Lucknow: Expressing concern over high rate of illiteracy in the country, Vice President Hamid Ansari on Saturday said literacy programme must reach SC/ST and minorities.
"One thing which is the cause of concern is that there is maximum number of non-literates in our country (as compared to other Asian nations)," Ansari said at a National Literacy Mission function organised on the occasion of World Literacy Day here.
He said the government has initiated various literacy programmes but a lot is yet to be done.
"Though we can say that since independence when the literacy rate was 12 per cent, we have made great progress...The government have done a lot, like Right to Education Act, but a lot is still to be done," Ansari said.
He said literacy rate in India was 74 per cent and when compared to other Asian countries like China, Myanmar and even Sri Lanka, we are far behind.
Ansari said literacy programme `Sakshar Bharat` should reach SC/ST and minorities because they comprise 44 per cent of the population.
Presenting a report on literacy at the function, Union Human Resource Minister Kapil Sibal said there is a huge gap between male and female literacy ratio and efforts should be made to bridge the gap.
"Among the literate population, 82 per cent are men and 65 per cent women. We have to bridge this gap. Besides, there is a gap of 16 per cent in literacy rate in urban and rural areas, which also needs to be reduced," he said.
He said `Sakshar Bharat` programme is currently on in 372 districts and the government aims at increasing the literacy rate from 74 per cent to 80 per cent, besides providing vocational training to people.
Speaking on the occasion UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said though literacy rate has increased by 14 per cent in the state in the last 10 years but it was not up to the mark.