News in Numbers, August 9, 2016: Impact of diesel ban on Toyota, single-teacher schools…

Rs 1,700 crore

What is it? The total business Toyota Kirloskar Motors claims it has lost due to the ban on diesel vehicles in the Delhi-NCR region since last December.

Why is it important? The company says it has lost business of around 8,500 units of Innova and the Fortuner and that the ban has halted the company’s future investments in the country. The Supreme Court had banned the registration of 2,000 cc and above diesel vehicles in Delhi on December 2016 as a measure to curb the high pollution levels in the city. This comes at a time when the government is aggressively trying to promote its ‘Make in India’ campaign, which is aimed at attracting foreign companies to help convert the country into a global design and manufacturing hub.

Tell me more: Mercedes-Benz, another auto firm hit by this ban, has moved the Supreme Court and has asked for it to be lifted. It has said it is ready to pay 1% environmental cess on the sale of diesel cars.

 

6.5%

What is it? The stake the promoters of Max Financial would get in the merged entity approved by the boards of HDFC Life Insurance Company and Max Life Insurance Company in addition to a Rs 850 crore non-compete fee, subject to approval of public shareholders.

Why is it important? With this deal, the merged entity would have Rs 1.1 lakh crore in assets and overtake ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company and become India’s largest private life insurer and the second biggest life insurer after Life Insurance Corporation of India. After the merger, the entity would have a 10.8% market share. This could also signal the beginning of consolidation in the insurance sector.

Tell me more: The merger involves a three-step process: Max Life would be merged with its parent Max Financial Services, after which the insurance unit would be demerged from this entity to be combined with HDFC Life and the non-insurance businesses of Max Financial would be merged with group company Max India.

 

Rs 5,000 crore

What is it? The additional amount India’s flagship rural employment guarantee scheme would get in 2016-17, taking the total to Rs 43,500 crore.

Why is it important? This is likely to aid many in the rural areas affected by two consecutive years of drought in 2014-15 and 2015-16. Ten states had declared drought last year. However, since the current year is expected to be an above-normal monsoon one, there are concerns about inflationary pressures due to an increase in the budget. The increased budget overlay reportedly lays to rest doubts about whether the scheme would be continued or not.

Tell me more: Under the scheme, jobs to 48.2 million families were provided in 2015-16.

 

105,630

What is it? The number of government elementary and secondary schools in India which are run by a single teacher, according to a report tabled in the Parliament on Monday.

Why is it important? Indicates the extent of paucity of teachers in the country, especially in state-run schools and partially explains the clamour for private ones, despite the huge difference in fees. According to the Right to Education rules, the recommended student-teacher ratio is 30:1 for primary classes and 35:1 for upper primary classes.

Tell me more: Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of single-teacher schools followed by Uttar Pradesh and together, these two states account for a third of such schools. The next three worst states in this regard – Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand – account for nearly 29% of single-teacher schools.

 

$52.7 billion

What is it? India’s trade deficit with China in 2015-16.

Why is it important? The deficit might widen further if India cuts its tariff on Chinese imports in line with tariff reductions for other members in Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). So far, India has been favouring a three-tier system for tariff reductions – offering more cuts to some countries, and less to others including China. Now, it has changed its approach. This is likely to benefit China more with whom India does not have a free trade agreement (FTA). It remains to be seen what India is offered in return for agreeing to such a deal.

Tell me more: The RCEP is a proposed FTA between the 10 members of the Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN and the six countries with which the ASEAN has existing FTAs.

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News in Numbers, July 21, 2016: Mobile service quality complaints, fine for noise pollution…

89 crore

What is it? The number of person-days of employment generated under India’s flagship national rural employment scheme in the first quarter of 2016-17.

Why is it important? This is a jump of nearly 65% from the 54 crore during the same period last year comes on the back of rural distress caused by droughts in 13 states this year. Compared to last year’s allocation of Rs 20,000 crore in the three-month period, the central government has allocated Rs 30,000 crore in the last quarter, which is nearly 78% of the total budget.

Tell me more: To ensure proper implementation of the scheme, all assets created under the programme are being geo-tagged in addition to increased number of field visits for assessments.

 

9,720

What is it? The number of complaints the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has received for poor services in 2016 until June 30.

Why is it important? The trend seems to be similar to last year when 20,548 complaints were registered with the telecom regulator (2015 figure doesn’t include the complaints received against smaller players). Indicates that the quality of service of telecom players has not improved from last year, which is likely to be a crucial factor in retaining customers as competition among the players intensifies, especially with the impending launch of services by Reliance Jio Infocomm.

Tell me more: Of the total complaints received till last month this year, 3,257 are against Airtel, 2,130 against Vodafone, 1,526 against RCom, 997 against Idea Cellular with those against the other players being less than 500.

 

Rs 5,000

What is it? Fine for causing noise pollution in Delhi.

Why is it important? If this rule is successfully implemented, the capital city would be free of pressure horns’ usage and forbid people from removing silencers from their bikes. This is likely to bring down noise pollution levels in Delhi, which was ranked as the fourth noisiest city in India, according to a report by the Central Pollution Control Board released a few months ago. High noise pollution levels can lead to aggression, hypertension, hearing loss, tinnitus (hearing of sound when there is no external sound) and sleep disturbance.

Tell me more: The prescribed standards mandate that noise levels should not exceed 55 decibels during the day and 45 decibels in the night.

 

26

What is it? The number of districts the Indian government is rolling out direct cash transfers to kerosene customers.

Why is it important? This is to help prevent the diversion of the subsidized fuel and to ensure it reaches the intended beneficiaries. However, the idea of doing this is also to reduce the usage of kerosene for cooking and lighting purposes and instead, encourage people to use LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) cylinders while pushing to electrify all villages by the end of 2016, ahead of its target of May 2017.

Tell me more: It remains to be seen how the scheme will be implemented given that around half of the 80 million households that use kerosene for lighting, of a total of 250 million households as per the 2011 Census, are situated in rural areas that have limited banking services. The districts are spread across eight states.

 

$1 billion

What is it? The worth of copyrighted materials including movies, musical recordings and video games illegally distributed by Kickass Torrents, the world’s largest torrent site.

Why is it important? The US government arrested the alleged owner of Kickass Torrents, who is an Ukranian, in Poland. Even as governments and authorities try to fight digital piracy, the popularity of such torrent sites indicates that many people are reluctant to pay for content.

Tell me more: The torrent site’s net worth is estimated to be over $54 million while its annual advertising revenue is estimated to be in the range of $12.5-22.3 million, according to a criminal complaint filed in US District Court in Chicago. The site received an enviable 50 million unique visitors every month and was estimated to be the 69th most frequently visited website.

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News in Numbers, July 11, 2016: Mallya accused of fund diversion, Burhan Wani’s killing…

Rs 1,225 crore

What is it? The potential amount that United Spirits has allegedly diverted when it was under chairmanship of Vijay Mallya.

Why is it important? This adds to Mallya’s woes, who is wanted by Indian investigation authorities with a Mumbai court issuing a non-bailable warrant for his arrest. United Spirits, now owned by Diageo, a British multinational alcoholic beverages company, has informed Enforcement Directorate and the Securities and Exchange Board of India about the diversion of funds, and has directed the management to pursue its recovery and sue Mallya if necessary.

Tell me more: United Spirits has said the funds have been diverted to Force India Formula One, Watson Ltd, Continental Administrative Services and Ultra Dynamics, in which Mallya “appears to have a material, direct and indirect interests”. Mallya said in a statement that all transactions were above board.

 

500,000 tonnes

What is it? The quantity of duty-free, non-genetically modified corn India will import.

Why is it important? This would help overcome shortages and check prices, giving relief to starch manufacturers and the poultry industry, the main consumers of corn. Due to two consecutive years of drought, India’s corn production is estimated to have decreased to 21.02 million tonnes in 2015-16 from 23.67 million tonnes in 2014-15. India has traditionally been a major exporter of corn to the Southeast Asian region.

Tell me more: India, which allows cultivation and consumption of only genetically modified cotton, has been facing difficulties in sourcing non-genetically modified corn recently.

 

23

What is it? The number of people reportedly killed after protesters clashed with the police, angered by the killing of separatist militant Burhan Wani in Jammu and Kashmir.

Why is it important? Wani, who led the Hijb-ul Mujahideen (one of the largest and important terrorist groups perpetrating violence in the state), was seen as the face of new-age militancy in the region. The show of support by thousands who attended his funeral despite orders to restrict movement of people and traffic, indicates support for the cause and there are concerns that death might prompt increased attacks on security forces and civilians.

Tell me more: Around 200 people were injured in the clashes that erupted after Wani’s killing. Wani was popular on social media, releasing videos and pictures online with an aim to recruit young Kashmiri men for terror.

 

20%

What is it? The percentage of seats that go unoccupied in Air India flights on the routes connecting Delhi to Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru and Kolkata.

Why is it important? The state-owned carrier hopes to fill this up by offering tickets (booked within 4 hours of departure) at the same rate as 2-tier AC fares in Rajdhani trains. It’s Rs 2,870  from Delhi to Mumbai; Rs 3,905 from Delhi to Chennai; Rs 2,890 from Delhi to Kolkata and Rs 4,095 from Delhi to Bengaluru. High air fares charged by carriers have come under criticism recently.

Tell me more: The domestic traffic between the metros account for around half of the domestic air travel. Air India’s losses were expected to be Rs 2,636 crore in 2015-16 compared to Rs 5,860 crore in 2014-15.

 

79.1 crore

What is it? The number of person-days of employment generated under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme in the first quarter of this year.

Why is it important? This is the highest since the first quarter of 2012 and around 12% higher than the projected figure of 70.5 crore person days in the first quarter of this year. The spurt in numbers was due to higher than expected demand in some drought-hit states such as Rajasthan and Karnataka.

Tell me more: Some states including Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Uttarakhand have been lagging behind in terms of person-days of employment generated and the central government has written to them to increase the pace of the scheme’s implementation.

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News in numbers, Apr 20, 2016: Maggi noodles’ comeback, cash still preferred payment mode…

51%

What is it? The market share Maggi noodles has in the Rs 2,000-crore noodles market, according to Nestle India quoting Nielsen.

Why is it important? The popular snack, which was relaunched in November after a five-month ban, is yet to gain the commanding position it had before the ban – an 80.2% market share in the January-March quarter of 2015. The ban came after the food regulator found excess lead in its sample packets, which caused its net profit to shrink by over half to Rs 532 crore in the calendar year of 2015.

Tell me more: With two variants in the market, Nestle India would soon relaunch two more: atta and oats noodles. Before the ban, the market of instant noodles was estimated to be Rs 3,800 crore.

 

10%

What is it? The percentage of stake Housing Development Finance Corp. (HDFC) has agreed to sell in its insurance unit, HDFC Standard Life, to the public.

Why is it important? This will make the company the first life insurer in India to go for an initial public offering (IPO) and could set a precedent for other insurers.

Tell me more: The divestment plan is likely to roll out in the second half of 2015. HDFC Standard Life, a joint venture between HDFC and UK-based financial services provider Standard Life, recently saw the latter increasing its stake in the company by 9% to 35% for Rs 1,705 crore. This valued the company at Rs 18,951.4 crore.

 

6.7

What is it? The number of card transactions per person per year in India.

Why is it important? This is among the lowest in the world, reflecting the fact that cash is still the most preferred mode of payment in the country. The number compares poorly with other major economies: Australia (249.3), Canada (247.9), Korea (260.8), United Kingdom (201.7), Brazil (54.8) and China (14.4).

Tell me more: Another data point that highlights this is: usage of debit cards at ATMs account for 88% of volume and around 94% of the total value of debit card transactions while the corresponding figures for point of sale terminals are 12% and 6% respectively.

 

33 crore

What is it? The number of people affected by drought in 10 states in India, according to the Indian government.

Why is it important? The country is staring at one of the worst water crises in the recent past, with over a quarter of India’s population facing water shortage and agricultural distress. The government said it would launch large-scale water conservation and storage measures under MGNREGA, the rural employment scheme. The weather department’s forecast of an above normal rainfall this year is likely to bring some respite.

Tell me more: Uttar Pradesh is the worst-affected state accounting for nearly a third of the drought-affected people. The Indian government has disbursed Rs 19,551 crore this month under the rural employment guarantee scheme, which is half of the government’s annual budgetary allocation.

 

7,500

What is it? The number of small cases relating to service tax and customs – involving amounts less than Rs 15 lakh – that are being withdrawn by tax authorities from tribunals and High Courts.

Why is it important? This is likely to reduce the burden of pending cases on tribunals and courts. This move is also aimed at making the tax regime non-adversarial and to focus on cases based on merit alone and not on meeting collection targets.

Tell me more: Last December, the Finance Ministry had increased the threshold limit for filing appeals before the Customs Excise & Service Tax Appellate Tribunal and High Courts to Rs 10 lakh and Rs 15 lakh respectively.

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