Uber’s reality check

1,100

What is it? The number of anti-riots police sent to Mandsaur district in Madhya Pradesh on account of ongoing farmers protest.

Why is it important? The protests by MP farmers – who are demanding loan waiver, higher minimum support price among others – have spread to six other districts in the state. The protests have intensified following the killing of five protesters in firing on Tuesday.

Tell me more: As protests continue, MP chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced a Rs 1000-crore price stabilisation fund and that the state would buy tur, urad and moong from farmers starting June 10. The central and state governments might have to do more than providing sops to pull the country out of the farm crisis.

 

$11.2 billion

What is it? The net worth of Sun Pharma founder Dilip Shanghvi.

Why is it important? It’s down from $21.5 billion in 2015, which made him India’s richest person. The drop of over 50% reflects the troubles faced by India’s generic drug industry – including intense scrutiny by US Food and Drug Administration, and pricing pressure in the market.

Tell me more: Sun Pharma Stock has fallen by nearly 30% in the last one year.

 

82.67%

What is it? The percentage of currency that has been remonetised, according to the Reserve Bank of India.

Why is it important? This partly explains why some parts of the country continues to face cash shortages. In November, the government demonetised nearly 87% of currency in circulation or an estimated Rs 15.5 lakh-crore in old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. The growth in digital transactions, which saw a spike during demonetisation, is back to earlier range.

Tell me more: The percentage of remonetised currency has doubled since January.  By volume, 108% of currency is back in circulation, RBI said.

 

>20

What is it? The estimated number of employees fired by Uber Technologies, the US-based cab-hailing app company.

Why is it important? The move comes after a company-wide investigation into 215 human resources claims of harassment. Uber has been plagued by questions about its company culture and accused of doing little to fix it.

Tell me more: In addition, head of Uber’s Asia Pacific business, Eric Alexander has left the firm. According to recode, Alexander had obtained the medical records a 26 year old woman who was raped by an Uber driver in Delhi in December 2014, and shared it with Uber CEO because they suspected that she was was not raped.

 

$239 million

What is it? The amount Marissa Mayer got for her five years of work as Yahoo CEO, according to Equilar, a research firm.

Why is it important? Mayer oversaw the sale of the firm to Verizon for $4.5 billion, which is expected to complete next week, with Verizon shareholders voting on the bid on Thursday. Mayer’s $900,000 a week paycheck has become a talking point even as 1000 employees are reported to be facing pink slips after the merger.

Tell me more: Mayer took over the reins of Yahoo with much fanfare, and according to several observers, didn’t live up to the expectations (except those of the shareholders). Two big privacy breaches took place during her tenure.

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News in Numbers, Oct 20, 2016: Safety PIN…

In the recent days, some banks have been sending out instructions to some of their customers asking them to change their personal identification number (PIN) or even blocking some debit cards to issue replacements. There have been disturbing news reports that talk about certain debit cards having been compromised with. With more and more Indians (though 78% of all consumer payments were made by cash last year) opting to go for digital modes of payment (what with the rapid growth in the usage of smartphones), nearly $500 billion worth of transactions in the country would happen digitally by 2020 (that is, 10 times the current levels), as per a report. In a bid to become cashless, we shouldn’t forget that there need to be robust systems to prevent such breaches and ensure protection to consumers from possible digital frauds.

Here are a couple of articles that talk about how to deal with online bank and ATM card frauds.

 

32 lakh

What is it? The number of debit cards that are reportedly compromised (unauthorised access to financial details of the card enabling stealing of funds).

Why is it important? It could turn out to be one of the biggest financial breaches in Indian banking history. The worst-hit banks are said to be: the State Bank of India (SBI), HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and Yes Bank. Of the total, 26 lakh are reportedly on the Visa and Mastercard platforms with the rest on RuPay. The Reserve Bank of India is said to have asked banks to replace debit cards whose security is suspected to have been compromised and this number is put at 17.5 lakh, according to another report.

Tell me more: SBI, India’s largest lender, has blocked the debit cards of 6 lakh customers and started the process of replacing them. As of July 2016, the total debit card base in India was 69.7 crore.

 

3

What is it? The number of hospitals in Odisha that have fire safety clearance, of the total of 568.

Why is it important? Highlights the blatant violation of fire safety norms by the healthcare system in Odisha and the need for better enforcement of rules by the authorities. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which brought out this fact, has issued a noticeto the state government after a fire accident killed 21 people at Sum Hospital in Bhubaneshwar on Monday evening. The Union Health Minister JP Nadda has said new guidelines will be issued to all states to ensure hospitals are fire-compliant.

Tell me more: The NHRC has called on the government to file a report in six weeks, asking it to mention the measures it has taken or proposes to take to prevent such mishaps in the future and also, the relief and rehabilitation given to the relatives of those who died or were injured in the accident.

 

4

What is it? The number of serotypes or strains of dengue virus that can be potentially targeted by a vaccine candidate, which is under development by the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in collaboration with Sun Pharma.

Why is it important? This is reportedly the first indigenous dengue vaccine candidate to be developed that could provide protection against all the four strains of the virus. Currently, there is no vaccine (except for one) or any particular medicine to treat dengue, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). As many as 51,731 cases of dengue and 93 dengue-related deaths have been reported in India so far this year. However, this potential vaccine has passed only the pre-clinical stages and it could take some time before it hits the markets.

Tell me more: The WHO approved the world’s first vaccine for dengue fever called Dengvaxia developed by Sanofi Pasteur in April this year though a high-level (Indian) government committee held back approvals citing the need for additional clinical trial data.

 

35 million

What is it? The number of smartphones shipped during the July-September quarter, according to Counterpoint Research.

Why is it important? This is a new record for the Indian market – smartphone shipments grew 25% on a year-on-year basis and 21% sequentially. Interestingly, Chinese vendors such as Lenovo, Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo now command nearly a third of the Indian smartphone market (32%, up from 27% in the previous quarter), eating into the market share of top players such as Samsung, Micromax and Intex. Though Samsung and Micromax are still the top two players (in that order), their market share fell to 21.6% (from 25.6% in the June quarter) and 9.8% (from 14.1%) in the September quarter respectively.

Tell me more: Lenovo regained the third position while Reliance Industries’ smartphone brand Lyf moved up a position to become the fourth largest brand. Intex slipped from the third position to the fifth.

 

150

What is it? The number of entities that have been banned by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) after getting the authority to regulate collective investment schemes (CIS) in 2013.

Why is it important? Though the market regulator had asked these firms to discontinue their schemes, repay investors in three months and file a winding-up report, none of them have done so. Highlights the difficulty in regulating such entities and the need for a better mechanism to refund investors who’ve fallen prey to Ponzi schemes. For instance, PACL Ltd, which owes Rs 49,100 crore to 5.8 crore investors, has not complied with the CIS rules and is yet to refund its investors.

Tell me more: SEBI has filed 567 prosecution cases against those collecting public money through illegal investment schemes, as on July 31.

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News in Numbers, May 25, 2016: Non-functional ATMs, world’s first 3D printed office…

3

What is it? The number of companies that have withdrawn from launching payments banks.

Why is it important? That is three out of 11 payment banks which got the RBI’s approval, and the withdrawal highlights some of its limitations: payments banks cannot lend, there are restrictions on deposit deployment, and, more importantly, might not find a strategic fit with a group’s other businesses. The companies which have said no to payment banks are: Cholamandalam Investment and Finance Co., Sun Pharma promoter Dilip Shanghvi and his partners (IDFC Bank and Telenor Financial Services) and Tech Mahindra.

Tell me more: Reliance Industries, Aditya Birla Nuvo, Vodafone and Airtel are among 11 companies that received in-principle approval from the central bank to set up payment banks last August.

 

10.7%

What is it? The pass percentage of Indian students with foreign medical degrees in the screening test that allows them to practice in India in 2015.

Why is it important? Indicates the urgent need to increase number of seats for medical courses in India and the lack of awareness among students about low standards of medical education in some colleges abroad. The pass percentage was 50.12% in 2005, which fell to an all-time low of 4.93% in 2014. With just 52,000 seats for MBBS courses and 25,577 post-graduate medical seats in India, students look to other countries such as China, Ukraine and Russia where medical courses are said to be cheaper.

Tell me more: The screening test called the Foreign Medical Graduates Examination is conducted by the Medical Council of India through the National Board of Examinations, where one needs at least 50% to pass.

 

33%

What is it? The percentage of automated teller machines (ATMs) that were found to be non-functional, of the 4,000 surveyed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently.

Why is it important? If this is a representative sample, then a whopping 65,000 ATMs (as per February data) in India are out of order. Highlights the high cost of maintaining ATMs where footfalls are low – a likely reason why the banks have failed to keep them in order.

Tell me more: RBI’s deputy governor SS Mundra has warned the banks of penal action for non-compliance of RBI rules with respect to ATMs.

 

6

What is it? The number of months by which e-commerce firm Flipkart has deferred the joining date of six Indian Institute of Management (IIM) graduates.

Why is it important? Flipkart has attributed this to corporate restructuring. It signals wider problems the company is facing. It is growing slower than expectations, in the wake of increased competition, especially from Amazon India. It has reportedly slashed its hiring and is cutting down on discounts and advertising.

Tell me more: Flipkart expanded its workforce at a rapid pace earlier: from 14,000 to 35,000 (at the end of December 2015) in 12-18 months.

 

17

What is it? The number of days it took to build a 3D-printed office in Dubai, in addition to two days to install it on site.

Why is it important? This is the world’s first functioning 3D-printed office, which cost about $140,000. The technique used to build this structure could cut down building time by 50-70% and labour costs by 50-80% and a quarter of the buildings in Dubai would be printed by 2030, according to a United Arab Emirates Minister. This could well signal the beginning of a revolutionary change the construction industry might undergo.

Tell me more: A 3D printer, which is 20-feet high, 120 feet long and 40-feet wide, was used to print the building with a floorspace of about 2,700 sq.ft. using a special mixture of cement and a set of building material (designed in the UAE and the US). It took 18 people to put up the structure – one to monitor the printer, seven to install the building components and 10 to handle the electrical and mechanical engineering aspects.

 

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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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