News in numbers, Jan 26, 2016: India and France sign deals worth $15 bn, new voters added…

$ 15 billion

What is it? Deal value of 30 agreements signed between India and France in the last two days

Why is it important? Two major deals – $9 billion to purchase 36 Rafale fighter aircrafts and a shareholding agreement between Indian Railways and Alstom to produce 800 locomotives worth $ 3 billion locally – were taken forward and will help meet India’s priorities now. One to replace the ageing MiG fighter jets, and another to give boost to ‘Make in India’ program.

Tell me more: Financial details are yet to be agreed for the Rafale deal, where an Inter-governmental agreement has been signed. In Alstom deal, a shareholder agreement was inked.  French President François Hollande is on a three day visit to India, and will be the chief guest at India’s 67th Republic Day celebrations.

 

18 million

What is it? That’s the number of new voters added in the one year. With this, India now has 850 million electors.

Why is it important? Shows the success of the Election Commission to enthuse teenagers who become eligible to vote to enroll. Half of new voters enrolled are in the age bracket of 18-19 years, as compared to 10-15% in previous enrolment drive.

Tell me more: Census data shows 4.8 million people in age bracket of 18 to 19 years, but the enrollment numbers are double of that. The data doesn’t match, though Census is 2011 figures. Voter turnout in 2014 parliamentary elections was 66.4%, the highest ever.

+ 0.67 ° Celsius

What is it? Increase in annual mean temperature in 2015 in India, the third warmest year since 1901.

Why is it important? Twelve out of fifteen warmest years were recorded in last fifteen years, indicating a secular trend of increase in temperature. In particular, October – December last year, was the warmest since 1901.

Tell me more: World Meteorological Organization too declared 2015 as the hottest year on record, with temperature 1 degree celsius above pre-industrial era.

 

3.09 crore

What is it? The number of income tax returns filed electronically between April and December 2015.

Why is it important? That’s a jump of 27.3% from 2.43 crore during the same period last year, and close to 3.41 crore filed during the full financial year. (There are about 5.16 crore crore tax payers in India according to income tax department, based on returns filed and tax deducted at source). The jump underlines the advantages of digitising citizen to government interactions, and also the inefficiencies in physical movements of documents. There were complaints about the delays in receiving filings earlier.

Tell me more: Data provided by income tax department hit headlines recently after economist Thomas Piketty, best known for his study on inequality published in “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”, complained that there was “an extreme lack of transparency in information about income-tax data.”

1500 plus

What is it? The number of candidates vying for US presidency.

Why is it important? The final contest for White House often ends up between the Republican and Democratic nominees. (This time there could be a third, with Michael Bloomberg considering a presidential bid.) However, a large number of presidential hopefulsrepresenting a range of parties (American Independent Party, American Freedom Party, Constitution Party, Green Party, Libertarian Party, Objectivist Party and so on) or as independents throw in their hats too. In 2012, the number of presidential hopefuls was

Tell me more: While most of these candidates can be ignored, third party performances have had impact on elections – in 1996, businessman Ross Perot, competing as an independent won 18.6% of the popular vote.

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