The world celebrates International Literacy Day today. September 8 was declared as the International Literacy Day by UNESCO in its 14th General Conference which was held on October 26, 1966. For 2019, the theme of International Literacy Day is 'Literacy and Multilingualism'. On this occasion an event will be held at the Paris headquarter of UNESCO where UNESCO International Literacy Prizes will also be conferred.
Languages In India
In Indian context, multilingualism is all the more important. According to the 2011 census data, India is home to about 121 languages out of which 22 are Scheduled languages. The number of 121 was arrived after scrutiny and classification of data received which initially totalled the number of mother tongue in India at 19,569.
Here are some facts and figures on languages spoken in India:
1. As per the 2011 census data, 43.63 per cent population in India speaks Hindi.
2. After Hindi, Bengali is the second most spoken language and Marathi is the third most spoken language. 8.03 per cent population speaks Bengali and 6.86 per cent population speaks Marathi in India.
3. The top 5 is round up by Telugu and Tamil. 6.70 per cent population speaks Telugu and 5.70 per cent population speaks Tamil.
4. Of the total population of India, 96.71 per cent have one of the Scheduled languages as their mother tongue, the remaining 3.29 per cent is accounted for by other languages.
5. Of the 22 Scheduled Languages, 15 fall in the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European family, 1 in Austro-Asiatic family, 4 in the Dravidian family and 2 in the Tibeto-Burmese family.
Literacy In India
Literacy, by its simple definition, is the ability to read and write for individuals, communities and societies. Here are some facts on the literacy rate in India according to the Educational Statistics report released by MHRD in 2018:
1. The overall literacy rate in India is 69.1 per cent. The number includes the literacy rate in both rural and urban India. The number pertains to 2014.
2. The overall literacy rate in Rural India is 64.7 per cent. In rural India, the literacy rate among females is 56.8 per cent and among males is 72.3 per cent.
3. The overall literacy rate in Urban India is 79.5 per cent. In Urban India, 74.8 per cent females are literate and 83.7 per cent males are literate.
4. There is wider disparity in literacy rates of males and females in rural India than in urban India. In Urban India, the difference in literacy rate between the two genders is 8.9 per cent whereas for rural India, it is 15.5 per cent.
5. As per the government data, in the year 2016-17, 19,283,075 persons (both male and female included) were enrolled in 'Sakshar Bharat Abhiyaan', which is a centrally sponsored scheme to improve literacy rates among adults in India. More women are enrolled in the programme than men.
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