News in numbers, Jan 14, 2016: Revamped crop insurance scheme, India’s diaspora population…



What is it? Premium, as a percentage of insured value, to be paid by farmers for insuring kharif crops under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, a revamped crop insurance scheme. It will be 1.5% for rabi crops and 5% for commercial or horticultural crops.


Why is it important? The revamped crop insurance aims to derisk farming by capping the insurance premium, with government subsidising the remaining cost. The type of losses covered are also being widened. Farmers will now be encouraged to diversify into non-food crops as most of their losses could be covered and premium to cover that will be only 5% of insured value. Horticultural crops don’t have minimum price support.


Tell me more: Only 27% of farming households are covered under existing crop insurance schemes.  


Rs 1.40 per litre


What is it? Increase in price of petrol to implement the BS VI emission norms, which will come into effect from 2020. In the case of diesel, the impact would be Rs 0.63 per litre.   


Why is it important? Car makers have complained about lack of quality fuel as hindrance to implement emission norms. Now, Indian Oil Corporation, India’s largest oil refiner, will invest Rs 21,000 crore to upgrade its fuel by 2020. Diesel passenger vehicles will cost 20% more, but petrol vehicles will increase by only 2% to meet the BS VI norms.  


Tell me more: India’s BS VI norms is equivalent to Europe’s VI standards, which is in practice from 2014.  




What is it? Luxury tax imposed by Bihar government on common Indian sweets and savouries like samosas and kachori if the price is above Rs 500 per kg.


Why is it important? With the ban on sale of alcohol from April this year, the state government is looking at ways to increase or levy new taxes to compensate for the loss of tax on alcohol. This will increase the cost of food and other items in the state.    


Tell me more: Bihar estimated to collect Rs 4,000 crore as excise duty on alcohol in 2015-16. This is around 12% of the state’s tax collection.


16 million


What is it? Size of India’s diaspora population in 2015. India has the world’s largest number of people living outside the country where they were born.  


Why is it important? Migration is beneficial as remittances help in bridging trade deficit. India received $ 70 billion of remittances in 2014, around 22% of India’s export in 2014-15.    


Tell me more: International migration increased by 41% between 2000 and 2015. This also includes 20 million refugees.


4 billion


What is it? The number of people who still don’t have access to internet as against 3.2 billion (or 60% of world’s population) who have access. 2 billion people don’t use mobile phones.


Why is it important? Of the 4 billion, more than 1 billion are in India. Shows the digital divide, if left unaddressed, will lead to a new underclass, says the World Bank. Offline investments in education, technology and infrastructure are key to bridge this divide.  


Tell me more: 500 million across the world live in areas where there are no mobile signals.

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News in numbers, Nov 10, 2015: OECD’s India GDP forecast, global warming impact on India…



What is it? The growth estimate for the Indian economy in the current financial year by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a Paris-based economic organization

Why is it important? This has remain unchanged from its September forecast. However, OECD has said despite having relatively better growth prospects, the delay in passing key structural reforms and the rising bad loans are the main impediments. It remains to be seen if the Parliament would pass key bills such as the GST Bill, Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2008 the Coal Regulatory Authority Bill, 2013 and the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011 as the BJP needs to rely on the Congress in the Rajya Sabha for its support to push through these bills.

Tell me more: OECD estimates for India’s economic growth is 7.3% in 2016-17 and 7.4% in 2017-18.


Rs 40,000 crore

What is it? The size of two contracts the Indian Railways has awarded to US-based General Electric Company (GE), and French multinational Alstom for setting up diesel and electric locomotive factories in Bihar. Only the first project was officially announced on Monday.

Why is it important? The first big foreign direct investments in the railways sector in India. This would bolster indigenous production backed by the latest technology, help the Indian Railways improve its infrastructure and provide employment opportunities by giving rise to ancillary industries. Under the agreement, GE and Alstom would supply 1,000 diesel locomotives and 800 electric locomotives in 10 years. Railways had 5,633 diesel and 4,568 electric locomotives at the end of March 2014.

Tell me more: Though both the projects were approved in 2007 by the then Railways Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav but were mired in controversy and bureaucratic red tape. The Indian Railways (26% stake) and the foreign companies (74% stake) would form joint venture companies to construct and run the diesel and electric locomotive factories.


Rs 31.2

What is it? The central and excise duties’ components in the retail price of a litre of petrol at Rs 60.7 in Delhi. This is Rs 6.45 higher than the cost of producing a litre of petrol at the refineries based on the average cost of gasoline and the foreign exchange rate in the second half of October.

Why is it important? Shows the relative inflexibility of taxes as crude prices move up and down. To protect tax revenue as oil prices dropped sharply, government moved away from ad-valorem (tax as percentage of price) to a tax per litre. This means customers will not fully benefit from fall in oil prices. Both central and state governments are expected to earn around Rs 80,000 crore by taxing petroleum products this fiscal.

Tell me more: Central government hiked excise duty for the fifth time in a year. The previous four hikes were made between November 2014 and January 2015 and resulted in additional revenue of Rs 20,000 crore for the government in the 2014-15.


8 billion

What is it? The value of the order for 75 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft placed by Jet Airways at list price, though aircraft manufacturers usually sell aircraft below the list price.

Why is it important? This is the largest ever aircraft deal for the Naresh Goyal-founded airlines and large orders usually get a good discount. This deal is seen to be good for Jet Airways in terms of upping its game in the fiercely competitive industry, though the delivery of the aircraft would begin from mid-2018. The new aircraft is said to be fuel efficient, which uses 20% less fuel than the first Next-Generation 737s and has the lowest operating costs in its class at 8% per seat less than its nearest competitor, according to Boeing. This is significant because jet fuel accounts for 45-55% of an airline’s revenue in India.

Tell me more: Jet Airways currently has 115 aircraft with an average age of 6.04 years. The second biggest airline (in terms of passengers carried) posted its biggest standalone quarterly profit in the first quarter of 2015-16 for the first time in nearly nine years.


55 million

What is it? Number of people in India who would be endangered if the global temperature rises by 4°C, according to a report by Climate Central, a US-based research organisation. This is about 4.4% of India’s current population.

Why is it important? Carbon emissions would cause warming, which in turn would lead to rise in sea levels that could submerge land, causing danger to the inhabitants. Though India is the world’s third largest greenhouse gas emitter, the government says its historical cumulative emission is below 3% currently. All the countries, especially the advanced economies have to keep up their commitments of keeping the earth’s average temperature from rising beyond 2°C, a widely accepted benchmark for preventing further damage due to global warming.

Tell me more: A 4°C rise in temperature could submerge land inhabited by 470-760 million people. However, if countries are able to contain carbon emissions resulting in 2°C warming, then the number of people who could be affected could be brought down to 130 million.






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