The International Literacy Day was held on 8th September at Vigyan Bhavan. Her Excellency Smt. Pratibha Devisinghji Patil was the Chief Guest for the function. Reiterating her commitment to the cause of education for all and women's empowerment, she lay down her vision for the future. She said that one of the Millennium Development Goals is the achievement of universal primary education by 2015 and within the context of the goal on gender equality, the target is to eliminate gender disparity in education. Education and literacy are of immense importance to India. As we enter the 11th Plan period we need to take stock of the literacy rates in the country. With the combined efforts os Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan for children and a revamped National Literacy Mission, for adults, Gandhiji's dream of eradicating the scourge of illiteracy and our goal of creating a knowledge society will  be very much within our reach.   


Minister of Human Resource Development Shri Arjun Singh who presided over the function recalled that our Late Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi set up the National Literacy Mission in 1988 as one of the five technology missions with but one aim, to create a resurgent India with a literate human resource, inclusive society and empowered individuals.


 He appreciated the fact that though the figures in literacy elude us, the enthusiasm is catching, which is necessary for us to succeed. He mentioned that the challenges before the NLM still remain, he felt that there is urgent need to bridge the gender gap between male and female literacy and bring the disadvantaged into the fold of literacy. He said that the churning and the literacy movement must result in mass awakening and the literacy and life long learning must take on the character of a mass movement which can whip up excitement, enthuse people, raise people's aspirations and make the programme community owned.  


Minister of State Human Resource Development Shri M. A. A. Fatmi stressed the importance of literacy for health and well being which is the theme of this years International Literacy Day. He also emphasized the need for linking literacy with livelihoods. 


Shri Champak Chatterji in his welcome address spelt out the efforts made by the National Literacy Mission and the states to bring literacy back centre stage and highlighted the innovations undertaken by a number of districts including the award winning districts like Dantewada and Chhittorgarh.


 A film the Marquee Effect highlighting literacy in 6 states was screened during the celebrations. The Satyen Maitra Literacy awards named after Satyen Maitra the doyen of adult literacy and carrying the prize of a trophy and certificate were given to Dantewada (Chhattisgarh) for Total Literacy campaign, Lohardagga (Jharkhand) for Post Literacy campaign and Chhitorgarh (Rajasthan), Kasargod (Kerala) and Uttara Kannada (Karnataka) for Continuing Education Programme.


The UNESCO NLM awards for the best Jan Shikshan Sansthans went to JSS Nasik and JSS Chandigarh and for the best State Resource Centre went to SRC Deepayatan Bihar. The award carries a cash prize of Rs. 50,000 and a certificate.


The five awardees of the National Photo Competition organized by NLM on the themes of literacy of women,literacy and development, literacy through self help groups,literacy through vocational education, literacy for national integration, literacy for social awareness, received the award from the President.


During the celebrations various artists from the states of Chhatisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Gujrat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana presented a mosaic of colourful cultural programme.

Smt.Vandana K. Jena, Joint Secretary & Director General (NLM) proposed a vote of thanks expressing gratitude towards all the honoured guests and literacy activists .She re-affirmed her determination to achieve the unaccomplished goals of literacy in the ongoing march of National Literacy Mission.