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Indians Are ‘Partly Free’ On The Internet

 

Indians are only partly free on the internet, and so are the 28% of the world’s internet users. A recent report pointed that share of non communicable diseases among all diseases has gone up. India’s trade deficit has shot up. Amazon is shoring up its war chest, Flipkart watch out!

 

55.4%

What is it? The share of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in India’s total disease burden in 2016, up from 30.5% in 1990, according to a report released by the government.

Why is it important? There has been a reversal in trend. In 1990, communicable, maternal, neonatal and nutritional diseases (CMNNDs) accounted for 60.9% of the disease burden; this is down to 32.7% in 2016. The transition from CMNNDs responsible for a majority of disability-adjusted life years (disease burden expressed as the number of years of life lost due to ill-health, disability or death) in 1990 to NCDs dominating in 2016 varies from state to state, highlighting the need for different policy approaches in each state.

Tell me more: Last year, three of the five leading individual causes of disease burden were NCDs-ischaemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and stroke. The main types of NCDs are cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, cancers and diabetes and they kill 40 million people globally, or 70% of all deaths.

 

$14 billion

What is it? India’s trade deficit—the difference between imports and exports—in October, compared to $9 billion in September and $11.1 billion a year ago.

Why is it important? This is the highest in 35 months as India’s merchandise exports declined for the first time in 13 months in October to $23.1 billion and imports expanded at the slowest pace in nine months to $37.1 billion last month. Exporters put up a poor show as their money was stuck in refunds under the goods and services tax regime. A nearly 28% increase in petroleum imports and higher crude oil prices also widened the trade deficit.

Tell me more: For the April-October period, exports increased 9.6% on a year-on-year basis to $170 billion and imports 22.2% to $256.4 billion.

 

41

What is it? India’s Internet Freedom Score out of a 100 with, according to a report by human rights group Freedom House. A score of 0 means most free and that of a 100 represents least free.

Why is it important? India falls under the category of ‘partly free’ in terms of Internet Freedom in 2017, and has showed no change since 2016. Between June 2016 and May 2017, India employed key Internet controls—that reflect restrictions in social, political and religious content—in five of the nine parameters studied. This included social media or communications apps blocked, political/social/religious content blocked, localised or nationwide ICT shutdown, blogger or ICT user arrested, imprisoned or in prolonged detention for political or social content, and blogger or ICT user physically attacked or killed (including custody).

Tell me more: Of the 65 countries assessed covering 87% of the world’s Internet users, only 23% come under the category of ‘free’, 28% ‘partly free’ and 36% ‘not free’. Nearly half the countries posted declines in the coverage period and only 13 made gains, that too minor.

 

$4.74 billion

What is it? The latest authorised capital—the limit for equity capital declared by a company—of Amazon India, up from $2.4 billion previously.

Why is it important? This gives Amazon more room to channel capital into its Indian operations, as and when it likes. In its fight against Flipkart for e-commerce supremacy in India, far from stepping back, Amazon is willing to raise the stakes even more in a market it has identified to be pivotal for it.

Tell me more: The Amazon move comes about three months after Flipkart added $1.4 billion to its own capital chest from new investor SoftBank.

 

141

What is it? The number of initial route proposals received by the government yesterday in the second round of the Udan regional connectivity scheme, which aims to make air travel affordable in less-serviced or unserviced routes, partly via a government subsidy.

Why is it important? In the first round of this scheme, the government cleared 128 routes in March, but only about 20 have become operational for a variety of reasons at both the airline and the airport end. How the second round, the routes for which will be allotted next month, plays out remains to be seen.

Tell me more: Airlines have been moving on their plans to add smaller aircraft to their fleet. IndiGo has placed an order for 50 ATRs and expects to launch its first regional flight in December.

 

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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.

 

78%

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.

 

31

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, Mar 07, 2017: Landing in a small town ✈

Rs 4,500 crore

What is it? The amount the government plans to spend on developing or upgrading 50 airports which were either underserved or unserved.

Why is it important? The government is going ahead with its plans to equip small regional airports/airstrips to ferry traffic, even as only 13 out of 125 airports under the Airports Authority of India’s (AAI) are profitable. Besides the funding for developing the new airports, the authorities will also spend further on incentivising flight operators with gap-funding. Fifteen more regional airports have to be upgraded besides the 50, according to AAI’s Regional Connectivity Scheme (named UDAN).

Tell me more: Fifteen airports will be refurbished in FY18 and FY19, and 20 more in FY20.

 

2 paise

What is it? The rate for one megabyte (MB) of data over WiFi at local public hotspots, as proposed by Trai, the telecom regulator.

Why is it important? This would help increase the demand and setting up of local public hotspots. With one-sixth of the world’s population, India’s share in WiFi hotspots is less than one-thousandth. By reducing the price of wireless Internet access from the existing 10 paise an MB in mobile telecom services, Trai is looking provide 800,000 additional hotspots to equal the global average of one hotspot for every 150 people.

Tell me more: Trai’s proposed local hotspots could be maintained by small entities, from small businesses, communities, individuals, to application providers. Local players’ involvement would also reduce the load on strained spectrum of established mobile operators.

 

$2.3 billion

What is it? The value of the sale of General Motors’ Opel/Vauxhall unit and its European financial arm to Peugeot-maker PSA Group.

Why is it important? It shows one of the largest car manufacturers in the world is changing lanes from a widespread but unprofitable presence to a less-global, but profitable one. A few years ago, the top three — Volkswagen, Toyota and GM — would eye the world-leader crown every year with units of cars sold. Selling its Europe unit would increase the gap between GM and the other two, but it would also free it of an arm that has incurred losses since 1999.

Tell me more: The Opel/Vauxhall brand contributed 11% of GM’s total revenue in 2016. After bankruptcy in 2009, GM’s home market in North America has done well.

 

Rs 259.8 per hour

What is it? The median gross hourly salary of women in India in 2016, according to the Monster Salary Index.

Why is it important? That is about 25% less than what men earned at Rs 345.8 per hour. While the gap has come down marginally compared to a year before, it highlights the ground that needs to be covered before India has fair and non-discriminatory workplace.

Tell me more: The gender gap is just one of the many indicators of gender inequality in the country. Infant mortality rate for female is higher, the expected years of schooling is lower, unemployment rates are higher, access to finance in terms of loans and deposits are lower.

 

$2.46 billion

What is it? Value of investments in Indian startups by private equity and venture capital firms in 2016, according to Grant Thornton.

Why is it important? This is down by about half from $4.97 billion in 2015, and indicates that investors are more cautious about the expectations of growth in the market. It also reflects the valuation markdowns that unicorns such as Flipkart faced in the recent months.

Tell me more: Overall investments by PE and VC investors dropped in 2016, with $14 billion invested across in 971 deals in 2016, from $16 billion invested in 1,045 deals a year before.

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News in Numbers, Jan 19, 2017: Regional routes take flight

45

 

What is it? Number of initial proposals for operating flights with fares capped at Rs 2,500 for an hour under the Airports Authority of India’s Regional Connectivity Scheme (named UDAN)

Why is it important? The bidders propose to operate from 65 airports, out of which 52 are not served by any airlines, boosting regional air connectivity. But operating on the 200 regional routeswould also mean low pre-mandated airfares, for example, a fare of Rs 2,500 for an hour’s journey of 500-km. Central and state governments will then help operators with viability gap funding, partly funded bythe Rs 8,500-levy on each departing flight on major routes.

Tell me more: The initial quotes are subject to counter quotes, with the lowest requirement for VGF winning the bid. Groundwork by the Ministry of Civil Aviation with AAI, State Governments, DGCA and Bureau of Civil Aviation Security have begun.

 

Rs 9.2 trillion

 

What is it? The value of new currency notes injected by the Reserve Bank of India to replace old banned notes.
Why is it important? Despite RBI pumping in nearly 60% of the amount removed (Rs 15.44 trillion) from circulation following demonetisation, there is no sight of the end to cash-withdrawal restrictions. RBI governor, Urjit Patel, facing a parliamentary panel on finance, did not elaborate on either the easing of the cash crunch or the amount of banned notes deposited.

Tell me more: Patel assured the panel that RBI would provide details of deposits of banned notes on a later date.

 

47.8%

 

What is it? The percentage of rural school students in class 5 who are able to read a book prescribed for class 2 learning.

Why is it important? The learning level in schools in rural India remains dismal as less than half of class 5 students can read books meant for three standards lower (class 2). The proportion has deteriorated from 2014’s 48% and 2010’s 53.7% of students, despite 97% enrollment in schools.

Tell me more: Class 5 students in private rural schools fared better with 62.9% of them above to read class 2 books, while only 41.6% from government schools made the cut in 2016. The findings are from the 11th Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), conducted in 589 districts, and previously published in 2014.

 

0.94 degree-Celsius

 

What is it? The above-normal deviation in average land and ocean temperature in the whole of 2016.

Why is it important? It establishes 2016 as the hottest year so far, a dire reminder of climate change that is plaguing the planet. Temperatures spiked to new national highs in India, Kuwait and Iran and Arctic ice melted faster than ever as a result of the global warming.

Tell me more: The year broke the record for the hottest ever, third year in a row since records were kept from 1880.

 

7.05 million

 

What is it? Netflix’s net subscriber addition in the fourth quarter of 2016 (ended December 31).

Why is it important? The robust growth in subscribers signal Netflix’s ambitious global expansion is bearing fruit, as Internet TV catches on. Nearly 73% (5.12 million) of the additions came from markets outside the US. Netflix which made a big-bang launch in 130 countries simultaneously in January, 2016, saw its shares rise up by 8 per cent after its results.

Tell me more: Competition is snapping at Netflix’s heels as Amazon.com unveils its Amazon Prime Video service worldwide.

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