News in Numbers, May 11, 2016: India-Mauritius amended treaty, Philippines ‘Trump’ed…

45%

What is it? The combined share of Mauritius and Singapore in India’s foreign direct investment in 2014-15.

Why is it important? This might reduce after a 1983 treaty between India and Mauritius was amended (which will also apply to India-Singapore treaty) on Tuesday to let India impose capital gains tax on investments starting next year. The amendment is expected to help India fight against black money.

Tell me more: The amended treaty allows India to impose taxes on capital gains relating to investments made from April 1, 2017 at 50% of the domestic rate until March 31, 2019, after which the full rate will be applicable. The phased reduction in capital gains would be applicable to only those companies that have a total expenditure of over Rs 27 lakh in the preceding 12 months.

 

33

What is it? The number of votes Congress has reportedly got in the floor test of the Uttarakhand Assembly on Tuesday against BJP’s 28.

Why is it important? The results would end political uncertainty stretching over the last few weeks in the state where President’s Rule has been imposed. The sacked chief minister Harish Rawat is likely to be back at the helm. lt remains to be seen if Uttarakhand will go in for elections earlier than scheduled (next year) and if Supreme Court will take a view on the imposition of President’s Rule.

Tell me more: The floor test results will be presented to the Supreme Court today, after which they would be made public. The crisis began when nine of Congress MLAs sided with the BJP in a debate over the state budget and after a series of appeals and counter-appeals, they were barred from participating in the floor test on Tuesday.

 

14.8 million

What is it? The number of votes Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte has received in Philippine presidential elections, around 39% of the 54 million registered voters, according to a poll monitor accredited by the election commission.

Why is it important? With Duterte likely to be President, the unofficial results reflect Filipinos’ choice of a leader – a tough-talking candidate who promises to fight corruption and criminals but also, one who makes controversial statements and outlines little to show how he would fulfill his promises. He is often compared to Donald Trump. Though Duterte is known for bringing down crime rates in the city of Davao when he was vice-Mayor, he has been linked to alleged illegal killings of criminals.

Tell me more: Duterte’s spokesperson has said he would push for rewriting of the country’s constitution and bring in a federal system of government.

 

2,034

What is it? The number of plant species discovered in 2015, according to a report by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Why is it important? This is the first ever study of the world’s flora. It also revealed that one of every five plants is at the risk of extinction due to reasons including climate change, habitat loss, disease and invasive species. Plants are important for climate regulation besides being sources of food, medicines, fuels and timber. While this underlines the need for better environmental protection measures, the discovery of new plant species provides hope of new sources of food and medicines.

Tell me more: The new plant species discovered include an insect-eating sundew, five new types of onions and a close relative of sweet potato. There are 390,900 plant species known to science.

 

50

What is it? The number of patents filed by Google, Sony and Samsung relating to smart contacts, ocular implants and eye-computing devices since 2001, most in the last four years.

Why is it important? Such patents, though a bit away from commercialisation, have applications in medicine (such as Google’s parent company performing clinical trials to test glucose-monitoring contact lenses for diabetics) and augmented technology (includes devices – to be mounted on your noses – that can communicate wirelessly and a contact lens camera that can perform the main functions of a camera). It is likely that technology, which is an important aspect of a modern human being, might well become an integral part of human bodies.

Tell me more: However, it remains to be seen how privacy concerns brought on by such devices would be tackled.

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News in numbers, Apr 26, 2016: The water wasters, India’s malaria elimination plans…

1.32

What is it? The number of times Punjab’s water footprint exceeds world average for growing wheat.

Why is it important? It’s an indicator of inefficient water usage across the country. For example, UP’s water footprint for wheat is 2.27% and Madhya Pradesh’s is 0.93%. With the drought affecting several parts of the country, this indicates the need for taking a fresh approach towards the crops India grows and how efficiently it grows them.  

Tell me more: The government procurement also seems to be tilted towards water inefficient states. For example, Rajasthan, the highest wheat producing state in 2014-15 and which has a low water footprint of 0.69 has a procurement share of just 4.6%.

Rs 22,085 crore

What is it? Government subsidy for petroleum products such as LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) and kerosene in the first nine months of 2015-16, 71% lower than the subsidies in 2014-15.

Why is it important? While reduction can be attributed to low crude oil prices, it also shows market reforms are working. The government had linked diesel and petrol prices to market and introduced direct benefit transfer scheme. India, which imports 80% of its oil needs, can use this saving along with the amount gained due to lower oil import bills, to spend on other purposes such as education and health.

Tell me more: India’s crude oil import bill is expected to almost reduce by half (45%) to $62 billion in 2015-16 from $113 billion the previous year.

3

What is it? The number of students who have been rusticated by Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) for allegedly raising anti-national slogans at an event organised in support of Afzal Guru, a convicted terrorist.

Why is it important? JNU can be expected to sizzle for some more time. Kumar said he rejects the punishment as it is biased and that the students “will fight back and will win”.

Tell me more: A university committee set up to probe the incident found the students guilty on various charges such as not following university procedures, providing misinformation, instigating communal violence, participating in sloganeering, indiscipline, misconduct, and creating discord among students. Reportedly, financial penalty has been imposed on 14 students including student leader Kanhaiya Kumar. Some of the students including Kumar were arrested on sedition charges and are currently, out on bail.

200,000

What is it? The number of households in Mandla district in Madhya Pradesh where a malaria elimination project will be implemented by the Indian Council for Medical Research and Sun Pharma over the next 3-5 years. Mandla is one of the most malaria-endemic districts in the state.

Why is it important? This is India’s first public-private-partnership for research and innovation in preventive health care. This is likely to help India in its goal of eliminating malaria by 2030. According to official estimates, there were 561 deaths due to malaria in 2014 though this is much lesser than WHO’s estimates of 15,000 deaths a year and an independent research, which claims malaria kills over 200,000 people a year in India.

Tell me more: The project would include measures such as strengthening existing health systems, development and testing of medical products and disease surveillance and the learnings would be used to draw strategies for malaria elimination in other parts of the country.

458

What is it? The number of examiners the Indian government has hired for clearing applications for patents, designs and trademarks.

Why is it important? This increases the examiner strength by over 3.5 times, which would help in bringing down the time taken to process applications to 18 months by March 2018 from the current 5-7 years. As many as 237,000 patents and 544,000 trademarks registrations are pending approval.

Tell me more: Another 263 examiners would be hired on a contract basis to help clear the backlog.

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News in numbers, Dec 16, 2015: India’s falling exports, purchasing power in 71 global cities…

$20 billion

What is it? India’s merchandise exports in November.

 

Why is it important? It fell for the 12th consecutive month, a decline of 24.4% on a year-on-year basis. Shows the effect of global meltdown, decrease in global demand and lower commodity prices on Indian exports. Fall in exports of engineering goods (fall of 28.6% in terms of value), petroleum products (54% decline) and gems and jewellery (21.5% fall) had a significant impact on overall export figures. After the financial crisis in 2008-09, India had diversified its exports towards Asian markets (accounts for half of India’s exports in 2015-16 so far) and this continent leads the fall in export growth this financial year.

 

Tell me more: Imports fell by 30.3% in last month compared to November 2014, thereby recording trade deficit of $9.7 billion this November. Since the beginning of 2015-16, exports have contracted 18.4% and imports fell by 17%.

 

73

 

What is it? Number of minutes a Delhiite needs to work to buy a kilo of rice, according to UBS’ Prices and Earnings 2015 report, which compares the purchasing power in 71 cities worldwide.

 

Why is it important? It’s an indicator of how expensive a kilo of rice is, given average wages in a city, and is useful for comparisons across geographies and over time. Delhi tops the list, ahead of Cairo (66 minutes) and Nairobi (62 minutes). A Mumbaikar can buy the same after working two-thirds of that time – or 49 minutes. Rice is the cheapest at Oslo, where one needs to work just four minutes to buy a kilo of rice.

 

Tell me more: In terms of net hourly pay, the two Indian cities in the study – Mumbai and New Delhi – figure among the bottom 10. While New Delhi is last but four, Mumbai is in the sixth position backwards.

 

0.4%

 

What is it? Share of patents in India that came from industry-academia collaboration between 2000 and 2014, according to a report by Thomson Reuters.

 

Why is it important? Shows industry – academia collaboration – which often boosts innovation – has a lot of ground to cover in India. Academia and government filed 20% of patents and the corporate segment filed over 70% between 2010 and 2014.  

 

Tell me more:  According to the study, the main focus areas in innovation in India are in the following categories: human necessities, chemistry and metallurgy, physics, performing operations and transporting and electricity.

 

Rs 4.63

 

What is it? The price at which, SBG Cleantech has bid per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to build a 350-megawatt (MW) solar project in Andhra Pradesh. SBG Cleantech is a joint venture between SoftBank Group Corp., Bharti Enterprises and Foxconn Technology Group.

 

Why is it important? The price bid is the same as the record low solar tariff when US-based Sun Edison bid for a 500 MW tender put out by NTPC in Andhra Pradesh. This could mean such low tariffs are here to stay raising concerns about the viability of such projects. Also, signals the interest by global players in India’s solar industry where the government has a solar energy target of 100 gigawatt by 2022. For SBG Cleantech, this is the first renewable energy project it has won in India after the joint venture was set up this June. SoftBank has pledged to invest $20 billion in solar energy projects in the country.

 

Tell me more: The 350 MW capacity is to come up in a solar park being developed by state-run NTPC and it would buy the power produced from the plant.

 

 

What is it? The amount the two new Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises – Pune and Rajkot – have spent to acquire five players each for the upcoming IPL season in 2016 at the draft conducted in Mumbai on Tuesday.

 

Why is it important? With a salary cap of Rs 66 crore for the players, both the teams are now left with Rs 27 crore each (40.9%) to buy the rest of the squad.

 

Tell me more: While Pune owned by Kolkata-based New Rising picked up MS Dhoni for the stipulated price of Rs 12.5 crore, Suresh Raina was the first preference for Rajkot owned by Intex Mobiles who was bought for the same price.

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News In Numbers – August 10

News In Numbers: August 10

 

1

After losing out to Gujarat in two of the last three years, Maharashtra is prepping itself for a return to the top of the list of states in terms of investments drawn in calendar 2015. Government data on memorandums signed in 2015, till June, between states and entrepreneurs for projects that were implemented shows Maharashtra leading Rajasthan and Gujarat. Since then, Maharashtra has beaten Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh for a $5 billion investment by Taiwanese company Foxconn, and also sealed two other significant deals with General Motors for a car factory and with the Anil Ambani group for an aerospace park.

 

6.6%

Percentage of people in Bihar in the age bracket of 20-34 years who were graduates, according to Census 2011. Among states and union territories, this is the third-lowest, after Tripura and Assam. Chandigarh was the highest, with 28.3%. On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the BJP, as part of a broadside on his party’s political rivals in the state, lamented the youth of Bihar were forced to leave the state because it did not provide them enough opportunities for higher education. Bihar goes to polls later this year.

 

0.03%

The lowest existing expense ratio for exchange traded funds (ETFs) in India currently. ‘Expense ratio’ is the cost of managing a mutual fund scheme, expressed as a percentage of the assets managed by it. Mutual funds are slashing their fees, or expense ratios, in ETFs–which mirror stock indices–to attract investors. Before the recent cut, the lowest expense ratio for equity ETFs in India was 0.07%, whereas the average was 0.6%. Lower expense ratio of equity ETFs is cited as an advantage over actively-managed funds. The total assets under management in ETFs more than tripled from Rs 4,283 crore in May 2012 to Rs 14,008 crore in May 2015.

 

105,443

Print publications are receding in the West, but not in India. Not yet anyway. The number of registered print publications grew to 105,443 in March 2015, an increase of about 12% over the March 2013 figure. Among states, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Delhi, in that order, have the highest number of registered publications. Even as the number of Internet users  increases steadily in India, the print industry still commands about 43% share of all advertising revenue. A recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers has predicted that while the global newspaper industry will continue to decline in established markets, countries such as China and India will be exceptions, accounting for 57.3% of global average daily print circulation in 2019.

 

1,500

The number of yoga asanas the Indian government has shortlisted in order to prevent foreign companies and individuals from obtaining patents or trademarks for ancient yoga techniques. The Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL), a unit under the Ministry of Science and Technology, is responsible for challenging claims at global patent offices. As many as 250 asanas have been video-recorded, with an aim to complete the rest in about six months. In the last five to six years, TKDL has thwarted over 200 attempts to patent Indian products/techniques. A few days ago, a British company’s bid to patent a medicinal composition containing turmeric, pine bark and green tea for hair loss treatment was foiled by India, which argued this was part of India’s traditional knowledge.

 

 

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