On the occasion of International Literacy Day 2014, the National Literacy Mission Authority, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India held a national level function, in the presence of the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee. The function was presided over by Union Minister of Human Resource Development, Smt Smriti Irani.
Addressing the audience on this occasion, the President of India said that literacy is the quintessential prerequisite for education. A literate, and therefore, educated "“ society is better able to progress towards an inclusive economic and social wellbeing through democratic means. The modus operandi for alleviation of illiteracy should, therefore, not only focus on the tangible aspects of literacy but also critically engage with its intangible and intrinsic aspects. Gender disparity in the literacy rate is another significant challenge that needs to be met. Shri Mukherjee emphasized that our objective should be to bring India's literacy at par with the leading societies of the world.
While the President expressed his delight at the fact that more than 2.86 crore learners had been certified as literate, he hoped that they would be inspired to put their learning to constructive application and spread its benefits. The President appealed to all stakeholders in a resurgent India to join hands in the efforts to realize this goal. He accoladed the first step taken in the direction of offering opportunities of basic education to neo literates through 'Equivalency Programme'. He also congratulated the winners of Saakshar Bharat Awards 2014 and added that these awards would serve to inspire further efforts in the direction of 100% literacy in India.
Addressing the audience, Smt Smriti Irani, said that the day was being celebrated essentially to raise public awareness on the importance of literacy in our society. Sharing the statistics regarding literacy in India she surmised that while India has achieved a literacy rate of 73% what still is a matter of concern is the low rate of literacy among women, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and minorities. Besides literacy, there have been constant efforts to spread awareness of electoral literacy and the government has also done its bit in propagating financial literacy among the people which Smt Irani hoped will align with the objective of financial inclusion envisioned by the recently launched 'Jan Dhan Yojna' (launched by the Prime Minister of India). Smt Irani also impelled everybody present to strengthen the resolve to achieve a 100% literate India.
States, Districts, Blocks, Gram Panchayats, State Resource Centre (SRC) and Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS) were awarded with the 11 Saakshar Bharat Awards 2014 by honorable President, Shri Pranab Mukherjee. The awards were given for the best performance in the field of adult education.
A number of other noted dignitaries from the adult education programme were present at the function.