The End Of An Alliance




What is it? The number of Lok Sabha seats Shiv Sena is confident of winning in Maharashtra in the 2019 general elections, following a political resolution passed by it on Tuesday that says it would contest all future elections on its own.

Why is it important? With this, the regional party has ended its 29-year-old alliance with BJP, which makes it the first political outfit to do so since Narendra Modi became prime minister in 2014. It is unclear if Shiv Sena would withdraw its support to the state government in Maharashtra, where it has 63 seats and BJP 122 in the 288-member assembly. Shiv Sena’s parting of ways comes at a time when the BJP has been on the rise in the state.

Tell me more: The national executive of Shiv Sena unanimously re-elected Uddhav Thackeray as party president and his son, Aaditya Thackeray, who is head of the party’s youth wing, to a group of top Sena leaders.


$2 trillion

What is it? The total investment India is seeking in the infrastructure sector over the next two years, according to railways minister Piyush Goyal, who spoke to the media on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum at Davos on Tuesday.

Why is it important? This is nearly thrice the unmet infrastructure needs outlined last year by finance minister Arun Jaitley, who said that India would require about $646 billion over a five-year period until 2022. According to S&P Global Ratings, India and Indonesia would lead infrastructure investments among the South and South-East Asian countries over the next two years. The sector, which is beset with time and cost overruns in project implementation and has a high exposure to banks’ stressed assets, is a major driver of Indian economic growth.

Tell me more: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the opening session of the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday, becoming the first Indian PM to do so in over two decades, where he projected India as a favourable investment destination.



What is it? The number of companies—GlaxoSmithKline, Shionogi, Pfizer and Novartis—that have taken steps to separate bonus payments to sales representatives from the volume of antibiotics sold, according to an analysis by Access to Medicine Foundation, a non-profit organisation.

Why is it important? This is in recognition of a part of the industry’s efforts to tackle the growing antibiotic resistance crisis globally, though drug manufacturers’ response to this still remains inconsistent. Antibiotic resistance has been described as one of the biggest threats to global health by the World Health Organization, where bacteria change in response to the use of antibiotics in the prevention and treatment of bacterial infections. According to some experts, drug-resistant infections kill 700,000 people per year globally and this could increase to 10 million by 2050.

Tell me more: In 2010, India was the world’s biggest consumer of antibiotics for human health, according to a 2016 study.



$100 billion

What is it? The market capitalisation that video streaming service Netflix crossed for the first time on Monday.

Why is it important? It is a vote of confidence in its business model. Netflix achieved this feat on the back of a solid fourth quarter, in which its revenues increased 32% to $3.2 billion and it added 8.33 million subscribers, surpassing its own prediction of 6.3 million subscribers. Analysts feel the company is still on the high-growth curve—for Q1 of 2018, the company has projected 6.35 million new subscribers, of which 4.9 million are projected to come from markets outside the US.

Tell me more: In Q4 of 2017, Netflix recorded a net profit of $186 million, against $67 million in Q4 of 2016.



What is it? The year-on-year increase in air traffic recorded by domestic airlines in December, according to latest numbers released by the aviation regulator.

Why is it important? It continues Indian aviation’s strong run of double-digit growth over the past three years. This period has coincided with a slump in fuel prices, giving airlines considerable room in managing growth along with improving profitability. But with fuel prices surging 20% in the past six months, this state of doing business could be challenged, and could also have a bearing on industry growth.

Tell me more: India remains one of the top growth markets in domestic aviation: in November, it grew the fastest among the seven largest world markets.


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News in Numbers, Aug 18, 2016: Ola shuts down TaxiForSure, India’s first medal at Rio…

Sakshi Malik creates history at the Rio Olympics 2016. She won the bronze medal in the 58 kg women’s freestyle wrestling category on Wednesday. With this, India gets its 25th medal at the Olympic Games. It first participated in the Games in 1900.

Read more about Malik’s win and the firsts that have come along with her victory. This, and four other numbers, make up today’s edition.

As always, we appreciate suggestions and feedback. Look forward to hearing from you.


What is it? The number of jobs cab-hailing aggregator Ola will lay off as a result of shutting down TaxiForSure (TFS) it acquired 18 months ago.

Why is it important? The layoffs can cut costs by nearly Rs 30 crore a month, according to reports. Ola has been trying to raise funds and battle with cash-rich Uber, which can now devote more time and resources to India after having sold its China operations to Didi Chuxing. Over the last few months, Ola was said to be integrating some of TFS teams such as human resources and tech while keeping the drivers and call centre teams separate.

Tell me more: Ola had acquired TFS for $200 million last year to fend off competition and up its strength against Uber. It had initially said it would manage TFS as a separate brand. Nearly 90% of the employees being laid off belong to operations such as call centres, driver relations and business development units.


730 million

What is it? The estimated number of Internet users in India by 2020, according to a report.

Why is it important? Three-fourth of the new user growth is expected to be from rural areas and a similar percentage of people is expected to consume data in local languages. These estimates, if true, is a pointer for the government and businesses to focus their digital initiatives or expansions more towards the countryside and also, will help provide opportunities for those in the rural areas. There were 350 million Internet users at the end of 2015.

Tell me more: The report by Nasscom in association with Akamai Technologies also predicts that online shopping would account for two-thirds of the e-commerce market by 2020 (with fashion and lifestyle to overtake the consumer electronics segment) and half of the travel transactions would be done online.



What is it? The number of Indian women athletes who have clinched a medal at the Olympics with the latest being Sakshi Malik who won a bronze in the 58 kg women’s freestyle wrestling category on Wednesday.

Why is it important? She is the first woman wrestler from India to have won a medal at the Olympics and overall, hers is the country’s fifth wrestling medal. Malik’s win also ended India’s 11-day wait to win a medal at the Rio Olympics 2016. In all, India has now won 25 medals at the Olympic Games over the years.

Tell me more: The other Indian women athletes to have won a medal are: weightlifter Karnam Malleshwari in 2000, boxer MC Mary Kom and shuttler Saina Nehwal in 2012.


Rs 4,566.6 crore

What is it? The total amount pharmaceutical companies owe the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) for charging higher prices than those prescribed by the government.

Why is it important? Over 80% of the amount is under litigation and just around 8% of the total amount demanded (for overcharging) has been recovered by the NPPA so far (since August 1997). This highlights the difficulty of price control, and the need for better methods to ensure pharma companies follow regulations.

Tell me more: The prices of essential medicines are fixed by the NPPA from time to time and the manufacturers who are found to be overcharging are to pay the overcharged amount along with interest under the Drugs (Price Control) Order, 2013.


1.96 crore

What is it? The number of private vehicles registered in 2015. That’s nearly 53,720 per day.

Why is it important? It touched an all-time high last year and is a huge jump from over two decades ago (less than 10 lakh until 1993). With an increase in population and disposable incomes and inefficient public transport systems, this trend is likely to continue. Underlines the importance of devising strategies for infrastructure and public transport to avoid further congestion in the urban areas.

Tell me more: Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka top the charts in terms of vehicle registrations, which together account for nearly a third of the total private vehicle registrations in the country.

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