“Better economic conditions wil bridge the urban-rural divide”

More schools and primary health centres must be set up in villages to take education and health facilities to all people, and achieve the millennium development goals of the United Nations, speakers pointed out at Gandhigram near here on Thursday.

The national-level seminar on ‘Millennium development goals: strategies, achievements and challenges’ was held at Gandhigram Rural Institute.

The coordinated efforts of the government, development institutions, and higher educational institutions and society were required to achieve the goals by 2015.

In his inaugural address, Vice Chancellor SM Ramasamy said that critical and collaborative research by scientists and sociologists, and development of strategies, could alleviate poverty and hunger. All studies should have a social outlook, he said.

Academicians and higher educational institutions should do research on current issues and offer solutions to the various problems of the government to improve the economic conditions of poor people.

These measures would certainly assist the government in achieving the millennium development goals of the UN, he said.

“Even 65 years after independence, one third of the population remained poor and only 15 per cent of children finish higher secondary level, nine per cent graduation and just two per cent post graduation. We are far behind China, Korea and Thailand in per capita income level,” he said.

Better economic conditions would bridge the urban-rural divide.

Following the principles of Mahatma Gandhi and implementation of his plans for eradication of poverty would be enough to usher in economic empowerment. Universities should undertake research on these lines for creation of a better society, he added.

R. Murugesan, Director, Annamalai University Centre for Rural Development, said that millennium development goals could be achieved only through proper implementation of all government schemes.

One primary school and a clinic with a doctor at the panchayat level would ensure access to education and health to many people in rural areas.

Reviving rural livelihood activities would generate employment, he pointed out.