India’s census in 2011 has seen some improvement by about 9 percent. Now the country have more people who can read and write compared to what was 10 years below. Now 74 people out of 100 can read and write. Earlier only 65 percent of people could read and write.
However the improvement in the literacy rate in much slow in the past 10 years. India has set a target of achieving at least 85 per cent of the literacy rate by the year 2011.
There were only ten states which were able to achieve the target of 85 percent literacy. Once again Kerala successfully retained the status quo of being India’s most literate state and has outshined all other states and Union territories. It has recorded literacy rate as high as at 93.91 percent. Lakshadweep was very close to Kerala with literacy rate at 92.28 percent.
Other states and union territories which has literacy rate more than 85 percent include, Mizoram, Tripura, Goa, Daman and Diu, Puducherry, Chandigarh, NCT of Delhi and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Even foreward states like Maharashtra failed to achieve the target of 85 percent literacy and recorded literacy rate at about 83 percent.
However to the great disappointment of the government, none of the 640 districts in the country has been able to gain the distinction of achieving 100 percent literacy rate. The districts of Serchhip and Aizwal districts in North Eastern state of Mizoram were closer at 98.76 and 98.5 percent literacy rate, respectively.
Despite an improvement in literacy rate by about 24 percent, Bihar emerged as the worst literate state with just 63.82 percent of literacy rate. Arunachal Pradesh was just above Bihar with 66.95 percent literacy rate, which was much below the national average rate of 74.4 percent.
Other than Bihar and Arunachal Pradesh the states and Union Territories which have recorded literacy rates below the national average of 74.04 percent include Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. Over the last decade these states have improved literacy rates anywhere by 6.2 percent to 24 percent.
Much to the dismay of Indian policy makers and the advocates of literacy programmes, there were many such districts where more than half of the population were not able to read or write. Alirajpur district in Madhya Pradesh and Bijapur district in Chhattisgarh had worst literacy rate at 37.22 percent and 41.58 percent, respectively.
However the census 2011 has seen some improvements over the female literacy rate, as literacy among Indian women has increased considerably over the year 2001. According to the current census 2011, the literacy rate among the Indian women folk is 65.46 percent which has grown by 11.8 per cent while the male literacy rate grew by 6.9 percent over the last ten years.
However they still lag behind their male counterpart as the literacy rate among men is 82.14 percent. In some states of India the gender gap in the literacy ration was steeper. For example in Rajasthan male literacy rate is 80.51 percent, while the female literacy rate was merely 52.66 percent.
The Indian government has said that there is a progress but the literacy rate is much below their expectation level. The government is targeting to achieve 100 percent literacy by the year 2020.