India set to become water scarce by 2025: report

Council seat will help Hindi enter U.N. list: Sushma

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3.Council seat will help Hindi enter U.N. list: Sushma

India, which is aspiring for a permanent seat in the expanded United Nations Security Council (UNSC), hopes its inclusion in the elite group will make it easier for it to gather support for the inclusion of Hindi in the list of U.N. official languages.

On Monday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said India was yet to make a formal proposal as it needed at least 129 votes in the 193-member General Assembly. She also rejected the perception that the proposal was not mooted and accepted because of monetary considerations. The view that a nation could pay for getting a language included in the list of official languages was incorrect as expenses towards the introduction of a new official language were borne by the member states, she said.

A high-level committee under the chairmanship of the External Affairs Minister was constituted in February 2003 and a sub-committee led by the Minister of State for External Affairs in August that year to look into the proposal to include Hindi in the list of official languages.


1.More women workers can boost growth: IMF chief

Women are increasingly seen as active agents of change’

If the number of female workers were to increase to the same level as the number of men, GDP in the United States would expand by 5 per cent, by 9 per cent in Japan, and by 27 per cent in India, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has estimated.

Delivering the keynote address at the Women’s 20 (W-20) Summit in Ankara, Turkey on Sunday, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said: “Women’s empowerment is not just a fundamentally moral cause, it is also an absolute economic no-brainer.”

Access to farming

The Food and Agriculture Organisation, she said, has estimated that giving women the same access to farming resources as men could increase output in developing countries by up to 4 per cent — lifting over 100 million out of hunger. “Women are increasingly seen, by men as well as women, as active agents of change: the dynamic promoters of social transformations that can alter the lives of both women and men,” Ms. Lagarde said, quoting economist Amartya Sen. The world has a unique moment of opportunity, she told the meet, according to an official statement. “We must seize it…”.

The W-20, she said, can make a difference by reminding the G-20 of its commitment — and holding them to account.

At their summit meeting last November, the G-20 pledged to reduce the gap in women’s labour force participation by 25 per cent by the year 2025, which would have the benefit of creating an estimated 100 million new jobs for the global economy.

Empowering women boosts economic growth and can reduce poverty. Getting more women into secure and well-paid jobs raises overall per capita income, Ms Largarde said. “Greater gender equality not only raises absolute income, it also helps to reduce income inequality.”

Three key policy areas for women’s economic empowerment, the IMF chief talked about, include those in education, the workplace and the family. Opportunities in the classroom have ramifications that are wide-reaching and long-lasting, she said.

“The message is clear: girls’ education is probably the single best investment a country can make.” One extra year of primary school boosts a woman’s earning potential by 10 to 20 per cent. One extra year of secondary school boosts her earning potential by 25 per cent. Other ways to boost schooling of girls, beyond investments in education include social programmes such as cash transfers to poor families made conditional on their daughters’ school attendance — as is the case in Bangladesh and Cambodia. And strengthening infrastructure, such as roads and sanitation, that makes it easier for girls to get to school.

“While having a good education certainly helps women enter the workforce, it is by no means a guarantee of employment… A number of countries with highly educated women still have low levels of female labour force participation. For example, it is a well-known challenge in Japan,” Ms. Lagarde said.

To help women find work, removing legal barriers, such as having equal property rights, is vital followed by women’s pay and unequal access to finance, she advised.

Recent IMF research noted that almost 90 per cent of countries have at least one important legal restriction that makes it difficult for women to work. In half of the countries studied, when gender equity was constitutionally granted, female labour force participation increased by at least five per cent over the following five years.

It also found that even with the same level of education, and in the same occupation, women earn just three-quarters of what men earn.

Financial inclusion

In emerging and developing countries, 70 per cent of female-owned small and medium-sized enterprises are either unserved or under-served by financial institutions, she said.

Increasing financial inclusion for women is an issue that Ms. Lagarde plans to emphasise at the U.N. Summit on the Post-2015 Development Agenda later this month.

The IMF chief said that infrastructure can be an obstacle too. “Without access to basic transport or energy sources, women find it very difficult to work outside the home.” In rural South Africa, for example, electrification increased female labour force participation by 9 per cent.

On the third broad policy area, which revolves around the special role women play in family life, she said: “Men — not only as partners, but also as fathers, sons, and brothers — have an important stake in empowering women... Not only does this help their partners, daughters, mothers and sisters to achieve their potential, it also helps build a stronger society for all.”

Research suggests that cutting the cost of childcare by half could increase the number of young mothers in the labour market by 10 per cent, Ms. Lagarde said.

Paid parental leave helps to maintain a woman’s connection to the labour market. Japan, for example, has expanded childcare leave benefits from 50 per cent to 67 per cent of salary.

Girls’ education is probably the single best investment a country can make’

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