News in Numbers, June 2, 2016: Call drop data in 11 cities, India’s first rail university…

11

What is it? The number of cities that will get access to call drop data in the next 15 days.

Why is it important? The naming and shaming strategy is expected to push telcos to improve their service quality, and keep the drops below 2%. Earlier, the Supreme Court struck down the telecom regulator’s recommendation of imposing penalty on telcos. Now, it is reportedly seeking the authority to do so from the government.

Tell me more: On Wednesday, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India released the call drop data for Delhi. Airtel’s 2G and 3G call drop rates have deteriorated in May when compared to those last September while Vodafone’s 2G call drop rates improved (though still above the permitted 2% limit) and on its 3G network, it remained constant at 1.4%.

 

46.43%

What is it? Percentage of loans given by public sector banks (excluding the State Bank of India and its associates) of the total as of March 2016.

Why is it important? It’s down from 50.06% in March 2015 and the lowest in over 12 years. The shrinking market share is likely to expedite consolidation in Indian banking industry. Recently, the Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said India would have 8-10 competitive public sector banks “when the dust settles”.  

Tell me more: This is an effect of the central bank’s mandate asking lenders to clean up their balance sheets by March 2017, which led to categorising more loans as bad, increase in provisions and net losses, and deterioration in capitalisation levels. In terms of deposits too, public sector banks lost their market share – from 50.95% in March 2015 to 48.32% in March 2016.

 

Rs 865 crore

What is it? The cost of setting up India’s first railway university in Vadodara, excluding land costs.

Why is it important? The railway university, which would offer MBA, B.Tech, M.Tech degrees, and diplomas is aimed at transforming India into a global centre for research and development in railway engineering and management. Indian Railways is the largest rail network in Asia and the world’s second largest under a single management.

Tell me more: An internal report by the Railway Board last year had suggested the setting up of rail research centres and introducing railway-related subjects in existing universities instead of setting up new ones. The National Academy of Indian Railways in Vadodara is the apex training institute for all Railway officers.

 

Rs 20,000 crore

What is it? The cost of building a common Secretariat on Lodhi Road in Delhi to house various ministries (excluding a few key ones) and departments.

Why is it important? This move is likely to make inter-communication between ministries and departments easier and quicker and would also help the government in tackling shortage of office space, which often pushes them towards high rentals.

Tell me more: The proposal by the Central Public Works Department would be presented to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his approval. This includes razing down of residential complexes of 4,000 families who will be provided with alternate housing.

 

8,000

What is it? The number of Delhi University (DU) teachers who have been protesting against some recent changes in University of Grants Commission (UGC) rules since May 24.

Why is it important? This affects the evaluation of answer sheets of around 1.3 lakh undergraduate students. They are protesting against the increase in number of working hours, difficulty in getting promotions, especially for Assistant Professors, and the likely loss of jobs for approximately 5,000 teachers, especially those in ad hoc positions.

Tell me more: The UGC has called for a meeting of all stakeholders on June 6 to discuss issues including the basis on which teachers are promoted and their workload and if the issues are not resolved then, it could lead to a delay in DU results and sessions.

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News in numbers, Mar 8, 2016: India’s growth forecast, Indian Railways’ likely cost savings…

7.7%

What is it? India’s estimated economic growth in 2016-17, according to Fitch Ratings. It has kept its forecast of 7.5% growth for the current fiscal unchanged.

Why is it important? This is lower than its December forecast of 8% growth, which was done based on the Indian government’s increased capital expenditure and implementation of reforms. A gradual economic recovery in 2016-17 and 2017-18 would be due to higher disposable income (assuming a normal monsoon after two years of drought) and the implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission payout for central government employees, Fitch said in its latest report.

Tell me more: The ratings firm observed that the government has been finding it difficult to pass legislative reforms due to its weak strength in the Rajya Sabha and that it has continued to implement executive reforms.

43%

What is it? Share of women in the working-age group that do domestic work in India, according to a report by research and advocacy organisation, Centre for Equity Studies.

Why is it important? Domestic work is considered to be unproductive, which does not have monetary benefits and is excluded from government policies. The report says due to social status and poverty, women from traditionally marginalised groups fall prey to exploitative labour arrangements to provide cheap labour. The previous government under UPA was considering a proposal to make it mandatory for men to compensate their wives for housework, which was heavily debated.

Tell me more: The proportion of women in formal labour workforce is around 27%, less than half of that in developed countries such as the United States and Britain.

~ $1.076 trillion

What is it? Amount countries spent on importing food in 2015, according to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Why is it important? This is 20% lower than $1.345 trillion recorded in 2014, the first drop in five years and marginally (0.8%) less than FAO’s forecast in October. The twin reasons of bumper harvests and low oil prices (resulting in lower transportation costs) are the main factors behind the drop. Analysts say lower food costs would help large importers in the Middle East and Africa regions but a depreciation of their local currencies against the US dollar could offset the gains.

Tell me more: In October, FAO had said that lower commodity prices could affect farmers’ profits leading to lesser investment in agriculture.

Rs 10,000 crore

What is it? Indian Railways’ likely cost savings in 2015-16, according to Railway Board’s Financial Commissioner S Mookerjee.

Why is it important? This is about 15% higher than the expected cost savings announced in this year’s Budget. Mookerjee said the loss-making Indian Railways plans to implement various initiatives to cut costs over the next five years. This includes importing crude oil and taking on lease refining capacity from oil marketing costs to cut down on diesel inventories. Indian Railways spends about 18% of its net ordinary working expenses on diesel consumption.

Tell me more: Another measure is exploring the opportunity of exporting 10% of rolling stock production (freight wagons, locomotives) to be exported to make its production facilities self-sustainable.

50

What is it? Number of women employees at ICICI Bank who are part of its pilot programme called iWork@Home project, which allows them to work from remote locations.

Why is it important? Following an internal survey at the country’s largest private sector bank, MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar says they found out that women quit their jobs to take care of their children or due to long commutes. This initiative, which uses face recognition technology and extended secure networks, allows employees access to the core banking servers from their laptops.

Tell me more: The bank expects around 500 women to be working from home soon and has already received 125 requests. Less than a third of ICICI Bank’s 73,000 employees are women.

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