A nation's progress is in its human resources, and children need to be made productive partners in its development, according to D. Purandeswari, Union Minister of State for Human Resource and Development.

Speaking at the foundation laying ceremony for the National Institute of Technology building at Poovam here on Sunday, she said five out of nine parameters underlined by the World Economic Forum for the progress of a country, pointed to the need for quality and quantity education. It should be ensured that education reached every child.

Under the UPA government, the gross budgetary support for education, which was nine per cent in the Tenth Five Year Plan, had been doubled to 19 per cent in the Eleventh Five Year Plan. “There has been an exponential increase in expenditure on higher education under the UPA government,” the Minister said.

Stating that investment through education was the “most productive,” she pointed out that the NIT had brought in Rs.300 crore into Karaikal. By 2001 statistics, the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in India was 12.4 per cent, which was abysmally low compared to international statistics, while China had a GER at above 40 per cent.”

Chief Minister V. Vaithilingam sought exclusive reservation for backward Karaikal region to enable its students to have access to NIT. As of now, Puducherry and the Andamans enjoy 25 per cent quota each for admissions to the NIT. V. Narayanasamy, Union Minister of State for Planning and Parliamentary Affairs, said the NIT would place Karaikal on the technical education map of the country.

A.M.H. Nazeem, leader of Opposition, sought Dr. Purandeswari's help in having a Kendriya Vidyalaya on the new NIT campus.

According to MOHF Shahjahan, Minister for Education, Puducherry ranked first in the education index surpassing Kerala, reflecting the accent given to education by the governments both at the Centre and the State.

Currently, the NIT is functioning from an arts college. It was inaugurated by Union Minister of HRD Kapil Sibal last year.