Literacy In India

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Literacy is an effective instrument for social and economic development and national integration. It is defined in Census operations, as the ability to read and write with understanding in any language. Any formal education or minimum educational standard is not necessary to be considered literate. The latest census report (2001) reveal that at the beginning of new millennium literacy rate in India stands at 65.38% with male literacy level at 75.85%and female literacy level at 54.16%. There has been only marginal increase in literacy level from the last census in 1991 (literacy level was 52.2%). The pace of progress in literacy rates, as revealed by decennial censuses, is very slow in India. Between 1961 and 1991, a span of thirty years, literacy rate has gone up by a mere 23.9 percentage points, from 28.3 in 1961 to 52.2 in 1991.From 1991 to 2001 there is 13.36%increase. However the literacy scenario in India is characterized by wide inequalities among different sections of the population. The female literacy rate is still low in comparison to male population. Country's half of the female population is still illiterate even after so many years of independence. No less disturbing is the rural-urban disparity in literacy rates that again differ by ever a wider margin the disparity has persisted over the years. The scheduled castes and scheduled tribes form two other specially disadvantaged population groups in India and disparity in their case too is equally wide and persisting. Finally, there again exists a wide disparity among the various regions/states in India vis-à-vis their literacy rates. At the top of the hierarchy, lies the state of Kerala that has an exceptionally high literacy rate of 90.92 %. This is basically because of strong social movements in this state even during the pre-independence period. For Bihar (the least literate state) the rate is merely
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