According to the 2011 census, 74% of the Indian population aged seven or above is literate and 26% of the population is illiterate. And it is estimated that this illiterate population costs Rs.2,80,900 crores ($53 billion) a year for Indian economy, as revealed by the World Literacy Foundation’s report “Economic and Social Cost of Illiteracy” – this report calculates the cost of illiteracy in emerging and developing countries and functional illiteracy in developed countries.
China stands high in terms of incurring these costs with Rs. 7,18,68,000 crores ($135.60 billion), Russia and Brazil stand third and fourth with their costs of illiteracy being Rs.1509.44 crores ($28.48) and Rs.1452.7 crores ($27.41) respectively.
The report also said that the illiteracy costs Rs.63,070 crores ($1.19 trillion) a year for global economy, with the number of illiterates across the globe being 80 crore (800 million) people. It is said that these 80 crore illiterate lack even the basic skills of reading and writing required to read a medical label or to fill a job application. The report also said that these illiterate people earn 30 to 40 percent less than their literate counterparts.
The World Literacy Trust has said that it is now time to consider illiteracy as a disease and should aim to eradicate it. It also said that, irrespective of the developed or developing country, illiteracy is leading to poor life outcomes such as poverty, unemployment, social exclusion, crime and long term illness.
Source: Times of India