One in three companies in India prefer hiring men: World Economic Forum study

A World Economic Forum (WEF) study has found that companies in India experiencing the highest growth prefer hiring men and that technology-led job growth benefits man more than women. The study also found that while one in three companies preferred hiring men, only one in 10 companies said they wanted to hire more women.

The WEF “Future of Work in India” report prepared with the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and released Friday also shows for jobs that are experiencing the highest growth, companies are hiring women at only 26 per cent. The study also found that women are entering the workforce at a slower rate than current female workforce participation.

Highlights and findings of the report:

Major gender gap in Indian corporates: Four out of five retail firms hire less than 10% women. Companies in India experiencing the highest growth prefer hiring men and technology-led job growth benefits men more than women. Notably, while one in three companies preferred hiring men, only one in 10 companies said they wanted to hire more women, accentuating the gender gap rampant in the country.

The report found that just 2.4% of these have half or more female employees, and as many as 71% have fewer than 10%. Out of this 71%, 30% companies have no female employees, and another 32% have less than 5%. The sector-wise breakup showed that 79% companies in retail, and 77% in transport & logistics, have less than 10% female employees, while banking & finance companies have 61% female participation and textiles 64%.

India’s female workforce participation is mere 27% and stands 23% points lower than global average. Jobs in India are experiencing highest growth and companies are hiring women at only 26%. Women in India are entering workforce at a slower rate than current female workforce participation.

More than 33% of the total companies said that they prefer to hire men, as compared to just over one-tenth that said that they are looking to hire more women going forward. In the last five years, the surveyed companies stated that they hired just 26% female workers in the job roles that saw the most growth, which is less than India’s already low female labour force participation of 27%.

About WEF:

The World Economic Forum is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.

The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

It was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It is independent, impartial and not tied to any special interests. The Forum strives in all its efforts to demonstrate entrepreneurship in the global public interest while upholding the highest standards of governance. Moral and intellectual integrity is at the heart of everything it does.

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Initiative to stop terrorist travel launched on UNGA sidelines

The United States and Morocco, under the auspices of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF),  launched the GCTF Terrorist Travel Initiative in New York on the margins of the UN General Assembly. Formally named the “Initiative on Improving Capabilities for Detecting and Interdicting Terrorist Travel through Enhanced Terrorist Screening and Information Sharing,” the Terrorist Travel Initiative will bring together national and local governments, law enforcement and border screening practitioners, and international organizations to share expertise on how to develop and implement effective counterterrorism watchlisting and screening tools.

One of the most effective ways to counter terrorist travel is through traveler data such as Advanced Passenger Information (API), Passenger Name Record (PNR), and biometrics. In December 2017, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2396 (UNSCR 2396), requiring all member states to use these tools, including by implementing systems to collect traveler data and develop watchlists of known and suspected terrorists.

The GCTF Terrorist Travel Initiative will convene a series of four regional workshops in 2018 and 2019 to develop a set of good practices that will be endorsed at the 2019 GCTF Ministerial. The resulting document will reinforce how countries and organizations can use the border security tools prescribed in UNSCR 2396 to stop terrorist travel.

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Poverty Reduction Rate Fastest Among Scheduled Tribes and Muslims in India, Shows UN Data

Poverty reduction was fastest among children, the poorest states, scheduled tribes, and Muslims in India wherein a historic shift over 270 million people moved out of poverty in the decade since 2005-06, according to a new data.

About the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI):

The MPI provides the most comprehensive view of the various ways in which 1.3 billion people worldwide experience poverty in their daily life.

The MPI looks at the multifaceted nature of poverty. It identifies people’s deprivations across three key dimensions – health, education and living standards, lacking amenities such as clean water, sanitation, adequate nutrition or primary education. Those who are left behind in at least a third of the MPI’s components are defined as multidimensionally poor.

How is the global MPI 2018 aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals?

Rather than viewing challenges one by one, in silos, the MPI shows how deprivations related to SDGs 1, 2, 3,4,6,7, and 11 are concretely interlinked in poor people’s lives. Rather than providing only national headlines, the global MPI is disaggregated by subnational region, area, ethnicity, or age cohort. The indicators underlying the global MPI 2018 have been revised to better align with the SDGs.

India has made giant strides in reducing multidimensional poverty, bringing down its poverty rate from 55% to 28% in ten years.

Between 2005-06 and 2015-16, more than 271 million people have come out of the clutches of poverty in India. However, India still has the largest number of people living in multidimensional poverty in the world- around 364 million people. 156 million out of 364 million people who are MPI poor in 2015/2016 are children.

India’s scale of poverty reduction has parallels with the phenomenal level of poverty reduction achieved in China a decade or so earlier. India’s scale of multidimensional poverty reduction over the decade from 2005/6 to 2015/16 – from 635 million poor persons to 364 million– can be compared to the speedy pace of China’s poverty reduction, which occurred over more than 20 years.

Across nearly every state, poor nutrition is the largest contributor to multidimensional poverty. Not having a household member with at least six years of education is the second largest contributor. Insufficient access to clean water and child mortality contribute least.

Among states, Jharkhand had the greatest improvement, with Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, and Nagaland only slightly behind. However, Bihar is still the poorest state in 2015/16, with more than half of its population in poverty.

In 2015/16, the four poorest states – Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh – were still home to 196 million MPI poor people – over half of all the MPI poor people in India. Delhi, Kerala, and Goa have the lowest incidence of multidimensional poverty.

Among the South Asian countries, only Maldives boasts lower MPI of 0.007 than India (0.121). Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bhutan, and Afghanistan all boast higher incidences of multidimensional poverty.

After India (364 million people), the countries with the largest number of people living in multi-dimensional poverty are Nigeria (97 million), Ethiopia (86 million), Pakistan (85 million), and Bangladesh (67 million).

The global MPI covers 105 countries in total, home to 75% of the world’s population, or 5.7 billion people. Of this proportion, 1.3 billion are identified as multidimensionally poor, and half of them are younger than 18 years old.

83% of the worlds poor live in South Asia and Africa. The latest data further reveals the vast majority of the multidimensional poor – 1.1 billion people – live in rural areas around the world, where poverty rates are four times higher than among those living in urban areas.

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India puts four more nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards

India has decided to place four more reactors under the IAEA safeguards. Accordingly, two Russian-designed Pressurised Light Water Reactors and two Pressurised Heavy Reactors being built with Indian technology will be covered.

With this, a total of 26 Indian nuclear facilities will be under the international nuclear energy watchdog.

Safeguards are a set of technical measures applied by the IAEA on nuclear material and activities, through which the Agency seeks to independently verify that nuclear facilities are not misused and nuclear material not diverted from peaceful uses. States accept these measures through the conclusion of safeguards agreements.

The objective of IAEA Safeguards is to deter the spread of nuclear weapons by the early detection of the misuse of nuclear material or technology. This provides credible assurances that States are honoring their legal obligations that nuclear material is being used only for peaceful purposes.

IAEA safeguards are an essential component of the international security system. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is the centerpiece of global efforts to prevent the further spread of nuclear weapons. Under the Treaty’s Article 3, each Non-Nuclear Weapon State is required to conclude a safeguards agreement with the IAEA.

Within the world’s nuclear non-proliferation regime, the IAEA’s safeguards system functions as a confidence-building measure, an early warning mechanism, and the trigger that sets in motion other responses by the international community if and when the need arises. Over the past decade, IAEA safeguards have been strengthened in key areas.

The IAEA is the world’s center for cooperation in the nuclear field. It was set up as the world’s “Atoms for Peace” organization in 1957 within the United Nations family. The Agency works with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies.

It seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons.

IAEA reports to both the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council.

The IAEA has its headquarters in Vienna, Austria.

The IAEA serves as an intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear technology and nuclear power worldwide.

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Pakistan action against terror funding not satisfactory: FATF body

Almost three months after Pakistan was placed on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list for failing to curb terror funding, Pakistan’s recent action against terror financing, particularly on the “legal” front, was found to be “unsatisfactory”, according to a review by the Asia Pacific Policy Group (APPG).

The APPG examines cases of all countries on the grey and blacklists and reports to the FATF.

Reasons for the poor performance:

Not much has been achieved by Pakistan, especially on the legal side (like freezing of assets, attachment of funds, militant groups infrastructures etc).

Another review for Pakistan will be held in December this year following which a final evaluation report will be prepared. For Pakistan, the first deadline is January 2019 failing which they may face more heat. By then, Pakistan will have to publish updated lists of persons and entities prescribed under the Anti-Terrorism Act and the UN-designated entities.

It is the FATF-style regional body for the Asia-Pacific region. It is an inter-governmental organization founded in 1997 in Bangkok, Thailand.

The APG consists of 41 member jurisdictions and a number of observer jurisdictions and international/regional observer organizations.

Under the APG’s Terms of Reference (updated 2012) membership is available for jurisdictions with a presence in the Asia-Pacific region who commit to the policy objectives of the organisation including undergoing a mutual evaluation (peer review) to determine the level of compliance of the member with the international standards against money laundering and terrorist financing.

Observer status is available to any jurisdiction in the Asia-Pacific region interested in becoming a member or any other jurisdiction which supports the goals and work of the APG.

International organizations which support the work of the APG may also join as supporting observers.

Jurisdictions that join the APG, either as members or as observers, must commit to implementing the international standards against money laundering, the financing of terrorism and proliferation financing (WMD), in particular, the Recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). These standards were substantially updated in 2012 and are supplemented by a complex assessment methodology in 2013 which forms the benchmark for mutual evaluations.

The APG has five primary functions:

The APG assesses the levels of compliance by its member jurisdictions with the global AML/CFT standards through a mutual evaluation (peer review) programme;

The APG Secretariat coordinates bi-lateral and donor-agency technical assistance and training in the Asia/Pacific region for its member jurisdictions in order to improve compliance with the global standards;

Research and analysis into money laundering and terrorist financing methods and trends is a key function of the APG to assist policy and lawmakers as well as law enforcement agencies and the general public to identify and respond to new and emerging trends, methods, risks, and vulnerabilities;

The APG contributes to international AML/CFT policy development and actively engages with the global network of FSRBs. The APG also participates in a number of FATF working groups and in its plenary meetings; and

Private sector engagement is critical to the APG’s overall objectives. The APG actively engages with financial and non-financial institutions, NPOs, training centers, and universities in the Asia-Pacific to better inform the general public and specialists about global issues relating to money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation financing.

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India to give flash flood warning to Asian nations

India has been designated as a nodal center for preparing flash-flood forecasts by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

That means India will have to develop a customized model that can issue an advance warning of floods in Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Thailand,

On the sidelines of the Earth Sciences Foundation Day, Dr. Rajeevan said the IMD would be working to customize a weather model, developed by the United States and donated to the WMO, to warn of flash floods at least six hours in advance.

A test version was being tried out by the IMD, and that was able to give a flood warning about an hour in advance. Using a combination of satellite mapping and ground-based observation, this system — called the Flash Flood Guidance System — aims to provide forecasts six hours in advance.

Like India, several Southeast Asian countries depend on the monsoon and are prone to its vagaries. The proposed model would provide forecasts by computing the likelihood of rainfall and the soil moisture levels to warn of possible floods. Though Pakistan was among the list of countries that would benefit from the forecast, it had refused to participate in the scheme,

While the science to warn of floods could be developed, India was yet to work out how exactly it would warn countries of potential inundation. India currently has a warning system for tsunamis that also doubles up a warning system for several Asian countries.

The Central Water Commission, which monitors India’s dams, warns of rising water levels in the reservoirs, which are usually taken to be signs of imminent floods. The organization has recently tied up with Google to develop a software application to visualize rising water levels during heavy rains.

The WMO says flash floods account for 85% of flooding incidents across the world, causing some 5,000 deaths each year.

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US quits UN human rights council

The US is withdrawing from the United Nations human rights council, the Trump administration announced on Tuesday, calling it a “cesspool of political bias” that targets Israel in particular while ignoring atrocities in other countries.

The US problem with the body is twofold: the make-up of its membership and what it considers a disproportionate focus on allegations of human rights abuses committed by its ally, Israel.

In 2006, when the council was established, then-US President George W Bush refused to join because the organization included members accused by Washington of human rights violations.

The country changed tack under the former Obama administration, but the ascent of Trump put Washington’s continued membership back under the spotlight.

Rights groups have criticized the Trump administration for not making human rights a priority in its foreign policy. Critics say this sends a message that the administration turns a blind eye to human rights abuses in some parts of the world.

The US withdrawal from the body could bolster countries such as Cuba, Russia, Egypt, and Pakistan, which resist what they see as UN interference in sovereign issues.

About UNHRC:

The UN body was established in 2006 with the aim of promoting and protecting human rights around the globe, as well as investigating alleged human rights violations.

It is made up of 47 member states, which are selected by the UN General Assembly on a staggered basis each year for three-year-long terms.

Members meet around three times a year to debate human rights issues and pass non-binding resolutions and recommendations by majority vote.

The council also carries out the Universal Periodic Review of all UN member states, which allows civil society groups to bring accusations of human rights violations in member states to the attention of the UN.


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India’s rank marginally improves in peace index

India’s rank has marginally improved in “global peacefulness”, at a time when there is an overall decline of global peace owing to escalation of violence in West Asia and and North Africa.

Pakistan’s rank too has improved marginally, according to the Global Peace Index (GPI), released by Australia-based Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).

India has moved up four places to the 137th rank among 163 countries. The improvement is due to a reduction in the level of violent crime driven by increased law enforcement. India was ranked 141 last year.

India was also among the countries with the biggest decreases in the number of deaths, along with Sri Lanka, Chad, Colombia, and Uganda.

Iceland remains the most peaceful country in the world, a position it has held since 2008. New Zealand, Austria, Portugal and Denmark also sit in the top five most peaceful rankings.

Syria remains the least peaceful country in the world, a position it has held for the past five years. Afghanistan, South Sudan, Iraq and Somalia comprise the remaining least peaceful countries.

Amid continuing social and political turmoil, the world continues to spend enormous resources on creating and containing violence but very little on peace.

The countries that displayed the most significant growth in heavy weapons capabilities over the last 30 years are primarily in unstable regions where there are high tensions with neighbouring countries. These include Egypt, India, Iran, Pakistan, South Korea, and Syria.

Overall, the global level of peace has deteriorated by 0.27% in the last year, marking the fourth successive year of deteriorations. Ninety-two countries deteriorated, while 71 countries improved.

The four most peaceful regions – Europe, North America, Asia-Pacific, and South America – all recorded deteriorations, with the largest overall deterioration occurring in South America, owing to falls in the safety and security domain, mainly due to increases in the incarceration rate and impact of terrorism.

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The 71st World Health Assembly Begins in Geneva

In his plenary opening speech, the Director-General of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, highlighted WHO’s new General Programme of Work for the next five years. “[This] is not about reinventing the wheel. It’s about making a bigger impact than we already make. It is ambitious, as it should be. The vision set at our founding 70 years ago is not a modest vision.

World Health Assembly (WHA):

The World Health Assembly (WHA) is the forum through which the World Health Organization (WHO) is governed by its 194 member states. It is the world’s highest health policy setting body and is composed of health ministers from member states.

The members of the World Health Assembly generally meet every year in May in Geneva, the location of WHO Headquarters.

The main functions of the World Health Assembly are to determine the policies of the Organization, appoint the Director-General, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget.

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