The Union Government of India on 12 June 2013 announced that it has set a target to achieve 80 percent literacy rate in the country by 2017. The literacy rate of the country at present is 74 percent. The government is aimed to strengthen the Panchayati Raj Institutions as it serves as a vital leverage to promote education in general and literacy in particular.
Government of India’s Saakshar Bharat Programme that is operational in 372 districts covering nearly 1.5 lakh gram panchayats spread over 25 states will work as an instrument of literacy and empowerment as well as the agent of change to create equal and inclusive India.
The Government has also stressed on the need to bridge the gender gap in rural and urban areas to attain the target.
Saakshar Bharat Programme
The Prime Minister launched Saakshar Bharat, a centrally sponsored scheme of Department of School Education and Literacy (DSEL), Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India (GOI), on the International Literacy Day, 8 September 2009. It aims to further promote and strengthen adult education, specially of women, by extending educational options to those adults who having lost the opportunity of access to formal education and crossed the standard age for receiving such education, now feel a need for learning of any type, including, literacy, basic education (equivalency to formal education), vocational education (skill development), physical and emotional development, practical arts, applied science, sports, and recreation.