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Give cash to poor instead of subsidy: Pai
Bangalore, Dec 27 (IANS):
Published on 27 Dec. 2009 11:01 PM IST
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Infosys Technologies director T.V. Mohandas Pai has advocated transfer of cash in place of subsidy schemes for the rural poor to eliminate poverty. “By providing cash directly to the needy in place of subsidy schemes, the central government will be able to check loss of allocated funds,” Pai said late Saturday while delivering a lecture on ‘India at 2030’ here. Noting that 30-40 percent of the money allocated to various subsidy schemes do not reach the poor due to leakages and role of middlemen, Pai said if Rs.2,000 was transferred every month to those below poverty line (BPL), they will be able to spend it carefully on health, education and other basic needs. The central government budgets a whopping Rs.165,000 crore annually on various subsidy schemes - Rs.70,000 crore on food, Rs.30,000 crore on kerosene, Rs.25,000 crore on power and Rs.40,000 crore on rural employment schemes. “Though the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) helps to check migration of rural people to urban areas, it is causing labour shortage in the farm sector, as the rural folk who get Rs.82-100 daily do not work in their fields anymore,” Pai told about 800 students of Bangalore University. Voicing concern over the low quality of education in schools and universities across the country, the Infosys head for human resources said the opening of the education sector would increase access to high quality education. “The college enrollment of youth aged 18-24 years should increase to 30 percent by 2030 from 12.4 percent currently,” Pai told a packed audience at a function organised jointly by the university and the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC). Lamenting the poor quality of education even at the primary level, Pai said only 52 percent of students who enroll for Class 1 complete Class 10. “The implementation of the Sarva Shika Abhiyan and mid-day meal schemes has created some hope for rural students and increased the enrollment ratio,” Pai said. Similarly, the IT bellwether honcho urged the government to provide health insurance scheme to BPL families for improving the country’s health index. “The Karnataka government should implement the health insurance scheme former Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy launched in the neighbouring state for the benefit of the poor.” Though dramatic innovations and rapid growth in technology broke digital barriers between the haves and have-nots, Pai regretted that only skilled labour force benefited from globalisation. “As majority of our educated youth do not get employed due to lack of marketable skills, the government should implement skilled development programmes on war-footing to train them in securing good jobs,” Pai said. Of the 500,000 students appearing for admission to IITs and IIMs every year, only 1.5 percent of them qualify for high quality education, as the state-run institutes offer collectively a mere 8,000 seats. Bangalore University vice-chancellor N. Prabhu Dev and ISEC director R.S. Deshpande were present on the occasion.

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