News In Numbers: Delhi air pollution will be worse tomorrow, says SAFAR

In other news, India has been ranked second in a global index of business optimism in the July-September quarter of 2016.


The levels of particulate matter (PM) 2.5 in Delhi at around 8am on Monday was measured at 588 µg/m³, according to SAFAR. Photo: Hindustan Times
The levels of particulate matter (PM) 2.5 in Delhi at around 8am on Monday was measured at 588 µg/m³, according to SAFAR. Photo: Hindustan Times

50%

What is it? The fall in the number of start-ups that have reportedly registered with the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) for recruitment this year.

Why is it important? It indicates that start-ups’ hiring activity has slowed amid reports that investors have become increasingly cautious about loosening their purse strings in the recent quarters. Earlier this year, IITs had banned 31 start-ups including Grofers, Hopscotch, StayZilla and Portea Medical from participating in their placement drives as they had delayed joining dates, changed their offers at the last minute or revoked some of the students’ offer letters. Some 135 students were affected by such actions, according to the All IIT Placement Committee.

Tell me more: However, pre-placement offers are up by 25-30% this year. Some IITs are conducting screenings of some start-ups based on their funding, cash flow and stability before allowing them to visit their campuses for hiring.

588 µg/m³

What is it? The levels of particulate matter (PM) 2.5 in Delhi at around 8am on Monday, according to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) of the union ministry of earth science.

Why is it important? This is 9.8 times the safe limit of 60 µg/m³ and falls under the “severe” (the worst) category. The levels of PM 10 in the capital city was said to be 844, nearly 8.5 times the safe limit of 100 µg/m³, again in the “severe” category. These particulates are considered deadly for their ability to penetrate deep into the lungs and blood streams unfiltered, which can cause respiratory problems, lung cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

Tell me more: Particulate matter pollution has been categorised as carcinogenic to humans and is considered to be a leading environmental cause of cancer deaths, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer. SAFAR’s forecast for PM 2.5 and 10 for Delhi on Tuesday is worse than Monday’s levels: 613 µg/m³ and 860 µg/m³, respectively.

2

What is it? India’s ranking in a global index of business optimism in the July-September quarter of 2016, according to a survey.

Why is it important? The country has improved its position by moving up one slot from the previous quarter after being ranked on top in the previous two quarters. The latest ranking is due to the Indian government’s reform measures, its efforts to improve the ease of doing business in the country and on the back of expectations that the goods and services tax would become a reality soon, according to the report. Though India is still ranked among the top five nations where red-tapism and regulations are considered an impediment to growth, its ranking on this aspect has dropped to second from fourth.

Tell me more: This comes a few days after India was listed at the 130th position (of 190 nations) on the World Bank’s ease of doing business, where the report’s authors acknowledge that not all the measures taken by India in improving its business environment have been taken into account.

13%

What is it? The percentage of the American electorate which is undecided or likely to vote for a third-party candidate.

Why is it important? This indicates the high levels of uncertainty in the outcome and that the results could swing in favour of either of the US Presidential candidates in the 2016 elections: Donald Trump, the Republican Party nominee or Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party nominee. There are reportedly about 12 states, which form 155 votes in the electoral college (of the 538) that do not favour any party and could hold the key to who becomes the 45th US President.

Tell me more: US citizens across 50 states would vote to elect 538 members of the electoral college who, in turn, will vote for the President. Of the 50 states, 12 are in favour of the Democrats and six leaning towards them and Clinton is predicted to have 219 safe votes. As many as 20 states are for the Republicans, one leaning towards them, predicting 164 safe votes for Trump. The winning candidate would require 270 votes.

1.1 lakh

What is it? The number of ideas received by the Indian Railways from its employees as of 1 November in response to the question: What if you were India’s railway minister?

Why is it important? This is the first time that such a brainstorming exercise has been conducted at the Indian Railways where crowdsourcing of ideas (contrary to the top-down approach at the organisation) has been encouraged to generate more revenue and margins and become more efficient. A panel of seven joint secretary officers have shortlisted 1,400 of these ideas. This would be further filtered to get the 15 best ideas and then converted into business plans to be showcased to Prime Minister Narendra Modi later this month. He is likely to then spell out a five-year vision for the Railways and may roll out a campaign akin to Make in India or Digital India, according to news reports.

Tell me more: Some of the ideas include implementation of smart cards, which can generate additional revenues of Rs400 crore, development of heritage tourism, large-scale solar energy development on land owned by the Railways around stations and offering surplus and vacant land on rent to private individuals.

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