Bharathidasan University in Tamil Nadu (TN) has designed a programme to eradicate poverty in all the eight districts in central TN falling under its jurisdiction, said Vice-Chancellor, Ponnavaikko. To start with, the university would conduct a test for skilled unorganized labourers such as mechanics, plumber and carpenters in the villages and issue a certificate to them. He added, 'A University certificate will be facilitated to them to get potential placements in foreign countries along with attractive perks.' These labourers in rural areas have to eke out a poor livelihood to get a certificate. While conferring certificates to the candidates on Wednesday, Ponnavaikko expressed serious concern over the large percentage of Indian population living below poverty line. He even emphasized on the roles, universities can play, in eradicating poverty by taking up skill-development programme. The certificates were conferred to those candidates that underwent the 'Youth employment through skill development training' jointly sponsored by the University's Institute of Entrepreneurship and Career Development (IECD), International Labour Organisation (ILO) and a Tiruchi-based service organisation Unifront at the J.J. College of Arts and Science.
He appealed especially to Andre Bogui, Deputy Director of ILO, Sub Region Office, New Delhi and K.M. Ratnam, General Secretary of the Unifront, to start a pilot project at one village within the central district and conduct a survey on the land-holdings, economic status, income generation activities, and so on. He said, 'The University will provide all possible aid to relieve them from the clutches of poverty.' 'Only 7 % of the total youth in the country between the age group of 15-29 are fully trained with employable skills. There is a strong need for training at least 90 % of the youth,' said Andre Bogui. The National Programme Manager, Project Office, ILO, Chennai, Susamma Varghese, who presided over the function, said that the training would bring opportunities for about both employment and self-employment candidates. The Director of IECD, K.Parthasarathy, said that the uneducated rural youth would benefit the most from this three-month long programme.