The Union Budget was hailed as “once-in-a-century” budget when introduced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in February this year, but the second wave of Covid-19 threatens to derail the move, if a Reuters report is to be believed.
“The budget aimed to revive Asia’s third-largest economy via investing in infrastructure and health care, while relying on an aggressive privatisation strategy and robust tax collections—on the back of projected growth of 10.5%–to fund its spending in the fiscal year,” said the report as it added that at the time, a massive Covid-19 vaccination drive and a rebound in consumer demand and investments had put the economy on track to recover from its deepest recorded slump.
With India reporting more
than three lakh daily infections and many parts of the country under “varying degrees of lockdown”, most of the growth projections that the budget was built around are now mired in uncertainty, Reuters added.
Earlier this week, Moody’s said that India’s severe second wave will slow the near-term economic recovery and it could weigh on longer-term growth dynamics. It cut its GDP forecast to 9.3% from 13.7%.
While the government maintains it is too early to revise its own numbers, as per Reuters, officials privately concede growth will be much more muted that previously anticipated if social distancing measures continue.
Covid-19 has also hit the bureaucracy hard with many key officials infected by the virus, slowing decisions on privatisations, among other proposed reforms. Two senior officials told Reuters that the privatisation of assets such as oil refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp and national carrier Air India, where processes are well advanced, may now be pushed into early 2022—some three months later than previously planned. “The virtual data room for BPCL has been opened for initial bidders but given the lockdown, physical verification of assets is unlikely right now,” one of the officials said.
The delays will affect a series of other privatisation plans including two banks, insurance and energy companies, that are at the centre of reforms proposed by the budget. The pandemic is also likely to delay the listing of India’s largest insurer Life Insurance Corp, they told Reuters.
Another official said the lockdowns will start affecting tax collections by June, potentially lowering revenues 15%-20% from what was estimated for the quarter.
With the projected fiscal deficit target pegged at 6.8% of gross domestic product and a soaring borrowing programme, delays in the privatisation plan and the anticipated shortfalls in tax revenues are already prompting cuts to some of the government’s previously earmarked expenses, two officials said. “We are looking to press a pause button on some of our non-priority spending,” Reuters quotes one of the officials as saying.
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DETOX THE MIND: SANT RAJINDER SINGH JI MAHARAJ RELEASES A POWERFUL, GROUNDBREAKING BOOK
In a worldwide launch of his book that provides great solutions and techniques for reducing stress and anxiety, Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj, a former scientist, a world-renowned spiritual leader, and a best-selling author, said that stress, anxiety, and depression could interfere with our happiness and ability to fully function in today’s increasingly hectic world. This book lays out a blueprint of how to identify and overcome the causes of stress.
“Detox the Mind” Book edition by Rajinder singh
He further added in his address, “A life free from stress, fear, anxiety, and depression awaits you. You can wake up looking forward to a day filled with peace and joy. Imagine how wonderful life could be if you could replace stress with relaxation and happiness. You can take simple steps to make this dream a reality. Detox the Mind is a journey into relief from anxiety and stress.
There is a tranquil lake of profound relaxation within us. Unfortunately, many cannot experience it, as it is covered with toxins and pollution, making it inaccessible. The journey begins with removing obstacles to finding our inner spa. Those who want to improve need to go through a process called mental detoxification or ridding themselves of impurities. People worldwide are turning to meditation as a way to detox the mind to achieve peace and happiness. This practical how-to book guides us through simple methods of meditation to replace our stress with blissful relaxation.
By following a step-by-step plan, we can dive into an inner sea of relaxation anytime we want and lead a joyous, peaceful life.”
In this inspirational book, Detox the Mind, Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj provides a step-by-step journey along with engaging exercises, so that one can take this at one’s own pace and discover a joyful, wondrous, and peaceful daily life.
In these times, we need all the help we can get to gain a renewed sense of tranquility to face life’s challenges with optimism, enthusiasm, and a fresh perspective – resulting not only in inner peace but also in improved relationships with family, friends, and co-workers. It is even recommended by experts in the medical community for our physical and mental well-being.
The book is available in paperback, eBook (Kindle), and audiobook format on the Amazon website. You can visit the website www.DetoxTheMind.org to discover more details about the book and how it can transform your life.
Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj is internationally recognised for his work towards promoting inner and outer peace through meditation on the inner Light and Sound. A global meditation teacher, Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj has been recognised worldwide for spreading the message of peace, love, and human unity for the last 30 years.
He is an internationally celebrated author and his English books such as: ‘The Abode of the Beloved’, ‘Medication as Medication for the soul’, ‘Spark of the Divine, ‘Empowering your Soul through Meditation’ and ‘Inner and Outer Peace through Meditation’ have been rated as best-sellers worldwide in the field of spirituality. His books have been translated into more than 55 languages around the world.
A former scientist, he bases his teachings on science and its findings. His views on how science and spirituality are two sides of the same coin are well received worldwide.
Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj’s life and work can be summed up as a continuous journey of love and selfless service to help people discover their life’s purpose. He has helped people from all walks of life connect to their true selves by teaching them the science of meditation. His is a message of hope, love, human unity, and selfless service. Among his several awards, including the peace awards by various countries and tributes are five honorary doctorates in recognition of his tireless efforts.
Sawan Kirpal Ruhani Mission has over 3,200 centers across the globe. The Indian headquarters of the organisation is in Vijay Nagar, Delhi, and the International headquarters is in Naperville, Chicago, USA.
Bust the myths surrounding use of AI in recruitment
AI recruiting is the application of artificial intelligence technology for various recruitment functions. It can be as simple as using AI to chat with candidates, or to continuously monitor, analyze, and adapt a selection process to identify potential top performers. AI in recruitment is designed to streamline or automate part of a recruitment workflow.
Artificial intelligence (AI) for recruiting is capable of revolutionizing the talent acquisition process, by enabling machine learning to learn how to select your ideal applicant and automate manual procedures in the hiring process. This technology is intended to expedite or automate some aspects of the recruiting process, particularly those that are repetitive and high-volume. AI can bring in software that does sentiment analysis on job descriptions to uncover potentially biased wording or software that uses machine learning to resume to auto-screen candidates. AI recruiting tools can use the plethora of data that recruiters have on their talent pool to generate valuable insights. Recruiters may use artificial intelligence to aid with blind screening to remove prejudice and visibility into previous successful prospects who have stayed with the company.
Though AI is rapidly changing the recruitment environment, it is impossible to ignore the fallacies that appear as we learn to apply the technology. Here are some of the most common myths about AI in recruitment: –
AI will replace recruiters and will alter the function of the recruiter by assisting them in completing business procedures and becoming more proactive, but it will not replace them. While AI for recruitment can automate several operations that are presently performed manually, technology cannot yet replace all of them. Humans and AI will collaborate, resulting in increased efficiency and improved HR procedures. These procedures need social skills, empathy, and bargaining ability, which AI technology cannot currently provide.
AI RECRUITMENT TOOLS ARE COMPLICATED TO USE
Although AI recruitment tools are not difficult to use, they do take some time and effort. You will be able to extend your talent pool and spend less time on talent acquisition once you and your teams are familiar with the software’s features. This allows you to spend more time onboarding applicants. Artificial intelligence has been easily incorporated into a variety of user-friendly recruiting tools that you are likely already familiar with. Most recruiting task forces already use an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) that includes some form of AI. AI is only a tool, and service providers may assist you in easily using it to meet your recruitment goals.
AI IS ONLY BENEFICIAL TO LARGE CORPORATIONS
Larger firms gain the most from AI since it helps with mass hiring, but AI hiring software may help both large and small businesses do more than just speed up the recruiting process. By optimising which job boards your advertisement is posted on, ad placement software may help you lower your cost-per-hire. Your company is more likely to locate the right applicant without wasting time and money. AI may provide a small organisation with a lean operation with the insights and resources that much larger corporations have. They can use AI technology to source candidates, allowing a recruiter to focus on in-person interviews and contract negotiations.
AI RECRUITMENT SOFTWARE IS EXPENSIVE
While high-quality AI hiring software is not free, it can save your company money in the long run. AI-based recruiting software might significantly reduce resource costs and operating time. And, because time is money these days, saving overheads are just as valuable. The financial ramifications of any hiring activity are critical for HR executives. And if you can save money on that, you can use the money towards other departmental operations that will bring greater value to prospects or current workers and make a significant impact.
AI ALGORITHMS ARE BIASED
Recruiting biases, both conscious and unconscious, frequently enter into the process, resulting in the rejection of deserving candidates. However, instead of creating bias in hiring, AI helps to mitigate it. AI evaluates all data points objectively, reducing preconceptions, mental weariness, and prejudice that humans are prone to. However, this is contingent on how the AI is built, as these systems are capable of mimicking the bias of the people who created them. The truth is that AI is exactly what we train it to be. The question is whether we can teach it better than we were taught.
The author is Vice President, MS Rvantage
WHAT WILL YOU LOOK LIKE IN THE METAVERSE? DECODING THE AVATARS
This week, we wanted to tackle something fun: what will you look like on the metaverse? We will give some background to avatars, look at the different types of avatars currently in use, and see how industry giants like Microsoft and Facebook/Meta are addressing the avatar question for a metaverse-ready future.
In Sanskrit, the word ‘avatar’ refers to the earthly forms taken by celestial beings when they have to walk among humans. The avatars being developed for the metaverse may not have such lofty origins, but the broad understanding and themes behind them are similar. Avatars are digital representations of your physical identities on the internet and, in the future, on an interconnected metaverse. You may have played games where you were able to design and pick a custom character that would be your representation in the game world.
As industry leaders are expanding the bounds of the metaverse and defining what it is, they have landed on avatars as the first and most persistent way for users to interact with the metaverse environment. You will be able to create unique and individualistic avatars in the virtual world, and this avatar will remain the same across platforms and apps. In other words, similar to real life, you will have a reliable, constant visual identity on the internet.
Now, we can categories avatars into two broad types: Full body avatars and VR avatars. VR avatars are relatively simple. They provide the user with a first-person POV and let other users in the environment see only the avatar’s torso. Full-body avatars, as the name suggests, incorporate your whole body into the experience and allow you to wear sensors in different parts of your body to interact more effectively with the virtual world. Now you can use a few different ways to create your avatar; you can use avatar creation services like Ready Player Me to create an internet-wide avatar, or you can scan your face or a photograph to create a photo-realistic avatar of yourself.
Avatars are becoming more and more popular these days. A key indicator of the future relevance of avatars is that both Facebook/Meta and Microsoft are making avatars and virtual environments a keystone of their operations moving forward. Microsoft has accelerated development on Mesh and has introduced avatars for Teams, where you can choose to appear as an avatar in a video meeting, for example. Microsoft’s avatars are not photorealistic and resemble animated characters. Facebook/Meta is taking a different approach. We can see a bright, animated character aesthetic in the newly debuted avatars on Instagram, but behind the scenes, Facebook/Meta is developing highly realistic avatars using bio-scanning technology, AI-powered neural networks, and sensors modeling the physics of body movements. This point to a future where you may essentially be able to upload a tru-to-life digital scan of yourself into the metaverse.
We have also seen avatars introduced on iOS, where you can design an avatar and can then use emoji is derived from that avatar to react to text messages. However, these avatars, from Microsoft teams to Instagram to iOS, have a limited range of uses. And the user is restricted from using it across platforms, devices, and apps. The metaverse conception of the avatar would let users create their avatars once and be able to use them in a variety of digital situations. Your identity in the metaverse – your digital clothes, digital currency, etc. will be tied to this digital manifestation. So, the avatar will be a citizen of the metaverse and a crucial building block of the social structure within it. We are on an exciting frontier with graphic designers, 3D artists, and programmers all united to revitalise and innovate digital identity.
BJP AND CONGRESS MULLING OVER STRATEGIES TO WIN RAJYA SABHA SEATS
Ahead of much-awaited Rajya Sabha elections for two seats to be slated on 10 June 2022, the saffron party BJP and the main opposition party Congress are mulling over strategy to win the seats. Apart from this, the state government has given a green signal to conduct the elections of Gram Panchayats and Local Bodies saying that it has no objection to the issue. Following the reaction of the state government, the Haryana State Election Commission is most likely to announce the date for the same here on 23 May 2022 in Chandigarh.
Thus, in wake of the heated political climate and forthcoming elections of Rajya Sabha, the BJP and the Congress both are on their toes to emerge winners. In this series, both parties have called upon the meetings of state executives in a bid to mull over the strategy and associated aspects in terms of state politics. It is worth noting that two days meetings of the BJP state executives have been slated for 27 and 28 May 2022 in Hisar to be followed by the Chintan Shivir of the Congress to be held in Chandigarh to be held on 31 May and 1 June 2022.
Everyone is familiar with the ongoing feud in the state congress after the party stalwart Kuldeep Bishnoi is upset with the party high command after he was denied the post of state Congress president. In wake of this, the state party in-charge Vivek Bansal along with other senior leaders are putting their best to convince Kuldeep Bishnoi pertaining to the decision made by the party high command.
It is pertinent to mention that the Chief Minister Manohar Lal along with the state in-charge Vinod Tawde and the state party president OP Dhankhar will be present in the meeting to discuss the strategy pertaining to aforesaid political issues. Besides, all party MLAs, legislators and union ministers hailing from Haryana have been asked to mark their presence during the meetings so that required suggestions can be taken into consideration. The BJP, even the Chief Minister continues to have a close eye even on minor political ongoing movements in the house. It is a noticeable fact that Congress is a divided house in the state so the BJP is likely to discuss such matters in order to gain political mileage from the issue pertaining to Rajya Sabha elections.
There are 90 legislators in the state assembly. It is pertinent to mention that each party requires the support of at least 31 MLAs to win the seat. Apart from the 6 independent and 10 legislators hailing from the Jannayak Janty Party (JJP), the BJP has its 40 MLAs who fulfil the criteria to win one seat. In this series, the opposite faction Congress is the claimant for the remaining Rajya Sabha seat as the party has the support of its 31 legislators.
Haryana Congress will hold a two-day Chintan Shivir in Chandigarh following the e-resolution passed in the Udaipur Chintan Shivir. Pertaining to the same, Haryana Congress in-charge Vivek Bansal met with Congress State President Uday Bhan and the four working presidents at the Congress Headquarters. The leader of opposition Bhupender Singh Hooda, state in-charge Vivek Bansal, newly appointed state party president along with four working party presidents will be present in the Shivir.
A conference of Congress General Secretaries and state in-charges was held at Congress Headquarters on 17 May to discuss the resolution’s implementation. Further, it was decided also at that meeting that state workshops for the execution of the Chintan Shivir resolution would be held on 1-2 June by Congress’ General Secretaries and in charge.
FORMER UP CHIEF SECRETARY, RLD CHIEF AMONG PROBABLE NOMINEES FROM SP FOR RAJYA SABHA POLLS
The finalisation of candidates for the three Rajya Sabha seats by the Samajwadi Party (SP) is in the final stage and the party boss and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav may declare the names in a coming couple of days, sources privy to the development informed The Daily Guardian Review. The party might also send the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Jayant Chaudhary from its own quota to send a message in the state. Names of Alok Ranjan, a former Uttar Pradesh chief secretary, Javid Ali Khan, a former parliamentarian, and Saleem Sherwani are also doing the rounds in the power corridors of Lucknow as probable contenders.
Talking to The Daily Guardian Review, a senior party leader said, “one candidate from the Muslim community will go and Javid Ali Khan and Saleem Sherwani are top contenders, Alok Ranjan is also a probable candidate as he was instrumental in the designing of our election manifesto, the party might also thing of sending RLD chief to deliver a message”.
Eleven Rajya Sabha seats are getting vacant in June from the politically most significant state of the country. As per the present strength in the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) can easily send eight members to the upper house while the SP can send three members. The state of Uttar Pradesh had 31 members in the Rajya Sabha. The members of the Rajya Sabha are elected by the Member of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote. In UP one candidate needs 34 votes to get elected. Presently the National Democratic Alliance has 273 members while the SP led alliance has 125 seats in the legislative assembly.
Among the 11 members from Uttar Pradesh who are retiring five are from the saffron party, two from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), three from the SP and one from the Indian National Congress (INC).
Uttarakhand hits a milestone, conserves highest number of plant species
Uttarakhand has conserved the highest number of plant species, a milestone in conservation, according to a report released by the research wing of Uttarakhand Forest Department. According to the annual report on conserved species released on World Biodiversity Day, a total of 1943 species have been conserved through in situ and ex situ conservation measures in the year 2021–2022, across 6 centres in the state. These conservations centres are situated in Haldwani, Nainital, Ranikhet, Pithoragarh, Gopeshwar and Dehradun. The number of conserved species last year was 1576.
“This year the focus and theme were the conservation of endemic plant species,” says Chief Conservator Forest Sanjiv Chaturvedi, IFS. Endemic species are those which are found only in a particular geographical region and nowhere else in the world. If these endemic species disappear from their natural habitat, they will become extinct forever. Most of such species are already listed under the category of threatened or endangered species because of various types of biotic interferences and effects of climatic change. Some of the endemic species are those that are used in treating kidney patients.
These plant species have to be protected, exhorted Chaturvedi, not only from a biodiversity point of view as these species are unique but also because many other species of animals or insects depending on these species may also go extinct with these plants.
Speaking to The Daily Guardian Review, Chaturvedi further said that in the Forest Department has so far conserved 56 plant species endemic to the state and Indian Himalayan Region, of which 35 are near-endemic, 7 species are endemic to Uttarakhand, and 14 are endemic to Indian Himalayan Region. Some are theme are prominent endemic species.
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