One of the major social problem of India is illiteracy. More than one quarter of adult world population i.e. 889 million is illiterate. Also more than 1000 million children in the developing countries are not attending the schools. The number of illiterates’ is likely to swell in the near future. 1990 was considered as the International Literacy Year by the United Nations General Assembly. This was done so to focus the world attention on the problem and to intensify the efforts to spread education.

Illiteracy is a condition which becomes a blot on the development of nation. India possesses the largest illiterate population. Illiteracy in India is a problem which has complex dimensions attached to it. Illiteracy in India is more or less concerned with different forms of disparities that exist in the country. There are gender imbalances, income imbalances, state imbalances, caste imbalances, technological barriers which shape the literacy rates that exist in the country. The Indian government though has launched several schemes to combat the menace of illiteracy but due to the poor conditions of sanitation and expensive private education and defective mid-day meal schemes, illiteracy still prevails. Not only the government, but every literate person needs to accept the eradication of illiteracy as a personal goal. Each and every contribution by a literate person can make a contribution to eradicate the menace.

According to a research done it has been found that in some societies girl education is not considered good. Girls are not given education. Such traditions are based on wrong notion and must be abolished. It is particularly important to provide education to women and girls as the saying goes, “If you educate a man, you educate one person, but if you educate a -woman, you educate a whole family.” Removal of illiteracy is our main aim today and observing the International Literacy Year has helped and supported such efforts as to approach the world illiterates.

We try to present our country as a modern, forward looking nation of the world and it’s true that India is making strides in the world as a nation with encouraging developments in scientific, economic and technological fields, but as far as social developments are concerned it is still one of the lowest ranked countries of the world. India’s Human Development Index (HDI) rank for 2013 is 135 out of 187 countries of the world which are listed in the report. This shows the sorry state of affairs as far as India’s situation on social indicators is concerned. This also shows that we as a society are still people of orthodox beliefs in a negative sense who do not want to believe in the concept of equality and brotherhood of all.

Though several Governmental and non-governmental (NGOs) bodies are working towards improving the existing situation in the social fields but results are not very encouraging. Perhaps the problem lies in the very deep rooted beliefs in the minds of people of the country which is not letting the situation to change. Though there are various prohibitory measures the Government and NGOs have taken but the practice is continuing. The real reason for this is the Patriarchy system of society of our country which considers male as the superior authority and women as subordinate to them.

Though there have been several positive changes in the society such as now girls are also going to school in vast majority and their employment ratio is also increasing; illiteracy as whole is decreasing; conditions of SC/STs are also improving etc but situation is far from satisfactory.Therefore, there is a lot needs to be done for the situation to improve. And without changing the mind set and beliefs of the people it is a very difficult task. For this purpose educating people about various social problems and sensitizing them towards changing their way of thinking is the best way forward. Because without people trying to change themselves, any governmental or non-governmental efforts will prove as a half-measure. If we want to make India as a true world leader and a modern 21st country of the world, it is imperative that that we make an improvement on our social front.