The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee Presented Saakshar Bharat Awards 2015

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee today (September 8, 2015) presented the Saakshar Bharat Awards 2015 at the International Literacy Day Celebrations organized by Union Ministry of Human Resource Development.

Addressing the gathering, the President said that the concept and goal of literacy need to be revisited and reoriented in the light of current global thinking. It has been recognized that the roads leading to sustainable societies pass through literacy and education. Literacy and education are amongst the most important Millennium Development Goals and are critical in achieving goals of poverty reduction, health for all, sustainable environment, gender equality and empowerment.

The President stressed the need for greater societal involvement in achieving higher literacy target and advocated the use of strategies such as ‘each one, teach one’ in order to enable us fulfill the dream of ‘Sakshaar Bharat’, ‘Swachh Bharat’ and the ‘Bharat’ of our dreams.

The President said the present literacy scenario in India is encouraging. In 1951, when first Census after Independence was conducted, the literacy rate of India was merely 18%. However, in the last Census held in 2011, we have achieved a literacy rate of 72.98%. The present national goal is to achieve literacy rate of 80% by end of XIIth Plan Period. Sadly, we are way behind some of the South Asian Countries in this regard. We must also ensure that the gender gap in literacy should not be more than 10 per cent.

Recalling leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Ho Chi Minh and Fidel Castro who were committed to the eradication of illiteracy, the President said that he had engaged in literacy promotion when he joined public life five decades back. The President congratulated all those who had received Saakshar Bharat Awards for their outstanding contribution to the adult literacy programme and said without literacy it is not possible to bring about total empowerment and find our rightful place in the comity of nations.

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