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Rise in crude prices a cause for current economic difficulties: Chidambaram

Special Correspondent

Union Finance Minister also blames depletion of food stocks globally for the situation

—Photo: K. Pichumani

Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram inaugurating the new academic block and new primary school at Madras Christian College School in Chennai on Friday. Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali (extreme left) and Madras Christian College principal V.J. Philip, are in the picture.

CHENNAI: Depletion of food stocks globally and “completely unprecedented and unjustified” rise in crude oil prices are the primary causes for the current economic difficulties in India, Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said here on Friday.

Speaking at the inauguration of the new academic block and primary school on the Madras Christian College Higher Secondary School campus, Mr. Chidambaram said the difficulties could be overcome with time and asked students to maintain a positive attitude.

There are deep divides in society, but education and growing economic opportunities will act as great levellers, he said. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) had made primary education accessible to almost all children in the country. The next step would be to curtail the dropout rate in schools.

Although enrolment rates are high, only about 10 per cent of the children pursue college education. This, along with varying standards of education, is impeding growth, the Minister noted.

Mr. Chidambaram, an alumnus of the school, watched a demonstration of the ‘Smart Class’ system being introduced in a State board school in Tamil Nadu for the first time.

The interactive system will help students visualise different concepts taught in class, G. J. Manohar, headmaster and correspondent of the school, said.

Ten plasma screens have been installed in classrooms to facilitate learning for students from standard VI to XII. A one-day orientation programme for teachers and a demonstration class for students will also be conducted, Mr. Manohar said.

Besant Raj, chairman of the Madras Christian College Association; Samuel Meshack, principal, Gurukul Lutheran Theological College; V. J. Philip, principal, Madras Christian College; Vinoo Mammen, chairman and managing director, MRF; and Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali, the Prince of Arcot, attended the function.

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