News in Numbers, Feb 10, 2017: How safe are your debit cards?

3.2 million

 

What is it? Bank customers whose debit card data was stolen in 2016 due to the hacking of Hitachi Payment Services that manages ATMs of certain banks.

 

Why is it important? While millions of users were stricken between May and July of 2016 and had their money stolen, Hitachi Payments only now admitted on Thursday it still does not know the amount of user data compromised. The hacking, detected in September, led to an audit of Hitachi Payments, whose ATMs for banks like ICICI Bank, Yes Bank, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, SBI were affected the most.

 

Tell me more: The audit results, now out, by SISA Information Security and commissioned by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), tells of a sophisticated malware that concealed its tracks and was able to delete them. Hitachi in its admission says containment measures have been deployed.

 

 

113%

 

What is it? The productivity of the Lok Sabha in the first phase of the Budget session for 2017.

 

Why is it important? The phase which saw the Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Bill or the bill on demonetisation, along with others such as the Finance Bill, Payment of Wages (Amendment) Bill, passed, saw the Lok Sabha accomplish 13% more work than scheduled. This was less than the first phase productivity of 2016’s Budget session (123%). While the data was shared by the Parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar, it reiterates a study by think-tank PRS Legislative Research which showed having a majority in the lower house helped keep up Budget session productivity levels for this government. While productivity hovered between 49-89% in 2010-2013 Budget sessions, 2014 onwards, it was at 103-121%.

 

Tell me more: Rajya Sabha productivity in the first phase of the ongoing session was 97%.

 

 

>3 million

 

What is it? The number of people forced from their homes by the civil war going on in South Sudan, the world’s youngest country.

 

Why is it important? The United Nations now says the fighting between the government and rebel forces is reaching “worrying proportions”. Aid workers have had to be evacuated and military supplies and reinforcements find their way to the country.

 

Tell me more: South Sudan’s brief history has been fraught with the ongoing civil war leading to a humanitarian crisis, rife with displacement and food insecurity. A tentative peace agreement struck in 2015 is still to be acted upon.

 

 

$ 250 billion

 

What is it? The amount analysts expect India to spend on defense modernisation over the next 10 years

 

Why is it important? With this large budget, it hopes to get manufacturers shift their production facilities to India, boosting its Make in India campaign. Its deal with Lockheed Martin to make its F-16 combat jets in India was in this direction. However, the defense firm has now said US government under Trump might take a fresh look at the deal, which could be a setback for Make in India efforts.
Tell me more: One of the key campaign promises of Donald Trump was to bring back jobs to America, and the indications are that he will try protectionist measures to achieve that.

 

 

2 million

 

What is it? The number of users Twitter added in the last quarter of 2016. It now has 319 million monthly active users.

 

Why is it important? In contrast, Facebook, its rival in the social media space, added 72 million users. It came during the height of American presidential campaign, with Donald Trump making his most impactful statements on Twitter. The user growth, as well as the merely 1% increase in quarterly revenues hammered the stock price down by 11%.

 

Tell me more: Despite this, Twitter suggested its users are getting more addicted to the platform pointed to the growth (11% quarter on quarter) in daily active user numbers.

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The progressive decline of the Indian Parliament

This piece originally appeared on Livemint.com

The Lok Sabha—the running of which rests with representatives elected by the people of India—has been in a perennial state of decline. It has been progressively setting aside fewer days to meet, and meeting even less on those allotted days. As a result, it is squabbling more and discussing less, and then trying to make up for lost time by pushing through legislation faster. Even the current majority government has failed to rewrite that script.

Parliament is convening, and sitting, for fewer days
The first Congress government in 1952 and the last Congress-led government in 2009 were both in power for about 1,800 days. But the 1952 group of MPs spent almost twice as many days in the Lok Sabha as the 2009 group. This decline has been progressive during these 57 years, across governments. Even the currenty Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government is averaging numbers similar to those of the last two Congress-led governments.

 

w-parliament-1

 

The effect is felt less in the quantity of legislation…
Measured in terms of government tenure, the number of bills being passed by Lok Sabhas in the past decade has seen a 20-40% drop over the first two. However, measured in terms of how much Parliament meets, there has not been a corresponding drop in bills passed. This suggests that the Lok Sabha is passing bills faster, raising questions about whether these pieces of legislation were adequately discussed before being cleared.

 

w-parliament-2

 

…and more in the quality of discourse that nourishes governance
Speaking in Parliament last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said “conversation and debates are the soul of Parliament”. That soul is under serious assault. Torn between the polarity of no work—caused by a hostile, tit-for-tat opposition—and the speedy passage of bills to make up for lost time, there’s virtually no time or inclination for discourse that richens a democracy.

 

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Data sources: Statistical Handbook 2014, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs; PRS Legislative Research

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News In Numbers – August 12

News In Numbers: August 12

 

896 million

The number of Aadhaars, the unique identity number for every resident of India that was launched by the previous Congress-led government, issued so far. The current Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government has made Aadhaar the identity centerpiece for welfare schemes. But its extension to further government schemes is on hold for now after the Supreme Court on Tuesday said Aadhaar was not mandatory to avail of welfare benefits and asked a larger bench to examine whether the information collected and shared by the government under Aadhaar violated the right to privacy of individuals.

 

$72 billion

The value of trade between India and China in 2014-15. Of this, $60 billion was goods moving from China, much of whose superlative growth in the past decade has been on account of such exports, to India. That growth has been flagging, with China reporting a 8.3% drop in July. In order to shore up this growth, China on Tuesday signalled adevaluing of its currency, which would effectively make its products more price-competitive in international markets,sending ripples through other markets and raising fears of currency wars.

 

24%

Syngene International, the research arm of biotech major Biocon, listed on Tuesday at a 24% premium to its issue price. Elsewhere, the initial public offering (IPO) of Power Mech, which provides engineering services to the power sector, received subscriptions of about 38 times its issue size on Tuesday, its last day. Both numbers augur well for other high-profile businesses that have stated their intent to go public in the coming weeks and months, a list that includes the companies that run Café Coffee Day and IndiGo Airlines.

 

Rs.640 crore

One of the two figures being stated for the compensation amount for consumers the government has sought from Nestle India. The other is Rs.426 crore. In June, the food regulator banned Nestle’s popular Maggi noodles, alleging the presence of excess lead and misleading information about monosodium glutamate on the label. The case is contested on various legal forums. The government on Tuesday filed a complaint against Nestle on behalf of consumers—the first time it has done against a company—in a consumer forum.

 

9%

The amount of time the Rajya Sabha, one of the two houses of Parliament, has worked this monsoon session, the lowest in the last five years, according to PRS Legislative Research. For Lok Sabha, the figure is 43%, the second lowest in the last two years. Parliamentary proceedings have been marred by the Congress party stalling Parliament, demanding the resignations of central minister Sushma Swaraj, Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje and Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. With two days left in the session, the passage of the goods and services tax bill, a far-reaching tax reform, is in jeopardy.

 

 

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