The much-touted ‘Akshara Laksham’ project of the Kerala State Literacy Mission Authority (KSLMA) has come to a standstill owing to the shortage of funds.
This is one of the major projects of the KSLMA included in the UDF government’s 100-day programme, and intends to provide basic literacy to one lakh people across the state. If all had gone well, it would have been one of the most effective literacy drives in the state after the one undertaken by the National Literacy Mission (NLM) in 1998.
P Alassankutty, director, KSLMA, said that with the current financial situation, the department could not undertake such a mammoth project. “The department is debt-ridden and is struggling to reimburse funds to local bodies which undertook various KSLMA projects. Though the state government has earmarked funds for the mission, they do not even suffice for payment of salaries. So, the KSLMA is planning to extend the time frame of the project. We have submitted a proposal to the NLM for financial assistance,” he said.
Though the drive undertaken by the NLM in 1998 had covered a major chunk of the illiterate population in the state, there were some pockets which were left behind. The ‘Akshara Laksham’ project is an attempt to cover this left-out population.
The official said that since 2010, the State Literacy Mission has not received any substantial help from the NLM. To get financial aid from the NLM, the state should have districts with below fifty per cent of women literacy.
“In Kerala, barring some pockets, every district has achieved fifty per cent of women literacy. Owing to this, the NLM has stopped providing financial assistance,” he said.