Young men and women in India’s northeastern states read books more often than their counterparts in the rest of the country, a study released on Tuesday by the National Book Trust (NBT) said.
The NBT study, conducted in collaboration with the National Council for Advanced Economic Research (NCAER) and the human resource development (HRD) ministry, is based on a nationwide survey. The new study focused on northeastern states.
As many as 67% of literate youth – defined in the study as those between 13 and 35 – in the states of Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram, referred to collectively as the NAGMAMI states read more than just their textbooks, compared to just 25% nationwide. Across the eight northeastern states – Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Tripura and Sikkim – 43% of literate youth read more than just textbooks.
“These findings are important because they help us decide where we need to focus going ahead,” HRD minister MM Pallam Raju said.
Even though Assam has better infrastructure, including libraries, than other northeastern states, a smaller fraction of the state’s literate youth, which accounts for 39%, reads for leisure in comparison with Mizoram (62%), Manipur (52%) and Nagaland (47%).
“One of the key takeaways from the survey is that there is no pan-northeastern trend,” said Shashanka Bhide, senior research counselor at the NCAER. “Each state has its own distinct challenges.”