In order to achieve this, the machinery at all levels - national, state, district, block and gram panchayat has to be geared up. Also to fight against illiteracy, he said that greater public awareness and opinion about this scourge has to be created.
The Union Human Resource Development Minister Dr. M. M. Pallam Raju said that the aim under the Saakshar Bharat should be to achieve 100 per cent literacy among women in the age group of 15 to 35 by the year 2017. He added that the gender gap in 19 states is more than 10 per cent. There are 20 states that still have literacy rate below 80 per cent. The average female literacy rate is 58 per cent. The Minister expressed the view that there is a need to redouble the efforts to elevate literacy levels, especially among women, SCs, STs and minorities.
The Ministers of State for HRD Dr. Shashi Tharoor and Shri Jitin Prasada also spoke at the function. "The more a society is literate, the more developed it becomes", stated Dr. Tharoor. Minister of State Shri Jitin Prasada felt that the need of the hour is to link literacy with employability.
On this occasion, Union HRD Minister Dr. M. M. Pallam Raju also launched the Basic Education programme for adults by releasing the learning material. The first copy was received by the President of India.
The President, on this occasion, also gave away the Saakshar Bharat awards to the following: State Literacy Mission Authority, Chattisgarh; Zilla Lok Shiksha Samiti - i) Koriya District, Chattisgarh ii) Ariyalur District, Tamil Nadu; Gram Panchayat Lok Shiksha Samiti - i) Patna, Koriya District, Chattisgarh ii) Ajani Begusarai District, Bihar iii) Kuppandampalayam, Erode District, Tamil Nadu: State Resource Organisations - i) State Resource Centre ii) Jan Shikshan Sansthan.
The Sakshr Bharat Programme which was launched in 2009 has over 2crore adults who have been certified as literates. Over 1.48 lakh Lok Shiksha Kendras have been set up under the programme. Over 15.5 lakh voluntary teachers have been mobilized and over 18.5 lakh adults have been skilled in different vocations. The literacy rate has increased from 64.8 per cent in 2001 to 73 per cent in 2011.
The programme was organised by the National Literacy Mission Authority, Ministry of HRD.