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Sri Lanka Can Build Back Better from COVID-19 and Realize Inclusive Growth

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The World Bank’s new Country Director for Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, Faris Hadad-Zervos, completed his first visit to Sri Lanka today. The purpose of this visit was to meet key policymakers and understand the country’s development priorities. Based in Kathmandu, Nepal, this was the Country Director’s first visit to Sri Lanka in his new role. Hadad-Zervos was joined by Chiyo Kanda, the new Country Manager for Maldives and Sri Lanka, based in Colombo.

“We appreciate the frank and productive conversations we had with government officials, members of the private sector and civil society and all those whom we met during our visits in Colombo and the Provinces. These gave us a growing understanding of the Sri Lankan sustainable development storyline and aspirations,” said Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka. “The World Bank is a long-term partner for the people of Sri Lanka and is committed to help the country reach its full potential for the benefit of all its people.”

The new World Bank management team paid courtesy calls to His Excellency the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Hon. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Cabinet and State Ministers, Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, and Secretaries and senior officials associated with the current World Bank program in Sri Lanka.

They also met with members of civil society from across the spectrum, private sector representatives, development partners as well as thought leaders to better understand Sri Lanka’s vast potential for sustainable growth.

The visits included the port and other facilities in the Hambantota district to observe infrastructure development in the south. At the government hospital-Halthota in Kalutara district, they learned about the government effort to improve primary health care, integrating screening and management of non-communicable diseases, and strengthen promotive and outreach services.    

 “The World Bank is mindful of the challenges the country is facing in this COVID19 era but will also keep our eye on the opportunities for sustainable recovery. We will leverage our knowledge, technical and financial resources to support Sri Lanka to build back better in the post-COVID era for inclusive and resilient growth,” said Chiyo Kanda, World Bank Country Manager for Maldives and Sri Lanka “We are in the process of updating our Systematic Country Diagnostic to deepen our understanding and inform our next Country Partnership Framework that will define the World Bank Group’s engagements with Sri Lanka for the next 4-5 years.”  

The Systematic Country Diagnostic is a thorough analysis, informed by consultations with a broad range of stakeholders, of the key challenges and opportunities in reducing poverty and boosting shared prosperity in a sustainable manner.

In response to the COVID pandemic, the World Bank leveraged the existing portfolio and repurposed a significant portion to support the Government’s effort to reduce the impact of the pandemic. Providing urgently needed personal protective equipment (PPE), supporting vulnerable groups with temporary cash support, improving COVID-19 protection measures on public transport, facilitating tele-education for school children, and providing digital solutions to improve delivery of public services are among the emergency response activities already completed or ongoing. Discussions are under way to further adjust the program to adapt to government’s priorities and emerging development needs.

The current World Bank portfolio in Sri Lanka consists of 19 ongoing projects, with a total commitment value of US$3.65 billion in a variety of sectors including transport, urban, agriculture, water, education and health.

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Finance

Fewer protections, lower wages, and higher health risks: Homeworking in the COVID era

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Image: European Wilderness Society

The UN’s labour agency (ILO) called on Wednesday for greater recognition and protection for the hundreds of millions of people who work from home, accounting for almost eight per cent of the global workforce even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since movement restrictions linked to the global spread of the virus were implement in many countries, the number of people working from home has increased sharply, and that trend is expected to continue in coming years, despite the rollout of vaccines that began in late 2020.

Drop in wages in rich and poor countries

According to a new ILO report, many of these “invisible” workers experience poor working conditions, face greater health and safety risks, and lack access to training, which can affect their career prospects. They are also likely to earn less than their counterparts who work outside the home, even in higher-skilled professions.

“Homeworkers earn on average 13 per cent less in the United Kingdom; 22 per cent less in the United States; 25 per cent less in South Africa; and about 50 per cent in Argentina, India and Mexico”, ILO said in a news release on Wednesday.

The report, “Working from home. From invisibility to decent work”, also showed that homeworkers do not have the same level of social protection as other workers, and are less likely to be part of a trades union or to be covered by a collective bargaining agreement.

Homeworkers include teleworkers who work remotely on a continual basis, and a vast number of workers who are involved in the production of goods that cannot be automated, such as embroidery, handicrafts, and electronic assembly. A third category, digital platform workers, provide services, such as processing insurance claims, copy-editing, or cutting edge specializations such as data annotation for the training of artificial intelligence systems.

Growth likely to continue

According to ILO estimates, prior to COVID-19, there were approximately 260 million home-based workers globally, representing 7.9 per cent of global employment.

However, in the first few months of the pandemic, an estimated one-in-five workers found themselves working from home. Data for the whole of 2020, once available, is expected to show a “substantial increase” over the previous year, said the agency.

The ILO predicts that the growth of homeworking is likely to continue and take on greater importance in the coming years, bringing renewed urgency to the need to address the issues facing homeworkers and their employers.

Poorly regulated

At the same time, homeworking is often poorly regulated, with little compliance with existing laws, and homeworkers usually classified as independent contractors, which means that they are excluded from the scope of labour legislation. In response, ILO outlined clear recommendations to make working from home “more visible and thus better protected”.

Industrial homeworkers should be made part of the formal economy, given legal and social protection, and made aware of their rights, ILO urged. Similarly, teleworkers should have a “right to disconnect”, to ensure the boundaries between working life and private life are respected.

The report also urges governments to work closely with workers’ and employers’ organizations, to ensure that all homeworkers move from invisibility to decent work, “whether they are weaving rattan in Indonesia, making shea butter in Ghana, tagging photos in Egypt, sewing masks in Uruguay, or teleworking in France”.

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Which jobs will be made obsolete in 2021 by technology

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Image source: pexels

Technology is becoming advanced every day, resulting in a rapid change in world circumstances. Even with professional education becoming more accessible, there is an increase in the fraction of unemployed individuals worldwide. Though, if you look into this yourself and search it online, you will notice many articles explaining and listing the jobs that will be obsolete, but Lottoland has explained their perspective and mentioned the jobs that will be replaced by technology in upcoming decades. So, this article enlists the dropdown thatLottoland looks at more jobs being replaced by technology.

Cashiers being replaced by self-check machines:

With the development of self-made checkout machines, the need for cashiers is becoming extinct. We know that the emerging deadly situation because of the covid virus has compelled millions of people to shop online. Amazon is one of the leading stores that merchandise each and everything. An individual can open the app, search online, and add to the cart. The company delivers the goods at your doorsteps. On the other hand, there is a plausibility that RFID tags will replace both the self-made machines and cashiers. 

Newspaper delivery replaced by electronic reading devices:

This one’s pretty obvious. Previously, newspaper delivery guys used to dispatch newspapers every morning at your doorstep, but unfortunately, these are gradually being replaced by the mighty internet. Every household has a mobile and internet. It has become effortless for folks to tune in to the latest news by searching online merely. Even the trend of visiting libraries for reading newspapers is also fading gradually.

Travel agents by travel websites:

With the excessive use of the internet, people around have found ways to make things super easy and accessible. Travel agents were previously booked or hired for traveling purposes, but nowadays, numerous travel websites can provide you with every detail on fingertips. Even discounts and packages regarding any foreign trips are available on every social media platform. But on the brighter side, there are still people like business folks or people who want to travel for pilgrimage readily hire travel agents to make all the bookings.

Taxi dispatchers or drivers replaced by mobile apps.

Who doesn’t know to use Uber or Careem? It is indeed a fact that a person no longer has to stand on the road and wave to the taxi dispatchers to stop the car and bargain the rate. Everything is arranged online now. This is an excellent convenience for everyone who doesn’t own a car and commute to their workplaces via public transportation. Uber drivers are located at every corner globally. All you have to do is book your car, see the fare and wait for it to arrive at your doorstep. And this part doesn’t snatch a person’s job as a driver. Anyone with a valid driver’s license can register at one of these apps, become a car captain, and start earning instantly.

Referee replaced by video cameras or technology:

When it comes to sports, whether it’s cricket or a football match, we know how critical the referee’s role is. His sole objective is to look at live games and assess every minute. But with the advancement in video technology, there are chances that a referee’s job may become obsolete in the coming years. But the importance and value it holds can never be replaced since we know how tactfully a referee works in every game of the show. Even if it is replaced by technology, people will miss the job of a referee and the way he uses it.

Robots replace telemarketers:

It seems like the whole world is going to be replaced by robots. We know that there was a distinctly individual voice behind every marketing object or company in our childhood. And these telemarketers use to guide us out wholly. It was fun. Kids even use to tease them by ringing them over several times, but again technology will replace this sort of employment. Since robots are trained to do human jobs, there is a high possibility that the companies will provide robotic help on call. That’s a little off, isn’t it?

The everyday individual replaces social media experts:

Previously, unique social media experts communicated their knowledge by assisting people in knowing how social media works. It was indeed a decent job, and many people were pursuing it as a professional career. People used to learn how to operate these platforms, but with the rise of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, countless people have learned how to use them and have taught everyone else how to use them. If you wonder who is left and who doesn’t know how to run these social media platforms? It is now a simple job. We see bloggers almost at every forum representing the same thing over and over again. So, there’s no difference left, which means everybody is a social media expert regardless of the generation.

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Finance

Deloitte and Tax Analysts Take Great Strides to Increase Tax Policy Transparency

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Today Deloitte Tax LLP (“Deloitte”) announced an agreement with Tax Analysts, the publisher of the Tax Notes product portfolio, to make the nonprofit’s federal tax law library available to the general public. Placing Tax Notes’ entire federal tax law library in front of a paywall is a win for tax policy transparency, as it grants the public easy access to timely information and updates on a platform that is intuitive and reliable.

“It has become increasingly challenging for many in the tax profession to find content when they are looking for it. This has been true despite living in an era where vast pools of information are available and should be at our fingertips. Until now, the ability to access current federal tax law required a time-consuming approach of cobbling together information from a variety of sources,” said Chuck Kosal, chief transformation officer, Deloitte Tax LLP.

“By teaming with Tax Analysts on this effort, not only are we helping our clients easily access relevant data on federal tax policies impacting their businesses, but we’re making an impact on the public at large. This is in keeping with Deloitte’s mission to make an impact that matters in the communities where we live and work — in this case, making business-critical federal tax information readily available to those who need it.”

“For the last 50 years, Tax Analysts has continuously fought to ensure the disclosure of the IRS’s working law. In 1972, the organization obtained public access to private letter rulings and technical advice memoranda, and through the years, engaged in numerous efforts to continue to gain access to guidance documents. It is fitting that Tax Analysts, with Deloitte’s support, would be pioneering a project to make that working law publicly available to all. I am thrilled to have engaged with Deloitte on this effort,” said Cara Griffith, president and CEO of Tax Analysts.

“Fundamentally, we believe that every U.S. taxpayer should have access to current tax law,” added Banks Edwards, managing partner, Washington National Tax, Deloitte Tax LLP. “We are thrilled that our effort with Tax Analysts not only supports their larger effort to bring transparency to tax policy issues, but it also helps alleviate a real pain point for those who have struggled to easily access the most recent tax laws and the Treasury Department’s interpretation of them. Deloitte is proud to sponsor Tax Analysts’ efforts to offer a real, tangible solution.”

Tax Notes’ federal tax law library is part of an extensive suite of daily tax news, analysis, research and reference tools. As part of Deloitte Tax’s sponsorship, visitors to the site can now access details about the federal code, regulations, and other primary source documents, including the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; proposed, final and temporary regulations; rules for lawyers, accountants and others practicing before the IRS; Treasury decisions, IRS guidance, and private rulings; court and legislative documents; public comments on regulations; rate tables; and other correspondence, press releases and miscellaneous tax documents.

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