General Studies IIEducation

New India Literacy Programme


Government approves ‘ New India Literacy Programme, a new scheme of Adult Education for FYs 2022-27

About New India Literacy Programme:

Implementing ministry: Ministry of Education in convergence with various Ministries and Departments will implement the scheme.

Funding: It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme.

  • It is also in line with Budget 2021-22, which announced that increased access to resources, online modules covering the entire gamut of adult education will be introduced.
  • The estimated total outlay of the scheme is Rs.1037.90 crore which includes Central share of Rs. 700 crore and State share of Rs. 337.90 crore respectively for the FYs 2022 -27.
  • Term “Adult Education” will be replaced by “Education For All”.

The scheme will be implemented through volunteerism through online mode. The training, orientation, workshops of volunteers, maybe organized through face-to-face mode.


  • To impart not only foundational literacy and numeracy but also to cover other components which are necessary for a citizen of the 21st century.
  • Other components include:
    • Critical life skills (including financial literacy, digital literacy, commercial skills, health care and awareness, child care and education, and family welfare).
    • Vocational skills development (with a view towards obtaining local employment).
    • Basic education (including preparatory, middle, and secondary stage equivalency).
    • Continuing education (including engaging holistic adult education courses in arts, sciences, technology, culture, sports, and recreation, as well as other topics of interest or use to local learners, such as more advanced material on critical life skills).

Intended beneficiaries: The scheme will cover non-literates of the age of 15 years and above in all states/UTs.

Targets: The target for Foundational Literacy and Numeracy for FYs 2022-27 is 5 crore learners at one crore per year by using “Online Teaching, Learning and Assessment System (OTLAS).”

Salient features of the New India Literacy Programme (NILP)

School will be the Unit for the implementation of the scheme.

  • Flexibility for States/UTs will be provided to undertake innovative activities.
  • Foundational Literacy and Numeracy will be imparted through Critical Life Skills.
  • CSR/Philanthropic Support may be received.
  • Use of Technologies to impart Adult Education for wider coverage of the scheme.
  • The Performance Grading Index (PGI) for State/UT and district level will show the performance of States and UTs on yearly basis by measuring progress through UDISE portal.
  • The age cohort of 15-35 will be saturated first followed by ages 35 and above. Priority will be given in terms of categories to the Girls and women, SC/ST/OBC/Minorities, etc. who can substantially and immediately benefit from adult education.
  • The focus will be on all aspirational districts, districts with literacy rates less than the National/State average, etc.

How will the Scheme be Implemented?

  • The scheme will be implemented through volunteerism through online mode.
    • The training, orientation, workshops of volunteers, may be organized through face-to-face mode. All material and resources shall be provided digitally.
  • School will be Unit for implementation of the scheme.
    • Schools to be used for conducting surveys of beneficiaries and Voluntary Teachers.

Who will be Covered under the Scheme?

  • Non-literates of the age of 15 years and above in all states/UTs in the country.
  • The target is 5 (five) crore learners @ 1.00 crore per year by using “Online Teaching, Learning and Assessment System (OTLAS)” in collaboration with National Informatics Centre, NCERT and NIOS.

NILP as  Janandolan:

  • The three crores students/children of around 7 lakh schools registered under UDISE along with about 50 lakh teachers of Government, Aided and Private schools will participate as volunteer.
  • An estimated 20 lakh students from Teacher Education and Higher Education Institutions will be actively involved as volunteer.
  • Support will be garnered from PRIs, Anganwadi workers, ASHA workers and an estimated 50 lakhs NYSK, NSS and NCC volunteers.
  • There will be involvement of community, participation of philanthropic/CSR organizations through volunteerism and through Vidyanjali portal.
  • States/UTs will promote individual/ family/ village/ district success stories through various platforms.
  • It will utilize all types of media – Electronic, Print, Folk & Inter-personal platforms including social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube, TV channels, radio, etc.

Status of Literacy in India:

  • As per Census 2011, the absolute number of non-literates of the country in 15 years and above age group is 25.76 crore (Male 9.08 crore, Female 16.68 crore).
  • According to the report published by the National Survey of India, the Literacy Rate of India in 2021 is 77.7 per cent whereas literacy rate in 2011 was 73%. There is an increase of 4% in 2021 compared to the last census data.
  • As per UNESCO, India will achieve Universal Literacy in the year 2060.
  • The male literacy rate of India is 84.7% and female it is 70.3%. The gap between the literacy rates of males and females remains grave. Girls dropping out of schools increased due to economic difficulties.
  • Literacy Rate in Urban Areas of India is 87.7% where as Literacy Rate in Rural Areas of India is73.5%.
  • Kerala achieved the highest literacy rate of 96.2% in India, followed by Delhi (88.7%). Kerala has the highest female literacy rate (95.2%) in India, and Lakshadweep had the highest male literacy rate.
  • Andhra Pradesh has India’s lowest literacy rate of 67.35%Rajasthan has the lowest male literacy rate in India and Bihar has the lowest female literacy rate.
  • Under the Saakshar Bharat programme implemented during 2009-10 to 2017-18, 7.64 crore had been certified as literates. It is estimated that currently around 18.12 crore adults are still non-literate in India.

Factors responsible for Low Literacy Rate in India:

  • Illiteracy among parents: Many illiterate parents do not put much emphasis on the importance of education. Several of those born to parents who can neither read nor write end up being illiterate. This is especially true in remote areas where many people in the older generation have not gone through formal education.
  • Lack of affordable education facilities: Those who live in very remote areas with few or no education facilities may remain illiterate. The nearest school might be found several miles away. Instead of going through the tiresome process of walking long distances on a daily basis just to go to school, many choose to stay at home. Lack of access to education facilities in rural areas has contributed a lot to the high number of illiterate people in these places.
  • Unemployment of the educated: Some people believe that the only reason someone should go to school is so that he or she can get a good job and make a good life. Without the promise of employment, education is not a necessity to them. In a country where many of the educated are unemployed, there may not be enough motivation for the illiterate to go to school. After all, they reckon, why would you spend so much money paying for your education when there is no promise of a return on investment?
  • Lack of awareness: In places where several members of the local population do not understand why it is important for them to go to school, the level of illiteracy may be high. Disinterest in the benefits of formal learning can also be caused by a lack of awareness of the importance of going to school. The number of illiterate people in urban areas tends to be lower than that of those in rural areas because of awareness.
  • Poverty: Poor parents with low incomes find it difficult to pay school fees. They are forced to choose between providing basic needs such as food, shelter, and clothing and taking their children to school. In countries where basic education is not free, the number of children who do not go to school tends to be higher compared to places where basic education is free and mandatory.

Solution to Illiteracy:

  • Free education: The provision of free education in schools, colleges, and universities by the government can play a major role in reducing the level of illiteracy in a country by getting more people to school. Since some people fail to attend school due to the lack of money to pay for the fees, offering free education can increase the number of people attending school and subsequently reduce illiteracy levels within society.
  • Awareness: Creating awareness about the importance of education can help people understand why they need to go to school. Non-governmental organizations, government agencies, and other concerned parties should put in place deliberate measures to create awareness in society and reduce the number of people who are unable to read and write.
  • Grants: Offering grants, subsidies, and scholarships can reduce the financial burden that parents and students bear in paying for education. It would make it possible for students to learn without interrupting their education due to the lack of school fees. Parents would also channel the money that would have been used to pay for school fees towards other income-generating projects. The cost of financing education can prove to be too high especially for those who live in poverty.
  • Digitization: Since we live in the age of technology and information, creating digital platforms for reading and learning can help reduce illiteracy in society. It can also help take care of the challenge of the shortage of education facilities. Digital libraries can provide a good platform for those who live far away from urban centers to expand their knowledge base and become more informed.

Initiatives taken in this Direction

  • National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC): It aims to promote skill development by catalyzing the creation of large, quality and for-profit vocational institutions. It acts as a catalyst in skill development by providing funding to enterprises, companies, and organizations that provide skill training.
  • Digital India Programme: It pulls together many existing schemes by restructuring and re-focusing them and then implementing them in a synchronized manner.
  • Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan: It is one of the largest initiatives of the country with the target of making citizens digitally literate.
  • National Digital Literacy Mission: It aims to empower at least one person per household with crucial digital literacy skills by 2020.
  • Samagra Shiksha: It is an integrated scheme for school education extending from pre-school to class XII to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels of school education.

Way Forward

  • There is a need for real emancipation of the people. Education systems across the world should provide the training required for children and working adults so that they can learn to read and write. National educational plans should include schooling for children and literacy training for adults as parallel elements.

Source: The Hindu

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