News in Numbers: Uber completed 9.4 million trips per week in July
What is it? The number of trips a week completed by Uber, a taxi aggregator, in July this year in India.
Why is it important? This is 70% higher than what was achieved in August 2016. Faster growth rates indicate greater acceptance among urban Indians in 32 cities to use taxi aggregation service. This could lead to more job opportunities for taxi owners and drivers. Uber has 285,000 active drivers.
Tell me more: Fleet sales, including taxi aggregators, accounted for nearly one in 10 cars sold in India last calendar year. This is expected to increase to 15-17% by 2020.
What is it? The estimated gold imports by India in calendar 2017, a third higher than last year’s 557.7 tonnes.
Why is it important? It is an indirect indicator of the rural economy, as two-thirds of India’s gold demand comes from rural areas. A near perfect monsoon is predicted by the weather department, though some parts are experiencing excess rainfall and floods. Higher import would also increase India’s trade deficit, bringing pressure on the Indian rupee to lose value against the US dollar.
Tell me more: In the first seven months till July 2017, India has imported 557.7 tonnes of gold as jewellers stocked fearing higher goods and service tax (GST). That came true as gold attracts 3% tax as compared to 1.2% previously.
What is it? The number of youths that have reportedly taken to militancy in the last seven months.
Why is it important? Already, this is nearly 80% of the 88 youths who joined the militant groups last year. This figure, which had dipped to 16 in 2013 from 54 in 2010, has been on the rise since 2014—from 53 in 2014 to 66 in 2015. According to some officials, the Pulwama-Shopian-Kulgam region has emerged as a centre for terrorist attacks and encounters recently. Burhan Wani, former commander of a Kashmir-based militant called Hizbul Mujahideen, whose killing last year brought on the worst violence in recent years, was from Pulwama. Wani’s successor Mehmood Ghaznavi was killed in an encounter in Shopian this weekend.
Tell me more: A total of 132 terrorists have been killed as on 9 August this year, the highest in the last seven years.
What is it? The number of ratings downgrades of Indian companies in the first seven months of calendar 2017
Why is it important? This indicates continued financial stress for India Inc., which saw more than 2,500 ratings downgrades in 2016. It means bad news for banks, which are saddled with stressed assets of Rs10 trillion, as ratings downgrade signals deterioration in repaying capacity and could increase the quantum of stressed assets.
Tell me more: The National Company Law Tribunal passed its first order to wind up two companies—VNR Infrastructures and Bhupen Electronic—under the new insolvency and bankruptcy code.
What is it? The number of people who lost their lives due to a landslip in Himachal Pradesh, and floods in Assam, on Sunday alone.
Why is it important? The flood situation continued to deteriorate in Assam, with Brahmaputra and 10 other rivers reporting water levels flowing above the danger mark in 15 places. The total death toll is now 99. More than 2.2 million people in 21 districts are affected.
Tell me more: Lack of long-term planning to shift vulnerable population and poor infrastructure mean the phenomenon repeats itself frequently with loss of lives and livelihood.
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