Between 1951 and 1981 the percentage of literacy improved from 16.67 percent of 36.27 percent. However, in absolute numbers illiterate persons have increased during this period from 300 million to 437 million. Women comprise 57 per cent of the illiterate population and the situation among SC/ST is particularly bad.
The whole Nation must pledge itself to the eradication of illiteracy, particularly in the 15-35 age group. The Central and State Government, political parties and their mass organizations, the mass media and educational institutions must commit themselves to mass literacy programmes of diverse nature. It will also have to involve on a large scale teachers, students, youth, voluntary agencies, employers, etc. Concerted efforts will be made to harness various research agencies to improve the pedagogical aspects of adult literacy.