Expressing concern over the high rate of illiteracy in the country, vice-president Hamid Ansari today said literacy programme must reach SC/ST and minorities.
"One thing which is the cause of concern is that there is maximum number of non-literates in our country (as compared to other Asian nations)," Ansari said at a National Literacy Mission function organised on the occasion of World Literacy Day.
He said the government has initiated various literacy programmes but a lot is yet to be done.
"Though we can say that since independence, when the literacy rate was 12%, we have made great progress. The government has done a lot like Right to
Education Act, but a lot is still to be done," Ansari said.
He said the literacy rate in India was 74% and when compared to other Asian countries like China, Myanmar and even Sri Lanka, India is far behind.
Ansari said literacy programme Sakshar Bharat should reach SC/ST and minorities because they comprise 44% of the population.
Presenting a report on literacy at the function, union human resource minister Kapil Sibal said there is a huge gap between male and female literacy ratio and efforts should be made to bridge the gap.
"Among the literate population, 82% are men and 65% women. We have to bridge this gap. Besides, there is a gap of 16% in literacy rate in urban and rural areas, which also needs to be reduced," he said.
He said Sakshar Bharat programme is currently on in 372 districts and the government aims at increasing the literacy rate from 74% to 80%, besides providing vocational training to people.
Speaking on the occasion Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav said though literacy rate has increased by 14% in the state in the last 10 years but it was not up to the mark.