India's northeastern state of Tripura will be declared fully literate in September 2013, state finance minister Badal Choudhury said in Agartala on Friday.
"On the occasion of World Literacy Day (Sep 8), Tripura will be declared a totally literate state. All our efforts to attain this goal have now borne fruit," Tripura Finance Minister Badal Choudhury told IANS, after a meeting of the State Literacy Mission Authority (SLMA).
"The SLMA meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Manik Sarkar also decided that the final evaluation of the remaining illiterate people in the state would be complete by August this year," Choudhury said.
According to a government survey conducted by the eight district magistrates in August 2012, there are only 1,47,261 people of the state's 3.7 million people, including those aged 50 and above, who are illiterate.
As per the adult literacy guidelines of the union ministry of human resource development, people aged between 15 to 45 years would be targeted under the literacy mission.
"The Tripura government has taken efforts to make people in the 15-50 age group literate, instead of the upper age of 45. Over 8,250 voluntary literacy workers (VLW) are working through 8,152 adult literacy centres to make the leftover unlettered people literate," the finance minister said.
Over 85 master trainers are supervising the work of the VLWs, who are at work at the village and habitation levels. Anganwadi Workers under the social welfare department are also assisting the VLWs in their endeavour.
"Tripura jumped to third position among the states of the country in literacy in the 2011 census, from the 12th position in the 2001 census. Our all out efforts are on to achieve 100 percent literacy in Tripura," Choudhury added.
He said Tripura would have attained 100 percent literacy long back had there been no terrorism and their (militants') violent activities.
"The work on literacy programmes had slowed down also due to the recent Feb 14 assembly polls," the minister said.
"Education, developmental activities and agricultural expansion have been affected due to terrorism in the state until 2009," he pointed out.
According to the 2001 census, Tripura was the 12th most literate state in India with 73.19 percent literacy and the second most literate state in the northeast region after Mizoram, where the literacy rate was 88.80 percent.
As per the provisional data for the 2011 census, literacy level is 91.58 percent in Mizoram and 87.75 percent in Tripura.
The two northeastern states are only behind Kerala (93.91 percent), which continues to occupy the top position in the literacy chart.
The national literacy rate is 74.04 percent.
The Tripura success story is attributed to the involvement of local government bodies, including gram panchayats, NGOs and clubs.
Former census director and incumbent school education department secretary Dilip Acherjee said: "In Tripura, increase of female literacy is better than their male counterparts."
"The literacy rate of females during the period of 2001 and 2011 census rose from 64.91 to 83.15 percent with an increase of 18.24 percent, while in the case of men the increase was just 11.18 percent -- from 81 to 92.18 percent," Acherjee said.
While Mizoram and Tripura are among the toppers in literacy in India, another northeastern state, Arunachal Pradesh (66.95 percent), is placed second-lowest in literacy in the country, just above Bihar (63.82 percent).