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 18, 2017: Stirring the ready-to-cook pot

$25 million

What is it? The cost of 25% stake in a ready-to-cook food company, ID Fresh Foods, paid by Premji Invest, the investment firm of Wipro-owner Azim Premji.

Why is it important? With the increase in nuclear and double-income families, demand for ready-to-cook products is expected to grow faster and this has attracted investors wanting to tap this market. ID Fresh Foods had secured investment from Helion Ventures two years ago. Premji’s investment values it at $100 million. This would be Premji Invest’s fifteenth largest investment.

Tell me more: Premji Invest manages assets over $2 billion across 50 companies and has invested in companies such as Amagi Media Labs (over $500 million) and Lenskart ($115 million). ID Fresh Foods was started by IIM-Bangalore-alumnus PC Musthafa in 2006.

2

What is it? The number of Indian Police Service (IPS) officers compulsorily retired by the home ministry after a performance review.

Why is it important? It is a rare instance of performance-related rap for bureaucrats, the first removal in the last 10-15 years of IPS officers. The state cadres removed them for poor performance based on their service records, complaints and senior reviews.

Tell me more: Rule 16(3) of the All India Services (Death-cum-Retirement) Benefits Rules, 1958 provides for a service review, in consultation with the state government, of All India Services officers completing 15 and 25 years of service or attaining 50 years of age. Centre may also ask for such a review irrespective of the service years.
4 months

What is it? Remaining prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, after the rest of it was commuted by US President Barack Obama. Manning is a US army intelligence expert convicted of leaking America’s diplomatic and military activities in 2010.

Why is it important? The commutation marks a reversal of President Obama’s policy of actively pursuing criminal prosecution of people involved in leaking government secrets. With three days left in his presidency, Obama also pardoned 63 and commuted sentences of 208 prisoners, mostly drug offenders. Chelsea, who has spent seven years in jail, was originally serving a 35-year imprisonment.

Tell me more: Obama has granted clemency in only 3.7% of the total petitions received (35,944) till December 31, 2016. This compares favourably with George W.Bush who granted clemency only to 0.02% of applications in his eight-year tenure.
23

What is it? Number of railway stations that will be redeveloped and modernised by private companies at a cost of Rs 4,000 crore.

Why is it important? After announcing plans to redevelop 44 stations more than a year back, Indian Railways has roped in Bansal Construction to modernise Habibganj station near Bhopal. Work is expected to start from March this year. With the state-run monopoly not having resources to invest in modernisation of railway stations, the centre is roping in private players to redevelop the stations. In lieu, private players get to develop surplus land near the station on a lease of 45 years.

Tell me more: Railways have identified 332 stations for redevelopment and modernisation based on passenger earnings.
1,050

What is it? The number of village panchayats which will have free WiFi hotspots in three years.

Why is it important? It underlines the government’s efforts to speed up digitisation, especially with an eye on going cashless. Previously, the telecom secretary mentioned the target of making all gram panchayats WiFi-enabled. In December, Members of the Parliament were permitted to use their allocated funds to set up WiFi hotspots in villages and educational institutions.

Tell me more: Over Rs 400 crore would be spent in the first leg spanning three years in public-private partnerships.

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