5 kms = 500 kms 🚌 – News in Numbers July 13, 2016

Please accept my apologies for the rather cryptic subject line. I promise it’s not some kind of clickbait. It’s a reality for thousands of our fellow citizens living in rural areas. For years there were no roads, and when the roads came, there were no inexpensive but comfortable way to go from one place to another. If the photo below is cliche, it’s a cliche because the scene is so common for a lot of people.

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One of the numbers we picked for you today hints at an answer. Let us know what you think about it.

25 paise

What is it? The amount by which Kerosene prices is likely to be raised every month till March 2017.

Why is it important? This will cut down the subsidy bill by 30% in current financial year, and also reduce adulteration of other petroleum products by mixing Kerosene. At present, the subsidy per litre of Kerosene sold is Rs 13.12. Kerosene price was increased by 50 paise in the first of this month, after a gap of nearly five years.

Tell me more: If the decision to rise Kerosene prices are implemented, it would be replication of the strategy adopted earlier to cut down Diesel subsidies. Price was increased by 50 paisa per month until all subsidies were eliminated.   

125,000 villages

What is it?The number of villages the government plans to connect by purchasing 80,000 mini-buses.

Why is it important? This will increase the mobility of people living in rural India, expanding job opportunities and market access. Government built 190,413 kms of new roads and upgraded 258,189 kms of existing roads under the Bharat Nirman program. Despite the connectivity, public transport were not available as it was not viable for private operators and state transport undertakings did not have the resources to expand.

Tell me more: The program will be 60% funded by centre, with the states contributing the rest.

6 months

What is it? The number of months Honda’s top selling scooter model, Activa outsold Splendour, which is sold by its erstwhile partner, Hero Motors. Splendour was the highest selling vehicle for 17 years.

Why is it important? Underscores the increasing share of scooters in the two-wheeler market and the foothold of Honda Motorcycles and Scooters in the Indian market. Honda now sells every second scooter bought in India.

Tell me more: Scooter sales was 5 million units in last fiscal, and accounted for a third of two-wheeler market.

823

What is it? The number of students from the scheduled castes who made it to IITs (Indian Institute of Technology) in general ranking list, up from 515 last year. 22 of them were ranked among the top 2000.

Why is it important? IITs have come under heavy criticism for its lack of diversity, especially the low numbers of students from socially backward communities. The elite institutions responded by increasing the seats reserved for students from scheduled castes and scheduled tribes – and by waiving their fees. Their growing number in general list underlines the importance of education/training interventions outside the campus.

Tell me more: 49.5% of the total 10,500 seats in IITs are reserved for various castes – 7.5% for STs, 15% for SCs, 27% for OBCs. The students who got through the general list might still use the quota to get a campus of their choice.

2,36,000

What is it? The number of dollar millionaires in India end of 2015, according to ndia 2016 Wealth Report, by New World Wealth

Why is it important? The number is expected to almost double by 2025 to 5,54,000, the report says. This in a country where almost 30% of the population live in poverty spending  less than Rs 32 a day in rural areas or Rs 47 in urban areas. Whether the wealth of the few will create the much needed jobs remains the big question

Tell me more: The report attributed the growth of millionaires to growth in local construction, financial services, IT, business process outsourcing and healthcare sectors. The wealth of 2.36 lakh millionaires adds up to $1.5 trillion, the report said.

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News in Numbers, June 20, 2016: Early impact of Rajan’s exit, Karnataka cabinet reshuffle…

26,486.57 points

What is it? The level at which Sensex, the benchmark of the Bombay Stock Exchange, was trading at (9.16 am) today down 139.34 points or 0.52% lower from Friday’s close at 26,625.91 points.

Why is it important? The markets were expected to slump today, after RBI governor Raghuram Rajan announced that he would return to academia when his term expires in September. Rajan is credited for arresting the decline in the rupee among other things and his announcement influenced the currency to fall by 60 points to Rs 67.68 in early trade today. This only adds to worries about Britain’s exit from the European Union, which may result in capital flight from emerging markets such as India, and delayed monsoon in the country.

Tell me more: Under Rajan, the wholesale price inflation and consumer price inflation, which were as high as 10.5% and 7.05% in September 2013 when he took over, slowed down to 5.76% and 0.79% respectively.

 

700

What is it? The number of tablets the Statistics Ministry reportedly would use to conduct its Periodic Labour Force Survey.

Why is it important? This would be the first time ever that a government data collection exercise would be done using modern technology instead of the usual pen-paper method. This would improve accuracy of data collected and also, be faster – reducing the lag between the time data gathered and data disseminated.

Tell me more: The Periodic Labour Force Survey is conducted every three months and provides information on data points including Labour Force Participation Rate, Worker Population Ratio, Unemployment Rate and average earnings of self-employed, regular wage/salaried and casual workers.

 

Rs 20,000

What is it? The cap on coaching for competitive examinations for students belonging to the scheduled castes (SCs) and other backward classes (OBCs). This will now be done away with and the entire expenditure will be borne by the central government.

Why is it important? This would help students in these categories pursue higher education and employment. Right now, as a group, they lag behind the general population. The Census 2011 data shows that education levels are lower among SC groups across the states, compared to the non-SC population.

Tell me more: Under the revised guidelines, the central government would ask the states and the union territories to propose the names 5-10 coaching institutes with good record of past performance and from this, a final list would be made to provide coaching to the SC and OBC students.

 

14

What is it? The number of ministers Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah has fired reportedly for underperformance or involvement in controversies.

Why is it important? The move is an attempt to strengthen the Congress party ahead of the state elections in 2018. However, this is also likely to intensify infighting within the party. Karnataka is the only major state where the party is ruling, after being defeated in recently-concluded polls in Kerala and Assam.

Tell me more: The sacking of the 14 ministers led to protests by their supporters, resulting in violence and road blocks. They would be replaced by 13 newly-inducted members.

 

6/10

What is it? The number of people who share links on social media without reading the story.

Why is it important? Shows the role headline and summaries play. The age of social media, which comes with the advantages of having any information at one’s fingertips, has also resulted in propagating decontextualized, inaccurate, or even false information that in turn, could shape collective opinions and agendas.

Tell me more: The study was done by Columbia University and French National Institute. According to another recent study by Science Post, 70% of Facebook users only read the headline of science stories before commenting on it.

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