News in Numbers, Aug 18, 2016: Ola shuts down TaxiForSure, India’s first medal at Rio…

Sakshi Malik creates history at the Rio Olympics 2016. She won the bronze medal in the 58 kg women’s freestyle wrestling category on Wednesday. With this, India gets its 25th medal at the Olympic Games. It first participated in the Games in 1900.

Read more about Malik’s win and the firsts that have come along with her victory. This, and four other numbers, make up today’s edition.

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7001,000

What is it? The number of jobs cab-hailing aggregator Ola will lay off as a result of shutting down TaxiForSure (TFS) it acquired 18 months ago.

Why is it important? The layoffs can cut costs by nearly Rs 30 crore a month, according to reports. Ola has been trying to raise funds and battle with cash-rich Uber, which can now devote more time and resources to India after having sold its China operations to Didi Chuxing. Over the last few months, Ola was said to be integrating some of TFS teams such as human resources and tech while keeping the drivers and call centre teams separate.

Tell me more: Ola had acquired TFS for $200 million last year to fend off competition and up its strength against Uber. It had initially said it would manage TFS as a separate brand. Nearly 90% of the employees being laid off belong to operations such as call centres, driver relations and business development units.

 

730 million

What is it? The estimated number of Internet users in India by 2020, according to a report.

Why is it important? Three-fourth of the new user growth is expected to be from rural areas and a similar percentage of people is expected to consume data in local languages. These estimates, if true, is a pointer for the government and businesses to focus their digital initiatives or expansions more towards the countryside and also, will help provide opportunities for those in the rural areas. There were 350 million Internet users at the end of 2015.

Tell me more: The report by Nasscom in association with Akamai Technologies also predicts that online shopping would account for two-thirds of the e-commerce market by 2020 (with fashion and lifestyle to overtake the consumer electronics segment) and half of the travel transactions would be done online.

 

4

What is it? The number of Indian women athletes who have clinched a medal at the Olympics with the latest being Sakshi Malik who won a bronze in the 58 kg women’s freestyle wrestling category on Wednesday.

Why is it important? She is the first woman wrestler from India to have won a medal at the Olympics and overall, hers is the country’s fifth wrestling medal. Malik’s win also ended India’s 11-day wait to win a medal at the Rio Olympics 2016. In all, India has now won 25 medals at the Olympic Games over the years.

Tell me more: The other Indian women athletes to have won a medal are: weightlifter Karnam Malleshwari in 2000, boxer MC Mary Kom and shuttler Saina Nehwal in 2012.

 

Rs 4,566.6 crore

What is it? The total amount pharmaceutical companies owe the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) for charging higher prices than those prescribed by the government.

Why is it important? Over 80% of the amount is under litigation and just around 8% of the total amount demanded (for overcharging) has been recovered by the NPPA so far (since August 1997). This highlights the difficulty of price control, and the need for better methods to ensure pharma companies follow regulations.

Tell me more: The prices of essential medicines are fixed by the NPPA from time to time and the manufacturers who are found to be overcharging are to pay the overcharged amount along with interest under the Drugs (Price Control) Order, 2013.

 

1.96 crore

What is it? The number of private vehicles registered in 2015. That’s nearly 53,720 per day.

Why is it important? It touched an all-time high last year and is a huge jump from over two decades ago (less than 10 lakh until 1993). With an increase in population and disposable incomes and inefficient public transport systems, this trend is likely to continue. Underlines the importance of devising strategies for infrastructure and public transport to avoid further congestion in the urban areas.

Tell me more: Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka top the charts in terms of vehicle registrations, which together account for nearly a third of the total private vehicle registrations in the country.

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News in Numbers, June 17, 2016: Tax on sugar exports, Amazon decreases commission rates…

20%

What is it? The tax imposed by the Indian government on sugar exports.

Why is it important? This move, which comes after sugar prices increased from Rs 30 per kg to Rs 40 a kg in six months, is expected to boost domestic supplies. Due to drought in major sugar-growing areas, India’s sugar production is estimated to decline to 25 million tonnes in 2015-16 from 28.3 million tonnes in 2014-15.

Tell me more: Of the 366 sugar mills in the country, only about 60% were operating as on March 31.

 

34.05%

What is it? Percentage of women in rural areas who were open to living with their daughters in old age, according to a 2011-12 survey.

Why is it important? This was just 24.6% as per the 2004-05 survey, reflecting the changing norm of relying only on their sons in old age. People living in the urban areas also show a similar trend: it’s now 38.94% from 28.9% in 2004-05.

Tell me more: In terms of receiving financial support from daughters in old age, the trend is similar: 41.45% of women in rural areas (versus 30.48% per 2004-05 survey) and 44.75% of women in urban areas (versus 32.87% per 2004-05 survey) were okay with the idea, as per the 2011-12 survey.

 

$24 million

What is it? The amount New-York based company Andela has raised, led by the Chan Zuckerberg initiative (CZI).

Why is it important? This is CZI’s first private-sector investment and it is leading a financing round for the first time since Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan launched their charitable foundation last December. The initiative drew criticism as it was incorporated as a limited liability company, which is not governed by the rules for a non-profit organisation.

Tell me more: Andela trains software coders in Kenya and Nigeria to help them get jobs at large technology firms. Others who participated in the funding include: GV (formerly, Google Ventures), Spark Capital, Omidyar Network, Learn Capital and CRE Ventures.

 

3.5%

What is it? The new commission rate sellers of mobile devices and tablets will pay Amazon India effective today, down from about 5.5% earlier.

Why is it important? The move could help sellers to offer products at a lower cost by bypassing foreign direct investment rules that do not allow online marketplaces to influence product prices. This is in contrast to its rival Flipkart which recently decided to increase seller commissions by 5-6% from June 20, even as it struggles to raise funds.  

Tell me more: Amazon India has reduced the commission rates for sellers on certain categories including desktops, laptops, electronic devices, movies and educational software. This comes after Amazon reportedly increased its commission rates up to 9% on various categories a couple of months ago.

 

17,540

What is it? The number of Pakistani citizens whose visas were rejected by the Indian government between January 1 to May 31 this year.

Why is it important? This is around 50% of those who applied for visa to visit India, which is significantly higher than the rejection rate of 22.2% in 2015 and 17% in 2014. This is reportedly due to increased security concerns after the attack on the Pathankot Air Force base by Pakistani terrorists in January this year.

Tell me more: The Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan has written a letter to the Union Home Secretary asking for the reasons behind the high rejection rates.

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