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, Aug 11, 2016: Online census of MSMEs, maternity leave likely to increase…

October 2015: China’s Didi Chuxing invested in Ola.

August 1, 2016: Didi Chuxing buys Uber’s China unit.

Today: Uber indirectly owns Ola, which is trying to raise funds to compete with it in India!

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The confusion doesn’t end here. Do read on to know more about the quandary Ola is in. What do you think Ola should do? Do write to us.


What is it? The number of passenger vehicles sold in July, an increase of 16.78% from the corresponding month last year.

Why is it important? This is the fastest pace of growth since October 2015, fuelled by new launches in the utility vehicle segment, the upbeat sentiment due to monsoon rains boosting farm output and the rollout of the Seventh Pay Commission payout. Utility vehicle sales increased by 41.85% to 64,105 units compared to 45,191 units in the same month last year.

Tell me more: Passenger car sales increased by 9.62% to 177,604 units in July from 162,022 units in the same month a year ago, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).


Rs 1 crore

What is it? The cost of conducting a census of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). The databank would be launched today.

Why is it important? This is the first time the census of MSMEs is being carried out online, thereby saving money as the previous offline census conducted in 2008 cost Rs 50 crore. This would help the government plan development activities and incentive programmes for MSMEs in a better way. Besides, the government would launch six online finance facilitation centres today that would provide collective financing options for MSMEs. Inadequate and delayed credit is one of the main reasons for the increase in the number of sick MSMEs from 2.2 lakh in March 2013 to 4.74 lakh by March 2015.

Tell me more: MSMEs account for around a third of the manufacturing output in India. There are 47.89 lakh such firms in India as of July 18, 2016.


26 weeks

What is it? The proposed length of maternity leave in India, per the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016, that the cabinet approved on Wednesday.

Why is it important? It’s 12 weeks at present. The bill also proposed 12 weeks maternity leave for women who go for adoption or surrogacy. Legislations such as these might increase increase women participation in the labour force, which is low at 22.5% at present.

Tell me more: The government is looking to pass this bill in the current session of the Parliament, which concludes tomorrow. The amendments to the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, include facilitation of working from home and mandatory provision of a creche in firms having 50 or more employees.



What is it? The number of overtime work hours in factories in a quarter, doubled from 50, as per the Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2016. Under special circumstances, this can be increased to 125 hours through a special notification. This bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

Why is it important? Despite opposition from some members of Parliament (MPs) and trade unions from different parties, the government passed the bill on the grounds that it would help cover up the shortage in labour, especially technical, and that it is less than the upper limit of 144 hours recommended by the International Labour Organization. Some of the reasons for the Opposition MPs protesting against the bill include: it would affect fresh recruitments and employment generation and the need to pass this bill when the more “comprehensive” Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2014, which supposedly benefits the workers and provides for safety measures, was pending.

Tell me more: The bill will now be introduced in the Rajya Sabha. Itwas not tabled with the detailed amendments in the Lower House on Wednesday, which were introduced in the Lok Sabha in 2014 and then, referred to the Standing Committee. According to Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, the bill with amendments to only two clauses was introduced to facilitate ease of doing business.


Rs 64 crore

What is it? Didi Chuxing’s investment in Ola last October.

Why is it important? Didi Chuxing may have violated the shareholder agreement it signed with Ola by its recent acquisition of Uber’s operations in China. Earlier, Didi Chuxing signed a non-compete agreement with Ola, which states that it must not engage with any firm that competes with Ola as long as it holds shares in the firm or for a period of two years after it sells its shares in it. With Uber indirectly owning a part of Ola, it remains to be seen what Ola and Didi Chuxing decide to do.

Tell me more: This is the first time that a startup has faced such a conundrum: not only does it have to share its financial information with Didi Chuxing but this situation may also hamper its ongoing fundraising efforts. On top of it, three of Ola’s four largest investors have invested in Uber too.

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News In Numbers – August 11

News In Numbers: August 11




The growth of car sales in July, the ninth consecutive monthly increase. This indicates an improvement in consumer sentiment in the auto sector, which is often seen as a proxy for how well an economy is doing. However, motorcycle sales, an indicator of rural demand, fell 6.4%, due to last year’s delayed and deficient rainfall, and this year’s unseasonal rains. The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), the nodal industry grouping, expects demand to revive in the coming festive season, provided there are no unseasonal rains. The weather department has said that rainfall during August to September is likely to be below normal, with a probability of 86%. This will worry Indian carmakers, who operated at only 65% of their total capacity in 2014-15.



The number of weeks a woman may be eligible for maternity leave, if the government acts on a proposal under consideration. Under the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, a working woman is eligible to take 12 weeks of maternity leave, of which half can be taken before the expected delivery date. Going beyond the statutory norms, e-commerce major Flipkart had announced an extended maternity leave of 24 weeks, besides four months of flexible working hours with full pay and, if required, one-year break from work without pay. In some central European countries, the standard duration for maternity leave is three years.



The number of state power distribution utilities (all four in Gujarat and one in Punjab) that have an ‘A+’ rating, the highest grade to assess them on various parameters like financial performance and reform measures. Of the 40 utilities, two are in ‘A’ category, 23 in ‘B+/B’ and 10 utilities in ‘C+/C’. These ratings help banks and financial institutions assess risk while lending to these utilities. Indian state electricity boards, which have undergone several rounds of financial restructuring, have a total debt of Rs 3,04,000 crore. The Reserve Bank of India, in a May report, had warned that state governments “should not make debt restructuring of power utilities a perpetual feature” as it affects the stability of state finances. Elsewhere, Indian banks are reeling under the stress of bad loans and the power sector is a main factor for this; in a June report, the central bank said seven state electricity boards owed Rs 53,000 crore to banks, which had a very high probability of turning bad in the quarter ending September.



The number of rural habitations where one or more drinking water sources are contaminated and are yet to be provided with safe drinking water, as on April 1, 2015. Of these, nearly one-fifth are affected by fluoride and 2.7% by arsenic. Although India missed its internal targets set under the 11th five-year plan (2007-12) and had achieved about 80% of its targets under the 12th five-year plan up to August 2014, the government says it is way ahead of the targets set for 2015 under the United Nations Millennium Development Goals: over 95% of rural habitations were either fully or partially provided with safe drinking water. However, a study done on a small sample size by Pratham Education Foundation, Montreal University and Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies between May and October 2013 found that 42% of urban and 60% of rural households were receiving contaminated water.


Rs 90,000 crore

The annual size of the organised pharmaceutical retail market in India as of July 31. Cumulative sales in July 2015 grew about 13% to Rs 8,328 crore over July last year, with the main drivers being the diabetes, dermatology and urology segments. Domestic companies grew at 12.6% in July, a slower pace when compared to multinational companies, which grew at 13.8%. A report by the India Brand Equity Foundation pegs the expected per capita sales of pharmaceuticals at $23 for 2015 and $27 for 2016. is a search engine for public data


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