Data recap: Inflation, poverty, gaming tax, and more

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Summary

Retail inflation eased to a 15-month low in March, while auto sales, despite high growth, were still lower than the pre-pandemic levels

Every Friday, Plain Facts publishes a compilation of data-based insights, complete with easy-to-read charts, to help you delve deeper into the stories reported by Mint in the week gone by. Retail inflation eased to a 15-month low in March, while auto sales, despite high growth, were still lower than the pre-pandemic levels. Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department has predicted normal monsoon this year.

Inflation Dips

 

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India’s retail inflation eased to a 15-month low of 5.66% in March, data released on Wednesday showed. This is the first time in three months that inflation has come in below the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) upper tolerance limit of 6%. The decline in retail inflation was mainly on account of food, inflation for which eased to 4.79%. While all-India inflation fell below 6%, eight states recorded higher inflation than the upper limit. Telangana posted the highest inflation in March at 7.63%.

Auto Struggles

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The automobile industry recovered the majority of its lost ground in 2022-23, with sales of retail vehicles jumping by 21%. However, most segments witnessed double-digit growth due to base effect and were still below the pre-covid levels seen in 2019-20, a Mint analysis showed. While retail sales of passenger vehicles hit record high, two-wheeler sales fell 16% from its pre-covid level. The two-wheeler segment was a big drag as it accounts for nearly three-fourths of all vehicles sold.

Project Tiger

3,167: This is the number of tigers in India as of 2022. The latest census showed the number of tigers in the country rose by 200 over the past four years. India is now home to more than 70% of the global tiger population. The efforts to conserve tiger population in the country has resulted in significant progress, with the number rising from 1,411 in 2006 to 2,967 in 2018. The tiger census is done every four years.

Monsoon Prediction

 

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India will likely receive normal rains during the crucial southwest monsoon season this year, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Tuesday. The rains usually hit the southern state of Kerala around 1 June, and retreat by September. The IMD has predicted a total rainfall of 96% of the long-term average (LPA) this year amid the concerns over agricultural output. Last year, India had received 106% of the average LPA rainfall.

Retail Rush

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Despite the recent controversy and the erosion of wealth, the Adani group has seen renewed interest from retail investors, who have bought shares worth at least $3.1 bn in the March quarter, Mint reported. Following the release of the Hindenburg report the embattled group lost about $145 bn since 24 January. However, new retail investors, totalling at least 1.1 mn, have invested in shares worth at least $1.8 bn across the group’s nine core companies in the March quarter.

EV Drives

1.15 million: That is the number of electric vehicles sold in India in FY23, which recorded a rise of 153% from the previous year.

E-scooters, which accounts for the bulk of the industry’s volumes, saw their sales rising 30% in March from February. While sales of passenger vehicles (PVs), three-wheelers and two-wheelers doubled, e-bus saw a rise of 60% from the previous year. E-PVs contributed 4%, electric two-wheelers 62% and three-wheelers comprised 34% of the total sales.

AI Investments

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India has ranked sixth in terms of investments secured for artificial intelligence (AI)-based products and services between 2013 and 2022, beating Germany, France and South Korea, as per Stanford University’s annual AI Index report. However, the country was way behind the US, which received investments worth $249 bn. In 2022, India got investments worth $3.24 bn and a large proportion of GitHub AI projects were contributed by the country’s software developers, the report said.

Chart of the Week: Exports Gap

 

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Amid the push to promote district-wise exports, a Mint analysis showed that only three states account for a majority of India’s exports, with Gujarat alone accounting for a massive one-third. Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu were the other top exporting states with 16% and 9% share, respectively.

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