Monsoon cracks on ☔

6%

What is it? The percentage above normal registered by monsoon rainfall till July 2.

Why is it important? The monsoon, which accounts for over 70% of India’s annual rainfall, is the primary source of irrigation for half of the country’s cropland and refills over 80 nationally-monitored water reservoirs (important for drinking purposes, power and irrigation).

Tell me more: The monsoon is expected to cover the country by July 15, on schedule. The onset of the southwest monsoon has led farmers to plant 19% more hectare with rain-dependent kharif crops than last year (22.2 million hectare over 18.7 million hectare).

 

8%

What is it? The hike in Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal’s annual pay in 2016-17.

Why is it important? Mittal’s pay increased despite India’s largest telecom operator  suffering a sharp decline in annual consolidated profit this year due to intense competition. In 2016-17, Bharti Airtel’s consolidated net profit was Rs 3,799 crore, registering a fall of 37.5%. Mittal’s income rose from Rs 27.8 crore to Rs 30.1 crore in the same year.

Tell me more: Bharti Airtel Managing Director and CEO (India and South Asia) Gopal Vittal earned nearly 50% more than last year, as well. It is unlike the trend in another sector: chiefs in the IT industry such as Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka and Wipro Chairman Azim Premji have taken cuts in their pay, in line with performance goals.

 

28%

What is it? The percentage of women students who secured admission to the post graduate programme in management at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) – the premier business school.

Why is it important? This was achieved without giving extra marks or gender-specific quotas. IIMA decided to give lower weightage to the score from the Common Admission Test, an entrance exam for getting admission to business schools, and invite candidates from non-engineering background for the interviews.

Tell me more: Around 85% of students in IIM, Bangalore are from engineering background, and within that 50% are from Indian Institute of Technology and National Institute of Technology.

 

33.6 million

What is it? The number of youth in the 18-19 age group who remain unregistered on the voters’ list.

Why is it important? This number is 60% of eligible voters in the age group of 18-19 years. However, the number of eligible voters not enrolled has come down from 90% six years back. Indian citizens are allowed to vote after reaching 18 years.

Tell me more: The Election Commission of India is running a month-long drive in July to persuade them to register. For the generation hooked on social media, EC has tied up with Facebook to host a special button for registration.

 

Upto Rs 32

What is it? The hike in the cost of an LPG or cooking gas cylinder.

Why is it important? Household LPG cylinders are set to become costlier because under GST it is under the slab of 5% taxation, higher than the VAT levied earlier by some states at 2-4%. Further cuts in subsidy of LPG connections in June will compound the price rise, and go up to Rs 32 extra for each cylinder in some states.

Tell me more: The last subsidy cut was in May of around Rs 2, implementing the government’s target of eliminating it through small increases.

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5 kms = 500 kms 🚌 – News in Numbers July 13, 2016

Please accept my apologies for the rather cryptic subject line. I promise it’s not some kind of clickbait. It’s a reality for thousands of our fellow citizens living in rural areas. For years there were no roads, and when the roads came, there were no inexpensive but comfortable way to go from one place to another. If the photo below is cliche, it’s a cliche because the scene is so common for a lot of people.

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One of the numbers we picked for you today hints at an answer. Let us know what you think about it.

25 paise

What is it? The amount by which Kerosene prices is likely to be raised every month till March 2017.

Why is it important? This will cut down the subsidy bill by 30% in current financial year, and also reduce adulteration of other petroleum products by mixing Kerosene. At present, the subsidy per litre of Kerosene sold is Rs 13.12. Kerosene price was increased by 50 paise in the first of this month, after a gap of nearly five years.

Tell me more: If the decision to rise Kerosene prices are implemented, it would be replication of the strategy adopted earlier to cut down Diesel subsidies. Price was increased by 50 paisa per month until all subsidies were eliminated.   

125,000 villages

What is it?The number of villages the government plans to connect by purchasing 80,000 mini-buses.

Why is it important? This will increase the mobility of people living in rural India, expanding job opportunities and market access. Government built 190,413 kms of new roads and upgraded 258,189 kms of existing roads under the Bharat Nirman program. Despite the connectivity, public transport were not available as it was not viable for private operators and state transport undertakings did not have the resources to expand.

Tell me more: The program will be 60% funded by centre, with the states contributing the rest.

6 months

What is it? The number of months Honda’s top selling scooter model, Activa outsold Splendour, which is sold by its erstwhile partner, Hero Motors. Splendour was the highest selling vehicle for 17 years.

Why is it important? Underscores the increasing share of scooters in the two-wheeler market and the foothold of Honda Motorcycles and Scooters in the Indian market. Honda now sells every second scooter bought in India.

Tell me more: Scooter sales was 5 million units in last fiscal, and accounted for a third of two-wheeler market.

823

What is it? The number of students from the scheduled castes who made it to IITs (Indian Institute of Technology) in general ranking list, up from 515 last year. 22 of them were ranked among the top 2000.

Why is it important? IITs have come under heavy criticism for its lack of diversity, especially the low numbers of students from socially backward communities. The elite institutions responded by increasing the seats reserved for students from scheduled castes and scheduled tribes – and by waiving their fees. Their growing number in general list underlines the importance of education/training interventions outside the campus.

Tell me more: 49.5% of the total 10,500 seats in IITs are reserved for various castes – 7.5% for STs, 15% for SCs, 27% for OBCs. The students who got through the general list might still use the quota to get a campus of their choice.

2,36,000

What is it? The number of dollar millionaires in India end of 2015, according to ndia 2016 Wealth Report, by New World Wealth

Why is it important? The number is expected to almost double by 2025 to 5,54,000, the report says. This in a country where almost 30% of the population live in poverty spending  less than Rs 32 a day in rural areas or Rs 47 in urban areas. Whether the wealth of the few will create the much needed jobs remains the big question

Tell me more: The report attributed the growth of millionaires to growth in local construction, financial services, IT, business process outsourcing and healthcare sectors. The wealth of 2.36 lakh millionaires adds up to $1.5 trillion, the report said.

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News in Numbers, June 23, 2016: East’s answer to NATO, India’s largest spectrum auction…

8

What is it? The membership strength of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) once India and Pakistan join the group at a two-day summit starting today.

Why is it important? It’s East’s answer to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation). This would help India participate in military cooperation in the areas of counter-terrorism measures in Central Asia, intelligence sharing and tackling cyber terrorism with the member-states of this group. This would also provide better access to Central Asia for both India and Pakistan at a time when they are seeking to deepen their ties with the region, especially given their involvement in projects such as Chabahar Port and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor respectively.

Tell me more: The SCO comprises of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan while Afghanistan, Belarus, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan have observer status.

 

$950,000

What is it? The penalty the US’ Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has levied on mobile advertising company InMobi for tracking locations of consumers including children without their permission.

Why is it important? Shows how some new-age firms resort to practices deemed to be unethical and illegal to chase growth. Highlights the risks to consumers who have no way of knowing if their privacy (and their children’s privacy) is being compromised. For InMobi, which is competing with Facebook and Google, this comes at a time when it is struggling to raise funds, build a sustainable business model and fighting attrition in its senior and mid-level management.

Tell me more: Under the terms of settlement, the FTC said InMobi is subjected to a $4 million civil penalty, which is suspended to $950,000 given the “company’s financial condition”. InMobi has to delete all information collected from children and location information of consumers besides instituting a comprehensive privacy policy, which will be independently audited every two years for the next 20 years.

 

Rs 5.66 lakh crore

What is it? The amount the spectrum auction is estimated to fetch the Indian government.

Why is it important? Given how expensive the spectrum bands are (a firm bidding for 5 MHz of pan-India bandwidth in the 700 band would have to pay Rs 57,000 crore– over half of what the government earned from the 2015 auctions) and the Rs 3.5 lakh crore debt under which the telecom sector is reeling, the level of participation by the firms in the auctions remains to be seen. Idea, Vodafone and Airtel are reportedly not planning to bid for spectrum in the 700 MHz band.

Tell me more: This is the first time the government would put up the entire spectrum available on sale. The bidding is expected to commence from September 1.

 

Rs 418.25 crore

What is it? Revenue of ANI Technologies, which owns and runs brand Ola, in 2014-15.

Why is it important? It increased eight-fold from Rs 51.05 crore in 2013-14 though its losses shot up 20 times from Rs 34.21 crore in FY14 to Rs 754.87 crore in FY15. Indicates that the growth of the company, which raised two rounds of funding totalling to $251.5 million (nearly Rs 1,700 crore) in this period, came at a high cost (discounts and driver incentives) and that it requires increased capital to fend off competition from Uber and maintain its lead.

Tell me more: Ola is reportedly in talks with investors to raise $300-400 million or $1 billion, according to different publications.

 

57%

What is it? Percentage of cost of travel recovered by the Indian railways on passenger fares on an average.

Why is it important? The railways has been printing this information on train tickets in the last one week. The idea is to make rail passengers aware of the huge subsidy on rail tickets. Increasing rail fares is a politically sensitive subject in India and this awareness-building could be the first step in rationalisation of fares in the coming years.

Tell me more: Passenger fares were last hiked by 14.2% in June 2014. Suburban and short-haul train passengers account for over half of the traffic but their share in total passenger revenues was just 6-7%, accounting for around 60% of the annual subsidy of Rs 34,000 crore.

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News in numbers, Apr 26, 2016: The water wasters, India’s malaria elimination plans…

1.32

What is it? The number of times Punjab’s water footprint exceeds world average for growing wheat.

Why is it important? It’s an indicator of inefficient water usage across the country. For example, UP’s water footprint for wheat is 2.27% and Madhya Pradesh’s is 0.93%. With the drought affecting several parts of the country, this indicates the need for taking a fresh approach towards the crops India grows and how efficiently it grows them.  

Tell me more: The government procurement also seems to be tilted towards water inefficient states. For example, Rajasthan, the highest wheat producing state in 2014-15 and which has a low water footprint of 0.69 has a procurement share of just 4.6%.

Rs 22,085 crore

What is it? Government subsidy for petroleum products such as LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) and kerosene in the first nine months of 2015-16, 71% lower than the subsidies in 2014-15.

Why is it important? While reduction can be attributed to low crude oil prices, it also shows market reforms are working. The government had linked diesel and petrol prices to market and introduced direct benefit transfer scheme. India, which imports 80% of its oil needs, can use this saving along with the amount gained due to lower oil import bills, to spend on other purposes such as education and health.

Tell me more: India’s crude oil import bill is expected to almost reduce by half (45%) to $62 billion in 2015-16 from $113 billion the previous year.

3

What is it? The number of students who have been rusticated by Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) for allegedly raising anti-national slogans at an event organised in support of Afzal Guru, a convicted terrorist.

Why is it important? JNU can be expected to sizzle for some more time. Kumar said he rejects the punishment as it is biased and that the students “will fight back and will win”.

Tell me more: A university committee set up to probe the incident found the students guilty on various charges such as not following university procedures, providing misinformation, instigating communal violence, participating in sloganeering, indiscipline, misconduct, and creating discord among students. Reportedly, financial penalty has been imposed on 14 students including student leader Kanhaiya Kumar. Some of the students including Kumar were arrested on sedition charges and are currently, out on bail.

200,000

What is it? The number of households in Mandla district in Madhya Pradesh where a malaria elimination project will be implemented by the Indian Council for Medical Research and Sun Pharma over the next 3-5 years. Mandla is one of the most malaria-endemic districts in the state.

Why is it important? This is India’s first public-private-partnership for research and innovation in preventive health care. This is likely to help India in its goal of eliminating malaria by 2030. According to official estimates, there were 561 deaths due to malaria in 2014 though this is much lesser than WHO’s estimates of 15,000 deaths a year and an independent research, which claims malaria kills over 200,000 people a year in India.

Tell me more: The project would include measures such as strengthening existing health systems, development and testing of medical products and disease surveillance and the learnings would be used to draw strategies for malaria elimination in other parts of the country.

458

What is it? The number of examiners the Indian government has hired for clearing applications for patents, designs and trademarks.

Why is it important? This increases the examiner strength by over 3.5 times, which would help in bringing down the time taken to process applications to 18 months by March 2018 from the current 5-7 years. As many as 237,000 patents and 544,000 trademarks registrations are pending approval.

Tell me more: Another 263 examiners would be hired on a contract basis to help clear the backlog.

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