New Delhi, Sep 8 (UNI) Warning that terrorists are misusing cyber space to spread violence and hatred, President Pratibha Devisingh Patil today asked Indian authorities to take ''immediate action to address cyber crime.'' ''There is a rise in cyber crime,'' Ms Patil observed while speaking on International Literacy Day (ILD) at Vigyan Bhawan, adding how ''hackers and attackers are collecting critical and sensitive information.'' She said such elements were ''thus, acquiring the capacity to cause economic sabotage and indulge in cyber espionage.'' The President said ''terrorists are also misusing this platform for promoting violence and hatred'' and ''immediate actions needs to address cyber crime in a serious manner.'' Her remarks on cyber abuse came as she dwelt on the importance of literacy for the growth of the individual as well as society.
''Today, literacy has come to include literacy in other fields like 'computer literacy' necessary for connectivity in the ICT-- information and communication technology-- world,'' she said.
At the same time, she said, ''we have to be aware about the possible misuse of cyber space.'' The ILD is observed around the world to emphasise the need to make every human being literate. The United Nations has estimated that there are 774 million illiterate people in the world.
India's national literacy rate was 64 per cent in 2001 and against 12 per cent average increase between 1991 and 2001, literacy among scheduled castes and tribes rose about 17 per cent.
Ms Patil said this was the day ''to renew our commitment to ensure that no person is denied the basic right of literacy.'' ''This day is also a reminder that the universal literacy target has not been achieved and, therefore, we must pledge that our efforts to achieve this target will be reinforced.'' The President also gave away annual Literacy Awards.
Ms Patil earlier reminded Indian educators of the UN Literacy Decade, which ends in 2012. ''There is, thus, an urgency to move forward,'' she said.
''Our work in the remaining years of this decade will determine the success of that Millennium Development Goal - whose target is that children everywhere, boys and girls alike, complete a full course of schooling by 2015,'' the President maintained.
She recited the words of Chilean Nobel laureate poetess Gabriela Mistral: ''Many things we need can wait, the child cannot; Now is the time his bones are formed, his mind developed; To him we cannot say tomorrow, his name is today.'' Minister of State for Human Resource Development D Purandeswari released a set of books for neo-literates, the first of which was presented to the President.
As many as 304 of India's 610 districts have literacy rates below the national average, Education Secretary for Literacy A K Rath told audience. The number of districts having less than 50 per cent literacy among women, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes is respectively 260, 170 and 288, he said.
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