The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh launched, here today, SAAKSHAR BHARAT, one of the major new initiatives that form part of the Government’s agenda for the next 5 years as announced by the President in her address to the joint session of the Parliament. This programme will strive to create a Literate Society through a variety of teaching learning programmes for non-literate and neo-literate of 15 years and above.
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said that the launch of this mission reaffirms our national commitment to literacy. He said, “I would like to repeat today what I have stated many times before. Our government is committed to providing good quality education to each and every child in our country. Resources will not be a constraint in the quest of achieving this goal. Today, as a result of our efforts in the last 5 years, elementary education is now within the reach of all children in our country. We have increased enrolment and significantly reduced drop-outs rate. This has helped us check further accretion to the population of illiterates. But we need to do much more to reduce and ultimately eliminate illiteracy among the adult population. We need to renew the efforts of the 1980s and the 1990s when we were able to make a significant dent in the problem of illiteracy.”
The Prime Minister underlined the importance of literacy, especially female literacy. He said, “Our Government has started a number of progressive programmes and legislations for the empowerment and welfare of the common person, the aam aadmi. The National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, the Right to Information Act, the Rural Health Mission, the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and the National Mid-day Meal Programme are all efforts in that direction. Literacy is central to the success of all these programmes and initiatives Female literacy is especially so. Female literacy is a force multiplier for all action for social development. This is self-evident and does not require any elaboration. In fact, many observers have seen infrastructure development in the economic sector and female literacy in the social sector as two very critical factors that impede India’s steady climb to a higher and sustainable level of growth and development. Female literacy is also absolutely necessary to empower the Indian woman in her every day struggle in dealing with multiple deprivations on the basis of class, caste and gender.”
The Prime Minister expressed the sincere hope that the Saakshar Bharat Mission will fully involve the local community in its implementation, and utilize the potential and promise of the Panchayati Raj Institutions and the women’s Self Help Groups. Expressing his happiness that the implementation of this programme has been entrusted to the Gram Panchayats, he said he would also expect the mission to make use of innovative strategies and technology to impart sustainable literacy to millions of non-literates in a reasonable period of time.
Speaking on the occasion, Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Shri Kapil Sibal said that the Panchayati Raj institutions will be the fulcrum of the adult literacy programme. He stated that the programme activities will be planned and implemented by the community and Panchayats at the grassroots level and all management and supervisory structures, right from the national up to the village level will be instituted accordingly. Adequate representation of women in these structures, especially in decision-making roles will be ensured, he added.
Shri Sibal stated that a web based Management Information System (MIS) will be put in place for real time monitoring of this Mission, which would be critical for optimizing its outreach and impact. He said, “Each individual learner will be digitally tagged and tracked for his/her progress in learning. Gram Panchyats will be made responsible for furnishing data at the block levels, where it will be entered on the central MIS system. Thereafter the data will be in public domain. This will ensure transparency and accountability.”
The HRD Minister stated that the ministry was working on an innovative model of Just-in-Time online release of funds up to the last level as well as real time book keeping and accounting that will continuously remain in the public gaze. We are hopeful that this model will become a national benchmark, he added.
Smt. D. Purandeswari, Minister of State for Human Resource Development in her welcome address appealed to all women’s organizations and NGOs to participate with the government in making this fresh mission a success.
The Saakshar Bharat Mission has 70 million targeted beneficiaries, of which 60 Million will be women and nearly 50% of the target group will comprise of SCs/STs and minorities. Since illiteracy is far more widespread in rural areas, as compared to urban areas, the programme will concentrate on rural areas, especially in the districts that have low (50% and below) female literacy rate. Nearly 1.70 lakh Gram Panchayats in 365 districts will be covered. Residual illiteracy in urban areas will be addressed through innovative partnership with NGOs, private sector convergence etc. The total estimated cost of the Mission is Rs. 6502.70 crore of which 4993.02 crore would be central share. The sharing between the Centre and the State would be 75:25 except for the North-east where it will be 90:10.
Home » BITS » current affairs » Prime Minister launches SAAKSHAR BHARAT; says launch of the mission reaffirms Government’s Commitment to Literacy
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