Making education Cheaper will help alleviate Poverty

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“Making education cheaper will help alleviate poverty”

Making education cheaper and improving the standards in public schools will help in alleviating poverty, said Jatindranath Swain, Secretary, Food, Cooperation and Consumer Protection Department, here on 12th July, 2011.

Speaking at a seminar ‘Beyond SHGs,’ organised by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development ( NABARD ) as part of the Foundation Day celebrations, Mr. Swain said both the Central and State governments introduced several poverty alleviation programmes. But, not all of them have achieved great success.

Launching of self – help group ( SHG ) programme had taught the rural poor on how to handle small capital. However, due to lack of non – availability of quality education at affordable prices, the sizeable portion of the earnings of SHG members were spent on educating their wards in private schools, he pointed out.

Public education system was totally neglected due to which even the rural poor had to opt for expensive convent education. The State government had to look into the issue, he said.

Seeing the successful functioning of the SHGs, some of the political parties have started exploiting them. Something had to be done to address this issue, he pointed out. The SHG movement had to be strengthened by giving newer ideas to it.

“Upgrade SHGs”

Sharing her experience N. Lalitha, Professor and Head, Gandhigram Rural University, said the SHG movement had grown in the past two decades. Members of the SHGs used the revenue for buying consumer goods, including gold. This issue had to be addressed seriously, she said. Structurally the SHGs needed to be upgraded and better training had to be provided to them, she added.

NABARD was instrumental for creating the link between the banks and the SHGs, said Selvam Veeraraghavan, General Manager, Indian Bank. The NABARD is the guardian of the SHG movement he said adding that it had also provided training for partnership institutions.

Lalitha Venkatesan, Officer – in – charge, NABARD Regional Office, Chennai and Malabika Deo, Professor and Head, Pondicherry University, were among those who spoke on the occasion.