The Population Commission of United Nation considers the ability, to both read and write a simple message with understanding in any language, a sufficient basis for classifying a person as literate.  As the population of India increased with the passage of time, the number of literates and illiterates also increased. But a significant milestone was reached in the Census of India 2001, when the total number of illiterates came down from 32.82 crore in 1991 to 29.62 crore in 2001. Thus for the first time since independence, there is a decline in the absolute number of illiterates during a decade. Therefore, the decade 1991-2001 has been termed as the “Literacy Decade”.

The following table shows that total literacy rate and that of males and females has increased considerably after independence.

Census Persons Males Females Male-Female gap
Year in literacy rate
1 2 3 4 5
1951 18.33 27.16 8.86 18.30
1961 28.3 40.4 15.35 25.05
1971 34.45 45.96 21.97 23.98
1981 43.57 56.38 29.76 26.62
1991 52.21 64.13 39.29 24.84
2001 64.83 75.26 53.67 21.59
2011 74.04 82.14 65.46 16.68

The tribes are the autochthonous people of the land who are they are generally called  adivasis, implying original inhabitants.

Scheduled Castes

The ancient and medieval literature mention a large number of tribes living in India. Before the introduction of the caste system during the Brahminic Age, people were divided into the term scheduled caste appeared for the first time in the various tribes. A tribe was a homogenous and self contained Government of India Act, 1935 and the Government of India unit without any hierarchical discrimination. Castes Order, 1936. Scheduled castes constitute an important Tribal people mostly live in forests and other remote areas segment of Indian population. It has been increasing steadilywhere they have maintained close relationship with their land since 1951, not only in numbers but also in proportion to the and forests.

They have cooperative attitude and the respect and total population. Scheduled Castes population was 64 million worship the Earth and the life it supports in 1961 which rose to 80 million in 1971, 105 million in 1981, 138.2 in 1991 (excluding Jammu and Kashmir where 1991 the total population of Scheduled Tribes and their census could not be held) and 166.6 million in 2001. The share percentage to the total population has been increasing at each of Scheduled Castes population has been growing almost successive census year consistently since 1951 at the rate of 1.1 per cent to reach 16.2 per cent of the total population in India in 2001.


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