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Business News/ News / Data recap: Farmers’ march, IT jobs, surging travel
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Data recap: Farmers’ march, IT jobs, surging travel

News and developments from the week gone by, through numbers and charts.

A farmer talks on his mobile phone during an ongoing protest to demand minimum crop prices, near the Punjab-Haryana state border at Shambhu in Patiala district on February 22, 2024. AFP (AFP)Premium
A farmer talks on his mobile phone during an ongoing protest to demand minimum crop prices, near the Punjab-Haryana state border at Shambhu in Patiala district on February 22, 2024. AFP (AFP)

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. In response to the revival of protests by farmers, the government had floated a proposal to buy at least five crops over the next five years at minimum support price (MPS). But, farmers have rejected the Centre's offer, and are marching to Delhi again. Despite high airfares, Indians will continue with their summer travel plans, suggests the latest data released by the International Air Transport Association.

Déjà vu near Delhi

Farmers in north India have taken to the streets yet again and are on their way to Delhi to protest, demanding a legal guarantee for MSP among other things. Coming just before the election season, this underscores the delay in fulfilment of the promises made by the Centre during the last round of protests. The MSP mechanism has been in place for decades, but it has done little to address the plight of farmers. Average farm incomes have stayed low, and MSP hikes have been modest since 2019-20.

Road show

A total of 1,442 km of highways were constructed across India in January, up 40% from the same month last year. This was close to the road ministry’s ambitious objective of building 50 km of highways per day. However, overall construction activity for the fiscal year 2023-24 has been sluggish: only 7,658 km of highways were completed till January. With just two months remaining, even a 50-km-per-day pace will end up at 11,000 km, falling short of the full-year goal by nearly 2,800 km.

Flying high

4.7 billion: That's the number of passengers who are projected to travel by air in the year 2024 globally, up from 4.5 billion in 2019, the International Air Transport Association has said. In India, too, air travel is surging, leading to increased airfares due to insufficient capacity to accommodate the demand. IndiGo, India’s largest airline, has grounded 20% of its fleet, while Mumbai airport, the country’s second busiest, has been instructed to reduce flight operations.

Rescue plan

The government is considering infusing additional capital into IFCI Ltd and reverse-merge it with one of its subsidiaries, Stock Holding Corporation of India, as part of a rescue plan, a Mint report said. IFCI, India’s oldest development finance institution, has seen its losses rise over the years. The losses shot up to 1,958 crore and 1,991 crore in FY21 and FY22, respectively. In the current fiscal year, it reported losses in the first and third quarters.

Tech trends

Hiring in technology firms has been subdued in the past few quarters. The combined workforce at the top five Indian companies, ranked by revenue, decreased by around 65,000 in 2023. The number of job offers in the sector in December 2023 also declined 21% over December 2022 and 4% over September 2023, according to jobs platform Naukri.com. Some link this to the advancements in artificial intelligence, but this could be more a result of muted demand for IT services, a howindialives.com article explained.

Deal mining

$1 billion: That's the deal value for which JSW Steel is in talks with Australia's Whitehaven Coal to acquire a 20% stake in its Blackwater mine, a Mint report said. The negotiations come after JSW's unsuccessful attempt to purchase a majority stake in the metallurgical coal business of Canada's Teck Resources in 2023, which was acquired by mining and trading giant Glencore. The companies are yet to decide on the final valuation.

Minting money

India’s fastest-growing major listed firms surpassed the country’s overall economic growth in revenue terms by nearly 1.5 times between 2012 and 2022, a study by McKinsey & Co. said. The study examined 837 listed companies with revenues exceeding 750 crore in FY22. The top quintile (one-fifth) reported a compound annual growth rate of 15% or higher in revenue, while India's nominal gross domestic product growth rate averaged around 10%, the report said.

Chart of the week: Views on news

How much you rely on certain news sources to form your political views could depend on which party you support. The latest round of the YouGov-Mint-CPR Millennial Survey showed that supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party are more likely than others to trust any given news source.

Follow our data stories on the “In Charts" and “Plain Facts" pages on the Mint website.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Payal Bhattacharya
Payal is a data journalist with a keen eye for writing intricate stories hidden within numbers. She hold a Masters degree in Economics, and enjoys covering economy, corporate, and stock markets through the lens of data-driven storytelling. She has worked on a lot of stories surrounding macroeconomic indicators.
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Published: 23 Feb 2024, 06:00 AM IST
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