% by 2050. Researchers, based on past data, have predicted that nine out of 10 individual seabirds have consumed plastic. This number was less than 5% in 1960. Seabirds are said to be good indicators of the state of the ecosystem and are “at the top of the marine food chain”, which could increase the ill-effects of plastic pollution through the chain. According to Plastic Pollution Coalition, an international collaboration of organisations and businesses, the ratio of plastic debris to zooplankton (tiny organisms drifting in seas and oceans) is 36:1. A 2015 study ranked India 12th among countries ranked by mass of mismanaged public waste estimated in 2010.


The number of unsold housing units in Bengaluru in the second quarter of 2015. With this, the Karnataka capital has surpassed Mumbai in terms of unsold inventory for the first time. The National Capital Region continued to lead, with an estimated inventory of 170,000 unsold units. Bengaluru saw an increase in the number of launches in the first quarter of 2015 compared to the same period a year ago, but the absorption rate decreased to 10%, from 11%. India’s top listed real estate companies had unsold inventory worth Rs70,000 crore in March this year, up 9.4% from a year ago.


The drop in prices of aircraft fuel in Delhi between January 2014 and August 2015. On Monday midnight, state oil companies cut prices of aviation turbine fuel by 11.5%, the most in six months. This move is expected to boost the financial prospects of airlines in India, most of whom are labouring to return to profits.


The percentage of Indian mothers who are able to breastfeed their babies within one hour of delivery, putting India in the lowest position among South Asian countries, according to a report. India’s score only marginally improved in 2015 from 2012. Of the 26 million babies born in India, mothers of nearly 56% of the babies are not able to follow optimal feeding practices during the first year. In India, about half of all births in 2007-08 happened at home, with institutional deliveries ranging from 35% in Chhattisgarh to 76% in Madhya Pradesh. India is also home to the highest number of maternal deaths, accounting for one-fifth of total maternal deaths in the world in 2010. is a search engine for public data

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News In Numbers – August 26


The number by which female Christian population exceeds the Christian male population in India, according to the latest data released by the Indian government on religion. As per Census 2011, Christianity is the only religion in India in which the female population exceeds the male population. However, there has not been a significant change between 2001 and 2011 in the share of Christians in the total Indian population. As is the case for Jains. The share of the Muslim community grew 0.8 percentage points during this period, while the Hindu population registered a decline of 0.7 percentage points.



The incidence of procuration of minor girls per lakh population in India in 2014.  The equivalent figures for buying and selling of minor girls for prostitution were 14 and 82, respectively. The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Indian government to prepare an action plan to prevent trafficking of girls for sexual exploitation, their rescue and rehabilitation, in consultation with the states. According to the non-governmental organisation Prajwala, which had moved the court against trafficking of girls and women for sexual exploitation, over 200,000 women and children are inducted into the flesh trade every year and that one out of every four children rescued from prostitution is a child, of which 60% are HIV positive.


40,000 MW versus 10,000 MW

India added about 40,000 MW (megawatt) of power generation capacity in the last two years, but demand increased only by about 10,000 MW. This is mainly because a significant chunk of people cannot afford to pay for electricity. Unless this changes, the demand-supply mismatch could become worse as the government is planning to increase power generation capacity to 800 GW (gigawatt) by 2030. In 2014-15, India recorded the lowest plant load factor in over 15 years, with power capacities operating at just 65%. The financial health of state electricity boards (SEBs) is deteriorating: their cumulative outstanding loans have crossed Rs 3,00,000 crore and they have accumulated losses of over Rs 2,50,000 crore. One of the main reasons for this is the state distribution utilities are reluctant to revise tariffs to cover costs.


1.2 million and 35,000

The number of infant and maternal deaths India could avoid if the current need for family planning is met within the next five years. According to an analysis conducted by the Population Foundation of India, the Finance Commission decentralizing funds to states may impact the family planning programme and could result in diversion of funds away from other social and health sector needs. In 2012-13, the Indian government had committed to bring down maternal mortality rate to 100 per every 100,000 live births, infant mortality rate to 30 per every 1,000 live births and total fertility rate to 2.1. India accounts for the largest number of maternal deaths in the world, at 178 per 100,000 live births in 2010-12.



The number of food items covered by the new draft food guidelines put out by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) for public comments. The new guidelines include health supplements and additives, nutraceuticals and proprietary foods. The 2011 guidelines cover just 377 food items: in other words, only these items are standardised.  This particular limitation caused a judicial setback for the food regulator when the Supreme Court last week refused to accept its arguments about the product approval process. Under an earlier set of rules, product approval was required only when the manufacturer included a new ingredient or additive, which under the new rule introduced in 2013 required approval for products even if they were using pre-okayed ingredients or additives within permissible limits.
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