World’s cheapest metro?

News in Numbers – September 12, 2016



What is it? The percentage increase in the minimum fare of Delhi Metro, from Rs 8 to Rs 10, suggested by a panel tasked with revision of fares.

Why is it important? The last time Delhi Metro revised its fares was in 2009. Meanwhile, mounting costs have reduced its operating margin from 65.3% in 2008-09 to 34.8% in 2014-15.

Tell me more: A compilation by the World Metro Database of metro fares of 55 cities shows Delhi to be the cheapest: 0.12 euros for a journey of 10 km or 10 stops. Stockholm was the most expensive, at 3.73 euros.



What is it? The number of commercially insured rocket launches in a year across the world.

Why is it important? This is about a fourth of launches that take place in a year, and reflects the economics of satellite insurance, with its low volumes and high risk of failure. Insurers therefore charge a high premium. In 11 of the 15 years from 2000, premium collections were well over the amount paid out.

Tell me more: The most recent rocket failure took place earlier this month when SpaceX Falcon 9 exploded during a prelaunch test. While the rocket’s cost was $60 million, the satellite, Israel’s AMOS-6, was estimated to cost $200 million. The rocket was reportedly not insured, but the satellite was. Last week, India sent its own weather satellite using its Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle. GSLV has had 10 flights so far, of which five were successful. ISRO doesn’t insure its launches.



What is it? India’s August retail inflation rate according to HSBC Global Research.

Why is it important? It’s a percentage point lower than 6.1% in July, and a sign that price rise may be cooling down, closer to the target of bringing it down below 5% by the end of this year. A Reuters poll last week said lower food prices could have brought the consumer inflation down.

Tell me more: It’s not clear if this would prompt the new Reserve Bank governor Urjit Patel to cut interest rates. While some believe it could bring the rates down by 25 basis points, some believe there is too little headroom for rate cuts.


1.5 million

What is it? The number of Muslim pilgrims who have gathered in and around Mecca, Saudi Arabia for annual Hajj pilgrimage.

Why is it important? The pilgrimage – that reenacts the actions of Prophet Mohammad – is one of the five pillars of Islam, and all muslims are to make it at least once in their lives. This year’s gathering comes amidst tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia over a stampede that happened last year (and other political reasons). Over 2000 pilgrims lost their lives in the 2015 stampede, many of them Iranians. Iran has boycotted the event, endorsing an alternate event in Iraq.

Tell me more: Saudi Arabia has pumped up monitoring and security to avoid mishaps. It has deployed drones to watch over the crowd, and provided the pilgrims with electronic bracelets to store personal and health information.



What is it? Number of race winners in the 500cc MotoGP championship in 2016 so far—the most in a single season since the series began in 1949. Dani Pedrosa’s win on Sunday in San Marino made him the eighth winner in eight races.

Why is it important? This is twice the number of winners in the 2014 and 2015 seasons, each of which saw 18 races. The open-ended nature of MotoGP is in contrast to Formula 1, where Mercedes dominance has resulted in just three winning drivers in 14 races in 2016.

Tell me more: Last week, Formula 1 got a new owner, and it’s widely expected that one of the objectives of rule changes in this moneyed sport will be have more teams contend for the top step.

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Mapping India’s 640 districts by six types of religious faiths

This piece originally appeared on


Which two Gujarat districts have a Muslim population of above 20%? Where are the two clusters of Buddhist population? A data interactive that shows how India’s 640 districts were distributed by six types of religious faiths in 2011 and little has changed over 2001.



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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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