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Half of India’s under-18 population lives in poverty, says Study



London, June 5 : Around  half of India’s under-18 population lives in acute poverty, unveils a “deeply disturbing” study from Oxford University.

Across the 103 low and middle income countries surveyed, children were found to constitute 34 per cent of the total population, but 48 per cent of the poor, based on a measure that assesses a range of deprivations in health, education and living standards.

The international definition of a child, used in the study, was anyone less than 18 years of age.

“These new results are deeply disturbing as they show that children are disproportionately poor when the different dimensions of poverty are measured,” said Sabina Alkire, Director of Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI) at the University of Oxford.

The research examined the latest figures for the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) by age group to analyse the particular situation of 1.8 billion children who live in 103 countries.

MPI complements traditional income-based poverty measures by capturing the severe deprivations that each person faces at the same time with respect to education, health and living standards.

The MPI assesses poverty at the individual level. If someone is deprived in a third or more of ten (weighted) indicators — nutrition, child mortality, years of schooling, school attendance, cooking fuel, improved sanitation, safe drinking water, electricity, flooring, assets — the global index identifies them as “MPI poor”.

The extent — or intensity — of their poverty is measured by the number of deprivations they are experiencing.

According to the OPHI, nearly two out of every five children — a total of 689 million children — are classed as multi-dimensionally poor.

Half of South Asia’s children and two thirds of Sub-Saharan children are multi-dimensionally poor, according to the study.

In 36 countries, including India, at least half of all children are MPI poor.

The condition of children is worse in Ethiopia, Niger and South Sudan where over 90 per cent of all children are MPI poor, according to the study which highlights the challenges that the UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals for the eradication of child poverty face.

“This is a wake-up call to the international community which has adopted the global Sustainable Development Goals and takes seriously Goal 1, the eradication of poverty in all its forms and dimensions,” Alkire said in a news release.

“Children are our future workers, parents and citizen/voters. Investing in them brings benefits now and also in the future,” Alkire added.




J&K: Two militants killed in Anantnag gunfight




Srinagar, March 24: Two terrorists were killed on Saturday in an encounter with the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district, police said.

“Security personnel from the Rashtriya Rifles, Central Reserve Police Force and the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the state police surrounded Shistargam village on Friday evening following information about a group of holed-up militants.

“As the cordon was tightened, the militants fired at the security forces triggering the gunfight,” police sources said.

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Fear that AI will take up both skilled & unskilled jobs: Rajan

We have to make sure Indian capital is available because often it is closest to the ground and understands the financing better




Kochi, Mar 23 : Former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan today expressed fears that Artificial Intelligence would take up jobs–both high skilled and unskilled.

With advances in Machine Learning,Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, this was going to change still further, as they take up the jobs,ranging from those in unskilled sweatshops to high-skilled professions like medicine, the former RBI Governor said.

“What jobs will humans be able to do in 10-15 years that are immune from threat?Jobs that require high intelligence and creativity; jobs that require human empathy and jobs where human working for us bolster our status in some way,” he said, delivering the keynote address outlining his vision for India at #FUTURE Global Digital Summit, organised by the Kerala government.

He, however, India has to embrace technology and become a leader in the digital transformation taking place around the globe without being bogged down by unfounded fears of job losses, incomes or machines replacing humans.

Among the biggest obstacles to technology adoption were fears of man being replaced by machines a fear that has existed since the industrial revolution,but never materialised. “Two hundred years since the industrial revolution, jobs are still around. People and society adapt to do the things that machines cannot do,” he said.

“With technology, across every job there is going to be a restructuring, taking away the routine aspects and leaving the creative and customised aspects of that job,” he said.

Currently Professor, Finance at University of Chicago, Booth School of Business, Rajan said that in every industrial country, more jobs have disappeared in routine skilled and non routine unskilled jobs, which has partly led to the anxieties.

The former RBI Governor said another aspect of the fear was where the incomes would come from; the answer to which was an assured Universal Basic Income.

In the Indian context, he said “we have a huge hunger for capabilities at every level. If we can create incomes at some level, the aspirations of people will ensure their children move up in life and get the opportunities that they did not.”

In terms of business opportunities, the government needs to do far more for start-ups to flourish in India by creating easy paths to incorporation and funding, he said.

Rajan said that one of the big lacunae in India was risk financing and so start-ups go elsewhere because they need risk financing, which was not available in the country.

“We have to make sure Indian capital is available because often it is closest to the ground and understands the financing better,” Rajan said.

“We have to make sure that the companies of our future are incorporated in India, get Indian financing and expand significantly. We cannot miss out on the AI and Robotics revolution,” he said.

Another significant area where India effectively needs a revolution is education and skill building, Rajan said.

“We need to remedy weaknesses in education at every stage, build more world-class institutions domestically and bring the talent back from abroad,” Rajan said.

“We are not as global as we should be even now. Too many of our people are too poorly educated or skilled to compete in a globalised tech-enabled economy,” Rajan noted.

“If we don’t do that we will end up with a two-tier economy of a few “haves” and a vast population of “have-nots”, which is neither socially stable nor desirable,”he said.

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Sonia Gandhi rushed back to Delhi, better now




March 23:  Senior Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, who was rushed to New Delhi from Shimla on Friday due to her ill health, is better now, said sources close to 10, Janpath.

Gandhi was in Shimla along with her daughter Priyanka Vadra, officials said.

She was initially taken to Chandigarh on Thursday night and from there the Congress leader was taken to New Delhi on a special aircraft.

“Since she (Sonia Gandhi) refused to get examined at Indira Gandhi Medical College (in Shimla) and insisted on reaching Chandigarh, she was taken to Chandigarh late in night and from there she was taken to New Delhi,” an official told IANS.

Gandhi and her daughter were staying at the Wildflower Hall, an Oberoi Group luxury resort.

Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital’s Medical Superintendent Ramesh Chand accompanied the Congress leader from Shimla to Chandigarh.

“Her condition was stable,” Chand told IANS.

Sonia Gandhi and her family arrived in Shimla on Wednesday and visited Charabra where Priyanka Vadra’s cottage is being constructed.


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