Budget big on education, jobs

first_imgThe South African government will giveincentives to companies that hire youngpeople. (Image: image library) South Africa’s minister of finance PravinGordhan delivered an applaudable budgetspeech. (Image: GCIS)MEDIA CONTACTS• Thoraya PandyCommunication UnitNational Treasury+27 (12) 315 5944 or +27 82 416 [email protected] NkosiMinister of Finance Pravin Gordhan announced a new, energised commitment to South Africa’s young people in his maiden budget speech, with education and job-creation programmes for graduates and school-leavers high on his list of priorities.Addressing Parliament on 17 February, Gordhan said the biggest slice of the national budget for 2010/11, R165-billion, would be ploughed into the country’s 27 000 schools, 23 universities and various colleges.“Education remains our largest item of spending, giving meaning to our commitment that it is our number-one priority,” he said.Some R12-billion from the allocation will go towards the country’s Further Education and Training (FET) colleges, and a further R1.3-billion will be used to improve the salaries of educators at these institutions.Government is working hard to position FET colleges as viable alternatives to universities to absorb as many matriculants as possible into tertiary education.The aims is to equip students, many of whom are there on bursaries, with practical skills to make them more employable.“Expanding and improving capacity at our FET colleges is a vital part of our growth strategy,” Gordhan said. “We have set ourselves ambitious targets to expand the number of young people studying vocational subjects.”Gordhan’s announcement was welcomed by several political parties. “The injection of more resources into the further education and training will assist in the skills development of our people and prepare them for future absorption into the job market post the current recession period,” said the ruling African National Congress (ANC).Treasury has also put aside a further R2.7-billion for the Department of Basic Education to provide school literacy and numeracy workbooks in all 11 official languages.Incentivising job creationAs President Jacob Zuma announced in his State of the Nation address on 11 February, government is committed to building strategies to encourage the private sector to hire inexperienced young South Africans, who currently make up the largest portion of unemployed citizens.Government is planning to subsidise companies that hire young people, making it more of an attractive option for employers.Gordhan said labour market data indicates that “employers are reluctant to hire inexperienced work-seekers”, and this denies youngsters the opportunity to garner “basic workplace competencies”.The Department of Labour will launch a campaign to inform young people about job opportunities and training, with the goal to get this up and running by early 2011.“The aim is to raise employment of young school-leavers by a further 500 000 by 2013,” Gordhan said.“Many South Africans, speaking from their own experiences on the streets of our cities, at factory gates and in rural communities, have urged us to take steps to make it easier for young people to find work.”The country’s official opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), saw Gordhan’s youth job-creation plan as the “main thrust” of the budget speech, “particularly the detailing of a wage subsidy that will open up job opportunities for South African school-leavers”.“We believe wage subsidies can create real, permanent employment for thousands of young people in South Africa,” the DA said.Public worksSouth Africa is also planning to boost employment through the Expanded Public Works Programme, which has already provided jobs for thousands of people, albeit on a temporary basis.The aim of the programme is to create 4.5-million short-term jobs between 2009 and 2014. Gordhan allocated R52-billion over the next three years to strengthen this programme.“An additional R2.5-billion will go towards supporting labour-intensive projects in the social, non-state and environmental sectors, largely targeted at rural areas,” the minister added.Growth expectationsTurning to the recession, which led to 900 000 local workers being retrenched in 2009, Gordhan said: “Our people want action on jobs, growth and poverty. We must build a new common purpose so that we can use all of our talents, skills and resources to tackle our economic and social challenges.”The economy shrank by an estimated 1.8% in 2009, after five years of strong growth.However, for this financial year Gordhan said “things are looking slightly better” – he expects the economy to grow by 2.3% in 2010, rising to 3.6% in 2012.“Household consumption expenditure will improve during the course of this year as confidence improves and household debt levels abate,” he added.Consumer price inflation declined over the course of 2009 and is expected to remain at around 6% over the period ahead. “These are significant improvements in the economic outlook,” the minister announced.Talking tax, Gordhan said that as a result of the deterioration in the South African economy, “we now expect to raise R69-billion less in tax this year than we budgeted”.To boost revenue, government will introduce a 12-month amnesty period for non-compliant taxpayers. The Voluntary Disclosure Programme, to start in November, will enable tax evaders to “disclose and pay undeclared tax liabilities at a reduced interest charge and without penalties”.Health, welfareOther significant announcements in the budget address included a R105-billion allocation for health over the next year, and a further R3-billion to broaden access to antiretroviral treatment – especially for HIV-positive woman and children co-infected with TB who have CD4 counts of less than 350.“Presently, about 920 000 people are on antiretroviral treatment. The budget provides for the number to rise to 2.1-million in 2012/13,” Gordhan said.Government will spend R89-billion on social welfare in 2010/11, with the state old age pension and disability grant rising by R70 to R1 080 a month from 1 March.The child support grant, which has been extended to 18-year-olds, will increase to R250 a month. “The inclusion of about two million children … through the extension of grants up to 18 years … will radically push back the frontiers of poverty and improve the quality of life of millions,” the ANC said.last_img read more


Brand South Africa launches 16 Days for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign

first_imgJohannesburg, Thursday 10 November 2016 – Brand South Africa will this week launch a digital campaign under the banner ”No Excuses’ in support of the annual global 16 Days for No Violence Against Women and Children.Brand South Africa calls on all citizens to support the campaign by wearing a white ribbon during the 16-day period to symbolise their pledge to not commit or condone violence against women or children.Commemorated annually, the 16 Days of No Violence Against Women and Children, aims to raise awareness of the negative impact that violence and abuse have on women and children and the country as a whole.  It further aims to encourage people to stop violence against women and childrenBrand South Africa’s GM for Marketing, Ms Sithembile Ntomebla said: “The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign challenges South Africans to declare a truce on violence against women and children – and, ultimately, turn this into 365 days of non-violence against women and children.”The global campaign which runs from 25 November – International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Children through to International Human Rights Day on 10 December, is premised on these specific dates to emphasise the links between ending gender-based violence and human rights principles.  This period includes International Aids Day to raise awareness of how HIV and Aids impacts on the lives of women and children.The 16 Days on No Violence against Women and Children finds expression in South Africa’s Constitution and other policies which call on all stakeholders to play their part to create a society characterised by equity and fairness for women, children and other vulnerable groups.“It is the responsibility of government, business, civil society organisations, faith-based organisations, communities and the media to drive to increase awareness of the negative impact of violence and abuse on women and children, and speak out against woman and child abuse,” added Ms Ntombela.The campaign also aims to challenge the perpetrators of violence to change their behaviour, involve men in helping to eradicate violence, as well as provide survivors with information on services and organisations that can help lessen the impact of violence on their lives.For more information on how to participate in the campaign, follow the conversation on #NoExcuses.Notes to the EditorAbout Brand South AfricaBrand South Africa is the official marketing agency of South Africa, with a mandate to build the country’s brand reputation, in order to improve its global competitiveness. Its aim is also to build pride and patriotism among South Africans, in order to contribute to social cohesion and nation brand ambassadorship.About Play Your PartPlay Your Part is a nationwide programme created to inspire, empower and celebrate active citizenship in South Africa. It aims to lift the spirit of our nation by inspiring all South Africans to contribute to positive change, become involved and start doing. A nation of people who care deeply for one another and the environment in which they live is good for everyone.Play Your Part is aimed at all South Africans – from corporates and individuals, NGOs and government, churches and schools, from the young to the not-so-young. It aims to encourage South Africans to use some of their time, money, skills or goods to contribute to a better future for all.last_img read more


KB Home GreenHouse and Martha Stewart Styling Share the Spotlight at IBS

first_imgThe official unveiling this week of the KB Home GreenHouse: An Idea Home Created with Martha Stewart was preceded by a months-long drumroll touting its virtues: energy-efficient yet affordable, and, of course, representative of Stewart’s notions of comfort and style.Judging from the photos of the 2,700-sq.-ft. house — which opened for tours on Wednesday to participants at the International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Florida — it does seem to deliver solidly on the traditional, Stewart-inspired styling and amenities found in many communities built by KB Home, which has had a marketing alliance with Stewart for some years. But the advertised energy efficiency of the house — net zero energy — is new to KB Home, which, along with Pulte Homes, topped a recent survey by Calvert Investments, a specialist in socially responsible investing, intended to rank the green practices of the nation’s 10 biggest publicly traded home builders.Adding insulation, increasing airtightnessThe thirteenth project in Builder Magazine’s Concept Home series, KB Home GreenHouse started attracting media attention last fall, while construction was still underway. KB combined the production-home strategies it uses to help control costs with techniques to increase the thermal resistance and airtightness of the concrete-block exterior walls and the roof, which includes a mix of concrete tile and, in some sections, photovoltaic tiles, plus a solar thermal system.The interior surfaces of the CMU walls were insulated with foam panels. The exterior surfaces were covered with housewrap and topped with fiber cement siding. The roof was insulated with open-cell foam. According to Concept Home videos about the project, the home’s HVAC system includes a heat-recovery ventilator as well as a highly efficient dehumidification system. GreenHouse is located in Windermere, not far from Orlando, which sees very mild winters, comfortably warm weather in the spring and most of the fall, and hot semi-tropical summers.As the first net-zero-energy home in the KB lineup — and as the main showcase for this product line — the company designed and built the house to qualify for a number of green-home credentials, including the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star and WaterSense labels, a LEED for Homes Platinum rating, and an Environments for Living green certification.Of the home’s $380,000 listing price, a premium of about $70,000 was spent to achieve net-zero-energy performance and the green-home labels mentioned above. A KB official noted that the price premium will shrink significantly as the company’s NZE category grows.last_img read more


CarbonNanotube Memory that Really Competes

first_imgA side-view schematic of the single-walled carbon-nanotube field-effect transistor, showing the two halfnium dioxide layers (HfO2). The nanotube is represented by the honeycomb pattern in the center of the figure. VGS is the voltage across the transistor’s gate and source. (PhysOrg.com) — Researchers in Finland have created a form of carbon-nanotube based information storage that is comparable in speed to a type of memory commonly used in memory cards and USB “jump” drives. Researchers combine logic, memory to build a ‘high-rise’ chip This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: Carbon-Nanotube Memory that Really Competes (2009, January 26) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2009-01-carbon-nanotube-memory.html The group’s memory scheme has a write-erase time of 100 nanoseconds, which is about 100,000 times faster than previously reported carbon-nanotube memory, and retains this ability over more than 10,000 write-erase cycles. The work is reported in the January 16, 2009, online edition of Nano Letters.”In terms of speed and endurance, our memory structure is as good as the commercially available Flash memory technologies,” said Helsinki University of Technology physicist Päivi Törmä, the paper’s corresponding author, to PhysOrg.com.The memory scheme stores information using single-walled carbon-nanotube transistors, specifically field-effect transistors, which are among the fastest carbon-nanotube electrical components. Each transistor consists of four key parts, the gate, source, drain, and substrate.As a substrate, Törmä and her colleagues chose a silicon wafer. In collaboration with Finnish technology-equipment company Beneq Oy, they applied a 20-nanometer-thick layer of hafnium oxide using atomic layer deposition, a technique used to deposit materials in very thin layers. The hafnium oxide separates the substrate, which was also used as the gate in this case, from the rest of the structure. Choosing hafnium dioxide as the gate “dielectric” material—an insulator placed between two conductors to separate them—appears to be the key to the device’s fast operation, as it can trap and release charge very quickly and efficiently.On top of the hafnium-oxide layer, the group deposited a few drops of a carbon-nanotube solution, produced using commercially available nanotubes with diameters between 1.2 and 1.5 nanometers and lengths of 100 to 360 nanometers. Using an atomic force microscope, they identified nanotubes with the proper alignment; only those nanotubes became transistors. They then created source and drain electrodes for each nanotube using the metal palladium, with the nanotube forming the transistor’s conductive channel. Finally, the researchers deposited another 20-nanometer layer of hafnium oxide on top of the nanotube transistor, to “passivate” the surface, preventing unwanted reactions.”The fast memory operation we have demonstrated could potentially also be realized using other carbon materials, such as carbon-nanotube bundles or graphene,” said Törmä.Each transistor stores information based on whether current is running through it. When the voltage applied across the transistor reaches a certain threshold, current flows, which can represent one bit of information, either a “0” or a “1” (bit is short for binary digit). For example, when the transistor is conducting it may represent a “1,” and when not conducting, a “0.”Each transistor can store information for about 150,000 seconds, or about 42 hours. This is quite short, although Törmä and her group think they can improve it by adding an oxide layer between the gate and the nanotube.Citation: Nano Lett., Article ASAP DOI: 10.1021/nl8029916Copyright 2008 PhysOrg.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com. Explore furtherlast_img read more


Rabindra Manch revamped

first_imgSiliguri: Rabindra Manch is soon going to host bright and colourful cultural programmes. “The renovation work of the stage had been encouraged by the Chief Minister and thus the responsibility has been handed over to the Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Association,” said the Chairman of SJDA Sourav Chakraborty, during his visit to the newly inaugurated building at Shaktigarh in Siliguri.The North Bengal Development department has spent an amount of Rs 1,49,48,886 on the renovation of the building. The construction of the stage had commenced many days ago, but the NBDD had decided to take the responsibility of its completion due to some flaws that had erupted during the construction work.Rabindra Manch had been inaugurated by North Bengal Development minister Rabindranath Ghosh and Tourism minister Goutam Deb on October 4, 2017.last_img read more


Man stabbed to death by son in North Dinajpur

first_imgKolkata: Ranjit Das (52), a resident of Indran village under Itahar police station in North Dinajpur, was stabbed to death inside his house on Sunday night.Locals have alleged that the victim’s son Rajesh might have killed him to take revenge on his mother’s death. It was also stated that Ranjit had killed his wife a few years ago. Police have started a detailed probe to ascertain the exact cause behind the murder. According to the preliminary investigation, police also suspect that the victim was killed by his son. Also Read – 3 injured, flight, train services hit as rains lash BengalThe villagers told police Rajesh often got involved in fights with his father over the death of his mother, Rupa Das. The woman was murdered five years ago. Ranjit was arrested on the charges of killing his wife and later released on bail. It was learnt that when the incident had occurred, Rajesh lived in Delhi for professional reasons. After returning home, a year ago, he came to know about this father’s involvement in his mother’s death. The equation between Rajesh and his father had changed since then but nobody in the locality could expect that it would lead to such a crime. It was learnt that the accused son hit his father’s head with a sharp weapon following a quarrel. The injured father was taken to a hospital in Raigunj on late Sunday night. He succumbed to his injuries at the hospital on Monday morning. The accused, Rajesh, has been absconding since the incident took place. Police have started a probe into the incident and are raids are being conducted to nab the culprit.last_img read more


TMCs social media wing goes proactive under Abhisheks direction

first_imgKolkata: From using a “jumla meter that nails the BJP’s lies” to highlighting the achievements of the eight-year-old Mamata Banerjee government, Trinamool Congress has built a “pro-active campaign” for the Lok Sabha polls, with the help of social media and conventional canvassing. The campaign is being driven from the party’s 24×7 war room in Kolkata, under the leadership of Trinamool Youth Congress national president and party supremo Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataAlongside him are a crop of media and tech savvy functionaries like the party’s leader in the Rajya Sabha Derek O’Brien. “Our campaign strategy is partly decided on the basis of our own surveys. There is a research team which also places its findings. We have done a lot of work based on support from the ground,” said a party source. Abhishek, who is the MP from Diamond Harbour and now contesting to retain the seat, is the overall in-charge of the campaign. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in state”Abhishek is extremely sharp politically, just like his aunt and comes up with valuable suggestions. Derek and a group of young leaders are with him,” a Trinamool Congress leader said on condition of anonymity. “The 24×7 war room is the venue for constant deliberations, brainstorming sessions and strategy meetings,” he added. A lot of self-criticism takes place during the interactions to understand where the party stands in a particular constituency. Colonel (retired) Diptangshu Chaudhury, the party’s social media convener, said: “We are laying equal emphasis on social media and conventional campaign. For instance, our Asansol Lok Sabha candidate (Moon Moon Sen) has already done 195 public meetings and road shows”. Incidentally, Chaudhury is also the party’s election observer and election agent for Asansol, which Trinamool is striving to recapture from BJP. “Apart from our meetings and rallies, there are many of our dedicated soldiers working behind the scenes. In every booth, we have at least 20 people who are working day and night for the party. At the grassroots level, we are very strong. On the other hand, take my word, BJP won’t get polling agents in 80 percent of the booths in Asansol,” said Chaudhury. Both parties have led several rallies in the state and have several more planned for the coming days. For the sheer intensity of the political campaign here, this could be Ground Zero of BJP’s 2019 Lok Sabha campaign. “We are combating BJP in a pro-active and not defensive manner. We set the agenda, others defend,” Chaudhury added. For taking on BJP’s aggressive campaign led by Modi and Amit Shah, the Trinamool Congress social media team has come up with novel features like ‘Jumla Meter’ which gives immediate, crisp and fact-based rejoinders to BJP’s punches. For instance, on April 20 during his election meeting in South Dinjapur’s Buniadpur, Modi said: “We have shown the way by improving law and order in UP and Tripura.” Within 45 minutes, Trinamool’s Jumla Meter had a post that said: “Yesterday (April 19, 2019) an Election Commission probe confirmed large scale ‘booth capturing’ in Tripura. Uttar Pradesh had the highest number of crimes against women”. Chaudhury claimed that the BJP’s campaign is based on “fake news, lies and disinformation”. “They are mostly selling dreams and jumlas,” he said. Abhishek also heads the social media team, where O’Brien plays a very vital role in strategy and designing an innovative campaign. Besides Chaudhury, former NASSCOM Eastern Regional director Suparno Moitra also guides the party’s social media activities under Abhishek’s overall direction. “The social media is an instrument of god for poorer regional parties lacking in resources to match more opulent opponents,” said Moitra, the party’s joint social media convener. After the Trinamool Youth Congress president revamped the social media unit between mid-2017 and January last year, the focus of the content was broken into two – highlighting development projects of the state government and countering negative propaganda by the Opposition with facts. Trinamool Congress now has a huge presence on every online platform, including Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram and makes extensive use of videos, data and memes.last_img read more


Why You Should Hire Independent IT Consultants

first_img Register Now » March 20, 2008 Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. 5 min read By Mike BohlmannStrategic IT is the use of information technology to play a vital role in an organization’s business plan by improving efficiency, creating opportunities, and interacting with customers and vendors. Whereas operational IT is the use of information technology to support the functions of the business with such things as accounting software, e-mail systems, and electronic file storage.How do smaller businesses choose between strategic and operational IT? I addressed this issue in an earlier column critiquing Nicholas Carr’s “IT Doesn’t Matter.” But before smaller organizations can pursue potential projects with an operational or strategic IT perspective, they often need to look outside for IT resources if they don’t have them in-house. But where do you get IT expertise?In smaller organizations that use IT as an operational tool, there will be times that new IT capabilities need to be implemented to stay in the game. For example, just about every business has at least a basic Web site with information about the company, how to contact it, and the products or services it offers. An organization with an operational IT approach might talk to people they know who are IT savvy to discover what they needed to do and how to get it done as quickly and cheaply as possible. By contrast, another organization might look beyond operational IT capacities to consider the strategic potential of a Web site and recognize that it needs more than a mere electronic brochure.Recently, a friend of mine who works at a small print publisher faced exactly this issue. The publisher needed to overhaul its Web site, but the internal staff didn’t have Web skills beyond basic HTML and image editing, so they knew they needed to hire a person or company to do the work. But they were unsure how to do that, so I offered act as an independent IT consultant on the project.For organizations without IT management skills, independent IT consultants can be valuable allies who help identify needs, find potential service providers, advise on provider selection, and help plan and manage the project. Smaller businesses without skilled IT management can bring this expertise in-house temporarily for specific projects by hiring independent consultants, and that’s the role I played for my friend’s company.Hiring a consultant is an investment. Moreover, it’s tempting to cut costs by talking directly to service providers without input from a consultant. After all, quality service providers will gather requirements, plan the project, and manage it, so why spend more money to have a consultant do the same thing? Though a service provider and a consultant may indeed duplicate roles, they do so with distinctly different perspectives — the consultant advocates for the best interests of the client. A service provider will act in its own interest, and that may result in higher project costs or solutions that don’t meet the project objectives or both. An independent consultant plays a vital watchdog role to ensure that the service provider delivers what the client needs, not what the provider wants to deliver.An organization shopping for IT services needs to have an objective insider who’s working for it and its interests and can also identify the vendors that do not have good practices. Relying on service providers can be risky as they will have their own vision of how things should be, what add-ons they can sell to the customer, and how best to go about completing the project; and, that’s after the challenge of choosing which company to use for the project.Despite the obvious benefits of retaining an independent IT consultant, finding one who’s qualified isn’t easy. The best advice I can offer is to rely on your network of contacts. Most people know at least someone who works in IT who either has the right IT management skills or knows someone else who does. If you ask around enough, you’ll find someone who’s able and willing to help you. You’re looking for an IT leader and not for the best PHP programmer your network can find. With that in mind, here are four traits you should try to find in your independent IT consultant:Business savvyTranslating business needs into technical requirementsVendor assessment capabilitiesProject management skills (if you don’t want to rely on the service provider)I include project management as an optional skill because most vendors have worked with non-IT people as their main contact at a customer and have their own project mechanisms in place. Being business savvy and being able to translate business needs into technical needs are critical to making strategic, rather than purely operational, IT decisions. A business-savvy IT person understands issues like return on investment, cost management, revenue generation, and marketing. Having the ability to identify potential service providers and evaluate their ability to successfully complete the project is not to be looked over either. By getting someone with these skills to help out, an organization can more safely move forward on an IT project when IT is not a strategic component of the organization.So what happened with my friend’s printing company? It decided to use a vendor that someone in the company was familiar with rather that considering multiple vendors. In the end, it went over budget, over schedule, and didn’t get some of the features it wanted.Mike Bohlmann has more than 10 years of experience as a Web developer and an IT manager. He is an IT manager at the University of Illinois, where he is in the process of completing work toward his master’s degree. His research is focused on IT management, leadership, and services. Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box.last_img read more