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Tanuku is first town in State to achieve total literacy

By Our Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD, MARCH 15. Tanuku municipality in West Godavari district has emerged as the first town in the State to achieve total literacy, while the district itself is marching towards this rare distinction by December 31, 2001.

A formal announcement is being made on March 31 declaring Tanuku as cent per cent literate.

This was stated by the Primary Education Minister, Mr K. Srihari, in the Assembly on Thursday, while replying to a debate on achievements made so far under Akshara Sankranti taken up under a motion, given notice of by 26 members belonging to different parties.

He revealed that Akshara Sankranti for which Sankranti (January 31) was fixed as the outer limit and later extended up to March 31, enrolled 53 lakh people so far, against a target of 60 lakh. Out of those enrolled, nine lakh people dropped out. The dropouts would be covered along with a fresh target under the second phase of the programme being launched from April 14, Ambedkar Jayanti day. The Akshara Sankranti was launched on October 2 last, Gandhi Jayanti Day, under Universalisation of Adult Education, one of the two approaches adopted by the Government for total literacy, the other being Universalisation of Education targeting the age group 5-14 years.

Mr Srihari announced that students would also be involved in the second phase of the programme to supplement the work being done now by volunteers and teachers. They would have no problem because, by then, they would be on summer vacations and be free having completed their annual examinations. The achievement so far differed from district to district depending on the initiative and interest taken by their Collectors and officials.

A National Sample Survey showed that the literacy rate in the State had gone up to 54 per cent from 44 per cent as was indicated by an earlier survey and the national average to 62 per cent from 52 per cent. Only three districts in the State--Hyderabad (Urban), West Godavari and Krishna, had their literacy rate above the national average. Mahabubnagar still remained as the "lowest literate" district. Only 10 per cent of SCs and STs became literate in the State.

The Minister said Rs 13 crores was released to districts under Akshara Sankranti, at the rate of Rs 50 lakhs each, but the spending out of this was made to the tune of Rs 10 crores. He asked the MLAs who headed the "Total Literacy Constituency Committees" formed in this regard, to review the programme and extend cooperation.

Earlier, participating in the debate, Mrs B. Shoba, TD, Mrs Galla Aruna, Congress, Dr K. Lakshman, BJP, Mr S. Rajiah, CPI (M), and Mr Asasuddin Owaisi, MIM, spoke pointing out the "inadequacies and deficiencies" of the programme. Mrs Aruna particularly sought introduction of prohibition for success, apart from uninterrupted power supply, as, otherwise, women would find it difficult to attend night classes in the face of the liquor consumers.

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