Citizens' Issues
How rural India gained 86 mn illiterate people
About 86 million more rural Indians have been counted as illiterate than the 2011 census data found.
 
This is revealed by the Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC), which counted 315.7 million Indians in rural areas as illiterate in 2011, the same year as the census and the highest number of illiterates of any country in the world.
 
Put another way, rural India has more illiterate people than the population of Indonesia – the world’s fourth-most populous country – and twice the population of Pakistan.
 
Released last week, the SECC, which focused on rural India, counted more people (literate and illiterate) than the census: 35.73 percent of Indians in rural areas as illiterate, as against 32.23 percent counted by census 2011.
 
The new data has also revealed the low levels of literacy in rural India.
 
Those who are literate can barely read or count
 
As many as 14 percent (123 million people)  of literate Indians in rural areas have not studied past class five, while 18 percent (157 million) have completed primary education, or class five.
 
Given that educational levels in India do not reflect real learning, 280 million literate Indians in rural areas are only nominally literate.
 
As IndiaSpend reported earlier, only a fourth of all children in class III can read a class II text fluently, a drop of more than 5 percent over four years. With math, a quarter of children in class III could not recognise numbers between 10 and 99, a drop of 13 percent over four years, according to the 2014 Annual Status Report on Education (ASER).
 
Only 3 percent (three million) of Indians in rural areas have completed graduation or a higher level of education.
 
Central India reported the highest illiteracy rate of 39.20 percent and east India 38.79 percent, followed by west India (35.15 percent), north India (32.87 percent), the northeast (30.2 percent) and south India (29.64 percent).
 
Union territories fared the best with less than 15 percent of the population illiterate.
 
Rajasthan reported the worst illiteracy rate: 47.58 percent or 25.88 million people, followed by Madhya Pradesh with 44.19 percent or 22.80 million illiterate people, Bihar with 43.85 percent or 42.89 million illiterate people and Telangana with 40.42 percent or 9.5 million illiterate people. 
 
The surprises are the presence of the southern states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in the top 10 state for illiteracy.
 
Kerala is another surprise in the SECC analysis. While state surveys and the census have repeatedly claimed a literacy rate of more than 90 percent,  the SECC report says 11.38 percent, or 3 million Keralites, are illiterate.
 
Among union territories, Dadra & Nagar Haveli reported the highest illiteracy rate of 36.29 percent.

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Comatose for nine years, 2006 train blasts victim dies
Nine years after being in coma, Parag Sawant, who was injured in the July 11, 2006 Mumbai suburban train serial blasts, died here early Tuesday, officials said.
 
Then aged 27, Sawant was travelling in a Churchgate-Virar train to his home when a bomb ripped apart a coach of the suburban local near Bhayander.
 
He suffered extensive head injuries and brain trauma and was rushed to the Bhaktivedanta Hospital in Mira Road before being shifted to P.D. Hinduja Hospital in south Mumbai.
 
"I am sad to hear the news. In fact last week, I was discussing with his family members my plans to visit Parag (Sawant) at the hospital on the ninth anniversary of the 7/11 blasts next Saturday. His family and Parag took the tragedy bravely," said Kirit Somaiya, Mumbai North-East BJP MP.
 
One of the last survivors of the terror attack, Sawant, 36, is survived by his wife Priti, rehabilitated with a job in Indian Railways, and minor daughter Praniti, eight years old whom he never saw as she was born after he lapsed into a vegetative state.
 
Sawant had become popular among the masses for his will to live, had regained consciousness briefly in 2008, and was visited by personalities like former deputy prime minister L.K. Advani and union Minister Sushma Swaraj.
 
The 7/11 Mumbai suburban trains serial blasts, carried out in a span of just 11 minutes, targeted the crowded suburban services during the evening peak hours as bombs kept in pressure cookers went off in north-bound locals on Western Railway.
 
A total of 209 commuters were killed and another 700-plus injured in the most deadly attack on Mumbai's lifeline at Bhayander, Borivali, Jogeshwari, Khar Road, Bandra, Mahim and Matunga Road, while one unexploded bomb was found by police and defused at Borivali.

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SC notice on PIL seeking curbs on food adulteration
The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the central and state governments and union territories administrations on a PIL seeking stringent steps to curb the adulteration of food products that were seriously endangering health of future generations.
 
A bench headed by Chief Justice H.L.Dattu issued notice on a PIL by lawyer Vineet Dhanda seeking the strict enforcement of laws to curb food adulteration including in the medicines and raising the public awareness to the dangers of adulteration of edibles used every day.
 
Pointing to the increasing menace of food adulteration in the country which is "literally driving the citizens "to various health hazards" resulting in "premature deaths", the PIL has sought the direction for closure of companies marketing of adulterated edible food products.
 
"The government of India and the state governments have failed miserably in controlling the rising food adulteration throughout the country as no strict steps are being taken to prevent and check the food adulteration," the PIL said.
 
Seeking instant response team to deal with the complaints of food adulteration, the PIL sought the raising the awareness level by maximizing the spread of information by government media.

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