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Literacy at 74% but dropout rate a worry: report

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India has witnessed an overall increase in literacy and a sharp rise in net enrolment ratio, but high is proving a major hindrance in the success of Sarva Sikshya Abhiyan, a report said today.

The 'India 2011' prepared by Institute of Applied Manpower Research released today said 19% of the children in the age group of 6-17 are still out of school in the country.

While at present the literacy level stands at 74%, the report states that India still has "the largest chunk of illiterate people in the world".

Across states, Bihar and Orissa had the highest incidence of out-of-school children in the country "which poses a serious challenge to the success of which aims at universalising elementary education", the report said.

It said the male-female literacy gap in rural India to the tune of 20% continues to persist.

It noted that with all-round increase in literacy in the country, the variation across states in terms of literacy rates have come down.

It said over the year, "the literacy rates among SCs, STs and Muslims have converged towards the national average".

The report, however, noted that the proportion of illiterate among Muslims was much higher in states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. In UP, it said among Muslim was 53.6%, lower than the literacy rate among SCs.

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