Please accept my apologies for the rather cryptic subject line. I promise it’s not some kind of clickbait. It’s a reality for thousands of our fellow citizens living in rural areas. For years there were no roads, and when the roads came, there were no inexpensive but comfortable way to go from one place to another. If the photo below is cliche, it’s a cliche because the scene is so common for a lot of people.
One of the numbers we picked for you today hints at an answer. Let us know what you think about it.
What is it? The amount by which Kerosene prices is likely to be raised every month till March 2017.
Why is it important? This will cut down the subsidy bill by 30% in current financial year, and also reduce adulteration of other petroleum products by mixing Kerosene. At present, the subsidy per litre of Kerosene sold is Rs 13.12. Kerosene price was increased by 50 paise in the first of this month, after a gap of nearly five years.
Tell me more: If the decision to rise Kerosene prices are implemented, it would be replication of the strategy adopted earlier to cut down Diesel subsidies. Price was increased by 50 paisa per month until all subsidies were eliminated.
Why is it important? This will increase the mobility of people living in rural India, expanding job opportunities and market access. Government built 190,413 kms of new roads and upgraded 258,189 kms of existing roads under the Bharat Nirman program. Despite the connectivity, public transport were not available as it was not viable for private operators and state transport undertakings did not have the resources to expand.
Tell me more: The program will be 60% funded by centre, with the states contributing the rest.
What is it? The number of months Honda’s top selling scooter model, Activa outsold Splendour, which is sold by its erstwhile partner, Hero Motors. Splendour was the highest selling vehicle for 17 years.
Why is it important? Underscores the increasing share of scooters in the two-wheeler market and the foothold of Honda Motorcycles and Scooters in the Indian market. Honda now sells every second scooter bought in India.
Tell me more: Scooter sales was 5 million units in last fiscal, and accounted for a third of two-wheeler market.
What is it? The number of students from the scheduled castes who made it to IITs (Indian Institute of Technology) in general ranking list, up from 515 last year. 22 of them were ranked among the top 2000.
Why is it important? IITs have come under heavy criticism for its lack of diversity, especially the low numbers of students from socially backward communities. The elite institutions responded by increasing the seats reserved for students from scheduled castes and scheduled tribes – and by waiving their fees. Their growing number in general list underlines the importance of education/training interventions outside the campus.
Tell me more: 49.5% of the total 10,500 seats in IITs are reserved for various castes – 7.5% for STs, 15% for SCs, 27% for OBCs. The students who got through the general list might still use the quota to get a campus of their choice.
Why is it important? The number is expected to almost double by 2025 to 5,54,000, the report says. This in a country where almost 30% of the population live in poverty spending less than Rs 32 a day in rural areas or Rs 47 in urban areas. Whether the wealth of the few will create the much needed jobs remains the big question
Tell me more: The report attributed the growth of millionaires to growth in local construction, financial services, IT, business process outsourcing and healthcare sectors. The wealth of 2.36 lakh millionaires adds up to $1.5 trillion, the report said.
News In Numbers: September 16, 2015
The combined wealth of India’s 198,000 high-net-worth-individual (HNWI) population as a percentage of India’s GDP (in 2014-15). The world’s second most populous nation is home to the 11th largest population of millionaires. India recorded the highest growth rates in the world for HNWI population (26.3%) and wealth (28.2%), due to falling oil prices and “constructive” election results. India and China led the growth of rich individuals and wealth in Asia Pacific, which surpassed North America’s HNWI population by a slim margin and is expected to overtake it in terms of wealth too, by the end of 2015. China’s HNWI population in 2014 stood at 890,000 whose wealth rose 19.3% to $4.5 trillion, which is more than twice of India’s GDP in 2014-15.
The drop in India’s merchandise exports in August, the steepest decline in five months and contracting for the ninth consecutive month. The two main reasons for this are lower commodity prices and a weak global demand. Exports stood at $21.2 billion while imports declined 9.95% to $33.7 billion in August. India’s trade deficit marginally narrowed to $12.5 billion in August from $12.8 billion in July. The decline in exports was mainly due to a 48% year-on-year fall in shipments of petroleum products to $2.8 billion. Reviving exports is critical as it accounts for nearly a fourth of India’s GDP. S C Ralhan, president of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations has called for the intervention of the Prime Minister and the Commerce and Industry Minister to immediately consult with the export bodies and draw up a roadmap to tackle the situation where reaching last financial year’s export target was looking difficult.
Rs 1 lakh crore
The amount Indian Railways is planning to seek from the Finance Ministry for safety upgrade, after a spate of recent railway accidents across India including Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, which has brought the spotlight once again on the safety aspects of the railways. Chairman of the Railway Board, A K Mital, has said the Indian railways is preparing a “comprehensive safety plan” that includes elimination of all level crossings and strengthening of tracks and bridges. Japanese railways and companies have agreed to help the Indian government in achieving its ‘zero accident mission’. In 2014, 27,581 people died in railway related accidents, of which 9.3% were railway crossing accidents.
The number of days within which private airlines would have to present their plans to reduce “excessive” fares on certain routes to the Indian government. Junior aviation minister Mahesh Sharma said the government is open to imposing price caps if the responses of the private carriers are inadequate. He also said that the last minute fares are on the higher side and that these are giving the airlines “a bad name”. However, he added that the government prefers to settle this issue without introducing any caps or other rules. The Indian aviation is struggling with $11.3 billion in debt and just two airlines- Indigo and GoAir – made a profit in 2014-15. GoEuro, a European travel website, ranked India as the most inexpensive country in terms of air travel where it costs about $10.36 per 100 km. Recently, chairman of Competition Commission of India, Ashok Chawla, said that there is no need to put a cap on airfares and that market forces would be able to fix the right fares in an unregulated environment.
Rs 20,000 crore
The estimated revenue that the festival of ‘Ganeshotsav’ generates across India, according to a report by industry body Assocham. ‘Ganeshotsav’ or ‘Ganesh Chathurti’ is an important Hindu festival celebrated to honour the elephant-headed God, Ganesha. Terming the festival as ‘recession-proof’, Assocham said expenditure on the festival is growing at an annual rate of 30% and the number of ‘mandals’ (elaborate, artificial structures erected with idols of Ganesha) is increasing at 5-10% per year. The report says the setting up of these ‘mandals’ attract “generous contribution by people from all walks of life” and generate employment for thousands of people. A proxy of how the big the festival: organisers of ‘mandals’ across Mumbai had taken a combined insurance cover worth Rs 450 crore last year.
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