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Water Scarcity Not the Only Factor Driving Millions of People from Their Homes Each Year

In most cases, other economic and social problems like conflict, corruption or a lack of jobs contribute to the decision to leave

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Water, Scarcity, Home
Indian residents queue with plastic containers to get drinking water from a tanker in the outskirts of Chennai, May 29, 2019. VOA

Water scarcity is one factor driving millions of people from their homes each year but is often not the only reason why they move, researchers told an international conference on Tuesday.

In most cases, other economic and social problems like conflict, corruption or a lack of jobs contribute to the decision to leave, they said.

They warned against over-simplifying the links between water and migration, and said many of those who do move – at least partly because of water-related pressures such as floods, droughts and pollution – may not travel far.

“International migration is very expensive and very risky and it lies beyond the reach of many of the poorest people who are most vulnerable to water security and drought,” said Guy Jobbins of the London-based Overseas Development Institute.

Water, Scarcity, Home
FILE – Newly-arrived women who fled drought queue to receive food distributed by local volunteers at a camp for displaced persons in the Daynile neighborhood on the outskirts of the capital Mogadishu, in Somalia, May 18, 2019. VOA

Those who suffer water-related shocks to their livelihoods – losing animals or crops – “are less likely to have the funds to start again in South Africa or France”, he told an audience at World Water Week in Stockholm.

Conversely, there was some evidence to suggest that people who have better access to secure, affordable water are more likely to have enough financial resources to migrate, he added.

Although much is made of international migration, most movement related to water is inside countries, often from one rural place to another, said Sasha Koo-Oshima, deputy director of land and water at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

Three out of four of the world’s poor live in rural areas and rely heavily on agricultural production, with food insecurity, water contamination and drought forcing people from their homes – especially the young, she added.

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Efforts should be stepped up to prevent water scarcity and make it profitable for young people to stay on rural land, she said.

But if people do leave, “it is not necessarily a negative phenomenon”, as humans have always moved in search of a better life, she added.

Refugee scapegoats

Researchers also called for a more sophisticated analysis of how mass migration impacts on water supplies.

Water, Scarcity, Home
Water scarcity is one factor driving millions of people from their homes each year but is often not the only reason why they move, researchers told an international conference. Pixabay

In Jordan – the world’s second most water-scarce country, according to Hussam Hussein, a Middle East water researcher at Germany’s University of Kassel – a large influx of refugees from Syria, after civil war broke out there in 2011, led to tensions with their host communities, especially in cities.

Jordan hosts about 750,000 Syrians, the vast majority in urban areas, according to the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR). But contrary to public discourse, their presence is not the main cause of the country’s water shortages, said Hussein.

“When we look at the numbers, the impact of refugees is not as important as unsustainable use (of water) in the agricultural sector,” he said.

Mismanagement of water resources, leaks, illegal wells and intensive farming made up the majority of water losses in parched Jordan, he added.

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In war-torn Syria, water scarcity and climate-related events such as drought had been a “trigger” for the conflict but not a primary cause, said Fatine Ezbakhe of the Mediterranean Youth for Water Network.

Instead a lack of water amplified political instability and poverty that fueled migration and unrest, she added.

Now improvements to water supplies could be used to persuade people to return home, she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“If we actually invest in water, we could… try to make people go back and restart (in) the rural areas they left in the first place,” she said. (VOA)

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Top Facts To Know About Home Loan And Taxes

The Government of India offers home loan tax benefits to individuals who take a loan to purchase their first house

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Home loan is a thing which is required for everyone at least once in their life to fulfill the wish of owning a house.
Many people are used to considering the home loan as a loan with the help of which we can purchase a house. Pixabay

The Government of India offers home loan tax benefits to individuals who take a loan to
purchase their first house. The aim is to provide a boost to the real estate market and encourage individuals to own homes. You can also avail tax benefit on the interest paid on all your home loans, regardless of whether it was for your first home or not. Let us take a look at the various scenarios involved:

Deduction for principal repayment
Under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, the actual principal repaid towards your home loan can be claimed as a deduction. The deduction is available for your first home. The deduction is also applicable to a rented home when the owner is staying in a different town for work. The maximum deduction available under Section 80C is ₹1,50,000. The limit is raised to ₹2,00,000 for senior citizens.

loan, home, tax, India, purchase
The aim is to provide a boost to the real estate market and encourage individuals to own homes.

Deduction for interest paid on a home loan
Income tax benefit on home loan also includes deduction on the interest paid under Section 24 of the Income Tax Act. If the construction of the home was completed within five years of the loan disbursal, actual interest paid up to ₹2,00,000 are allowed as a deduction when calculating the taxable income for the individual. The cap is increased to ₹3,00,000 for senior citizens if the loan was for a self-occupied first home. If the construction of the home is not completed within five years, the tax exemption is allowed up to ₹30,000 only.

Additional deduction under Section 80EEA
Under Section 80EEA, an additional deduction of ₹1,50,000 can be availed if the loan was for the purchase of an affordable house under ₹40 lakh till March 2020. Again, this deduction can only be availed for a self-occupied first home.

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Additional deduction under Section 80EE
If you have taken a loan for your first home after 1st April 2016, you may be eligible for an
additional deduction of ₹50,000 under Section 80EE of the Income Tax act. You can avail this deduction if your home finance was for less than ₹35,00,000 and the value of the property was under ₹50,00,000.

Deduction for interest paid pre-construction
Deduction on home loan interest rate is only available after completion of construction or
immediately on the purchase of a fully constructed house. But the EMI payments would start as soon as the loan is disbursed. You could still claim Income tax benefit on home loan interest paid during the construction phase – you would do this after the construction has been completed. The interest paid can be claimed in equal parts for five financial years post-completion, up to a maximum of ₹2,00,000 per year. The limit includes both the interest paid in the current year and the deduction being claimed for the interest paid during the construction of the property.