President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday sought greater involvement of the society in achieving higher literacy targets and said that without education India cannot claim its pride of place among nations.
"Literacy alone can bring development, empowerment and sustainability and achieve desired goals set under the Saakshar Bharat and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan programmes," Mukherjee said presiding over the celebration of International Literacy Day here.
He stressed on the need for greater "societal involvement" in achieving higher literacy targets and reminded of the UNESCO slogan of "each one teach one".
Without literacy, India cannot claim its pride of place among the comity of nations, he said.
"From 18 percent in 1951 to 72.5 percent in 2011, we are still behind. Many of our sister developing countries including those in South Asia have almost 100 percent literacy rate.
"While we have fixed a target of 80 percent literacy in country by end of 12th Five Year plan, we have to ensure that the gender gap in literacy should not be more than 10 percent," he said.
Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani said the government has set a target of achieving 100 percent literacy in villages adopted under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana by March 2016.
"We have written to the members of parliament requesting them the villages they have identified under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana. We will make such villages are 100 percent literate by March 2016," she said.
Noting that there are 410 districts where villages have identified under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, she expressed confidence of accomplishing the target.