News in numbers, Jan 20, 2016: VC-backed startups’ funding falls, ad spending in 2016…

 

Rs 4.34 per unit

What is it? The price at which Finland-based Fortum Finnsurya Energy has bid to build a 70-MW solar plant in Rajasthan under NTPC’s Bhadla Solar Park tender.

Why is it important? This is the lowest solar tariff in India, beating the recent bids by SBG Cleantech and Sun Edison at Rs 4.63 per unit. Though such low tariffs raise concerns about the viability of these projects, the government says this has been possible “through transparent auctions with a ready provision of land, transmission and the like”. Lower crude prices tend to be bad for solar energy firms, but India’s energy push is opening up opportunities for some of them.

Tell me more: State-owned NTPC conducted the reverse bidding for 420 MW solar projects to be set up at Bhadla’s Solar Park – Phase II on Monday.

 

35 seconds

What is it? The minimum time it will take to book a train ticket on IRCTC website.

Why is it important? The railway ticket booking website has deliberately kept the booking time to 35 seconds to prevent automated software from exploiting the system. The 35 second wait time was arrived at after considering that it takes at least 35 seconds to fill in the needed information. This is expected to reduce complaints from individual users who end up not being able to book tickets online.

Tell me more: In 2014-15, 18.3 crore tickets were booked on the IRCTC website and 14.9 crore between April-December 2015.

 

6%

What is it? The rate at which print advertising is estimated to grow in 2016 in India, according to a report by media agency GroupM.

Why is it important? However, print’s share in ad spending is estimated to decrease from 32.4% to 29.7% in 2016. Share of digital and television advertising are expected to increase to 12.7% and 47.1% this year. The growth in print sector is to be driven by auto, banking and finance and the government, besides regional advertising of telecom and consumer product brands in vernacular papers.

Tell me more: Total ad spending is estimated to grow 15.5% in 2016 to Rs 57,486 crore. Digital spending is likely to grow the fastest at 47.5% while growth rates of television and radio advertising are likely to slow down from 2015.

 

$1.5 billion

What is it? Amount venture capital-backed startups raised on 114 deals in the October-December quarter of 2015, according to a report by CB Insights and KPMG.

Why is it important? This is a decline of 46% in funding and 18% in number of deals in the last quarter of 2015 compared to the previous quarter. In Q3 of 2015, VC-backed startups raised $2.8 billion on 139 deals. An indicator that startups may not enjoy the same steady flow of VC money as in the previous quarters. India recently announced setting up a fund of funds with a $1.5 billion corpus to spent over four years.

Tell me more: At a global level too, there was a 30% drop in funding to $27.2 billion invested across 1,742 deals, marking the “lowest quarterly deal activity since Q1 2013”.

 

6.9%

What is it? China’s economic growth rate in 2015.

Why is it important? It is the slowest in 25 years. A slowdown in China, which is the second largest economy and the second largest importer of goods and services, is bound to affect the global economy. Concerns over China’s slowdown and a slump in commodity prices have prompted the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to cut its global economic growth forecast to 3.4% in 2016 from its October projection of 3.6%. It has kept China’s growth projection unchanged at 6.3% this year. China’s release of its weak economic growth prompted speculation that the government might announce some stimulus package, causing global stocks to rise.

Tell me more: China’s economic slowdown in the last two years comes as its government is trying to transition to an economy that is led by consumption and services rather than exports and investments.

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News in numbers, Nov 5, 2015: All-time low solar tariff, human trafficking from Nepal to India…

Rs 4.63

What is it? Price at which US-based SunEdison will sell solar power per kilowatt-hour in India.

Why is it important? This is an all-time low solar tariff in India and gives a boost to the Indian government’s ambitious target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022. Of this, 100 GW would be comprised of solar energy. India’s solar generation capacity is 2,900 MW now. This would also help India’s plans of providing solar power at Rs 4.75 per unit to state electricity boards, which are struggling with mounting debts and losses and reluctant to buy power.

Tell me more: SunEdison won the auction for a 500 megawatt project in Andhra Pradesh. The previous low tariff was Rs 5.05 per kilowatt-hour for Canadian company SkyPower’s project in Madhya Pradesh.

 

5 to 9

What is it? Multiple by which nitrogen oxide emissions were higher in a sample of 11 vehicles manufactured by Volkswagen Group in India – compared to levels tested during the approval stage, according to the Automotive Research Association of India.

Why is it important? Indicates that despite tough laws, some companies are able to get through the approval process without playing by the rule book. It remains to be seen if it’s a one-off or an industry-wide phenomenon. For VW, it is more bad news as its emission scandal gets murkier. According to the ARAI, VW India has informed them that 314,000 cars (across Volkswagen, Skoda and Audi models) have been fitted with engines from the E 189 diesel engine family, which have been used to fool emission tests in the US and Europe.

Tell me more: The Indian government has issued a show cause notice to VW asking it to explain its position on these findings and disclose if it has used an emission defeat device in India. The company has confirmed that it has received the show cause notice from the government-owned agency, Automotive Research Association of India, and would respond to it by the end of this month.

 

25%

What is it? Share of devices connected on mobile networks in India that are 3G-enabled, according to a survey by Nokia Networks.

Why is it important? Of this, only 45% are used for 3G services – pointing to an opportunity for telecom companies to tap into. The survey shows that of the sample size of 650 million subscribers, just 2.3% have 4G-enabled devices. Given the likelihood of prices of 4G devices coming down in the near future, there is a possibility of 4G overtaking 3G in terms of subscription, Nokia Networks said.

Tell me more: Mumbai, Delhi, Kerala, Punjab and Kolkata are the top five cities in terms of 3G device penetration. 

 

500%

What is it? The percentage increase in human trafficking from Nepal to India in 2015 (with two months to spare) compared to 2014.

Why is it important? The human trafficking from Nepal has seen a threefold increase after a massive earthquake devastated large parts of the country this April. Shows the levels of poverty that people have been subjected to, after the quake and their desperation to escape it all.  

Tell me more: Till this September, the Sahastra Seema Bal, one of India’s Central Armed Police Forces, has rescued 206 victims, of which 159 were rescued after the quake. In 2014, 33 victims were rescued.

 

€2 billion (over Rs 14,000 crore)

What is it? France’s committed investment for India’s Smart Cities Mission.

Why is it important? Despite the various challenges that the Indian economy faces, particularly the infrastructure sector, this indicates international interest in India’s long term growth story. But, there are serious concerns about how such ambitious urban projects would get funded.

Tell me more: The Western European nation is also investing 200 million (over Rs 1,400 crore) for the extension of the Bangalore metro network.

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