Literacy Rate Variation in India

As the saying goes, Once you learn to read, you will forever be free, once you learn to write, you will have wings for your flight. Is there a term to describe this reading, writing attribute of a person? Well, yes there is. A person who can read, write and understand a particular language is termed as ‘Literate’. This competence of learning to read, write and understand is further termed as Literacy. Now literacy plays such an extensive role in a country’s development, that Literacy Rate has become an entity that measures the buildup of one country. But what defines Literacy Rate at all? Literacy rate is the total percentage of population who are able to read and write. Literacy helps in building one’s fluency in every field. It is important for each individual of the country to understand the value of being literate. Literacy plays a key factor in the economic development of the country. Therefore, it could help in building the economy of the country.

But does that mean India’s Literacy rate is identical in every state? Unfortunately Not. It is unwarranted that some corner of the country is literate while the other corner is not. Why this disparity is prevalent at all?


Most literate State of India

Let’s turn our eyes towards the beautiful coastal part of India, to the beautiful state of Kerala which holds the first rank in the race of Literacy rate. As per 2011 census Kerala’s Literacy rate was 93.91% followed by Mizoram, Tripura, Goa. One may wonder here, what makes these states outshine the rest and climb on top? Here are some amazing policies which the  Kerala government follows.

  • More than 35% of the state’s annual budget goes to education.
  • The state has more than 1200 schools.  
  • Within 2 miles of every settlement,t there is a school so that everybody could have easy access to education
  • The Government provides scholarships at every stage of the education system.

The educational reformers and the Government of Kerala have collaborated to upgrade education as and when required. Together they have pledged to build a state where people wouldn’t get all washed up because of Education.


Least Literate States of India

Let’s now set foot to Bihar, which was the place of establishment of one of the Oldest Universities of the world, Nalanda University. Ironically, according to 2011 census it  s deplorable to be stating that Bihar secures the position of the least literate state of India followed by Rajasthan and Jharkhand. The main reason for the trailing literacy in Bihar is the crisis of proper educational reforms. It is one of the most populated states in India yet stands with lowest Literacy rate because of some major determinants listed below.

  • There is a considerable lack of teachers in the government schools and also the teachers who are available are highly incompetent.
  • Poverty which has been playing a major spoilsport in Bihar’s development forces parents to send their children to work at an early age, depriving them of Education.
  • There are many regulations regarding education reflected only in official records but reinforcement remains far from reality.

The increasing population and decreasing awareness pulls back state like Bihar in the race of development. The thought, “The more number of hands to work, more will be the number of filled pockets” needs to be eradicated if the state wants to build a better future for younger students.


A common phrase which your ears may have heard and your mouths may have quivered for our India is “Unity in Diversity ” but does this unity exist in terms of education? There’s a huge disparity between percentage of Literacy rate in different states. This difference may also exist due to the kind of environment the students of Kerala surround themselves with, which gives them the zeal to learn. On the other hand, the students of Bihar, Rajasthan, and Jharkhand refrain from this environment, thus they are forced to quit education. The Mid-day Meal works as a  leverage for students in Kerala to come to school and learn. Whereas the Mid-day meals work as a bait for students in Bihar, for which they do attend school but also run away in the middle.

It is high time we realize that Education is a basic need and not a luxury. Being literate is not just about following a fashion rather it is a way of leading a better life.


As said by a great philosopher,  ‘Education is the key to an open mind.’ To bring the state of education on the same page in every state, there should be some serious and important programs inculcated by both state and Central Government of India. For one country there should be one rule and one policy so that a proper and balanced literacy rate is brought out in all the different states of our country. If education has become our basic right, then equality and unity in education should be promoted.


A Country or a State is not perfect, we the people have to strive to make it better— Flight Lt. Ajay Rathore, Rang De Basanti


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