News in Numbers, Jan 11, 2017: Make hay while the sun shines…

2,250 MW

What is it? The solar power capacity commissioned by India between April and December 2016.

Why is it important? This is just 18.7% of the solar power target of 12,000 MW for 2016-17. This raises questions about India’s capability to increase its solar power target to 100,000 MW by 2022. Power Minister Piyush Goyal had said in April 2016 that it can achieve this target by the end of 2017 itself. Achieving this target is important for India, which has committed to source 40% of its electricity from non-fossil fuels under the 2015 Paris Agreement. The aim of the agreement is to limit the increase in the earth’s temperature to less than two degree celsius by 2100.

Tell me more: India’s cumulative solar energy capacity stands at 9,012.66 MW, as per the government data.

 

Rs 3,400 crore

What is it? The amount Tamil Nadu government has said it will spend for desilting reservoirs and channels and restoration of lakes, according to chief minister O Panneerselvam.

Why is it important? This is one of the measures announced by the government as it declared the state to be drought-hit. As many as 144 farmers have reportedly committed suicide between October and December 2016 and the northeast monsoon, which hits Tamil Nadu during this period, has been the worst in 2016 over the last 140 years. The northeast monsoon is responsible for the state’s main rainy season and accounts for nearly half (48%) of its rainfall.

Tell me more: Tamil Nadu has announced measures including conversion of crop loans to medium-term loans, increasing the number of days of work under the national rural employment guarantee scheme to 150 from 100 and allocation of funds to improve drinking water resources. The state will send a petition to the central government asking for drought relief.

 

16.05 million

What is it? The number of people who have reportedly enrolled for Aadhaar in December 2016.

Why is it important? This was the highest enrollment in a month for the 12-digit unique identity number in a month last year. This comes after the government decided to withdraw high-value currency notes from November 9 and the its subsequent push to encourage Aadhaar-enabled financial transactions in a bid to create a less-cash economy. The first week of January 2017 saw 3.63 million people enrolling for Aadhaar, which takes the total number of Aadhaar enrolments to 1.1 billion, covering about 98% of India’s adult population.

Tell me more: The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology is planning to coordinate with the Finance Ministry to draw up a plan to enable financial transactions using Aadhaar (and without the need for mobile phones) at places including petrol pumps and common service centres. Of the 112 crore bank accounts, 40 crore are already linked to Aadhaar.

 

1.2 million

What is it? The number of automobiles sold in the domestic market in December, 2016.

Why is it important? The decline is at a 16-year-low. Overall automobile sales fell by 18.6% year-on-year, not seen since December 2000’s drop of 21.8%. Automobile sales is a measure of consumer sentiments, especially their capacity for discretionary spends, and it has taken a beating after demonetisation as consumers still turn to cash for buying vehicles or restrict non-cash purchases because of negative sentiments.

Tell me more: Retail segments such as passenger cars and two-wheelers registered sharp drops at 8% and 22% respectively. Siam, the industry body releasing the data, says it is a temporary lull. Automobile sales had registered 23.7%, 20%, and 8% rise in August, September, and October, before sliding in November by 5.4%.

 

Rs 4,350 crore

What is it? The contract value won by ABB India to build a power transmission link for Power Grid Corporation of India, the national power grid operator.

Why is it important? This will be one of the longest systems in the world. The two-way link spanning 1,830-km will connect thermal and wind energy plants to high-consumption urban centres, from Chhattisgarh to Tamil Nadu. It will have a capacity of 6,000-megawatts, and once complete, supply electricity to 80 million people by 2019. The win saw ABB India’s stock rise 13% on Tuesday.

Tell me more: ABB India is tasked with installing an ultra-high-voltage 800-kilovolt system for the link. While ABB won the major chunk of the Rs 5,700-crore project, state-run Bharat Heavy Electricals won the remaining mandate.

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News in Numbers – June 13, 2016

50

What is it? The number of people shot dead in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida by a lone gunman.

Why is it important? The latest mass shooting, the worst in US history, brings to fore the easy availability of guns. There have been at least 1,001 mass shootings in the US resulting in 1,141 deaths since December 2012, according to Gun Violence Archive data. 

Tell me more: The identity of the gunman, a New York born muslim with parents from Afghanistan, is likely to become an election issue where Donald Trump, the presumptive republican nominee, had openly advocated ban of muslims entering US.

133

What is it? The rank of Riya Singh, who topped among the girls in the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Advanced conducted for entry into the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs).

Why is it important? Only 13% of 36,566 candidates qualified were female students in the results announced on Sunday. The numbers underscore the barriers to entry for nearly half the student population in cracking admissions to India’s top engineering colleges.

Tell me more: 23 IITs admit 10,575 students in academic year 2016-17. The biggest chunk is IIT, Kharagpur with intake of 1,341 students.  

Rs 600 crore

What is it? Fine levied on five private run hospitals by the Delhi government for not treating poor patients.

Why is it important? Hospitals were allotted land at subsidised rate with a condition that 25% of in-patient and 10% of out-patient capacity to treat poor patients free of cost. The action by government follows a public interest litigation by Social Jurist in 2007 that private hospitals be fined for not giving free treatment to poor patients.

Tell me more: The land were allotted between 1960 and 1990, and the fine amount is calculated till 2007 from the time the hospital became operational.

145%

What is it? China’s corporate debt to GDP ratio.

Why is it important? A top International Monetary Fund official has called it a “key fault line in the Chinese economy”. The huge debt, which was once seen as essential to drive growth, could have adverse impact on China, and owing to the size of its economy, on the world, if it’s left unchecked.

Tell me more: Meanwhile, India is trying hard to tackle its corporate debt that have gone bad. Arundhati Bhattacharya, chairman of India’s largest lender State Bank of India, said the banks should have had more tools and resolution mechanisms to deal with bad loans.

Rs 6,700 crore

What is it? The amount I Squared Capital, a private equity firm, is looking to invest in India over years through its ISQ Global Infrastructure Fund.

Why is it important? It could provide a boost to India’s rooftop solar energy aspirations, a key focus of the fund. It plans to invest about Rs 2000 crore on roof top solar. Indian government is targeting 100GW of solar capacity by 2022, and hopes to pull it off even earlier – by end of 2017.

Tell me more: I Squared Capital was founded by former Morgan Stanley executives, Sadek Wahba, Gautam Bhandari and Adil Rahmathulla all specialising in infrastructure. Its Global Infrastructure Fund has a corpus of 3.8 billion.

 

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