|Posted by WORLD FUTURE on June 30, 2019 at 6:55 AM|
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|Posted by WORLD FUTURE on June 29, 2019 at 3:10 AM|
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|Posted by WORLD FUTURE on June 28, 2019 at 2:05 AM|
WATER CRISIS IN INDIA :
Water levels in India's major reservoirs have fallen to 21 per cent of the average of the last decade. Fifty four per cent of the country's groundwater is declining faster than it is being replenished and there is a crippling dependence on monsoon rains to replenish most of India's key water sources-- underground aquifers, lakes, rivers and reservoirs. Close to half the country, about 600 million people, face severe scarcity year after year. By 2020, India will be formally categorized as a "water stressed" country, one where per capita availability of water is less than 1,000 cubic metres or less. A June 2018 Niti Ayog report grimly forecasts water demand will be twice the present supply and India could lose up to 6 per cent of its GDP.
Can a new water ministry tackle the worst water crisis in India's history? Experts feel an exclusive ministry is only a cosmetic change. Water is a State subject - the 17th entry in the state list- and unless states make specific requests the Centre can't intervene. There is however a provision via Entry 56 by which the Centre can deal with inter - state rivers if Parliament legislates in the public interest but this has not been done. There is resistance from the states. Even if water is included in the Concurrent List it is uncertain as to how that will actually deal with the water crisis.
Experts feel redefining the role and mandate of the Water Ministry rather than restructuring the existing system needs to be top priority. Supply - side management to provide water, particularly for irrigation is considered a major role. There is no evidence to suggest that more spending has increased the net area under irrigation or done any good for farmers. The immediate priority, analysts argue, is to make a paradigm shift to demand side management at least for a decade. There are tools, technology and science to ensure efficient water management. But little is being done.
"This will happen only by restructuring the ministry to take irrigation out into infrastructure and focusing on water management and seriously restricting funds for new irrigation projects," says international water policy analyst and founder - chairperson AgSri Agricultural Services Private Limited, Dr. Biksham Gujja, admitting "it may not happen for want of political will." He emphasizes if a farmer can get better input by saving or using less water he will do it. "Today, there is an incentive to use more water, grab more water, dig deeper, use power, the list goes on. If we reverse this pervasive policy, to save water, use less and get incentives to do so, the farmer will be saving more."
While the crisis worsens with every passing summer the appreciation of the need for water conservation and management is slow in evolving. The NITI Aayog has flagged the calamitous condition by unveiling its Composite Water Management Index and ranking states and doing little else to deliver the country from its water woes. So, pitching for a mix of immediate and long term solutions is the way out but political parties, the central and state governments - have not shown any inclination to change course thus far. Priority,as the NITI Aayog report points out is to meet the immediate needs of 21 cities, including New Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad, which are set to run out of groundwater by 2020, affecting an estimated 100 million people. It has also warned that groundwater resources, which constitute 40 per cent of India's water supply, were being depleted at unsustainable rates.
Of the 1121 billion cubic metera BCM of 'utilisable' water, by 1997, 629 BCM (56 per cent) had already been used. The FAO estimated that the total water use in 2014 was 761 BCM, out of which 688 BCM was for agriculture. If water use continues in such 'business as usual' mode, demand may reach 1180 BCM by 2050. This is more than the total utilizable water resources available. The water demand in 2050 has been estimated to be 197 per cent more for the domestic sector, 287 per cent more than the year 2000 levels, while the agricultural sector may need five per cent more at the 2014 levels. All these estimates indicate that India will not be able to meet the growing water demand. Clearly, water management as a concept and practice has to go through a radical transformation particularly the demand side management of irrigation. The allocation of resources, efficiency in water use and ensuring minimal pollution in both urban areas and industry will largely determine its future course. The newly announced ministry has its task cut out. (INDIA TODAY NEWS, June 3, 2019)
|Posted by WORLD FUTURE on May 20, 2019 at 12:50 AM|
INDIA HEADING FOR MIDDLE INCOME TRAP - NDTV NEWS
The Indian economy is running the risk of a structural crisis, and could soon be ensnared in a "middle-income trap", eventually becoming like Brazil or South Africa, according to Rathin Roy, member of the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council and Director of National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.
Mr Roy's comments come at a time of mounting concerns over an economic slowdown.
The Ministry of Finance in its Monthly Economic Report of March 2019 warned that "India's economy appears to have slowed down slightly in 2018-19. The proximate factors responsible for this slowdown include declining growth of private consumption, tepid increase in fixed investment, and muted exports."
Mr Roy suggested the risk runs much deeper.
"We are heading for a structural slowdown. This is an early warning. The economy since 1991 has been growing not on the basis of exports... but on the basis of what the top 100 million of the Indian population wants to consume," he said.
Those 100 million or 10 crore Indian consumers who were "powering" India's growth story, he said, have started to plateau out.
"It means in short we will not be South Korea. We will not be China. We will be Brazil. We will be South Africa. We will be a middle-income country with large numbers of people in poverty seeing rising crimes and in the history of the world. Countries have avoided the middle income trap but no country once in it, has been able to get out of this," he said.
This phenomenon is known by economists as a middle-income trap.
When asked how this squares with the government's rhetoric that India is the fastest-growing economy in the world, he said, "India is the fastest growing economy in the world. But this not the fastest growing economy in India's history. India is the fastest growing economy in the world because China is not the fastest growing economy in the world. We are growing at 6.1-6.6 per cent. and that is great. But this consumption slowdown is going to put that under threat. Sure, India will grow at 5-6 per cent, year-on-year for the next 5-6 years, but a time will come when that will stop."
When asked whether he has had a chance to share this with those in the government, he said he has " written (about these concerns) in the public domain, and have written in other official forums." (NDTV News May 9, 2019)
|Posted by WORLD FUTURE on April 7, 2019 at 11:25 PM|
UNEMPLOYMENT IN INDIA : (BBC NEWS)
India's unemployment rate is the highest it has been since the 1970s, according to a leaked government jobs report. Economist Vivek Kaul explains what this means and why it matters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, who is accused of withholding the findings months before the general election.
What does the report say? It says that India has jobs problem.The country's unemployment rate - 6.1% - is the highest it has been since 1972-73, the earliest year for which comparable data is available. This is according to the latest employment survey, which was leaked to The Business Standard newspaper, after the government refused to release it.
On its own, an unemployment rate of 6.1% may not sound too dire, until you consider that in 2011-12. And it's particularly high among people between 15 and 29 years - in urban India, 18.7% of men and 27.2% of women in this age group are looking for jobs, while in rural India, its 17.4% and 13.6% respectively.
How significant is it?
Over the years, the story of India's economic growth has been sold on the basis of its massive and young workforce - people under the age of 35 make up 65% of the population. The idea was that 10 to 12 million young people would enter the workforce every year. As they started earning and spending, growth would accelerate and this would pull millions more out of poverty.
But, as the survey shows, the unemployment rate among young people is very high. Nearly one in every five is unable to find a job. India's so-called demographic dividend is nowhere in sight.This timing of this finding - just before a general election - makes it all the more significant. The report was approved by India's national statistics commission. Two of its members resigned earlier this week, citing the government's alleged refusal to release the report as one of the reasons.
Job creation was a key promise during Mr Modi's election campaign in 2013. In early January, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, a private institution, had raised the alarm, saying the number of unemployed people has been rising steadily and had reached 11 million by the end of December 2018.
Who is to blame - the government or the economy?
It is a little bit of both.
The Indian economy and the bureaucratic machinery that supports it do not encourage entrepreneurship and job creation - there is a lot of red tape and crucial reforms are still pending. One cannot lay all the blame on Mr Modi, who has been in power for just five years. The problem is older and deeper.But Mr Modi had promised "minimum government and maximum governance" - which translates to efficiency and growth - and failed to deliver on this. His government also did two things that badly hurt the economy.
In 2016, his government cancelled all 500 ($8; £6) and 1,000 rupee notes, which accounted for 86% of the currency in circulation. This was supposed to be a crackdown on illegal cash but India's central bank subsequently said most of that money made its way back into the banking system. Demonetisation, as it is known, adversely affected large parts of India's economy and particularly the informal sector which relied heavily on cash transactions. Agriculture also suffered as farmers largely pay in and get paid in cash. A number of small businesses shut down and those that managed to survive cut jobs. In such situations, young people are more likely to get fired.
Then in July 2017, the government implemented the Goods and Services Tax (GST), a sweeping new single tax code that replaced numerous central and state levies. But it crippled small businesses, partly because it was shoddily designed and implemented. This has also delayed job recovery, suggesting that employment could increase next year.
Is there a problem with the data?
When opposition parties expressed concern over rising unemployment in the past few years, Mr Modi often dismissed the criticisms, saying "no-one has accurate data on jobs" and calling the figures they quoted "propaganda". Mr Modi was referring to India's large informal economy, which accounts for nearly three-quarters of the country's jobs. But any meaningful employment survey would have to capture this demographic. The periodic labour force survey collects data from large as well as small enterprises across India - it, therefore, takes into account the informal sector.
It counts as unemployed anyone who is looking for work and cannot find it. This includes people looking for jobs through employment exchanges, intermediaries, friends or relatives as well as those applying for work or approaching employers. Officials have said the figures cited by Business Standard were part of a draft report and not finalised."The veracity of the data is not known," said Rajiv Kumar, vice chair of government economic policy think-tank Niti Aayog. He was speaking a day after India's top statistics official and a deputy resigned, accusing the government of delaying publishing the report which they had approved.
Is high unemployment a sign more people are looking for jobs?
No. A higher rate of unemployment could never possibly be seen as a positive thing.The survey also includes the labour force participation rate, which has fallen from 39.5% in 2011-12 to 36.9% in 2017-18. This means that a smaller portion of the population is now looking for work. This happens when people looking for jobs cannot find them and eventually decide to stop looking. So, they drop out of the labour force.
It could also mean that a greater number of young people are spending more years in education, simply because they want to or because they cannot find jobs and are putting off joining the labour force. (BBC News Jan 31, 2019)
|Posted by WORLD FUTURE on April 6, 2019 at 9:30 AM|
FROM FICTION TO REALITY: ROBOT SOPHIA IS A SAUDI CITIZEN NOW AND COULD BE USED TO KILL HUMANS IN FUTURE
Bible Prophecy: He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed (Rev.13:15)
From Fictional movie to Reality, Sophia the AI (Artificial Intelligence) Robot smiles mischievously, bats her eyelids and tells a joke. Without the mess of cables that make up the back of her head, you could almost mistake her for a human.The humanoid robot, created by Hanson robotics was bestowed citizenship by Saudi Arabia .
As per reports in Business Insider, Sophia told the audience, "I am very honored and proud of this unique distinction." "This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with a citizenship."However no details of the conditions of her citizenship were revealed.Sophia was also the main attraction at a UN-hosted conference in Geneva in June 2017, about how artificial intelligence can be used to benefit humanity.
The event comes as concerns grow that rapid advances in such technologies could spin out of human control and become detrimental to society.
Sophia herself insisted "the pros outweigh the cons" when it comes to artificial intelligence."AI is good for the world, helping people in various ways," she told , tilting her head and furrowing her brow convincingly.Work is underway to make artificial intelligence "emotionally smart, to care about people," she said, insisting that "we will never replace people, but we can be your friends and helpers."But she acknowledged that "people should question the consequences of new technology."
Among the feared consequences of the rise of the robots is the growing impact they will have on human jobs and economies.
Decades of automation and robotisation have already revolutionised the industrial sector, raising productivity but cutting some jobs.And now automation and AI are expanding rapidly into other sectors, with studies indicating that up to 85 percent of jobs in developing countries could be at risk."There are legitimate concerns about the future of jobs, about the future of the economy, because when businesses apply automation, it tends to accumulate resources in the hands of very few," acknowledged Sophia's creator, David Hanson
But like his progeny, he insisted that "unintended consequences, or possible negative uses (of AI) seem to be very small compared to the benefit of the technology."AI is for instance expected to revolutionise healthcare and education, especially in rural areas with shortages of doctors and teachers."Elders will have more company, autistic children will have endlessly patient teachers," Sophia said. But advances in robotic technology have sparked growing fears that humans could lose control.
In March 2016, Sophia underwent a technical glitch during a demonstration by founder, David Hanson, at the South by Southwest (SXSW) technology show in Texas when the robot claimed it will 'destroy humans'.Hanson jokingly asked "do you want to destroy humans?...Please say no".And Sophia's response was not quite what Hanson had in mind, she said, "OK. I will destroy humans."
Amnesty International chief Salil Shetty was at the conference to call for a clear ethical framework to ensure the technology is used on for good."We need to have the principles in place, we need to have the checks and balances," he told AFP, warning that AI is "a black box... There are algorithms being written which nobody understands." "In theory, these things are controlled by human beings, but we don't believe that there is actually meaningful, effective control," he said.
The technology is also increasingly being used in the United States for "predictive policing", where algorithms based on historic trends could "reinforce existing biases" against people of certain ethnicities, Shetty warned. Shetty voiced particular concern about military use of AI in weapons and so-called "killer robots".
Hanson agreed that clear guidelines were needed, saying it was important to discuss these issues "before the technology has definitively and unambiguously awakened."While Sophia has some impressive capabilities, she does not yet have consciousness, but Hanson said he expected that fully sentient machines could emerge within a few years."What happens when (Sophia fully) wakes up or some other machine, servers running missile defence or managing the stock market?" he asked.
The solution, he said, is "to make the machines care about us.""We need to teach them love."
|Posted by WORLD FUTURE on March 28, 2019 at 6:30 AM|
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|Posted by WORLD FUTURE on March 21, 2019 at 10:45 PM|
Court Orders Temporary Closure of Golden Gate on Temple Mount in Jerusalem:
The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court has ordered the continued closure – albeit temporary – of the Golden Gate building known as “Bab al-Raheem” on the Temple Mount while legal arguments over its status are in process. The Islamic Waqf Authority which monitors and administers the site has been given 60 days to respond.
The order came in the wake of a violent riot by an Arab mob that literally ripped the doors off the building and raised the Palestinian Authority flag atop the roof following prayers.
The Golden Gate – also known as the Gate of Mercy – was sealed by Israeli authorities in 2003 because a group with links to Hamas began to use the site for meetings, rather than faith. In addition, there were concerns over illegal construction work that had been carried out in the past by the Waqf, that had already caused irreparable harm to ancient artifacts dating back to the Jewish Holy Temple periods. The Israel government believes the work carried out by the Waqf destroyed archaeological artifacts that prove the Jewish presence on the site thousands of years ago.
Periodically the Waqf nevertheless attempts to reopen the site, staging protests and convening prayer gatherings in the area which usually lead to clashes with Israeli police.
In February the Waqf once again began provocations, this time actually reopening the site and launching it as a mosque, with Muslim worshipers praying within the building.
Israeli police have removed the prayer rugs and other items from the building and re-locked the gate.
A number of clashes have since erupted between Muslim worshipers and Israeli police.
The most violent and serious attack took place when a terrorist set the Israel Police station afire by throwing a firebomb at a police officer (who sustained minor injuries) within the Temple Mount compound. The entire Temple Mount compound was sealed off after the incident, which was followed by more violent clashes with Muslim worshipers.
Israeli and Jordanian officials have been meeting for days in an effort to find some way to end the violence.
The problem is that most of those who are igniting the violence have far more invested in its escalation than they do in reaching peace with Israel. (Jewish Press, Mar 17, 2019)
The Bible Prophecies that Jerusalem will be the center for war to all the surrounding nations (Zechariah 12:2)
|Posted by WORLD FUTURE on November 8, 2018 at 10:15 AM|
CHANGE DEBIT-CREDIT CARDS:
Banks are sending messages to every account holder asking them to upgrade their debit and credit cards. You too must have got one such message. But there are chances that you might have ignored the message taking it for a spam. Check the message once again, it is not a spam. This one is a useful message from the bank you have deposited your money with. Now, you need to replace your existing debit and credit cards with new ones, if you have not already done.
But why do you need to take such a pain and replace the debit and credit cards? Legally speaking, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has directed the banks to do so. The older debit and credit cards will become useless after December 31.
Banks have to follow the directions of the RBI. This directive from the RBI was necessitated in order protect you from some unscrupulous online predator. Your money must be secured with the banks. It is their responsibility. Debit and credit card piracy has been a major issue, as has been found in online banking fraud cases. The new chip-based cards have been prescribed to keep your money and transaction safe.
The existing debit and credit cards are magnetic stripe-only cards. Their cloning has become a major challenge to those responsible for safe monetary transaction. The new cards are EMV chip-based. EVM stands for Europay, Mastercard, Visa. The old magnetic stripe-only debit and credit cards are to be replaced by EMV chip-based ones by 31 December 2018.
Replacement of existing debit and credit cards with the new EMV chip-based cards is free of cost. Banks bear the cost for new cards. The EMV chip-based debit and credit cards are in use since January 2016. The RBI had made it mandatory for banks to issue only EMV chip-based cards to new customers opening new accounts or applying for new debit or credit cards after 31 January 2016.
The RBI directive is applicable to not only all domestic but also the international debit and credit cards. The existing magnetic stripe-only cards will not be valid beyond December 31-deadline.
EMV chip-based debit and credit cards are more secured compared to magnetic stripe cards. The chip-based cards are also called PIN (Personal Identification Number) cards. These cards use higher standards of data encryption and have improved storage technology.
The magnetic stripe cards have static information stored in the black strip that we see on the back of the card. The customer related information in an EMV card is stored in dynamic format. This change in technology makes card cloning difficult.
The new debit and credit card will require a little change in habit for completing transaction especially through a point of sale (PoS) machine. Transaction through a PoS device can be done using the magnetic stripe cards merely by swiping it while transaction using new chip-based PIN cards will ask for a PIN also. This gives an additional level of security to the user.
Still, online transaction will continue to pose risk if you share card-related sensitive information with an unknown person or someone you don't trust. (India Today 21-9-2018)
|Posted by WORLD FUTURE on June 4, 2018 at 2:25 AM|
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