News in Numbers, Nov 30, 2016: Security breach…


What is it? The number of Indian Army personnel killed in a terrorist attack in Nagrota near Jammu on Tuesday.

Why is it important? This is the biggest attack on an Indian Army unit since the attack in Uri when 17 army men were killed on September 18. Heavily-armed terrorists stormed into an army unit and their attempt to create a hostage-like situation was foiled by the Indian army – 16 people were rescued. Three terrorists were killed in this incident. This raises questions as to how the terrorists managed to travel to Nagrota, if the security measures taken by India are adequate and how effective surgical strikes carried out by India in late September have been in deterring militant groups operating from across the border.

Tell me more: In another strike, terrorists attacked a Border Security Force patrol at Chamliyal (Samba district) where four army personnel were injured. Again, three terrorists were gunned down here.


$5.54 billion

What is it? Flipkart’s valuation, according to a mutual fund managed by Morgan Stanley, one of the e-commerce firm’s investors.

Why is it important? Morgan Stanley has slashed down the value of its shares by about 38.2% to $52.13 a share from $84.29 a share in the June quarter. The e-commerce firm’s valuation is down from $9 billionin the June quarter and is about a third of its valuation ($15 billion) when it last raised funds in July 2015. This is the fourth time the investor has marked down the value of its shares in the last nine months and comes at a time when Flipkart is looking to raise funds (reportedly, about $500 million to $1 billion) by the end of the year to compete with cash-rich Amazon in India.

Tell me more: Two other investors Valic and Fidelity marked down the value of their shares in Flipkart earlier this month by 11.3% and 3.2% respectively for the quarter ended August. Meanwhile, Flipkart Internet’s vice-president and private label head Mausam Bhatt and senior vice-president of engineering Peeyush Ranjan have quit the company. At least seven Flipkart employees (at the level of senior vice-president) have left the company this year.



What is it? The number of seats the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won out of a total of 123 in local bodies elections in different parts of Gujarat.

Why is it important? This comes about a year ahead of the state elections in Gujarat and at a time when people seem to be polarised on the issue of demonetisation. This was by gaining 40 seats from the Congress, which managed to bag just 17 seats. The victory follows BJP winning 851 of 3,705 seats across 147 municipal councils and 17 panchayats in Maharashtra. The party’s candidates also won in 52 councils in the state. BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi attributed the victories to people supporting its demonetisation move.

Tell me more: Five states – Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur and Goa – are due for elections early next year and it remains to be seen how BJP fares in these polls.


$58 billion

What is it? Loss to India’s economy due to road accidents every year, according to a study by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

Why is it important? This translates to about 3% of India’s gross domestic product (GDP) annually. It follows Japan ($63 billion) in value terms among 19 countries covered by the study in the Asia Pacific region while in terms of percentage to GDP, it comes behind Iran (6%). Last year saw the greatest increase in the number of accidents in five years. On an average, 55 accidents were recorded per hour killing 15 people (or one death every four minutes). The top 13 states account for 86.7% of all road accidents in India.

Tell me more: In the Asia Pacific region, 15,000 lives are lost due to road accidents per week (or one person every 40 seconds) and the loss to the GDP of these countries is $293,568 million annually.


Rs 18,110 crore

What is it? The potential additional costs Indian banks would have to bear annually due to the central bank’s introduction of incremental cash reserve ratio (CRR) of 100% on all deposits between September 16 and November 11, according to CARE Ratings.

Why is it important? This means despite a surge in deposits following the government’s demonetisation move, banks would not be able to earn on them either by lending or investing in government securities and instead, would have to bear additional costs. This is likely to hurt the finances of banks, which are already reeling under increasing bad loans. Before the CRR move, there were hopes that banks would cut lending rates after they reduced the deposit rates but now, there is uncertainty as to what would follow. It remains to be seen if there is a cut in interest rates in the next monetary policy review on December 9.

Tell me more: The incremental deposits with the banks during the period mentioned above were around Rs 3.24 lakh crore and CARE Ratings estimates the banks’ potential earnings to have increased by around Rs 25,205 crore (from lending and investments in government-securities). The difference between earnings from these incremental deposits and costs incurred would have been around Rs 7,100 crore.

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News in Numbers, Sep 30, 2016: How to become a self-driving car engineer


What is it? The number of terrorist launch pads attacked by the Indian Army in surgical strikes across the Line of Control (LoC) Wednesday night. A surgical strike is a military attack that is intended to inflict damage on a specific target with minimum collateral damage to the surrounding areas.

Why is it important? Indian army acted upon information that terrorist teams had positioned themselves at launch pads along the LoC to infiltrate and carry out terrorist strikes in Jammu and Kashmir, according to the Director General of Military Operations. 38 terrorists were killed. Indian Army didn’t suffer any casualties. This comes nearly 10 days after 18 Indian jawans were killed in a terror strike in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir.

Tell me more: The operation, which used a combination of heliborne and ground forces and took place 2-3 km away from the LoC, were carried out Wednesday night. While Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the attack, the Pakistani Army has said there were no surgical attacks by India and that only cross-border fire had been initiated.



What is it? India’s unemployment rate in 2015-16 under the usual principal status approach (counts a person as employed if they spent more time within the labour force than out of it or seeking employment), according to a report by Labour Bureau.

Why is it important? This is the highest in five years. The unemployment rate for women was more than double than that for men: 8.7% (women) and 4.3% (men). This was worse in urban areas: unemployment rate for women was estimated to be 12.1% compared to 3.3% for men. For transgenders in urban areas, this rate was 10.3%. One of the main priorities of the NDA government is that of creating jobs. The number of jobs created in eight core sectors in 2015 was down by over two-thirds when compared to that in 2013.

Tell me more: About 77% of the households were said to have no regular wage or salaried person at the all-India level, as per the fifth employment-unemployment survey.


3 lakh

What is it? The number of train berths that go unutilised every year.

Why is it important? Indian Railways is addressing it. It has introduced the facility to transfer vacant berths (after the second chart is prepared at the train-originating station) to the subsequent stations where they may be waitlisted passengers. This would help those boarding at roadside stations (smaller intermediate stations on a route) to get confirmed berths.

Tell me more: The TTEs would be able to provide vacant berths after the train departure up to the next station only (where quota is available) and if nobody boards the train at the next station, this can be extended to the next quota station. This would help better utilisation of available berths at the time of departure and also, minimise the TTE’s discretion in berth allotments.



What is it? The number of cars that Uber is reportedly planning to buy and lease to its drivers over the next two years through its leasing unit, Xchange Leasing.

Why is it important? It will be one of the largest purchase by a single buyer in India. It will help Uber expand its driver pool even as it faces stiff competition from Ola. Ola already has a similar leasing arrangement for its drivers.

Tell me more: Uber has said the programme will help drivers who have been rejected by other lenders. However, the company has been criticized for looting its drivers through this arrangement, because of its terms and conditions.



What is it? The number of applicants for Udacity’s nine month Self-driving car engineer nanodegree program.

Why is it important? While online courses tend to get a lot of applications, in this case the available slots are just 250, and it costs $2,400. The high number of applications underscores the heavy demand for talent. Sebastian Thrun, who is often referred to as father of self driving cars, recently said there was a dearth of self driving car talent and it is valued at $10 million. Average salary for engineers is $138,000, according to

Tell me more: The first batch begins in October. For the second batch starting November, Udacity has increased the class strength to 1000. 126 people have applied so far.

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News in Numbers, Sep 19, 2016: Uri attack, value of self-driving talent…


What is it? The number of Indian soldiers killed in a militant attack in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday. Around 30 were injured.

Why is it important? It is said to be the worst attack on the Indian army in a decade by ‘fidayeen’ (belonging to a suicide squad) militants. There is usually heavy military presence in and around Uri, which a few kilometres away from the Line of Control. India suspects the hand of Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed behind the attack.

Tell me more: Four militants attacked the rear office of an Indian Army infantry installation early in the morning yesterday when there was a change in command (one unit was replacing another one). They threw grenades and fired randomly. All four have been killed.


$1.04 billion

What is it? The cost of a 588 km road construction and upgradation project that will link India to Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.

Why is it important? This is expected to help increase intra-regional trade within South Asia by 60%. This could also boost the Motor Vehicles Agreement signed by the four countries last year that looks to increase passenger and goods movement across borders. South Asia has a trade potential of $80 billion compared to the current $28 billion and its constrained by a lack of connectivity, according to experts.

Tell me more: The Asian Development Bank will fund 50% of the project cost and the initiative would cover West Bengal and Manipur on the Indian side.



What is it? India’s share of global maternal deaths in 2015, according to a report in UK medical journal Lancet. There were 45,000 maternal deaths in India last year.

Why is it important? Globally, maternal deaths per 100,000 live births decreased by 44% (from 385 to 216) between 1990 and 2015. India is one of the 5% of countries that accounted for over half of such deaths.

Tell me more:  India’s maternal mortality ratio was 174 per 100,000 live births in 2015 (from 215 per 100,000 live births in 2010). It was supposed to decrease it to 109 per 100,000 live births by last year, as per the United Nations Development Programme’s Millennium Development Goals.



What is it? The number of government subsidy schemes in which cash will be directly transferred to beneficiaries’ accounts.

Why is it important? It is expected to plug the leakages, and ensure the intended benefits reaches the target population in full. The expansion of schemes under direct benefit of transfer comes after government saw huge savings in cooking gas subsidies, even though some argue that limitations of technology leaves out a good number of the poor.

Tell me more: The government already has pilots for food, kerosene and fertiliser subsidies, and uses direct cash transfers in 74 schemes of 17 departments and ministries. It wants to increase this to 147 by March 2017.


$10 million per person

What is it? Value of self-driving talent, according to Stanford University professor and former Google engineer Sebastian Thrun.

Why is it important? Thrun, who is often referred to as father of self driving cars in Silicon valley, arrived at this number from acquisitions in the sector, which were mainly for talent. Uber, for example bought six month old startup Otto for $700 million. It employed 70 people. While the exact number can be debated, this reflects the intensity of competition among companies to win the self-driving vehicles race. 33 companies are working on autonomous vehicles, and the talent is scarce.

Tell me more: Last week Uber launched self driving cars in Pittsburg. More recently, the CEO of its rival Lyft said a majority of rides in five years will be on self driving cars.

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News in Numbers, June 9, 2016: The cost of peace, better weather forecasting system soon…

$679.8 billion (Rs 45.3 trillion)

What is it? Estimated spend by India to contain violence in 2015. It’s 9% of India’s GDP (gross domestic product) on a purchasing power parity basis, according to a study.

Why is it important? In 2014, it was 4.7% of India’s GDP, resulting in the decrease in its overall peace score. Though its ranking improved by two spots to 141 of 163 countries, the report suggests India has a long way to go to be as peaceful as Iceland, Denmark and Austria (the top three ranking nations on the peace index).

Tell me more: The index is calculated based on three broad metrics: the level of safety and security in society, the extent of domestic or international conflict, and the degree of militarisation. Global peace declined in 2015 and the economic impact of violence was $13.6 trillion in terms of purchasing power parity basis – approximately, 11 times the size of global foreign direct investment.


$60 million

What is it? The amount India’s meteorology office is spending on a new supercomputer to improve India’s forecasting of the monsoon.

Why is it important? The system would be 10 times faster than the current one – and make better weather predictions. This in turn would help farmers in choosing when to sow, irrigate and apply fertilisers and ultimately improve farm output by around 15%. Improved weather monitoring would also help the central and state governments in taking action during delayed or less rains.

Tell me more: Around two-thirds of India’s population depend on agriculture as their main source of income, which in turn, is heavily reliant on the rains. Annual monsoon rains hit the Kerala coast on Wednesday, easing concerns after two years of successive droughts in the country.



What is it? The number of locations (of a total of six) at which dummy terrorists reportedly managed to ‘infiltrate’ Mumbai during ‘Operation Sagar Kavach’, a mock exercise to test Indian forces’ preparedness against terror attacks from the sea.

Why is it important? Highlights the difficulties of keeping India secure, and might send the message that people in general should be more alert to the danger. The biannual exercise was started after the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks where terrorists entered the city through the sea and killed 164 people and wounded 308.

Tell me more: The Indian Coastal Guard personnel reportedly posed as terrorists and they were to transport boxes containing ‘explosives’ and ‘arms’ into Mumbai without being noticed by the coastal wing of the Mumbai police. However, five of the six Coast Guard officials managed to dodge the coastal police.



What is it? The number of people in India who manage to get a kidney transplant, of the 1-2 lakh people who need it every year.

Why is it important? India is one of top kidney exporters in South Asia, the leading transplant tourism hub globally, according to the World Health Organization. About 2,000 Indians are estimated to be selling their kidneys every year, many of them exported.

Tell me more:  The recent arrest of the suspected leader of an illegal kidney trading gang in one of India’s leading private hospitals (Apollo Hospitals) in Delhi brought to the fore the practices of the lucrative black market trade in the country. The hospital has claimed it was cheated by fake identification papers that passed off the victims as the relatives of the organ recipients. Eight people, including five of the hospital employees, have been arrested in this case.

Rs 10 crore

What is it? The penalty that the telecom regulator wants to impose on mobile operators besides a jail term of up to two years for their executives for any violation of regulations.

Why is it important? This comes after the Supreme Court quashed an order by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) that had asked operators to compensate subscribers for call drops (Re 1 for every call dropped with a cap of Rs 3 per day). The regulator says this would give it greater powers in protecting consumers’ interests, grievance redressal and better enforcement of its rules.

Tell me more: In case the violation continues, TRAI has asked for the provision to impose an additional fine of up to Rs 15 lakh per day till the default continues. Currently, the regulator can impose a fine of up to Rs 2 lakh for a violation.

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