India's Literacy Rate

Although the country has made strides in primary education in recent years, literacy rate in India (72%) still lags well behind other developing nations such as China (96%), Indonesia (94%), and Brazil (93%) per the UNESCO Institute of Statistics' September 2015 report. The regional differences are pronounced- poorer states in general have much lower literacy rates than richer ones. However, when you look at the younger population (under the age of 25), the picture is encouraging. Large states such as Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Gujarat are inching towards full literacy. Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan still have some catching up to do. It will be interesting to examine the impact of the Mid Day Meal program launched by the Government of India in 2004 on youth literacy. One thing is clear though- if India's 'Demographic Dividend' is to materialize, it will be on the backs of a young workforce that is educated and skilled.