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.



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. 



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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News in numbers, Oct 13, 2015: IIP in August, every 13th new cancer patient from India…


What is it? Percentage by which Index of Industrial Production (IIP), which measures activities in mining, electricity and manufacturing, grew in August.

Why is it important? The growth is the highest in nearly three years and much higher than the 4.8% expected by analysts polled by Reuters.

Tell me more: The growth was led by a pickup in mining and electricity, rise in production of durable goods and double digit production in capital goods. Of the 22 industry groups in the manufacturing sector, 15 expanded  in August 2015 year-on-year.



What is it? India’s share in number of new cancer patients in the world. In other words, every 13th new cancer patient is from India.

Why is it important? Cancer is already either the biggest or the second biggest killer in the country.

Tell me more: Nearly 5 lakh cancer deaths were reported in 2014 and the estimated cancer incidence was 11.2 lakh. India is planning to set up a national cancer institute to be modelled after the US National Cancer Institute, which would promote and conduct research to better understand and diagnose cancer.



What is it? Percentage of banks’ outstanding loans to power distribution companies (discoms) likely to be converted to government bonds at a coupon rate of 8% and reducing the lending rate on the rest, according to a proposal discussed by the power ministry and bankers.

Why is it important? State electricity boards, which control the discoms, owe nearly Rs 4 lakh crore to banks. And, banks have a high exposure to the power generation companies and to infrastructure as a whole and their rising bad loans as a result is a huge concern. Solving this issue is a must if the Indian government hopes to fulfill its commitment of 24*7 electricity for all by 2022 and improve infrastructure in general, which is essential for economic revival and growth.

Tell me more: The government has also proposed to count discom losses as a part of a state’s fiscal deficit. This is intended to force state governments to take steps to decrease power losses and increase tariffs to cover costs, a measure most have been hesitant to do so.



What is it? Percentage of funds involved in the alleged Rs 6,100 crore black money remittance case routed through proper banking channels from 30 banks, according to Bank of Baroda executive director, B B Joshi.

Why is it important? This relates to a case being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate where it is alleged that Rs 6,172 crore was remitted from Bank of Baroda to Hong Kong as payments of non-existent goods such as cashews, pulses and rice. Despite strict rules and laws such as Know Your Customer (KYC) norms and Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 and frequent reporting to the Reserve Bank of India, the enormity of the scam points to serious lapses in the banking system. This scam could damage the bank’s reputation.

Tell me more: It is also alleged that cash was deposited as advance for import in 59 accounts, which was then transferred to some companies in Hong Kong. Bank of Baroda has suspended two employees so far.



What is it? Percentage of cases taken up by anti-corruption bureau (ACB) from  the 7,232 complaints filed with the agency in Mumbai between January 1, 2012 and September 23, 2015.

Why is it important? Shows one or a combination of the following: corruption levels are low in Mumbai, number of false cases are high, witnesses turn hostile, different methods used by officers to give and take bribes so as to not get caught and inefficiency on the part of ACB and the government.

Tell me more: Of the total cases filed, the state government has ordered inquiries in only 671 cases. These have come to light in response to a public interest litigation filed by Jeetendra Ghadge, a Mumbai-based activist. Interestingly, according to a list of seven cities released by the ACB last year, Mumbai was the least corrupt city (90 people were arrested last year) with Pune (216 arrested) topping the list. is a search engine for public data

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News In Numbers – August 26


The number by which female Christian population exceeds the Christian male population in India, according to the latest data released by the Indian government on religion. As per Census 2011, Christianity is the only religion in India in which the female population exceeds the male population. However, there has not been a significant change between 2001 and 2011 in the share of Christians in the total Indian population. As is the case for Jains. The share of the Muslim community grew 0.8 percentage points during this period, while the Hindu population registered a decline of 0.7 percentage points.



The incidence of procuration of minor girls per lakh population in India in 2014.  The equivalent figures for buying and selling of minor girls for prostitution were 14 and 82, respectively. The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Indian government to prepare an action plan to prevent trafficking of girls for sexual exploitation, their rescue and rehabilitation, in consultation with the states. According to the non-governmental organisation Prajwala, which had moved the court against trafficking of girls and women for sexual exploitation, over 200,000 women and children are inducted into the flesh trade every year and that one out of every four children rescued from prostitution is a child, of which 60% are HIV positive.


40,000 MW versus 10,000 MW

India added about 40,000 MW (megawatt) of power generation capacity in the last two years, but demand increased only by about 10,000 MW. This is mainly because a significant chunk of people cannot afford to pay for electricity. Unless this changes, the demand-supply mismatch could become worse as the government is planning to increase power generation capacity to 800 GW (gigawatt) by 2030. In 2014-15, India recorded the lowest plant load factor in over 15 years, with power capacities operating at just 65%. The financial health of state electricity boards (SEBs) is deteriorating: their cumulative outstanding loans have crossed Rs 3,00,000 crore and they have accumulated losses of over Rs 2,50,000 crore. One of the main reasons for this is the state distribution utilities are reluctant to revise tariffs to cover costs.


1.2 million and 35,000

The number of infant and maternal deaths India could avoid if the current need for family planning is met within the next five years. According to an analysis conducted by the Population Foundation of India, the Finance Commission decentralizing funds to states may impact the family planning programme and could result in diversion of funds away from other social and health sector needs. In 2012-13, the Indian government had committed to bring down maternal mortality rate to 100 per every 100,000 live births, infant mortality rate to 30 per every 1,000 live births and total fertility rate to 2.1. India accounts for the largest number of maternal deaths in the world, at 178 per 100,000 live births in 2010-12.



The number of food items covered by the new draft food guidelines put out by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) for public comments. The new guidelines include health supplements and additives, nutraceuticals and proprietary foods. The 2011 guidelines cover just 377 food items: in other words, only these items are standardised.  This particular limitation caused a judicial setback for the food regulator when the Supreme Court last week refused to accept its arguments about the product approval process. Under an earlier set of rules, product approval was required only when the manufacturer included a new ingredient or additive, which under the new rule introduced in 2013 required approval for products even if they were using pre-okayed ingredients or additives within permissible limits.
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