The President Pratibha Devisingh Patil has said that increasing female literacy has the potential of becoming a force multiplier in pushing forward the socio-economic development of the nation. She said, “If we make women literate, they will be self-reliant and the beneficial impact on society will be manifold. It has been observed that where women are literate, the rate of infant mortality comes down and the quality of life improves. Literate women are more aware about diseases and their treatment; with better capability to deal with sickness and disease, and the confidence to approach medical assistance when required.” She was speaking on the occasion of the International Literacy Day Celebrations. She also inaugurated an International Conference on “Women's Literacy for Inclusive and Sustainable Development”, simultaneously.
The President also emphasised that an approach to literacy is required that is both holistic and relevant for development. She said, “An approach to literacy that is both holistic and relevant for development, by linking it with the learning of other skills necessary for human and socio-economic development, can bring greater benefits. Linking literacy with broader skills, such as technical and vocational skills is important.”
On the occasion the President gave away the UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize, the UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy and the Saakshar Bharat Literacy Awards. The Saakshar Bharat Literacy Awards include the Satyen Maitra Memorial Literacy Awards, NLM