Eradication of illiteracy from a nation that is set to become the most populated in the world is by no means easy. This was realised in the eighties and the National Literacy Mission came into being to impart a new sense of urgency and seriousness to adult education.

As we set foot in to the new millennium, it gives us the opportunity to reflect upon the efforts we have been making and also to learn from our failures so that we can achieve our target of a sustainable, threshold level of literacy. It is time to assess ongoing programmes and seek new horizons. It is in this context that the Union Cabinet took some momentous decisions in its meeting held on 30th November1999.These decisions, which will have far reaching consequences, have greatly strengthened the mission and given to it a new orientation as well as a resurgent spirit.

Integrated Approach

The Government has decided that an integrated approach to literacy would be followed now. This means, the Total literacy Campaigns and the Post Literacy Programme will now operate under one literacy Project. This approach would enable the enormous illiteracy problem to be tackled in a holistic manner. By treating the imparting of functional literacy as a continuum rather than as a one off benefit for the illiterate person, progress of literacy efforts would be made goal -directed. Literacy campaigns would continue to run in those areas where there are large pools of residual illiteracy. At the same time, for those who have crossed the basic learning phase, programmes of consolidation, remediation, vocational skills, integration with life skills and such other aspects would be considered the basic unit.

In effect, the task of making a person actually literate in a sustainable and meaningful way can be said to have been modesty discharged only after the Post Literacy Campaigns actually constitute two operational stages on the learning continuum and now under the same scheme will operate in smooth progression, drawing there financial sustenance from one single and same budgetary provision.

It is proposed that a district, while submitting their initial project, would also submit their strategy for Post Literacy on the basis of there anticipated target and projections of achievements. The per learner financial norms of Total Literacy Campaigns and Post Literacy Campaigns would be the same as approved by the Expenditure Finance Committee. The structures and strategies would also remain unaltered providing closer linkages.

The integrated proposal seeks to effectively bring the activities of literacy campaigns under one 'Literacy Project' to achieve continuity, efficiency and convergence and to minimise unnecessary time lag between the two.

The existing funding pattern of literacy campaigns is proposed to be continued. The funding ratio between Centre and State Government for normal districts is 2:1,whereas for districts under Tribal Sub-Plan the ratio is 4:1.The per learner cost for a Total Literacy Campaigns will now be in the range of Rs 90-180, whereas it will be between Rs.90-130 for post literacy programme.

In many cases for reasons such as natural calamities, absence of political will, frequent transfer of collectors, etc., a number of campaigns have stagnated .The restoration of such project would be continued as was approved by the cabinet in 1994. For this purpose, an additionality of 40-50% on the original project cost, will be admissible.

The revised parameters of the scheme, in brief, are as follows:

ITEMS EARLIER PARAMETERS PRESENT PARAMETERS
Name Special project for Eradication
of illiteracy
Literacy Campaigns&
Operation Restoration
Per learner cost TLC-Rs.65/- upwards
PLP-Rs.45/- upwards
TLC-Rs.90-180
PLP-Rs.90-130
Duration of PLP Two years One years
Rural Functional
Literacy Project
separate scheme Subsumed with Literacy Campaigns
& Operation Restoration
Sanction procedure
for TLC/PLP projects
TLC/PLP projects sanctioned separately.
PLP follow TLC.
Activities of basic Literacy
Continue upto PL stage.
TLC/PLP to be
sanctioned simultaneously.
Basic Literacy activities
to continue during
Continuing Education
phase also.

Continuing Education

The structure of the continuing education programme, launched in 1995 as a fully funded centrally-sponsored scheme, will be retained and further strengthened and expanded in scope and content. A continuing education centre will be set up for a population of 2,000-2,500 so that it caters to the need of atleast 500-1000 neo-literates. A nodal continuing education will be set up for a cluster of 10-15 continuing education centers.

The function of imparting basic literacy and transaction of literacy primers would be continued in the continuing education phase. The activity of teaching-learning for basic literacy would be available not only dropouts and left-outs but also to new illiterate entrants in the age group 15-35.

The scheme will continue to be implemented by the Zilla Saksharta Samiti headed by the Collector. However, the Zilla Saksharta Samiti may also be headed by a democratically elected chairman of the Zilla Parishad in states where a full-fledged Panchayati Raj system has been established. The implementing agencies-voluntary agencies, Mahila Mandals, Panchayati Raj institutions, Nehru Yuvak Kendras, etc., for continuing education centres or nodal continuing education centres will be identified by the ZSS.

The scheme also envisages convergence with the programmes of Nehru Yuvak Kendras, National Service Scheme, National Service Volunteer scheme, etc., at the grassroots level. The infrastructure of these institutions will, as far as possible, be utilized to facilitate the functioning of the scheme.

Revised parameters of the Continuing Education Scheme.

ITEMS EARLIER PARAMETERS PRESENT PARAMETERS
Financial pattern
CECs
Rs.10,000/- each for
recurring and non-recurring
Rs.25,000/- each for recurring and non-recurring.
In addition,Rs.12,000/-per annum per hired building for housing CECs where no
public building is available
Nodal CECs Rs.20,000/-each for
recurring and non-recurring
Rs.45,000/- each for recurring and non-recurring.
In addition, Rs 24,000/-per annum per hired
building for housing NCECs where no public building is available.
Honorarium for prerak One prerak each for CEC/
NCECs(Rs.300pm for CECs and Rs.700pm for NCECS)
One prerak and one assistant prerak each
CCEC/NCECs(Rs.700 pm for prerak and Rs.500 p.m. for assistant prerak for CECs) and (Rs 1200 p.m. for prerak andRs.700pm for assistant prerak for NCECs)
Concept of composite project Not existing Involvement of Zilla Saksharta
Samitis and NGOs in running centres
Provision of computer Not existing One computers in each district allowed
Recurring grant to SLMAs Not existing Recurring grant of Rs.12.50 lakh,Rs.10 lakh and Rs 7.50 lakh per annum for A, B & c grade SLMAS, respectively
Provision for resource support by National Open Not existing Rs.1.10 crore per annum to NOS
sharing of experiences with other countries Not existing Rs.25 lakh per year

Decentralisation of Administrative and Financial Powers

State Literacy Mission Authorities

The present approach is towards decentralization of financial and administrative powers to the State Literacy Mission Authorities (SLMAs). The SLMAs - state level registered societies will have a 2 layer structure viz. Governing Council and Executive Council. The State Directorate of Adult Education will serve as Secretariat. The guidelines regarding the delegation of powers to the State Literacy Missions have already been issued, and some projects for continuing education have already been sanctioned by them. 22 States/UTs have set up SLMAs so far.

SUPPORT TO NGOs

Innovative projects in respect of all-India level NGOs will be considered by the grants-in-aid committee at the national level. They will be provided assistance for taking up continuing education programmes in addition to innovative programmes in all part of the country. 

Existing State Resources Centers will be strengthened and their annual maintenance grants suitably enhanced. Independent district resource units will now be subsumed in the State Resource Centres.

Revised Parameters of the NGO's and State Resource Centres

ITEMS EARLIER PARAMETERS PRESENT PARAMETERS
Name Scheme of Assistance to VAs NGOs in the field of education
Classification Three categories (A, B & C) Two categories (A&B)
Financial pattern Annual maintenance Category A-Rs.30 lakh per annum

Category B-Rs.25 lakh per annum

Category C-Rs.10 lakh per annum
Category A-Rs.60 lakh per annum

Category B-Rs.40 lakh per annum
One-time grant Not existing Category A-Rs.50 lakh

Category B-Rs.40 lakh
Opening of State Resource Centers As and when required 1999-2000 3
2000-2001 3
2001-2002 4
Sanctioning of VA Projects Proposal considered by central grant-in-aid committee Proposals of regional/local NGOs to be considered by respective SLMAs.