News in Numbers, Aug 31, 2016: Trade unions to go on strike, decline in crimes against women…

Rs 350

What is it? The minimum wage for semi-skilled non-agricultural workers, up from Rs 246 per government announcement on Tuesday.

Why is it important? This, along with the announcement that bonuses for 2014-15 and 2015-16 would be paid to central government employees, was an attempt by the government to prevent trade unions from going on a nationwide strike on September 2. The trade unions have rejected the new minimum wage hike proposal. This means that banks, government offices and factories would remain closed this Friday.

Tell me more: The demands of the unions include a minimum wage of Rs 18,000 per month (as against the government’s offer of Rs 9,100), social security for workers, increased pension of not less than Rs 3,000 per month for all sectors (for unorganised workers, too) and removal of foreign direct investment from railways, defence and other strategic sectors.


Rs 329.93 crore

What is it? The value of unaccounted cash, jewellery, movable and immovable assets reportedly seized by the Income Tax (IT) department in raids between January-July 2016.

Why is it important? This is over thrice the amount seized (Rs 102.5 crore) in such raids by the department in the corresponding period last year, indicating that the government is stepping up measures to crackdown on the black money problem in the country. The number of IT raids and searches, seizures made and the untaxed income surrendered to the government – are reportedly the highest in nearly five years. The amount surrendered in the first seven months of this year (Rs 3,360 crore) is 56.5% higher than that received in the same period a year ago.

Tell me more: The government has asked people to declare their undisclosed wealth under a one-time compliance window before September 30, after which they would face stringent action including imprisonment.



What is it? The multiple by which patients are more likely to die when operated on at night compared to those operated on during the day, according to a research. This is based on 30-day survival rates for patients at a Canadian hospital and the results are yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Why is it important? The reasons for this could possibly include staffing shortages during the night, fatigue among medical staff and delay in treatments, according to the researchers. This could prompt further research into understanding postoperative mortality and its link with the time of the day/night and find out ways to reduce it for surgeries done in the night or late in the day (when patients are 1.43 times more likely to die than those operated on during regular working hours).

Tell me more: The research included study of 41,176 emergency and routine operations done on 33,942 patients between April 2010 and March 2015. The operations were divided into three time blocks: between 7.30 am to 3.29 pm, 3.29 pm to 11.29 pm, and 11.30 pm to 7.29 am.



What is it? The number of crimes against women in 2015, a 3.1% decrease from that recorded in 2014 (337,922), according to the National Crime Records Bureau data released on Tuesday.

Why is it important? Despite the small dip in the number of cases, the instances of attempts to rape (4.8%), kidnappings (3.4%), sexual harassment (9.6%) and assaults (0.2%) have increased in 2015 over the previous year. The number of rapes (7.4%), gangrapes (9.9%) and dowry deaths (9.7%) have seen a decline in the same period.

Tell me more: Uttar Pradesh (10.9% of the total), West Bengal (10.1%) and Maharashtra (9.5%) top the list in terms of number of crimes against women. In terms of crime rate (incidence of sexual offences per 100,000 women), Delhi recorded the highest (43.6) followed by Odisha (22.2) and Assam (20.6).



What is it? The reservation proposed by Social Justice Minister Ramdas Athawale for the economically backward (whose annual income is less than Rs 6 lakh) among the upper castes.

Why is it important? This means the maximum reservation limit has to be increased from the current 49.5% to 75% to include the economically backward communities including Gujjars, Patels, Rajputs, Brahmins, Marathas and Jats. This could be a result of agitations for reservations in education and government jobs by some communities such as the Patidars (or Patel), Jats and Marathas. A constitutional amendment would be required to bring about this increase.

Tell me more: The scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward castes have 15%, 7.5% and 27% reservation respectively.

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Costly when you use, costly when you don’t ✈

News In Numbers: July 14

A very visible rap on the knuckles sometimes work better than the invisible hand of the market. There are two numbers that relate to the role of regulators today. Have a look at them and let us know what you think.

Please ask your friends to sign up too. Here’s the link:

30 days

What is it? The time period within which airlines have to refund cancelled ticket money to customers, irrespective of the mode of purchase.

Why is it important? Brings uniformity in the sector where airlines are known to have levied refund charges in excess of fare excluding taxes. In addition, the maximum cancellation charge is capped at sum of basic fare plus fuel surcharge.

Tell me more: Refund processing fee is also banned as per the new policy aimed at tilting the balance in favour of consumers.

 8.37% – 8.38%

What is it? The likely coupon rate for HDFC’s masala bond, a rupee-denominated bond sold overseas.

Why is it important? The coupon rate is lower than HDFC’s cost of borrowing of 8.93% during last financial year ended March 2016. HDFC is raising Rs 2,000 crore through the masala bond, which eliminated currency risk in overseas borrowing.

Tell me more: HDFC’s masala bond is the first such offering and it’s success will propel other Indian companies to tap overseas market for borrowing.

 Rs 12,000 crore

What is it? The amount of money government plans to spend on skilling 10 million people over the next four years. Out of which, 6 million will be provided fresh skill training and the rest (4 million) will be to certify prior learning.

Why is it important? The initiative addresses the twin problem of not having adequate number of skilled persons, and unemployability of trained individuals. Certification will be uniform and are drafted in consultation with the industry.

Tell me more: State governments have to borne 25% of expenses under this scheme, the rest sponsored by the centre.

 10 lakhs

What is it?  The number of bank employees who plan to go strike on29th July to protest against banking reforms, such as privatisation.

Why is it important? This comes at a time when Indian banking sector is trying to clean up the bad loans in the system. The process also involves capital infusion, not all of which would come from the government, which in effect would reduce the government stake in the state owned banks. Bank staff are protesting against such dilution. However, their buy in is key to execute some of the reforms – especially those related to recovery of bad loans.

Tell me more: The strike was called for by United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) which is  an association of nine trade unions – across the banking system including state owned banks and private banks.


What is it? The number of listed firms – the top 500 by market capitalisation – that have to disclose their dividend distribution policy, according to stock market regulator.

Why is it important? The transparency would help investors and analysts to take a considered view on the dividends that large firms pay out. There has been complaints from the investors about firms hoarding cash. Infosys for example came under that criticism a few years ago. Now, top 500 firms will have be more open about dividend policy and the potential use of cash. This could nudge the smaller firms to be more transparent too.

Tell me more: Regulators in some countries, such as Chile andBrazil, have made dividend payments mandatory, without making it too difficult for companies to re-invest.


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News in Numbers – September 3, 2015

News In Numbers: September 3, 2015



The number of persons sent to jail by a Delhi court on Wednesday, the first conviction in a 2010 Commonwealth Games scam case. Four are officials from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), each of whom received four years, while the fifth person, the managing director of a private firm, got six years. They have been convicted for their involvement in a street-lighting scam, which resulted in a loss of Rs 1.4 crore to the exchequer. Of the 10 ongoing corruption cases that relates to the Games, one is against former Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi and nine others for alleged irregularities in awarding a contract to a Swiss company, causing a loss of Rs 95.6 crore to the exchequer. Last January, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) closed nine of the 19 FIRs (first information reports) filed for lack of evidence.


Rs 25,000 crore

The estimated loss to the Indian economy due to a one-day strike by 10 central trade unions on Wednesday, according to industry bodies CII and Assocham. However, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley dismissed the strike as something that “had a marginal or an inconsequential impact”, saying that most people were not even aware. The trade unions claimed that over 15 crore organised sector workers participated in the strike, and media reports suggest banking and transportation services were hit in parts of the country. Workers from 23 public sector banks, 12 private banks, 52 regional rural banks and over 13,000 cooperative banks went on strike on Wednesday.



The number of trees estimated per person on earth, according to a group of researchers led by ecologist Thomas Crowther. The researchers have combined two methods – satellite imagery and ground-based counting – to arrive at an estimate of 3.04 trillion trees on earth. This is 7.6 times the previous estimate of 400 billion trees, which was arrived at by primarily using the second method. With an estimate of 15 billion trees being cut down every year, the number of trees has declined by 46% since humans began cultivation about 12,000 years ago. According to the World Wildlife Fund, about 36 football fields worth of trees are lost every minute across the world.



According to gross-value added (GVA, which is essentially GDP minus taxes plus subsidies) data, inflation was 0.1% in the Indian economy in the first quarter of 2015-16. In the fourth quarter of 2014-15, this number was in negative territory, indicating the economy was in deflation. Except for agriculture, industry and services are in deflation. On Wednesday, chief economic advisor (CEA) Arvind Subramanian warned the Indian economy “appears to be in or close to deflation territory” but maintained that it would grow at around 8% in 2015-16. The CEA has said in the past that policymakers should also look at the Wholesale Price Index, which is in the negative, besides the Consumer Price Index. The Reserve Bank of India kept key interest rates unchanged in August citing inflationary concerns.



The number of Indians in the age bracket of 15 to 34 years who were killed in road accidents in 2014, of which 82% were men. The victims in this age group accounted for 53.8% of the road accidents recorded last year and those in the 35-64 age bracket accounted for 35.7%. Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra account for nearly one-third of total road fatalities last year. About 1.2 million Indians were killed in car accidents in the last 10 years or so, an average of one every minute. According to a World Health Organization report, India has the highest absolute number of recorded road deaths, followed by China. is a search engine for public data

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News in Numbers – September 2, 2015

News In Numbers: September 2, 2015


1 million

The number of workers who went on strike in 2014, nearly 45% down from the number registered in 2003. Ten central trade unions, which claim a combined membership of 15 million, have called for a nationwide strike on Wednesday to demand the withdrawal of the proposed changes in labour laws and stop disinvestment of public sector units. Essential services, including banking and public transportation, are likely to be affected. But data suggests that industrial unrest has gradually decreased in India. The number of person-days of work lost has dropped from 30.25 million in 2003 to 3.63 million in 2014. Likewise, the number of strikes and lockouts has come down from 552 in 2003 to 143 in 2014. The number of industrial closures, and workers affected and laid-off have also seen a gradual decline over the years.


The percentage of seabird species, including penguins, gulls and albatrosses, that have plastic in their gut, which is likely to increase to 99% by 2050. Researchers, based on past data, have predicted that nine out of 10 individual seabirds have consumed plastic. This number was less than 5% in 1960. Seabirds are said to be good indicators of the state of the ecosystem and are “at the top of the marine food chain”, which could increase the ill-effects of plastic pollution through the chain. According to Plastic Pollution Coalition, an international collaboration of organisations and businesses, the ratio of plastic debris to zooplankton (tiny organisms drifting in seas and oceans) is 36:1. A 2015 study ranked India 12th among countries ranked by mass of mismanaged public waste estimated in 2010.


The number of unsold housing units in Bengaluru in the second quarter of 2015. With this, the Karnataka capital has surpassed Mumbai in terms of unsold inventory for the first time. The National Capital Region continued to lead, with an estimated inventory of 170,000 unsold units. Bengaluru saw an increase in the number of launches in the first quarter of 2015 compared to the same period a year ago, but the absorption rate decreased to 10%, from 11%. India’s top listed real estate companies had unsold inventory worth Rs70,000 crore in March this year, up 9.4% from a year ago.


The drop in prices of aircraft fuel in Delhi between January 2014 and August 2015. On Monday midnight, state oil companies cut prices of aviation turbine fuel by 11.5%, the most in six months. This move is expected to boost the financial prospects of airlines in India, most of whom are labouring to return to profits.


The percentage of Indian mothers who are able to breastfeed their babies within one hour of delivery, putting India in the lowest position among South Asian countries, according to a report. India’s score only marginally improved in 2015 from 2012. Of the 26 million babies born in India, mothers of nearly 56% of the babies are not able to follow optimal feeding practices during the first year. In India, about half of all births in 2007-08 happened at home, with institutional deliveries ranging from 35% in Chhattisgarh to 76% in Madhya Pradesh. India is also home to the highest number of maternal deaths, accounting for one-fifth of total maternal deaths in the world in 2010. is a search engine for public data

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