There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.-Edith Wharton

Saakshar Bharat Mission | UPSC


Around 7.64 crore learners successfully passed the biannual Basic Assessment Test under Saakshar Bharat Mission-HRD Minister

MINISTRY ? Ministry of Human Resource Development


For PRELIMS basic tenets of the schemes have to be understood with clarity .Since scheme is too old now ; Hence has comparative less relevance to Prelims now.

For MAINS this is an important scheme to be integrated with answers related to Education,Literacy,Gender equality and empowerment.


Saakshar Bharat Programme, the latest version of National Literacy Mission, was implemented in the rural areas of 410 districts in 26 States and one UT of the country. Under the programme, against the overall target of making 7 crore adult non-literates to be made literates, around 7.64 crore learners successfully passed the biannual Basic Literacy Assessment Tests conducted by National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) between August, 2010 to March, 2018 and were certified as literates.


It was launched by the prime minister on International Literacy Day in September 2009.


Saakshar Bharat is the centrally sponsored nation-wide literacy scheme of the Indian Department for School Education and Literacy (DSEL) focusing on increasing women´s literacy in India. 


  • The mission aims to promote and strengthen adult learning, reaching out to those who missed the opportunity to access or complete formal education.
  • As well as basic literacy/basic education, it covers vocational education and skill development, applied science and sports.
  • Due to its approach Saakshar Bharat is described as a ‘people’s programme’, with the government acting as facilitator and resource provider, but working closely with local communities to tailor the programme to their needs.
  • There has been a nation-wide drive to publicise and highlight the value of this programme, most notably in the recent promotional video which features national celebrities performing a song about the Mission with a Bollywood theme.


  • The schemes focus is on women and adolescents, but this is not exclusive – gender is seen in conjunction with caste, ethnicity, religion, and disability.
  • The programme has a particular focus on people in rural areas where illiteracy can be highest. For each focus group and area, there is a specific target, approach and strategy, due to its community-centred approach.


The Mission consists of four pillar objectives:

  1. Provide basic literacy and numeracy to non-literate and non-numerate adults. This represents the accomplishment of basic skills in reading, writing and numeracy.
  2. Provide qualification equivalent to formal educational system and establish learning for neo-literates beyond basic literacy. This provides further educational opportunities to neo-literate adults, who can achieve a qualification which gives them access to further studies. From the lifelong learning perspective, this aspect is one of the most crucial factors.
  3. Provide Vocational education. Imparting learners with relevant skill development programmes is crucial to improving their working and living conditions. This is achieved through the Vocational Education phase which provides skill development training to non-literate and neo-literate adults based on their local context and the personal requirements of the learning group.
  4. Promote a learning society by providing opportunities to neo-literate adults for continuing education. The Continuing Education aspect of the programme creates a sustainable learning environment for neo-literates to continue using and improving their skills. This is done through the provision of libraries and reading rooms, based in the Adult Education Centres.


  • The Adult Education Centres are the operational arm of Saakshar Bharat, responsible for the organization and delivery of classes.
  • Adult Education Centres are established in Gram Panchayats on the basis of one per a population of 5,000.
  • One AEC is set up in every village and is manned by two paid Preraks (coordinators), of which at least one is a woman.
  • This reflects the drive to encourage and reinforce gender equality throughout the programme, including its core implementation, planning and management structures.
  • The centre offers various services; registration, a venue for teaching, a library and reading rooms. It is also used as a centre for promoting and practicing sports, adventure and cultural activities.
  • To impart functional literacy to non-literate adults a mass campaign approach is adopted.
  • A literacy educator (volunteer) who is a local resident acts as a mobiliser, trainer and teacher and is responsible for imparting literacy on average to 8-10 learners.
Saakshar Bharat Mission | UPSC
Saakshar Bharat Mission | UPSC


  • The total budget for the programme between 2009 and 2012 has been US$1.2bn, with the national government providing 75% of the costs, and district governments covering the remaining 25%.So it is 75:25 percent sharing basis on the respective governments.
  • All districts with an adult literacy rate of 50% or lower (Census 2001) have been covered under this programme.
  • The Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs), are the main implementing agency at the district, block and Gram Panchayat levels. They are responsible for the establishment and provision of facilities for the Lok Shiksha Kendras (Adult Education Centres).
  • The Online Accounting System ensures the Mission´s implementing agencies always receive grants when required, that funds are not left unused, and that the executing agencies maintain regular, trustworthy accounts.


  • The efficient management of the Mission is dependent on robust real-time monitoring. Each level of governance is responsible for the monitoring and evaluation of all units beneath it.
  • To cover such a large learning base, the National Informatics Centre (NIC) has developed WePMIS,
  • Web Based Planning & Monitoring Information System, a customised web-based system for planning, monitoring and impact analysis.
  • This system allows Adult Education Centres to update information about the progress of each of the courses, tutors and learners online, improving efficiency in evaluations of the programme’s impact.


  • The Planning Commission in the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) has recommended that the existing programme structures, as well as the resource support bodies, be remodelled, strengthened and further aligned to the goals of lifelong learning and literacy.
  • PERMANANCY : The programme needs to transform from a literacy ‘mission’ to a regular and permanent system of education for adults.
  • The active involvement of public authorities at all administrative levels would make this more effective.
  • There could also be greater active engagement with universities to develop scientific criteria to assess the learning outcomes of adults at the various stages of their development.
  • LESS INCENTIVES : Volunteers could be given more incentives as they give their time up for long periods to improve adult literacy.
  • COMPLEXITY :There is great complexity in the managing of Saakshar Bharat due to its magnitude, involving nearly 200,000 implementing agencies. 

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • Whilst the 2011 census showed that India´s literacy has reached 74.04%, an increase of 9.2% from the 2001 census.
  • The literacy rate of women continues to be significantly lower at 65.46%, compared to men’s rate of 82.14%.
  • The programme´s focus is on reducing this gender disparity and thereby achieving the government´s target of 80% national literacy. This will be achieved through the provision of basic literacy to 70 million more people, of which 60 million are women.
     SOURCES:THE HINDU | Saakshar Bharat Mission | UPSC


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