The first round of census data is out, and there’s both good and bad news. On the plus side, population growth is slowing down. There are now an estimated 1.21 billion Indians, which means an increase of 17.64% over the last ten years. The previous decade the population grew at 21.54%. India has added 181 million people to its population since 2001.
Meanwhile there news on India’s sex divide is mixed. The country now has nearly 623.7 million males, versus 586.5 million females. That means an improvement in the overall sex ratio to 940 females for every 1,000 males. The trouble is the child sex ratio, which looks at kids up to six years of age, has fallen to 914 from 2001’s 934. Activists blame selective abortions for the fall.
One other positive from the census is rising literacy. The male literacy rate has gone up to 82.14% from 75.26% in 2001. And female literacy has increased to 65.46% from 53.67% a decade ago. Overall, literacy is now at 74.04% from 64.83%.
Switching to corporate news, the ninth round of India’s auctions of oil and gas blocks has received a lukewarm response. Of the 34 blocks offered in Nelp-9, one was completely ignored, and the remaining 33 blocks received a total of 74 bids.
ONGC made 28 bids by itself and in alliance with others and won 12 blocks. Oil India snapped up 10, and RIL bid for six and won two. Its two winning bids are for deepwater blocks.
In related news, the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons has said production is falling at RIL’s KG D6 gas block. It projected that production could fall to 47 million standard cubic metres a day from the current 52.
Vodafone is buying out its Indian ally. On Thursday the company announced it would buy Essar Group’s 33% stake in Vodafone Essar. The deal is worth $5 billion.
Vodanfone and Essar have been fighting a legal battle after Essar tried to merge two of its companies- one of which held a stake in the joint venture.