The Union Government has set a target of reducing the number of below the poverty line (BPL) families from 37.5 per cent to 27.5, Minister of State for Culture, Planning and Parliamentary Affairs V. Narayanasamy told presspersons here on Sunday.

Mr. Narayanasamy, who was here to participate in a function organised Bawa Foundation to distribute free books to schoolchildren, said that the United Progressive Alliance Government was keen on reducing the number of BPL families by 10 per cent by enacting the Food Security Bill.

The Minister claimed that the implementation of 14 Centrally sponsored schemes, including the rural employment guarantee programme, was 70 per cent. The efforts of the monitoring committee, which was headed by the Prime Minister, had made it possible to achieve this level of implementation across the country.

Conceding that there was corruption in the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, Mr. Narayanasamy said greater vigilance should be maintained in this regard. On the recession issue, Mr. Narayanasamy said that its impact on India was minimal. The Government was expecting the economy to grow by 9 per cent during 2011-12.

Earlier, at Al-Badriya Composite PU College, Mr. Narayanasamy distributed free notebooks to about 250 schoolchildren from the Suratkal area. He said that health and education were the two key concerns of the Government of India. “It is the dream of U.P.A. Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to provide education and health(care) for all.

The standard of education should be the same for all. If you improve health and education of the people, you can improve their living standards,” he said.

The government had invested Rs. 25,000 crore on infrastructure for primary and secondary education. Stating that education in rural areas should be paid due attention, he lauded the efforts of the Karnataka Government in providing skill-based education to the people through industrial training institutes.

The Government alone could not provide education to all. Voluntary groups, private organisations and charitable institutions should ensure that the goal of educating all the children of the country was achieved. “The country needs around 1,850 universities, but has only 350 universities,”

The Bawa Social and Charitable Foundation was aiming at providing over 4,000 schoolchildren with free notebooks, said iis founder Mohiudeen Bawa.

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