News in Numbers, Jan 18, 2017: Stirring the ready-to-cook pot

$25 million

What is it? The cost of 25% stake in a ready-to-cook food company, ID Fresh Foods, paid by Premji Invest, the investment firm of Wipro-owner Azim Premji.

Why is it important? With the increase in nuclear and double-income families, demand for ready-to-cook products is expected to grow faster and this has attracted investors wanting to tap this market. ID Fresh Foods had secured investment from Helion Ventures two years ago. Premji’s investment values it at $100 million. This would be Premji Invest’s fifteenth largest investment.

Tell me more: Premji Invest manages assets over $2 billion across 50 companies and has invested in companies such as Amagi Media Labs (over $500 million) and Lenskart ($115 million). ID Fresh Foods was started by IIM-Bangalore-alumnus PC Musthafa in 2006.

2

What is it? The number of Indian Police Service (IPS) officers compulsorily retired by the home ministry after a performance review.

Why is it important? It is a rare instance of performance-related rap for bureaucrats, the first removal in the last 10-15 years of IPS officers. The state cadres removed them for poor performance based on their service records, complaints and senior reviews.

Tell me more: Rule 16(3) of the All India Services (Death-cum-Retirement) Benefits Rules, 1958 provides for a service review, in consultation with the state government, of All India Services officers completing 15 and 25 years of service or attaining 50 years of age. Centre may also ask for such a review irrespective of the service years.
4 months

What is it? Remaining prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, after the rest of it was commuted by US President Barack Obama. Manning is a US army intelligence expert convicted of leaking America’s diplomatic and military activities in 2010.

Why is it important? The commutation marks a reversal of President Obama’s policy of actively pursuing criminal prosecution of people involved in leaking government secrets. With three days left in his presidency, Obama also pardoned 63 and commuted sentences of 208 prisoners, mostly drug offenders. Chelsea, who has spent seven years in jail, was originally serving a 35-year imprisonment.

Tell me more: Obama has granted clemency in only 3.7% of the total petitions received (35,944) till December 31, 2016. This compares favourably with George W.Bush who granted clemency only to 0.02% of applications in his eight-year tenure.
23

What is it? Number of railway stations that will be redeveloped and modernised by private companies at a cost of Rs 4,000 crore.

Why is it important? After announcing plans to redevelop 44 stations more than a year back, Indian Railways has roped in Bansal Construction to modernise Habibganj station near Bhopal. Work is expected to start from March this year. With the state-run monopoly not having resources to invest in modernisation of railway stations, the centre is roping in private players to redevelop the stations. In lieu, private players get to develop surplus land near the station on a lease of 45 years.

Tell me more: Railways have identified 332 stations for redevelopment and modernisation based on passenger earnings.
1,050

What is it? The number of village panchayats which will have free WiFi hotspots in three years.

Why is it important? It underlines the government’s efforts to speed up digitisation, especially with an eye on going cashless. Previously, the telecom secretary mentioned the target of making all gram panchayats WiFi-enabled. In December, Members of the Parliament were permitted to use their allocated funds to set up WiFi hotspots in villages and educational institutions.

Tell me more: Over Rs 400 crore would be spent in the first leg spanning three years in public-private partnerships.

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News in Numbers, Nov 3, 2016: Whose job is it?

300

What is it? The approximate number of school students who would be cleaning railway platforms and station premises each Sunday.

Why is it important? The success of the government’s Swachh Bharat Mission depends on public awareness and participation and such a step is likely to help students understand the importance of sanitation and hygiene besides nudging the general public to be more conscious about cleanliness, starting from family members and friends. The Indian Railways has tied up with Sulabh International, a non-profit voluntary social organisation to create 164 student clubs across 20 states for this initiative. The organisation plans to cover all the 7,000-odd stations in the country.

Tell me more: According to a survey conducted at 407 railway stations based on passenger feedback, five of the top 10 cleanest stations are in Gujarat while the dirtiest were found to be in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

 

5.5 million

What is it? The estimated number of women who are likely to die from cancer annually by 2030, according to a report by the American Cancer Society (ACS).

Why is it important? This is an increase of 60% in 20 years with the highest toll to be among women in poor and middle-income countries. The four deadliest cancers (breast, colorectal, lung and cervical) are largely preventable or can be detected early and much of the estimated deaths (by 2030) fall in this category. There were 3.5 million cancer deaths among women in 2012 and the number of new cancer cases are expected to increase from 6.7 million in 2012 to 9.9 million in 2030.

Tell me more: Another report published in the Lancet medical journal said the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer is likely to double from 1.7 million in 2015 to 3.2 million a year by 2030. One out of every seven women in the world die due to cancer, which is the second highest cause after cardiovascular disease, according to ACS.

 

54,546 million metric tons

What is it? The amount of carbon stored in community lands managed by indigenous people, according to a study, which is based on satellite surveys of 37 tropical countries.

Why is it important? These lands are held collectively by communities more by custom, than by law officially recognized by the governments. Because of this status the communities can potentially lose their land to private parties. If that happens, there is a risk of carbon getting released into atmosphere, worsening the climate change. The carbon contained in these lands is equivalent to four times the global carbon emissions in 2014. The study suggests the indigenous communities be given a bigger role in climate stabilisation, which is also a cost-effective way of preventing further emissions due to forest loss.

Tell me more: A tenth of the total carbon contained above the ground in tropical forests is in areas that are managed by native communities. Just 21 of the 188 countries recognise indigenous land rights and have included forest people in their national plans for reducing carbon emissions under the Paris Agreement.

 

10%

What is it? The percentage of ATMs (automated teller machines) that should dispense Rs 100 notes exclusively within the next fortnight, according to a notification by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Why is it important? This comes after the apex bank conducted a review of the steps banks have taken to install ATMs that dispense lower denomination banknotes and found that only a few banks had done so. This is to help meet the general public’s requirements of lower denomination notes. The banks have been advised to share their feedback on the pilot project after two months.

Tell me more: The RBI had introduced a scheme called the Currency Distribution and Exchange Scheme under which it said it would incentivize banks for installing ATMs dispensing notes of denominations up to Rs 100 – reimbursement of 50% of the actual cost of the ATM machine or Rs 2 lakh (whichever is lower) for urban areas and 60% of the actual cost of the machine or Rs 2.5 lakh (whichever is lower) for semi-urban and rural areas.

 

Rs 1,124 crore

What is it? The value of orders bagged by the Shapoorji Pallonji Group (SPG) from the Tata Group in 2012-13.

Why is it important? This reduced to nil in 2015-16. Within a year of being appointed as the chairman of Tata Sons in 2012, Mistry disallowed the Tata Group of companies from awarding new contracts to SPG as long as he headed the group. Mistry said in a 2013 letter to the CEOs of the Tata Group companies said this was to avoid any conflict of interest. SPG is headed by his elder brother Shapoor P Mistry.

Tell me more: After Mistry was sacked as the chairman of Tata Sons a few days ago, both the Tata Group and Mistry have reportedly put in place public relations teams to fight one of the biggest corporate spats in India.

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News in numbers, Nov 13, 2015: Telecom firms’ call drop woes, vacant faculty posts at IITs…

3.6%

 

What is it? Percentage by which the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), which measures growth in mining, manufacturing and electricity, grew in September.

 

Why is it important? Industry accounts for a fourth of India’s GDP. Fluctuating growth trends doesn’t reflect a steady recovery. More importantly, consumer non-durables shrunk by 4.6% in September, striking as an anomaly, given the ongoing festive season.

 

Tell me more: The manufacturing sector, which constitutes over 75% of the index, grew by 2.6% compared to 2.9% in the same month a year ago.

 

Rs 23.8 crore

 

What is it? Spicejet’s net profit in July-September quarter of 2015-16, as compared to a loss of Rs 310.4 crore in year-ago period.

 

Why is it important? This is the third successive quarterly profit posted by the airline, helped by lower fuel prices and its ability to fill seats. Nearly a year ago, the airline was near bankruptcy – there was a sudden reduction in fleet size, flights were cancelled and huge debts remained unpaid.

 

Tell me more: The airline, whose net worth is still in the negative, has been looking to raise funds including strategic investment.  

 

Rs 800 crore

 

What is it? Telecom companies’ cost implications for providing compensation to mobile users for call drops, according to estimates by the telecom regulator.

Why is it important? Highlights the stand-off between the regulator and the mobile service providers. The Cellular Operators Association of India and the Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India have conveyed to the regulator that this rule would force them to increase mobile service rates to cover costs. Also, estimates by these organisations are way higher at Rs 10,000 crore – Rs 54,000 crore (if 10%-50% of subscribers claim compensation for call drops).

 

Tell me more: Under the new norms introduced by the regulator last month, mobile users would get Re 1 for every call dropped for a maximum of three calls dropped per day, effective from January 1, 2016.  

 

75

 

What is it? Number of railway stations that would be made disabled-friendly by next July.

 

Why is it important? This would help the 2.7 crore population with disabilities – by providing them with better accessibility in not only the railway stations but in all the international airports and 5,000 public buildings where plans are on to make them disabled-friendly. The Accessible India campaign would be formally launched by the government on December 3. Hopefully, this would increase awareness about the difficulties faced by people with disabilities, encouraging the private sector also steps up to make their premises disabled-friendly.

 

Tell me more: The Indian government has started auditing 27 international airports and 75 railway stations to check accessibility and identify areas to be improved and made disabled-friendly.

 

10-56.7%

 

What is it? Share of vacancies of faculty posts across the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in 2014-15, according to data shared in response to an RTI query.

 

Why is it important? A consistent problem among the premier institutions in the country, 37% of faculty posts at the 16 IITs are vacant. This is a likely indicator for compromised quality in research and training and raises concerns if the move by the Indian government to set up five more IITs is a good idea.

 

Tell me more: IIT-Delhi, which entered the Quacquarelli Symonds’ (QS) list of top 200 universities globally for the first time, has a faculty shortage of 33.1%.

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News in Numbers – September 10, 2015

News In Numbers: September 10, 2015

 

Rs 50 lakh

The amount the National Stock Exchange (NSE) has been fined by the Mumbai High Court in a defamation case it had filed against financial news website Moneylife. The bourse filed a Rs 100 crore defamation suit against Moneylife following an article written by Sucheta Dalal alleging that NSE staffers were leaking sensitive information related to high-frequency trading, which helped a select set of investors to trade faster than their competitors. Despite repeated requests by Moneylife, NSE did not participate in the story. According to Hoot, a media watch website, there were 21 instances of defamation cases and legal notices being filed by politicians, business houses, lawyers, former judges and media houses to book publishers, advertisers, other media houses and journalists in 2014.

 

7.5%
Share of revenue Infosys expects to earn by way of acquisitions of the total 2020 target revenue of $20 billion. The Bengaluru-based IT firm is working towards a 30% operating margin and $80,000 revenue per employee in another five years. In 2014-15, Infosys earned $8.7 billion in revenue. Quoting the way Accenture and Cognizant have acquired other companies, Vishal Sikka, managing director and chief executive of Infosys, said they need to do something similar without copying them. The company has made two acquisitions this year. Since the beginning of 2015, Accenture has acquired nine companies.

 

1.9 percentage points

The amount by which global corporate profits as a share of global GDP will fall by 2025, according to a new study by McKinsey, the consulting firm. According to McKinsey, the share of corporate profits as a share of world GDP was 9.8% in 2013. By 2025, this will fall to 7.9% due to a range of factors. Increased competition as firms in emerging markets continue to expand beyond their borders is one major reason.  Another reason, McKinsey says, is the fall in labour costs and interest rates observed over the last few decades is unlikely to continue.

 

21.6%
According to a survey conducted by the Indian government, over a fifth of the toilets it has constructed are non-functional and effectively beyond use. The government has built 6 crore toilets. Chaudhary Birendra Singh, Union Rural development minister, said a change in mindset was needed to make people use toilets. The government is aiming to do away with open defecation under the Swachh Bharat mission by 2019. Over half a billion people in India – or 59% of the 1.1 billion people in the world — still defecate in the open, according to the World Health Organization.

 

400
The number of Indian railway stations Japan will help India redevelop by sending an official mission to “study the opportunities for industries”. Besides this, Japan has agreed to participate in Indian railways’ investment plan of $140 billion in the next five years and engage in technology cooperation for modernising and upgrading Indian railways. Japanese railways and companies would also assist India in its zero-accident mission. Indian railways posted a loss of Rs 30,000 crore in the passenger segment in 2014. Japan has announced a funding of $35 billion across various infrastructure projects over the next five years.

 

 

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