News in numbers, Apr 21, 2016: India’s poverty rate, unethical means to meet financial targets…


What is it? The amount of tax India’s environment minister wants developed countries to levy per tonne of coal production.

Why is it important? It could help mobilise $100 billion a year until 2020 to help developing countries such as India to tackle climate change. This is as per the Paris agreement signed last December.

Tell me more: India increased taxes on coal mining in February to $6 per tonne from $1 a tonne to limit its consumption. The country, which claims to levy the highest tax on coal mining, wants to double its coal output in another four years.

<=Rs 38

What is it? The amount on which nearly half of the Indian population (47%) lived on, in 2011-12, as per data by Global Consumption and Income Project.

Why is it important? Indicates India may have more poor people than official estimates suggest. The official poverty rate is 22%, that is, the percentage of population with less than Rs 27 per day in rural areas and Rs 33 per day in urban areas in 2011-12.

Tell me more: With $1.9 (or roughly, Rs 29) per day as the poverty line, which is closer to the official numbers, the poverty rate works out to be 28%, higher than the official estimates. No matter which poverty line one adopts, poverty rates have declined over years. The moot question: by how much.

5,134 tonnes

What is it? The quantity of gold held in Bank of England gold vaults under the streets of London stretching across 300,000 square feet.

Why is it important? These hold over 80% of the 6,256 tonnes of gold stored in London, which in turn, is a fifth of the total gold held by governments in the city. Investors turn to gold, one of the most traded assets, which is considered a safe haven during times of financial uncertainty.

Tell me more: These vaults still need a bunch of keys to be accessed with minimal dependence on technology for security measures, which some believe is easier to be compromised.

> 2,000

What is it? The reported number of courses that India’s own MOOCs (massive open online courses) platform will have.

Why is it important? It’s widely accepted that MOOCs will play a major role higher education globally, and India’s online education initiative – Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds (SWAYAM) – could potentially bring advanced courses relevant to India in local languages to millions of students of all ages.

Tell me more: Others such as Coursera and edX offer such free online courses from various universities across the world, though some of them charge for receiving verified certificates upon completion of the courses. Only 8.15% of Indians are graduates. It was estimated that India would have 402 million internet users by last December to overtake US and become the second largest internet user base in the world.  These online courses would be reportedly backed by patents and each faculty member is likely to be paid Rs 1 lakh per course.


What is it? The share of Indian executives who feel at least one unethical conduct is justified to meet financial targets, according to an Ernst & Young survey.

Why is it important? This is much higher than the numbers recorded in other regions. Indian executives are most likely to bend or flout rules on every single unethical conduct than their counterparts to achieve targets. For instance, 30% of Indian executives would book revenues earlier than they should be, compared to 7% globally, 9% in emerging markets and 4% in developed markets.

Tell me more: According to a KPMG-CII 2014 report, corruption was cited as the major obstacle in doing business in India.


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News in numbers, Jan 19, 2016: Divide between rich and poor, India’s markets at 20-year lows…


$1.76 trillion

What is it? Wealth owned by the world’s 62 richest people in 2015, according to Oxfam, an international anti-poverty confederation of 17 organizations. It’s down from 388 individuals in 2010.

Why is it important? Highlights the growing divide between the rich and the poor as this amount is equivalent to that owned by 3.6 billion people, the poorest half of the world’s population. Since 2000, the latter have received just 1% of the total increase in global wealth whereas 50% of that increase has gone to the top 1% of the population.

Tell me more: The wealth of the richest 62 people has seen an increase of 44% since 2010 while that of bottom half fell by 41%. The report says the average rate of return for billionaires in the last five years was 5.3%, which means the richest made $5 million per day from interest payments alone.


$35 million (~ Rs 240 crore)

What is it? The amount food delivery startup Swiggy has raised in Series C funding from existing investors SAIF Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, Accel Partners and new investors including Harmony Partners, RB Investments and an undisclosed global investment entity.

Why is it important? This comes at a time when food tech companies including Zomato, FoodPanda and TinyOwl have been facing a series of problems –  funding slowdown and layoffs. The latest round of fund raising shows the rapid pace at which Swiggy, founded in August 2014, is attracting investor money. The Bengaluru-based startup has attracted its Series C funding from a year since it raised its Series A funding of $2 million. And, it raised its Series B funding of $16.5 million last June. The firm is now valued at $125 million.

Tell me more: Swiggy plans to utilise the funds to strengthen its presence in the existing locations besides technology upgradation for reducing overall delivery time and improving customer experience. Food delivery market in India is estimated to be $6 billion.



What is it? The annual subscription fee that Whatsapp plans to scrap. It has been charging some users in US and UK a fee of $0.99 a year after a year of use.

Why is it important? Mobile apps depend on ads and/or subscription fee for revenues. Whatsapp had for long ruled out advertisement as a revenue source. By closing the subscription tap as well, it will now focus on new revenue streams. It plans to “test tools” that would allow its users “to communicate with businesses and organizations” of their choices. Whatsapp, which was acquired by Facebook for $19 billion in 2014, has not been in too much of a hurry to monetize its services, unlike its competitors. For instance, WeChat’s estimated average revenue per user is $7 compared to Whatsapp’s $1 per user.

Tell me more: Whatsapp has 990 million users across the world.



What is it? The number of students who have cleared the Chartered Accountancy (CA) Final exams held last November.

Why is it important? This is a pass percentage of 5.7% – a total of 42,469 students took the exam. The pass percentage in November 2015 is higher than November 2013’s pass percentage of 3.1%, which was the lowest in the previous five exams. It is much less than the highs recorded in the last decade or so: 28.3% in November 2007, 26.8% in November 2006 and 22.8 in May 2006.

Tell me more: The exam, which is widely considered a tough one to crack, is held twice a year – May and November. James John Britto from Chennai, Nagulu Mohan Kumar from Tirupati and Avinash Sancheti from Kolkata have been ranked first, second and third respectively in the country.


24,188.37 points

What is it? The level at which India’s benchmark stock index, Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) Sensex, closed on Monday.

Why is it important? This was the lowest closing in 20 months – it had closed at 24,121.74 points on May 16, 2014. The Sensex has tumbled 18.5% from the highs of January 2015, close to the 20%-mark, which is considered bear-market territory by some investors. This slip has erased almost all the gains made by companies after the NDA’s landslide victory in the Lok Sabha Elections in May 2014.

Tell me more: The 20-year lows have been because of a combination of factors: export numbers released on Monday (which saw a 13th straight month decline), oil prices slipping below $28 per barrel, falling rupee and concerns over the health of China’s economy.



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