National Literacy Mission Programme

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National Literacy Mission Programme
Country India
Launched 5 May 1988; 27 years ago (1988-05-05)

The National Literacy Mission (NLM) is a nationwide program started by Government of India in 1988.[1] It aims to educate 80 million adults in the age group of 15 - 35 over an eighty-year period. By "literacy", the NLM means not only learning how to read, write and count but also helping people understand why they are deprived and helping them move towards change.


National Literacy Mission (NLM) was set up by the Indian government on 5 May, 1988. NLM works under the guidance of the National Literacy Mission Authority, an independent wing of the Ministry of Human Resources and Development.

NLM initially had two flagship programs - "Total Literacy" and "Post literacy". The initiative was revitalized on 30 September, 1999, when they were combined as a single program: 'Literacy Campaigns and Operation Restoration'.

The NLM initiated its first successful campaign in Kottayam city of Kerala followed by Ernakulam district. Up until November 2002, 596 districts out of the total 600 districts of the country had been covered under Total Literacy. 191 were in the post literacy phase while 238 were in the continuing education phase.

In 1999 UNESCO conferred upon it their Noma Literacy Prize. It received jury appreciation for the teaching material it had produced and for raising the awareness of quality primary education in schools.

NLM works with NGOs across the country, providing financial assistance for those that actively participate.


NLM releases funds for each district. While the ratio between centre and state is 2:1, it is 4:1 for tribal sub-plan districts.

Working of National Literacy Mission[edit]

In India, 81% of youths from ages 15–24 and 63% of all adults are illiterate, based on a 2005 - 2010 UNESCO study.[2] However, the 2001 census stated that female literacy is 54.16%.


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