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Literacy rates of STs far below national average: Parliamentary panel

Despite government efforts to promote education among the Scheduled Tribes (STs), their literacy rates as compared to the national average have remained low, a Parliamentary Committee has said this week.



New Delhi: Despite government efforts to promote education among the Scheduled Tribes (STs), their literacy rates as compared to the national average have remained low, a Parliamentary Committee has said this week.

The literacy rate as per Census 2011 is 73 per cent but for STs is 59 per cent only.

The House panel also flagged the female literacy rate, saying it is also lower as compared to the national average.

"The overall literacy gap amongst the various groups and STs has come down from 19.77 per cent in 1961 to 14.03 per cent in 2011, a scrutiny of state-wise literacy data reveals that in most of the north eastern states like Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland, STs are at par with the general population.

"While in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, which have sizeable ST population in remote areas, the literacy gap is as high as 18 to 26 per cent," the committee has noted.

It has also exhorted the government to view the large disparity in literacy rates of STs in these states, which have lagged in almost all socio-economic parameters, and promote educational development for STs on a "mission mode".

The panel also stated that it was unhappy with the fact that the Ministry of Tribal Affairs till date does not have the complete data about the total number of Ashram schools in states and UTs, as according to them the requisite information is awaited from some of the states.

Keeping in view the "sub-standard food and bad quality" of personal care products being provided to the ST students in the Ashram schools, the committee has recommended that the ministry should ask all the state governments to take such complaints seriously and conduct appropriate inquiries in this regard and also ensure strict compliance of the standards laid down under the Right to Education Act (RTE). 

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