India has over 360 million people below poverty line (BPL), with BPL being defined as Rs 32 for the rural population and Rs 47 for the urban population (purchasing power per person per day). It is estimated there are over 100 million people who are below BPL in the urban areas, which is supposed to be socio-economically progressive and as compared to the international norm of US $ 1.90 per capita purchasing power parity for defining extreme poverty, these figures reflects the lugubrious and gloomy state of the country.
The key instrument behind the socio-economic posture being in the pits is the abysmally low literacy rate. The national spirit is at its nadir to note that the literacy rate in India is only 74% as against a world average of 84%. With the literacy rate being defined as the percentage of the population of age15 and above, who can with understanding, read and write a short simple statement on their every day life, India has the largest number of illiterates in the world.
The binary elements of poverty and illiteracy which are lacerating the country are intrinsically associated with population growth and that brings in the other most important and fundamental component of concern, making the stack up three dimensional. Illiteracy has a detrimental spin-off on the country's population stabilisation programs and is also a leading cause of poverty. Therefore the primary effort should be to educate nearly one-third of the country's population, which would demand immense energy and whopping enterprise. Leaving all these humungous issues as the sole responsibility of the government and state is unlikely to yield any significant result especially in a country where the tax returns are low (Tax revenue of 17.7% of GDP in India as compared to 26.9% in USA).
There is a need for NGOs in the public domain to participate in the national growth and thus the ASCEND EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION (AEF) was conceived to bring in the much wanted change in a small way
" Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself "
- John Dewey
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