News in Numbers – September 9, 2016

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4,845

What is it? The number of cars and vans sold by Mahindra & Mahindra in the three-month period from April to July.

Why is it important? On Thursday, the automaker stitched a Rs 2,600 crore deal to sell and finance on preferential terms vehicles for 40,000 drivers of Ola, the shared-transportation platform, by 2018. At Mahindra’s current run rate of car and van sales, that’s additional sales of nearly two years.

Tell me more: Mahindra has struggled to establish itself in the cars segment, where it is remembered more for a parting of ways with its joint venture partner Renault and for acquiring Indian electric-car marker Reva.

219

What is it? The film Pink, which hits cinemas next week, will be Amitabh Bachchan’s 219th film, in a decorated career spanning 47 years.

Why is it important? Although not as prolific as he once was—in both 2004 and 2005, he featured in 11 films, against 3 in 2015—the 74-year-old is one of the rare actors in mainstream Hindi cinema still having meaty roles come his way.

Tell me more: It’s an indicator of his enduring appeal that Bachchan has made ‘special appearance’ playing himself in 23 of these 219 films.

1.64 million

What is it? The number of two wheelers sold in August 2016

Why is it important? It’s 26.3% more than the units sold last August, and fastest since November 2011. Two wheeler sales is considered to be a proxy for rural demand. After two years of drought. India is seeing normal monsoon this year. Implementation of the sixth pay commission recommendations, which left more money on the hands of government workers is also likely to have helped push sales.

Tell me more: Four wheeler sales went up 16.7% to 258,000, a 16.7% increase that prompted Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers to increase its growth projections for the year to 11-13% (from 6-8% earlier).

> $5 trillion

What is it? The cost to the global economy from premature deaths and illnesses caused by air pollution in 2013, according to a new study by World Bank.

Why is it important? India, China and other emerging Asian economies bear more than half that burden. India lost 7.69% of its GDP to air pollution, the report said. (The equivalent number for China is nearly 10%). Air pollution is the fourth leading cause of premature deaths globally, after metabolic and dietary factors and tobacco smoke.

Tell me more: The bank arrived at these numbers by the lost work days due to premature death ($225 billion) and the welfare cost (based on what people were prepared to pay to avoid dying from air pollution ($5 trillion). The bank said the costs would be even higher if health costs were included.

$50 million

What is it? The amount online education start-up Byju’s raised in a round led by Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Why is it important? For Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a fund set up by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, this is the first investment in Asia. It will help Byju’s (founded by Byju Raveendran in November 2011 andregistered as Think & Learn Private Limited) expand to more subjects and enter US and UK markets. The startup is reportedly valued at about $470 million, and is an indication that funded startups pool is getting more diversified.

Tell me more: Byju’s has 250,000 subscribers who use the app for an average of 40 minutes a day, Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post. In the past, Byju’s has raised funding from Aarin Capital, Sequoia Capital and Sofina.

 

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News in Numbers, June 10, 2016: Road accidents in 2015, drug abuse problem in Punjab is real…

Rs 200 crore

What is it? The amount Micromax Informatics is planning to invest in its Uttarakhand facility over the next year to make split and window air conditioners.

Why is it important? The handset-maker is looking to grow into a consumer durables company with an aim to generate about a fifth of its revenue from this segment in the next 12 months. Diversification into new businesses is likely to help Micromax boost its overall revenues as it lost its market leader position to Samsung in the smartphones segment last year.

Tell me more: The firm, which entered into the television business in 2014, earns 12% of its revenue from this segment.

945 – 2039

What is it? The estimated range of premature deaths due to outdoor air pollution per year per million people in India by 2060, according to a report.

Why is it important? The number was 508 in 2010. India is likely to continue to be among the worst affected countries even by 2060. Its impact on GDP is estimated to be 0.9% by that year.

Tell me more: The economic impact is calculated based on increased worker sick days and healthcare costs and, damage to crops. Globally, outdoor air pollution could cause 6-9 million premature deaths by 2060 with an economic cost of $2.6 trillion a year by 2060 or 1% of GDP, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

 

11%

What is it? Percentage of passenger vehicles that were sold to government employees in 2015-16, up from approximately 10% in 2014-15.

Why is it important? Car makers are expecting this to go further up with the implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission in the current fiscal even as they faced slower growth in May with car sales declining by 0.86%. Along with government pay hikes  the monsoon cheer is likely to result in a consumption-led demand and more profits.

Tell me more: Government employees accounted for 16% of Maruti Suzuki’s domestic sales in 2015 and for Hyundai and Honda, the corresponding figures are 7.2% and 15% respectively,

 

501,423

What is it? The total number of road accidents in India in 2015, according to a report released by the government.

Why is it important? Youngsters in the age group of 15-34 years accounted for over half of the people killed in road accidents. The cause of the accidents is mostly cited as driver’s fault – over three-fourths of the road accidents were due to the driver’s fault and within this category, over 60% (each) of road accidents caused and people killed were due to over-speeding of drivers. Some activists have argued that citing drivers’ fault as the reason is the easiest way to close a case – because other possible causes such as faulty vehicle parts, bad roads or inadequate lighting/signs are difficult to establish. The latest death toll is yet another reminder that too little efforts are taken to solve the problem.

Tell me more: On an average, 17 people died every hour in road accidents in 2015. Road accidents killed 146,133 people last year (139,671 in 2014) and injured 500,279 (493,474 in 2014).

 

174

What is it? The minimum number of people charged under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (NDPS) Act, who have died in Punjab prisons in 2014 and 2015, according to an analysis.

Why is it important? Highlights the seriousness of the drug abuse problem in the state, which has been at the top consistently or ranked among the top five in many of the metrics used to measure this abuse. There are 836 drug users per 100,000 population in Punjab (as per a 2015 survey) compared to the All-India figure of 250 per 100,000 (2012). The average rate of crime under the NDPS Act has been the highest in the state between 2005 and 2014.

Tell me more: The drug abuse problem in Punjab became a point of debate after the Censor Board decided to cut off all drugs-related references to Punjab in a Hindi film titled ‘Udta Punjab’. It quickly turned into a political issue after Congress and Aam Aadmi Party accused the BJP of influencing the Censor Board to prevent showing Punjab’s drug abuse problem (the party has denied it). The state, which is ruled by the Akali Dal-BJP combine, goes for state elections next year.

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