As per Census reports, there has been steady improvement in literacy rates since independence as the literacy rate has increased from 18.33 per cent in 1951 to 72.98 per cent in 2011. Government keeps phase-wise targets to achieve higher levels of literacy. The present target is to achieve 80 per cent literacy rate by the end of XII Five Year Plan.
Two major interventions of Government of India, namely Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, for universalisation of elementary education and Saakshar Bharat, a Centrally Sponsored Scheme for the Adult population help to bring effective improvement in literacy. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is being implemented for universalisation of elementary education for all children in the 6-14 age group. Saakshar Bharat is being implemented in rural areas of 410 districts in 26 States and one Union Territory (UT) that had adult female literacy rate of 50 per cent or below as per Census 2001, and left wing extremism affected districts, irrespective of their literacy rates. The scheme has a target of making 70 million adult non-literates, including 60 million women as literates, with special thrust on disadvantaged groups.
The State Literacy Mission Authority (SLMA), Tamil Nadu has been felicitated with State level Saakshar Bharat Award 2015, as the best performing State in the field of literacy, on the occasion of the International Literacy Day on the 8th September, 2015.
This information was given by the Union Human Resource Development Minister, Smt. Smriti Irani today in a written reply to a Rajya Sabha question.