News in numbers, Apr 28, 2016: Pollution in tier-II cities, record wind energy capacity addition…

41

What is it? The number of tier-II cities that exceed the ambient air quality standard, according to the government.

Why is it important? This is contrary to the popular perception that only the big cities or the tier-I cities are polluted in terms of air or water. The Indian government will spend over Rs 550 crore over five years to bring down pollution levels in these tier-II cities, which include Rishikesh (Uttarakhand), Tezpur (Assam), Vapi (Gujarat), Sangrur (Punjab) and Angul (Odisha).

Tell me more: Water pollution in these cities is caused due to discharges of untreated water. Cumulative sewage generation in these tier-II cities has been estimated to be 2,696.7 million litres per day but their treatment capacity is less than 10%.

56%

What is it? Apple’s iPhone year-on-year sales growth in India in the three months ended March 2016.

Why is it important? Apple is looking to emerging markets such as India to boost its sales, even as it posted its first quarterly revenue decline in 13 years. A government panel recommendation to waive 30% sourcing norm (required for foreign owned single-brand retailers) for Apple would further help its sales in India. The recommendation is pending finance minister’s approval.

Tell me more: Currently, Apple sells its products through distributors such as Redington and Ingram Micro. Reportedly, this waiver may bring prices of Apple products down in India. The panel has recommended the waiver because of the cutting-edge technology Apple would bring to the country, a conditional clause present in the government policy. Two Chinese mobile companies – LeEco and Xiaomi – have also asked for the waiver of the 30% sourcing norm.

3,460 MW

What is it? The wind energy capacity addition in India in 2015-16.

Why is it important? This is the highest ever annual capacity addition, surpassing the previous high of 3,197 MW added in 2011-12. It has also exceeded its target of 2,400 MW by 44.2%. However, India needs to step up its pace of wind energy addition if it has to meet its target of 60,000 MW by 2022. The country’s cumulative wind energy capacity, the primary source of renewable energy, was 26,904.16 MW at the end of 2015-16.

Tell me more: Madhya Pradesh accounted for over 37% of wind energy capacity addition in the last financial year followed by Rajasthan (nearly 20%), Gujarat (over 11%) and Andhra Pradesh (10.5%). The data is by the Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers’ Association, which expects an increase in capacity addition by 4,000 MW in in 2016-17.

17 million

What is it? The number of former and current government officials Maruti Suzuki is all set to target for selling its automobiles.

Why is it important? These government employees would soon be the recipients of the Seventh Pay Commission payout – and consumer businesses such as Maruti are hoping to get a boost from their shopping. Maruti itself hopes to get nearly a fifth of its sales over the next 2-3 years from them. In 2015-16, government employees accounted for 16% of the 1.3 million cars the company sold in India.

Tell me more: Maruti Suzuki launched the ‘Wheels of India’ programme in 2006 specifically aimed at government employees, to whom it has sold 1.5 million cars so far. The new database prepared has 4.7 million central government employees, 7 million state government officials and 5.2 million pensioners.

21 lakh

What is it? The number of farmers in 26,670 drought-hit villages in Maharashtra whose crop loans would be restructured.

Why is it important? This would extend the loan repayment duration for farmers by 1-5 years and also, enable them to apply for fresh loans for the sowing season beginning June. The loans total Rs 8,503 crore (includes last year’s crop loans and 2014 kharif sowing season). Maharashtra is one of the worst drought-hit states in the country and accounted for half of the farmer suicides recorded so far this year. As many as 20,504 farmers have ended their lives in the state since 2001.

Tell me more: The government also plans to seek the central bank’s help in restructuring loans worth Rs 2,438 crore taken by 4.4 lakh farmers from drought-affected villages in 2012-13 and 2013-14.

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