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“Women education will improve economy”

Special Correspondent

Allocation in Eleventh Five-Year Plan for infrastructure is insufficient, says NABARD official

Photo D. Gopalakrishnan

DISCUSSING issues: K..V. Raghavulu, Chief General Manager of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development , Chennai, delivering the key-note address at the inaugural of the conference at the VIT University in Vellore on Friday. —

VELLORE: Education will help women contribute to economic growth of the country, K.V. Raghavulu, Chief General Manager (CGM) of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), Chennai, has said.

He was delivering the keynote address on the second day of national conference on ‘Significance of social marketing in India’ organised by VIT Business School at VIT University here on Friday.

It is not possible to bring about a social change if women, who constitute 50 per cent of population, do not contribute to economic growth, Mr. Raghavulu said. While women constitute 80 per cent of agricultural workforce, they are not paid wages on a par with their male counterparts.

“This gender discrimination has to be removed at the village level to bring about a social change,” he said. Education alone can help men and women remain self-supportive.

The State should also play its role in social marketing, he said.

Budgetary allocation for development of infrastructure such as drinking water, which was 32 per cent of the total outlay in the first Five Year Plan, has come down to 12 per cent in the Eleventh Plan, Mr. Raghavulu said.

During the first Plan, the spending on infrastructure was 90 per cent of the outlay, while the remaining went towards subsidies. But 90 per cent went to subsidies during the Eleventh Plan. “That is why we are unable to achieve economic growth,” Mr. Raghavulu said.

There were 25 lakh self-help groups, comprising four crore members, of whom 90 per cent were women.

The marketing of SHG products was impossible in urban areas in view of the people’s preference to the branded products. The NABARD provides financial assistance to SHGs to produce and export handicraft items and also helps rural marketing of SHG products.

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