India is a vast country plagued with myriad problems and challenges. One of the major problems hindering its growth is its literacy rate which directly impacts the socio- economic growth of the country. According to a United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization ( UNESCO ) report, India leads the count of illiterate adults, which is about 287 millions (Illiteracy in India). Although the pace of literacy has increased staggeringly post independence, yet India has a long way to go before it meets the world standards.
Currently the Indian Literacy rate stands at 74% where as the world average is it 84%. (Basak, 2013). The literacy rate is a commendable 90% in Kerala, where as it is a dismal 75% in states like Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, Jharkhand etc. Specially skewed is the literacy rate among the genders. A survey conducted in 2011 found literacy rate for men at 82% whereas for women it stood at 65%. Although the growth of literacy rate in female population has been faster in the last decade as compared to the male counterpart, yet a lot actions need to be undertaken before this disparity is eradicated. Also it has been observed that the literacy rate is significantly low among various tribal groups and scheduled caste groups specially in the rural regions.
Several reasons could be attributed to this high illiteracy in India. The major reason cited for this is the huge population in India. The huge population base actually stands as an impediment for all the education related awareness session and measures deployed by the government to spread awareness. Again low literacy rates is one of the major reasons of huge population in India. So this acts like a vicious cycle, wherein one is strongly connected to the other. Other important reason for illiteracy is the inadequacy of government measures to eradicate the issue. Although a number of campaigns and programs like Sarva Sihkha Abhiyan, RTE, Mid-day meal have been planned, designed towards mitigation of this cause but they get handicapped by the poor infrastructure facilities present in the country. Also the efficacy of execution/ implementation of these programs have to re-looked at. Illiteracy is often considered to be the superset of all issues and this in turn can be attributed to the genesis of other issues like poverty, child labor, unemployment, population burst, female foeticide, existence of caste issues etc.
India since pre- british era had a vast bank of knowledge, but that did not mean that the country was literate. Therefore the mass failed to make use and capitalize the knowledge base present. It goes without saying that illiteracy is a bane for the country and its advancement. So it has to be obliterated from the genes of the society. In order to do this, as a nation we need to come forward and join hands in this movement. It cannot be an independent government initiative only, we as responsible citizens have to come forward and contribute towards a Literate India.