Youth have poor reading habit: NBT survey

Three fourth of total literate youth in the country do not read books other than their textbooks, be it classics or best sellers, according to a nationwide survey commissioned by the National Book Trust (NBT).

The proportion of leisure readers among the youth is higher in urban India with 31.2 per cent compared to the rural youth. Only one fifth of the youth from the country’s rural areas are involved in reading books other than their textbooks.

“It has been observed from the survey results that one fourth (25 per cent) of the literate youth at the all India level, read books other than text books,” the survey noted. An analysis of the NBT survey, released here on Tuesday, noted the reading habit of youth in the north-eastern states was much superior compared to that of other states in the country.

“Reading habits face a real challenge in the world of TV and internet,” Human Resource Development Minister M Pallam Raju noted, expressing happiness over the findings of the study that youth from the north-eastern states have much better reading habits than those in other parts of the country. Reading as a habit grows in a conducive eco-system, where libraries, book shops and teachers encouragement play an important role. “I would definitely like to see growth in  reading habit among the youth,” the minister said, commenting on the findings of the nationwide survey. Raju promised that his ministry will use every opportunity at various forums to promote leisure reading among students. The survey and its analysis  in the north-eastern states was carried out by the National
Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) on behalf of the NBT under the National Action Plan for the Readership Development among the Youth (NAPRDY).

41.7 per cent of a total 332.7 million literate youth between 13 and 35 years of age read fiction, 23.8 per cent non-fiction and 34.5 per cent read both. Only 26 per cent of the total literate youth read books other than their text books every day, 48.8 per cent weekly and 8.9 per cent monthly and 1.6 per cent once in a year, the survey noted.

46.4 per cent of the youth like leisure reading because they feel it will enhance their knowledge, 19.8 per cent do it for pleasure and another 19.3 per cent read books other than their textbooks for relaxation. Just 9.2 per cent youth were found to be having leisure reading as their hobby, it added.

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