News in Numbers, Nov 2, 2011: How many Facebook friends do you have?

12%

What is it? The percentage by which an average Facebook user is less likely to die than someone who does not use the social networking site, according to a study.

Why is it important? The study says the use of Facebook increases longevity only when it is used to maintain or improve real-life social connections. Those with large social networks lived longer than those with fewer friends, which seems to mirror studies of real-world relationships.

Tell me more: The study, which was led by University of California-San Diego researchers, looked at 12 million California-based Facebook users born between 1945 and 1989 and matched them with their health records, monitoring their online activity over six months. The researchers have said that the study is just observational and by no way proves that one would live longer if they use Facebook.

 

$600 million

What is it? The amount ride-hailing startup Ola is reportedly looking to raise while another report pegs the amount to $300-500 million.

Why is it important? This would help ANI Technologies’ Ola, which is playing the discounts game with Uber (said to be the most valuable startup, according to Statista) in India to maintain its lead position. The amount would reportedly provide Ola enough capital for the next 18 months. Uber has been focusing on the Indian market after selling off its Chinese operations. Ola has been in talks to raise funds since it last raised $57.3 million in December 2015.

Tell me more: Ola has raised $1.23 billion in eight rounds from 20 investors so far and was last valued at $5 billion.

 

3,600

What is it? The estimated number of captive elephants in India, most of whom are under the care of private individuals including temples.

Why is it important? Soon, elephants could join the list of animals banned from being exhibited or trained as performing animals. Currently, bull, bear, monkey, panther, tiger and lion are included in this list. The Animal Welfare Board of India, the country’s advisory body on animal welfare laws) has asked the environment ministry to ban the training, exhibition and use of elephants for performance in temples, circuses and joyrides.

Tell me more: Animal activists have been asking for better treatment of elephants, provide better welfare measures for them including food, veterinary care and housing facility and give better training to mahouts. The estimated number of elephants in India is 23,900 to 32,900; the Indian government declared the elephant as an animal of national heritage to increase its protection-measures.

 

3

What is it? The number of states that are open-defecation free (ODF) with Kerala being the latest to join the list. Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh are the other two states that have officially declared themselves to be free of open defecation.

Why is it important? The government has expressed hope that many states can achieve ODF status well before the deadline of October 2, 2019. Other states such as Gujarat, Uttarakhand and Mizoram are likely to achieve this status for their rural areas by March next year. However, certain challenges such as reporting of unreliable toilet construction numbers (the Comptroller and Auditor General of India found 16 states had overstated the data on individual toilet constructions by 190% of the actual constructions), improper construction of toilets (making them dysfunctional) and bringing about a behaviour change in people.

Tell me more: India compares poorly with other countries in terms of open defecation: 48.3% of the country’s population do not use toilets and in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sub-Saharan Africa, the corresponding numbers are: 23.1%, 4% and 24.9%, according to data by r.i.c.e, a non-profit research organisation.

 

2

What is it? The number of polls (of a total of six) in which Republican candidate Donald Trump has a lead of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the US Presidential elections, as of November 1. Clinton is ahead in three polls while the sixth one predicts a tie between the two.

Why is it important? The previous day’s data showed Clinton was ahead of Trump in seven of eight general election polls and indicates that the 2016 US Presidential elections is a tight race and just either of them could be the next US President. Last week, the FBI said it had found a new set of emails that could be “pertinent” to the Clinton email case and this may have an impact on the elections. The timing of the announcement of this development has drawn sharp criticism from many.

Tell me more: The prediction system devised by Allan J Lichtman, professor of history at American University, which has been correct in predicting the winner of all the US elections since 1984, says Trump is the man. Another prediction by an artificial intelligence system, whose predictions have been correct in the last three elections, gives Trump the lead position.

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News in Numbers, May 2, 2016: Gujarat’s 10% quota for poor, Uttarakhand’s forest fire crisis…

10%

What is it? Reservation quota in education and jobs for those with less than Rs 6 lakh of annual family income in general category, as announced by Gujarat government on Friday.

Why is it important? This is a move to appease the protesting Patel community, which has been demanding ‘Other Backward Class’ status to avail reservations in education and jobs. This comes ahead of the state elections next year, and after Congress won 23 of 31 district panchayats in the civic polls last year. The BJP has been in power for the last 18 years in the state.

Tell me more: The Patels are unhappy with the state government’s offer and have demanded that its community get a separate quota, similar to what the Haryana government has offered the Jats. The reservation move will exceed the 50% reservation limit set by the Supreme Court but the BJP says it is ready to go legal to defend its move.

7.5 tonnes

What is it? The quantity of gold Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), which manages the famous temple on the hill in southern Andhra Pradesh, is considering moving under the Indian government’s gold monetisation schemes.

Why is it important? This would be biggest mobilisation under the schemes launched last November. Over 1.5 tonnes have been deposited so far, and the board may move its entire reserves of 7.5 tonnes. The schemes are aimed at lowering India’s gold imports, which form the second highest component in the imports bill after crude oil. India imported 926 tonnes of gold in 2015-16, 16% less than the previous fiscal.

Tell me more: TTD wants the government to pay the interest component on medium and long-term schemes to be paid in gold instead of cash and also, calculate the interest on gold at the time of return instead of at the time of the deposit. This, on top of some changes the government had announced on Friday.

6,000

What is it? The number of people from state agencies involved in putting out the forest fire in Uttarakhand.

Why is it important? This is one of the biggest disaster the state has faced with 1,233 cases of fire covering 1,900 hectares of forest. While the effective area under fire has come down by 70%, the government hopes to put out the fire in the next 3-4 days by putting  10,000 more people on the job.

Tell me more: The area under fire is many times more compared to previous two years- 930.3 hectares in 2015 and 384.5 hectares in 2014. On Sunday, the government announced a pre-fire alert system that will issue warnings to the concerned departments via text messages. As on April 21, 20,667 forest fire incidents have already been reported, compared to 15,937 in 2015 and 19,054 in 2014.

1.25 crore

What is it? The number of people who paid taxes in 2012-13.

Why is it important? This was just 1% of India’s population at that time, indicating the extent of domestic tax evasion. Direct taxes accounted for 51% of the total tax revenue in 2015-16, the lowest since 2007-08. Indirect taxes (levied on goods and services) puts a greater burden on the poor.

Tell me more: Only 2.9 crore individuals filed their income tax returns in 2012-13 and nearly 89% of them paid taxes less than Rs 1.5 lakh with the average tax outgo being less than Rs 21,000.

13.2 lakh

What is it? The number of individual household toilets built in urban areas in 2015-16.

Why is it important? This is just around 53% of its 25 lakh target for the year and indicates that India would be hard-pressed to achieve open defecation-free status by 2019.

Tell me more: 11 states reported they have not constructed even a single household toilet. Gujarat accounted for around a third of the total individual household toilets last fiscal. States were also unable to meet their targets in the community and public toilet category where they have reported construction of only 68,500 toilets as against the target of 1 lakh.

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News in Numbers – September 10, 2015

News In Numbers: September 10, 2015

 

Rs 50 lakh

The amount the National Stock Exchange (NSE) has been fined by the Mumbai High Court in a defamation case it had filed against financial news website Moneylife. The bourse filed a Rs 100 crore defamation suit against Moneylife following an article written by Sucheta Dalal alleging that NSE staffers were leaking sensitive information related to high-frequency trading, which helped a select set of investors to trade faster than their competitors. Despite repeated requests by Moneylife, NSE did not participate in the story. According to Hoot, a media watch website, there were 21 instances of defamation cases and legal notices being filed by politicians, business houses, lawyers, former judges and media houses to book publishers, advertisers, other media houses and journalists in 2014.

 

7.5%
Share of revenue Infosys expects to earn by way of acquisitions of the total 2020 target revenue of $20 billion. The Bengaluru-based IT firm is working towards a 30% operating margin and $80,000 revenue per employee in another five years. In 2014-15, Infosys earned $8.7 billion in revenue. Quoting the way Accenture and Cognizant have acquired other companies, Vishal Sikka, managing director and chief executive of Infosys, said they need to do something similar without copying them. The company has made two acquisitions this year. Since the beginning of 2015, Accenture has acquired nine companies.

 

1.9 percentage points

The amount by which global corporate profits as a share of global GDP will fall by 2025, according to a new study by McKinsey, the consulting firm. According to McKinsey, the share of corporate profits as a share of world GDP was 9.8% in 2013. By 2025, this will fall to 7.9% due to a range of factors. Increased competition as firms in emerging markets continue to expand beyond their borders is one major reason.  Another reason, McKinsey says, is the fall in labour costs and interest rates observed over the last few decades is unlikely to continue.

 

21.6%
According to a survey conducted by the Indian government, over a fifth of the toilets it has constructed are non-functional and effectively beyond use. The government has built 6 crore toilets. Chaudhary Birendra Singh, Union Rural development minister, said a change in mindset was needed to make people use toilets. The government is aiming to do away with open defecation under the Swachh Bharat mission by 2019. Over half a billion people in India – or 59% of the 1.1 billion people in the world — still defecate in the open, according to the World Health Organization.

 

400
The number of Indian railway stations Japan will help India redevelop by sending an official mission to “study the opportunities for industries”. Besides this, Japan has agreed to participate in Indian railways’ investment plan of $140 billion in the next five years and engage in technology cooperation for modernising and upgrading Indian railways. Japanese railways and companies would also assist India in its zero-accident mission. Indian railways posted a loss of Rs 30,000 crore in the passenger segment in 2014. Japan has announced a funding of $35 billion across various infrastructure projects over the next five years.

 

 

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News in Numbers – June 10, 2015

 

4,470

In another round of de-registrations, the Indian government has cancelled the licence of 4,470 non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The list includes the names of prominent entities such as the Supreme Court Bar Association, Escorts Heart Institute, Panjab University (Chandigarh) and Gujarat National Law University. The Ministry of Home Affairs has cancelled the registration of these entities due to non-filing of annual returns and other irregularities. The new round of cancellation began on May 6 and 971 organisations (the highest number of such entities) were de-registered on June 9. Here is the link to a data story we did on NGOs receiving notices from the government and the foreign funding tangle.

1 lakh

Over 1,00,000 people have been affected by floods in Assam, a north-eastern state in India, this year. The flood has claimed the lives of two people since Monday. Heavy rains in the last three days have increased the water levels of Brahmaputra river and its tributaries, submerging many areas in the state. The districts of Tinsukia, Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Sonitpur, Darrang, Baksa, Nalbari, Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Goalpara, Kamrup (Metro) and Jorhat, have been affected by the floods. Take a look at some of the major disasters in India and the number deaths and victims.

5.6%

Only those restaurants with air-conditioning (AC) facilities will charge service tax and the others cannot, the Ministry of Finance clarified on Tuesday. And, the AC restaurants will charge only on the 40% of the total bill amount. This clarification comes in when there is confusion over the levy of service tax and complaints of higher charges, after the increase in service tax to 14% (from 12.26%) came into effect from June 1. The effective service tax rate for eating out in an AC restaurant will be 5.6% of the total food bill when compared to the earlier rate of 4.94%.

For instance, if A’s bill at an AC restaurant is Rs 1,000 (including the service charge), then the effective service tax levied would be 5.6% of the total bill amount (5.6% of Rs 1,000), which is Rs 56. Before June 1, A would have paid Rs 49.4 as service tax, the increase being Rs 6.6 on a total food bill of Rs 1,000.

 

$1.6 billion

India’s equity mutual funds (MFs) have received net inflows of around $1.6 billion in May, marking the 13th consecutive month of positive net inflows into the equity MFs. This adds up to $14.9 billion or Rs 91,800 crore. A Deutsche Bank report released on Tuesday said this is almost equal to net cumulative inflows since January 2002 to April 2014 (over the last 12 years), on a nominal basis.

 

36

The Indian Army’s Special Operations Forces killed about 36 militants and destroyed two terror camps “in a hot pursuit” along the India-Myanmar border on Tuesday. The army men were targeting militants who were responsible for an ambush on an army convoy and killing 18 soldiers in Manipur last week.

 

Re 1

In a different way of getting people use the public toilet facilities instead of defecating in the open, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has announced a scheme titled ‘Use and Get Paid’. The conventional way is the user would have to pay to use the public toilet facilities but the local body of one of the largest cities in Gujarat has turned it around. Not all the users will be paid (Re 1) but those who defecate in the open would be sensitised and rewarded for using the public toilets. The municipal corporation has identified 1,200 such people and the list would be revised on a regular basis.About 40% of people defecate in the open in Gujarat and the percentage of people defecating in the open in Ahmedabad is much lower at 13%, as per the 2011 Census data.

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