What is it? The duration of paid maternity leave mandated by the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016, passed in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.
Why is it important? It had been a long-standing demand of women’s rights organisations. If passed by the President of India, the amendment would extend the current provision of 12 weeks of fully-paid leave for the mother to 26 weeks, giving her more security and time to spend with her child and recover her health. India would then be second to only a few countries in the world.
Tell me more: Norway, Estonia and Canada have government-mandated maternity leaves (fully-paid) lasting 35 weeks. Most European companies are at 18 weeks but partly-paid leaves combined with it make for stronger allowances than India’s.
What is it? The amount online room renting service, Airbnb Inc., raised in its latest round.
Why is it important? The second-most valuable start-up, behind Uber Technologies, the service app will now be valued at $31 billion. But unlike the ride-booking app, Airbnb turned profitable in the second half of 2016, and expects Ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) profit in 2017.
Tell me more: In September, it had raised $555 million as part of the same funding round, and closed it with the recent $447.85 million.
What is it? The revenue the civil aviation ministry expects state-run Air India to clock in fiscal year 2017.
Why is it important? The loss-making airline is expecting a 10% increase in revenue this year. Its passenger load factor, measuring revenue per seat, should increase from 75.6% to 76.4%, indicating more efficient operations, said the ministry.
Tell me more: Existing on government handouts, the airline is said to be moving towards milestones mentioned in the turnaround plan (TAP) involving an infusion of Rs30,231 crore till 2021. It has gone in for route rationalisation, newer fleet and new routes, and ancillary charges such as preferred seat selection charge.
What is it? The amount Tata Trusts plans to invest in social enterprises over the next 10 years in association with the Department of Science (DST) and Technology and Lockheed Martin.
Why is it important? The decision by one of the country’s leading trusts underlines the increasing influence of social enterprises in the social sector, an area traditionally dominated by non-profits funded mostly by charity.
Tell me more: The investments will be for the second edition of India Innovation Growth Programme. The first was launched in 2007 by DST.
What is it? The percentage of caesarean deliveries in private hospitals in India in 2015-16, according to National Family Health Survey.
Why is it important? This contrasts with 11.9% in public hospitals, and raises questions about medical ethics in private hospitals. C-section deliveries cost more, and privatised medical profession has long been accused of recommending costly procedures that might not be necessary—that might even be dangerous—for patients.
Tell me more: Compared to 10 years ago, the percentage of C-section deliveries has gone up in private hospitals from 27.7% in 2005-06, and has gone down in public hospitals from 15.2% in 2005-06.
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