News in Numbers, Mar 31, 2017: Seats of learning in darkness 💡😥🎓✏📚

Rs 2465.21 crore

What is it? The amount of equity infusion in Air India during financial year ending today.

Why is it important? This is 8% of the total equity of Rs 30,231 crore planned till 2021 by the government as part of Air India’s turnaround plan. Public money keeping the airlines afloat has been a bone of contention as Air India recently came under the Comptroller and Auditor General scanner, which accused it of understating losses as recently as 2014-15 (Rs 1,992.77 crore).

Tell me more: The government carrier has been getting government funds regularly and so far received nearly 82% of the proposed bailout.


300 million

What is it? The number of people living with depression worldwide.

Why is it important? The number has grown by over 18% between 2005 and 2015, but healthcare spends to combat depression is low. The World Health Organisation says global average is 3% of healthcare spends but low-income countries see only 1% of total spends. But high-income countries with 5% health expenditure do not necessarily fare better in treating depression, as nearly 50% go untreated in such countries.

Tell me more: Stigma and lack of support for people with mental disorders aggravate the loss of productivity and quality of life due to depression, one of the more prevalent mental afflictions.


1 GB a second

What is it? The speed of Internet through wired broadband services provided by ACT Fibernet in Hyderabad.

Why is it important? This puts Hyderabad in a club of a handful cities with such internet speed, which includes Seoul (South Korea), Hong Kong, Singapore, Kansas (US). Even though it is being seen as a large stride towards the Telangana government’s aim to connect its 23 million citizens to the Internet by 2018, the delivery mode might prove a hurdle. The enviable speed might be thwarted by the low adoption of wired delivery of broadband services. Of the 236 million broadband subscribers in December, 2016, wired connections accounted for around 7% (8% if fixed wireless was considered).

Tell me more: The Giga speed is expected to enable Internet downloads faster than transferring data from a USB drive.



What is it? The percentage of primary and upper primary schools in Odisha that doesn’t have power connectivity.

Why is it important? With temperature already touching 43 degrees Celsius in some parts of the state, the lack of electricity in 40,087 of the 51,094 primary and upper primary schools indicate serious lack of basic infrastructure for students. In 20 of the 30 districts in the state, each school have at least 1,000 students.

Tell me more: In another instance, 60% of the 2,739 schools in Vizianagaram district in Andhra Pradesh have no overhead tanks with running water facility.



What is it? The number of new cities that will have air connectivity via the government’s UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik or ‘Let the common man fly’) scheme. A total of 128 routes covering 71 cities were announced on Thursday.

Why is it important? This will bring more air passengers from smaller cities at affordable prices. Under UDAN, half the seats will be capped at Rs 2,500 for flight journeys that take up to an hour. Eighty per cent of the loss from this price ceiling will be funded by levying cess on non-regional routes, and rest by state governments.

Tell me more: Around 1.3 million new seats will be created from these 128 routes, with a subsidy bill of Rs 200 crore each year.

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News in Numbers, July 22, 2016: IT department cracks the whip, water in India’s reservoirs…

7 lakh

What is it? The number of letters Income Tax Department is to send seeking information on high value transactions where the permanent account numbers (PAN) were not disclosed.

Why is it important? Shows the government’s continued efforts in tracking down tax evaders and cracking its whip on the black money problem. In the last two years, the government has detected undisclosed income of Rs 43,829 crore, which is around 1.5% of the estimated black money in the country (according to a research firm).

Tell me more: In the letters, the parties are being sent a unique identification number which can be used to provide their PAN online without getting in touch with the tax authorities directly. They are being asked to confirm whether or not the transactions mentioned have been undertaken by them. The letters seek to get information about 14 lakh high-value transactions.


54.42 billion cubic metres

What is it? The water available in India’s 91 major reservoirs as of yesterday, according to Central Water Commission.

Why is it important? Though this is slightly less than the levels recorded at the same time last year, this is higher than the 10-year average of 52.05 billion cubic metres. The current data presents a picture of relief as nearly a month ago, water levels in the major reservoirs were less than half the present levels. Nearly 90% of India had received normal to excess rainfall between June and the first week of this month, which is likely to boost crop sowing prospects, after two successive years of drought.

Tell me more: As many as 35 reservoirs have water higher than last year’s levels while storage in 36 of them have water higher than the 10-year average levels.



What is it? The number of habitations in India that do not have safe drinking water.

Why is it important? Water in these areas are contaminated with fluoride, arsenic and heavy metals, which have adverse health effects and according to a 2013 report, 37.7 million Indians were estimated to be affected by water-borne diseases every year. Besides, there are 3 lakh rural habitations that have less than the prescribed norm of 40 litres per capita per day of safe drinking water, which is reportedly due to delay in the implementation of around 3,000 water schemes, some of which are 5-10 years old.

Tell me more: Rajasthan has the highest number of water-contaminated habitations (20,895) followed by Assam, Jharkhand and Bihar. The government has set a target of providing safe drinking water in 17 lakh habitations by 2022.



What is it? The number of months within which the government will act upon prosecution requests from private citizens, according to new rules being proposed by the Indian government.

Why is it important? If implemented, this would help improve accountability and speed by those in power – and this is the first time such rules are being proposed by the government. It says it has been receiving requests from private citizens seeking sanction for prosecuting IAS officers but those are without any proper proposal or supporting documents.

Tell me more: The government has sent a circular detailing the proposed guidelines to all states and central ministries seeking their comments. The proposed rules state that an officer would be given a chance to explain his side of the story or defend himself in case prima facie evidence is found against him by the state or central government. Upon the receipt of the complaint, it would be sent to the department where the officer is posted and a report would be sought by the Department of Personnel and Training. Upon receiving the report, the central government will dispose off the complaint within three months.



What is it? The number of people who have been made to plant saplings for traffic violations in Mahbubnagar district in Telangana in nearly three weeks.

Why is it important? The aim is to reduce the number of accidents in the district, which has 150 accident-prone zones, and to help the Telangana government’s initiative to increase its green cover to 33% of the state’s total geographical area from the current 24%. The plantation of saplings is over and above the fines and punishment the violators would face.

Tell me more: The police in Mahbubnagar district is aiming to plant a million saplings in police stations, residential quarters, office buildings and the district police office complex.

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News in numbers, Nov 25, 2015: Drought-hit Indian states, advance pricing agreements…


What is it? Number of states that have declared drought so far. Telangana is the latest to to so with parts of the state in drought because of successive monsoon deficits. Ten districts covering 231 sub-districts are declared as drought affected.

Why is it important? Distress in agriculture will affect rural demand and has potential to fuel inflation in a few items like oilseeds because of lower output.

Tell me more: Rural India has 90.2 million agricultural households, and 63% of them depend on agriculture as main source of income.

Rs 3,310 crore

What is it? Amount paid by Idea Cellular, India’s third largest mobile operator, to buy airwaves in two circles from Videocon Telecommunications.

Why is it important? This is the first trading after government allowed telecom companies to sell the spectrum they hold. The price paid by Idea is nearly twice of what Videocon valued it in March 2015, and it will help Idea offer 4G services in Gujarat and Western Uttar Pradesh.

Tell me more: With Reliance Industries planning to launch its 4G services next fiscal, existing players are sprucing their high-speed offering. Airtel, the market leader, is launching 4G services in 296 cities and towns.     


What is it? The number of advance pricing agreements (APA) signed by Indian tax authorities with multinational companies. An APA covers future intercompany transactions belonging to the same group (let’s say, Accenture India provides service to Accenture UK) but located in different countries. It would specify the profit margins on top of cost, so that tax can be levied.    

Why is it important? APA helps in reducing tax disputes especially in cases of related party transactions as there is certainty on how tax authorities will treat the transaction. In fiscal 2015, tax authorities disputed more than 50% of international related party transactions involving upward revision of taxable income of Rs 46,465 crore.    

Tell me more: Ever since APA was introduced in August 2012, Finance Ministry has received 329 applications till December 2014 and it had now signed 31 APAs.

Rs 2,265 crore

What is it? Amount paid by Japan-based Nippon Life Insurance Co to raise its stake in Reliance Life Insurance from 26% to 49%, the maximum allowed now.

Why is it important? This is the first deal in the life insurance segment after government increased foreign investment limit to 49% this year. Cash from sale could help Anil Ambani-controlled Reliance Capital to invest in other businesses or reduce debt.

Tell me more: On Monday, UK-based Bupa Plc acquired additional 23% in the medical insurance joint venture, Max Bupa Health Insurance Co Ltd, for Rs 191 crore, valuing the company at Rs 830 crore.

Rs 5,828 crore

What is it? The value of construction contract bagged by state-run National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) to build 3,000 flats for the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi.

Why is it important? Apart from providing residential accommodation for doctors and nurses working in India’s apex hospital, the project also entails selling 10% of area so as to make it commercially viable.

Tell me more: Already NBCC is redeveloping 86 acres of government land just across the road from AIIMS. Even here residential accommodation is mixed with commercial space.

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