When blood is wasted

600,000 litre

What is it? The volume of blood and its various components, in 2.8 million units, discarded by blood banks across India in the last five years.

Why is it important? In 2015-16, the shortage in blood requirement was 10% at a national level, with some states facing acute shortage and others flush with excess supply through blood camps. The wastage, revealed in an RTI query, 24% of which occurred in 2016-17, points to the severe lack of a safe blood sharing network among banks, hospitals across states. Experts also fault indiscriminate blood donation camps, organised by politicians, which end up collecting blood that has no place to be stored and used fruitfully.

Tell me more: Maharashtra, UP, West Bengal, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh saw high wastage of various components such as plasma (long shelf-life), red blood cells and whole blood.

 

Rs 10,000 crore

What is it? The estimated advertising revenue the Indian Railways plan to earn from 200,000 giant digital screens.

Why is it important? It will boost advertising income, part of non-fare revenues, for IR. The screens alone could then fetch 67% of the estimated revenue of Rs 15,000 crore in non-fare revenue in the next 10 years as set in January. The screens would also display real-time passenger information. The railway display network would first be installed in 400 A category stations.

Tell me more: Non-fare revenue accounted for 6.17% of IR’s total revenue in FY17, and grew from Rs 5,928 crore in FY16 to Rs 10,181 crore FY17.

 

30%

What is it? The percentage of cars in India Volkswagen has been able to correct, after recalling them as they had the defeat device installed along with the EA 189 diesel engine series.

Why is it important? The auto manufacturer admits to a delay in upgrading the recalled vehicles, spanning VW, Audi, and Skoda brands. It had started the recall of 340,000 cars in July 2016 through 2017. This is part of the larger global scandal which beleaguered 11 million of Volkswagen’s cars across the US, Europe and other markets. India’s vehicle testing agency, Arai, found the Indian cars were equipped with a derivative of the defeat device plaguing the EA 189 diesel engines, to pass emission tests.

Tell me more: So far, Volkswagen India has received approval for engine updates for 70% of the recalled vehicles, and says the delay is due to the different makes of cars involved.

 

4.2%

What is it? The boost to real GDP of India, if the aggregate weighted GST (goods and services tax) works out to 16%.

Why is it important? The estimate, by the US Federal Reserve, is based on the assumption that the GST aggregate will work out to be 16%, goods and services are allocated to the four tiers of taxes —  5%, 12%, 18%, and 28% — in a certain way. Lower taxes on manufactured goods would make products cheaper and also help reach the aggregate taxation. An alternate estimate of aggregate weighted GST rate of 20% would provide a boost of 3.1%.

Tell me more: Meanwhile, India’s Niti Aayog estimates GDP to be Rs 469 lakh-crore by 2030.

 

21.4%

What is it? The percentage of vote won by the far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the first round of French presidential elections, with 97% reporting

Why is it important? In the run-off, to be held on May 7th, Le Pen will be facing the centrist Emmanuel Macron of En Marche!, who outpaced her in the first round with 23.9% vote share. For the first time in France’s history, neither of the two mainstream parties in France — Socialists represented by Benoît Hamon and the Republicans represented by François Fillon — made it to the finals. If Le Pen wins, it could mean France taking a nationalist route, away from European Union and Euro.

Tell me more: Macron, a former banker, served as economy minister in Hollande administration till he resigned in 2016 to fight this election. He is 39, and has never fought an election before. Le Pen has been leading her party, FN since 2011, and has increasingly grown stronger, a rise similar to US President Donald Trump.

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How did Volkswagen fare a month after the emissions cheating scandal?

This piece originally appeared on Livemint.com

 

Despite confessing to cheating on emissions, German auto maker Volkswagen AG was not totally deserted by buyers in October, the first full month after the scandal erupted, although it missed out on the brisk growth its rivals registered. A look at the numbers.

Cars sold

Volkswagen saw an annual drop of 5.3% in global car sales in October. But it has seen worse in the middle of this year.

 

w-Volkswagen-1

 

Cars sold by region

South America is the only region where Volkswagen is facing serious growth issues. To be sure, that was the case even before the emissions scam, and it derives only 8.3% of its sales from there. In its two main markets of Europe and Asia Pacific, October has not been a washout.

w-Volkswagen-2

 

Cars sold in US

Sales in the US, the epicentre of the emissions scandal, weren’t too bad either. Volkswagen handed out $1,000 gift cards and vouchers to buyers of diesel cars. That said, its flat growth in October needs to be seen in context of the US market, where rivals General Motors and Toyota registered brisk expansion.

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Cars sold in US by models

In the US, 80% of Volkswagen’s sales are accounted by the Jetta, the Passat and the Polo. The Jetta saw a sharp fall in October, while the Passat and the Golf registered growth. But the Golf’s growth in October, while in double digits, was the lowest in 2015.

w-Volkswagen-4

 

Cars sold in India

In India, Volkswagen has been trying hard to break in. It now faces challenges as it revealed that 314,000 cars sold in the country had engines that are at the heart of the emissions scandal. It took another hit in September when it stopped the sale of and recalled its Polo cars for a faulty handbrake. In a season of growth for car makers, Volkswagen went into negative territory in October.

 

 

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News in numbers, Nov 5, 2015: All-time low solar tariff, human trafficking from Nepal to India…

Rs 4.63

What is it? Price at which US-based SunEdison will sell solar power per kilowatt-hour in India.

Why is it important? This is an all-time low solar tariff in India and gives a boost to the Indian government’s ambitious target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022. Of this, 100 GW would be comprised of solar energy. India’s solar generation capacity is 2,900 MW now. This would also help India’s plans of providing solar power at Rs 4.75 per unit to state electricity boards, which are struggling with mounting debts and losses and reluctant to buy power.

Tell me more: SunEdison won the auction for a 500 megawatt project in Andhra Pradesh. The previous low tariff was Rs 5.05 per kilowatt-hour for Canadian company SkyPower’s project in Madhya Pradesh.

 

5 to 9

What is it? Multiple by which nitrogen oxide emissions were higher in a sample of 11 vehicles manufactured by Volkswagen Group in India – compared to levels tested during the approval stage, according to the Automotive Research Association of India.

Why is it important? Indicates that despite tough laws, some companies are able to get through the approval process without playing by the rule book. It remains to be seen if it’s a one-off or an industry-wide phenomenon. For VW, it is more bad news as its emission scandal gets murkier. According to the ARAI, VW India has informed them that 314,000 cars (across Volkswagen, Skoda and Audi models) have been fitted with engines from the E 189 diesel engine family, which have been used to fool emission tests in the US and Europe.

Tell me more: The Indian government has issued a show cause notice to VW asking it to explain its position on these findings and disclose if it has used an emission defeat device in India. The company has confirmed that it has received the show cause notice from the government-owned agency, Automotive Research Association of India, and would respond to it by the end of this month.

 

25%

What is it? Share of devices connected on mobile networks in India that are 3G-enabled, according to a survey by Nokia Networks.

Why is it important? Of this, only 45% are used for 3G services – pointing to an opportunity for telecom companies to tap into. The survey shows that of the sample size of 650 million subscribers, just 2.3% have 4G-enabled devices. Given the likelihood of prices of 4G devices coming down in the near future, there is a possibility of 4G overtaking 3G in terms of subscription, Nokia Networks said.

Tell me more: Mumbai, Delhi, Kerala, Punjab and Kolkata are the top five cities in terms of 3G device penetration. 

 

500%

What is it? The percentage increase in human trafficking from Nepal to India in 2015 (with two months to spare) compared to 2014.

Why is it important? The human trafficking from Nepal has seen a threefold increase after a massive earthquake devastated large parts of the country this April. Shows the levels of poverty that people have been subjected to, after the quake and their desperation to escape it all.  

Tell me more: Till this September, the Sahastra Seema Bal, one of India’s Central Armed Police Forces, has rescued 206 victims, of which 159 were rescued after the quake. In 2014, 33 victims were rescued.

 

€2 billion (over Rs 14,000 crore)

What is it? France’s committed investment for India’s Smart Cities Mission.

Why is it important? Despite the various challenges that the Indian economy faces, particularly the infrastructure sector, this indicates international interest in India’s long term growth story. But, there are serious concerns about how such ambitious urban projects would get funded.

Tell me more: The Western European nation is also investing 200 million (over Rs 1,400 crore) for the extension of the Bangalore metro network.

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