Padhna Likhna Abhiyaan

A new scheme of Adult Education (Padhna Likhna Abhiyaan) has been approved by the Hon’ble HRM as a centrally sponsored scheme with financial outlay of Rs.224.95 crore including central share of Rs.148.74 crore and State Share of Rs.76.21 crore and physical target of 57 lakh learners to be made literate for implementation in FY 2020-21 with immediate effect.



The primary objective of Padhna Likhna Abhiyan is to impart functional literacy to 57 lakh adult illiterates aged 15 and above under a Basic Literacy Programme for a period of one year - 2020 to 2021.

Adult Education in the Indian context, extends educational option to those adults, who have lost the opportunity of getting an education and transcended the age for formal education, and now feel a need for pursuing basic education, vocational education (skill development), equivalency, physical and emotional development, practical arts, applied science, or recreation. Currently, the percentage of adult illiterates in India is around 35% of the world’s total adult illiterates.

In order to ensure complete focus on eradication of illiteracy, the scheme of Adult Education (Padhna Likhna Abhiyan) will be focused on the Basic Literacy component. The Abhiyan will focus on women, Schedules Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), Minorities, other disadvantaged groups and aspirational districts. W ith a view to ensure complete eradication of illiteracy in India, the Government of India has recently launched a scheme for adult education in India – Padhna Likhna Abhiyan. The scheme initiated by the Department of School Education & Literacy under the Ministry of Human Resource Development now Ministry of Education, Government of India, focuses on providing basic literacy in its initial stage. Over the period of time, the focus of the programme shall also be on the basic literacy component, i.e. vocational education (skill development), equivalency, physical and emotional development, practical arts,applied science, or recreation. This programme will assertively give an opportunity to those who have either lost the opportunity, ortranscended the age of formal education, and now feel a need for learning. The principal target of the Abhiyan is to impart functional literacy to 55 lakh adult illiterates in the age groupof 15 years and above under basic literacy programme in a period of one yea, i.e Financial year 2020-21. Within these targets, the Abhiyan will focus on women, Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) Minorities, and other disadvantaged groups. The State/UT will distribute the allotted target to districts selected by them.The scheme shall have a flexible approach and innovative methodologies such as involving school and college students & other volunteers of such Schemes as National Cadet Crops (NCC), National Service Scheme (NSS) and Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS), for imparting basic literacy. In a blog post in Indian Express, the Union Education Minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal has also requested the retired government teachers and other employees, homemakers and volunteers to actively participate inbuilding a literate India. He assured that the material for learning and teaching will be made available free of  cost in the public domain. The guidelines and instructions will also be provided to the teachers.


The unique features of the scheme include the following:

  • The focus of the programme shall be on Basic Literacy component in a four months cycle; priority will be given to aspirational districts.
  • The programme will cover both rural and urban areas, target and budget of States/UTs is indicated in Annexure with details in the enclosed Operational Guidelines. States/UTs will distribute targets to Districts.
  • The scheme shall have a flexible approach and innovative methodologies such as involving school and college students and other volunteers of NCC, NSS and NYKS, for imparting Basic Literacy.
  • There will be a Project Approval Board (PAB) at the national level to approve the Annual Plans of States/UTs. Secretaries of Education will present their Annual Plans, based on district plans, on the portal being developed by NIC, in the PAB meetings.
  • Convergence with projects of M/o Rural Development (MGNREGA), Skill Development, Culture, Information Technology, Finance, Sports and Youth Welfare (NYK), schemes of NCC and NSS, NGOs/Civil Society & CSR sector may be taken up.
  • Formation and involvement of SHGs, Voluntary & User Groups and other community based organizations may be encouraged.
  • Basic Literacy Assessment under the scheme will be conducted by National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) for adult learners, thrice a year.



The main focus of Adult Education in India has always been on its very bottom tier, which is, “basic literacy”. Reason being that at the time of Independence in 1947, 86% of India’s population was illiterate. As per Census 2011, the absolute number of illiterates of the country in 15+ age group is 25.76 crore (Male 9.08 crore, Female 16.68 crore), whereas Census 2001 had reported 25.95 crore (Male 9.13 crore, Female 16.82 crore) illiterates.

The percentage of adult illiterates in India is around 35% of the world’s total adult illiterates. “Global Education Monitoring Report 2017-18: Accountability in Education: Meeting our Commitments” published by UNESCO has provided adult literacy details of different countries compiled during 2010-2016. As per the report, the adult literacy rate (15 & above age group) in South Asian and neighbouring countries is Afghanistan 32%, Bangladesh 73%, Bhutan 57%, India 69%, Iran 85%, China 95%, Maldives 99%, Nepal 60%, Pakistan 57% and Sri Lanka 91%. From time-to-time, a series of programmes for promotion of adult literacy has been initiated by Government of India since 1951.



 According to the guidelines presented by the Ministry of Education, this programme entails identification of non-literates through a survey, area wise mapping of their learning needs and imparting them instructor based teaching of about 120 hours, spread over four months or beyond, depending on motivation of the learner and local conditions. Successful completion of the 120 hours of instructional learning would enable the learner to read and comprehend unknown text (newspaper headings, road signs, etc); apply skills of writing in day-to-day activities like writing applications and letters and filling up of application forms, etc., and compute

simple problems involving addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. A certificate will be issued to every successful learner based on a Basic Literacy Assessment Test against learning Outcomes. This will open up opportunities for further education through Open Learning Systems. Classes will be convened at such time and venue as would be suitable to the learners. State Literacy Mission Authorities (SLMAs) will be under obligation to arrange for the use of school buildings, Panchayat Building, Community Hall etc., during out of school hours and holidays, to be used for conducting literacy classes and related activities. Naitonal Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has developed Primer for adult learners containing lessons on literacy and numeracy.



A volunteer acts as a mobiliser, trainer and a teacher and will be responsible for imparting literacy, on an average, to 8-10 learners. The implementing agency at the operational level with the help of local bodies (Gram Panchayat/Municipality) will be responsible for identification of potential learners as well as volunteers, their batching and matching, making arrangements for their training, distribution of literacy kits to learners and volunteers, keeping track of the progress made by each learner-volunteer group, and at the same time making sure that the momentum of learning is not lost, while simultaneously ensuring that learning takes place at the pace suitable to the learner. Voluntary Literacy Educators will not be paid any remuneration. Since high motivational level of Voluntary Literacy Educators is critical, the government plans to motivate them through different means, including public recognition, at different levels, of their contribution besides other incentives and rewards