News in Numbers, June 6, 2016: 29 killed in Mathura violence, India & Qatar sign 7 deals…

29

What is it? The number of people who have died in the Mathura clashes so far.

Why is it important? Violence erupted in Mathura on Thursday when the police tried to evict encroachers belonging to a religious group called Azad Bharat Vidhik Vaicharik Kranti Satyagrahi from government land (Jawahar Bagh). This may become one of the key issues in Uttar Pradesh, which faces elections next year.

Tell me more: Over 3,000 people of the cult attacked around a thousand policemen with swords, guns, knives and grenades when they went on the eviction drive. The leader of the cult group, who ran a private army and had eight cases (including murder and land-grabbing) cases against him, died in the clash.

 

7

What is it? Number of bilateral agreements signed by India and Qatar on Sunday.

Why is it important? The agreements cover tourism, health, skill development, youth and sports, and investment in India’s Rs 40,000-crore National Investment and Infrastructure Fund. India has also expressed interest in joint exploration of new oil and gas fields and development of discovered assets in Qatar, which is the largest supplier of LNG (liquefied natural gas) and LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) to the country.

Tell me more: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on a five-nation tour and he is currently in Switzerland where he is likely to seek support for India’s membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group and also, raise the issue of black money.

 

Rs 15,800 crore

What is it? The minimum amount India would need to spend on family planning services by 2020, according to a study.

Why is it important? This is necessary if India wants to keep up its 2012 global commitment of covering 48 million new users of family planning services such as access to contraceptive methods and reproductive healthcare by 2020 while sustaining the existing 100 million users. A delay may result in high maternal and infant mortality and morbidity and poor child health due to poorly-spaced pregnancies, the study says.

Tell me more: Family planning budget allocation has decreased by 54% between 2013-14 and 2015-16 though that under the National Health Mission increased by 47% but still fell short of the required amount, as per the study by the International Institute of Health Management Research, Jaipur – commissioned by the Population Foundation of India.

 

6

What is it? Number of bulk drugs and medical devices parks Indian government is considering setting up under the public-private partnership mode. There will be three of each.

Why is it important? India is heavily reliant on imports for bulk drugs or active pharmaceutical ingredients (80%) and medical devices (65%). The setting up of such parks would help bring down the costs of production of devices and drugs by a minimum of 30% in the long-term, according to the Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers.

Tell me more: The government is considering to provide a one-time financial support for these bulk drug parks. The six bulk drug and medical devices parks would require an investment of around Rs 60,000 crore.

 

78%

What is it? Percentage of voters in Switzerland who opposed a plan to give a monthly income of 2,500 Swiss francs ($2,555) for adults per month whether they work or not, according to projections by GFS polling outfit for Swiss broadcaster SRF.

Why is it important? Switzerland is the first country to vote on such a proposal. As technology increasingly replaces jobs, other countries including Finland are considering a similar proposal. Those who supported the proposal argued that productivity would be better if one is not obliged to work to earn money and unpaid work would be more valued. Those against (including the government) cited high costs, decrease in inclination to work and likely large-scale immigration as the reasons.

Tell me more: The government had estimated that this proposal would cost 208 billion Swiss francs and most of the current social security programmes would have made up for this though it would have had to resort to spending cuts and tax increases to make up for a gap of 25 billion Swiss francs.

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News In Numbers – August 26

317,526

The number by which female Christian population exceeds the Christian male population in India, according to the latest data released by the Indian government on religion. As per Census 2011, Christianity is the only religion in India in which the female population exceeds the male population. However, there has not been a significant change between 2001 and 2011 in the share of Christians in the total Indian population. As is the case for Jains. The share of the Muslim community grew 0.8 percentage points during this period, while the Hindu population registered a decline of 0.7 percentage points.

 

2,020

The incidence of procuration of minor girls per lakh population in India in 2014.  The equivalent figures for buying and selling of minor girls for prostitution were 14 and 82, respectively. The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Indian government to prepare an action plan to prevent trafficking of girls for sexual exploitation, their rescue and rehabilitation, in consultation with the states. According to the non-governmental organisation Prajwala, which had moved the court against trafficking of girls and women for sexual exploitation, over 200,000 women and children are inducted into the flesh trade every year and that one out of every four children rescued from prostitution is a child, of which 60% are HIV positive.

 

40,000 MW versus 10,000 MW

India added about 40,000 MW (megawatt) of power generation capacity in the last two years, but demand increased only by about 10,000 MW. This is mainly because a significant chunk of people cannot afford to pay for electricity. Unless this changes, the demand-supply mismatch could become worse as the government is planning to increase power generation capacity to 800 GW (gigawatt) by 2030. In 2014-15, India recorded the lowest plant load factor in over 15 years, with power capacities operating at just 65%. The financial health of state electricity boards (SEBs) is deteriorating: their cumulative outstanding loans have crossed Rs 3,00,000 crore and they have accumulated losses of over Rs 2,50,000 crore. One of the main reasons for this is the state distribution utilities are reluctant to revise tariffs to cover costs.

 

1.2 million and 35,000

The number of infant and maternal deaths India could avoid if the current need for family planning is met within the next five years. According to an analysis conducted by the Population Foundation of India, the Finance Commission decentralizing funds to states may impact the family planning programme and could result in diversion of funds away from other social and health sector needs. In 2012-13, the Indian government had committed to bring down maternal mortality rate to 100 per every 100,000 live births, infant mortality rate to 30 per every 1,000 live births and total fertility rate to 2.1. India accounts for the largest number of maternal deaths in the world, at 178 per 100,000 live births in 2010-12.

 

1,000

The number of food items covered by the new draft food guidelines put out by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) for public comments. The new guidelines include health supplements and additives, nutraceuticals and proprietary foods. The 2011 guidelines cover just 377 food items: in other words, only these items are standardised.  This particular limitation caused a judicial setback for the food regulator when the Supreme Court last week refused to accept its arguments about the product approval process. Under an earlier set of rules, product approval was required only when the manufacturer included a new ingredient or additive, which under the new rule introduced in 2013 required approval for products even if they were using pre-okayed ingredients or additives within permissible limits.

 

 

 

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