News in numbers, Dec 7, 2015: Adulterated food samples, impact of Chennai floods…

 

18%

 

What is it? Percentage of food samples found to be “adulterated and misbranded” so far this year, according to India’s food regulator. That is, 14,599 samples out of 74,010 samples analysed.

 

Why is it important? Based on these, the regulator, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, has filed over 9500 cases, resulting in over 1400 convictions. As many as 7,500 people died from consuming food last year in India, mostly from pesticide and insecticide poisoning, reflecting the inadequacy of food-safety institutions in the country. There is a  proposal to invest Rs 1,750 crore to strengthen the central and state food regulators.

 

Tell me more: Food safety has gained attention in India after FSSAI banned Nestle India’s popular Maggi noodles after finding excessive lead levels in it.

 

3,700

 

What is it? Number of medical camps conducted by the authorities in Chennai so far after floods inundated the city.

 

Why is it important? The camps covered over 7 lakh (about 15% of Chennai’s population according to Census 2011) people. With floods come the risks of water-borne diseases (such as typhoid and cholera) and vector-borne diseases (including malaria and dengue). Screening of people and provision of medicines are critical in preventing an epidemic outbreak.

 

Tell me more: The Health Secretary for Tamil Nadu government recently said the state is monitoring the situation and is working in close coordination with the district administration and Chennai Corporation officials to avert an endemic-like situation.

 

70%

 

What is it? The unutilized capacity at Surya Nepal’s factory. Surya Nepal, an ITC subsidiary, which makes cigarettes, safety matches and readymade garments.

 

Why is it important? Shows how India’s blockade of Nepal’s border checkpoints is impacting Indian businesses there. Dabur India, whose 70-75% of juices’ supply under the ‘Real’ brand, comes from its Nepal factory and has informed the Bombay Stock Exchange that it’s juice business is likely to dip by 10-15% in the October-November period.

 

Tell me more: A community in Nepal called the Madhesis have been agitating and demanding proportionate representation and allocation of Parliament seats on the basis of population to be incorporated in the proposed Constitution Amendment Bill, resulting in the blockade.

 

21

 

What is it? Number of companies that have bought bid documents to buy two new teams in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

 

Why is it important? Shows there is significant interest in the league despite a 40% drop in television viewership for all formats of the game from 2008 to 2014 and a string of controversies such as betting.

 

Tell me more: Buying the bid documents, however, doesn’t mean that they would indeed participate in the bidding process. Star India and Chettinad Cements are among the 21 companies who have bought the bid documents.

 

Rs 840 crore

 

What is it? The potential loss to the micro and small industrial sector in Chennai every week due to the floods, according to credit rating agency SMERA.

 

Why is it important? One, it would undermine their ability to pay their workforce, who are already facing significant material loss due to floods. Two, these are conservative estimates, and the losses in the final assessment might turn out to be worse.

 

Tell me more: Chennai contributes about 3% to India’s GDP (gross domestic product). Tamil Nadu is home to the third largest number of MSME or micro, small and medium enterprises (nearly 10% of the total MSMEs) in the country and in terms of employment generated (11% of total employment generated by the Indian MSME sector).

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