Reading is an act of civilization; it’s one of the greatest acts of civilization because it takes the free raw material of the mind and builds  astles of possibilities. - Ben Okri

Are Indian millennials reading ample in this age where the span of attention has been dropping over time? Today, reading is either  ursued or brushed off considering the length of the content. Chronically, the concentration span of people has declined to 8 seconds  n 2015, which was at 12 seconds way back in the year 2008. This age that sees flood of information, is actually suffering the dearth of  oncentration. That being said, let’s look into the 2009 Youth Readership Survey of National Council for Applied Economic  esearch (NCAER), initiated by the National Book Trust, an apex body established by the Government of India (Department of Higher  ducation, Ministry of Human Resource Development) in the year 1957, which was done across 199 towns, 207 rural districts and 60,000  respondents of the age group 13-35 years. Here are the findings of the most wide-ranging survey on reading habits yet made  n India: 47.7% of the sampling admitted that its inclination to reading was waning due to the advent of television & Internet,  poor reading culture & lack of time as the top three reasons. Bear in mind that this was during 2009. After all, still we have a problem; though we are destined to know more living in a knowledge economy, we are short of the time to read (to know).

The NaMo Touch

Earlier in July 2019, post his talk on ‘Mann Ki Baat’ in which the honorable PM of India stressed upon the significance of book reading, insisted that people should continue reading books and share their learning with him through the NaMo App.  

The NBT Haul

Similarly, The objective of the NBT (National Book Trust) is to produce, and encourage the production of good literature in English,  indi and other Indian languages and to make such literature available at moderate prices to the public and to bring out book  atalogues, arrange book fairs/exhibitions and seminars and take all necessary steps to make the people book minded. 

In furtherance to the above objectives, NBT is mandated to publish

[a] The classical literature of India
[b] Outstanding works of Indian authors in Indian languages and their translation from one Indian language to another.

[c] Translation of outstanding books from foreign languages.

[d] Outstanding books of modern knowledge for popular diffusion.

The major activities of NBT include publishing of nontextbooks, organizing Book Fairs, Book Exhibitions, conducting literary events, activities for children, training in publishing throughout the country, participating in International Book Fairs to promote Indian literature, providing financial assistance to NGOs, Authors or Publishers’ bodies to organize various book promotional activities to encourage promotion of books and reading. 

The NBT publishes general books which include works of fiction, books on social sciences, medical science and cutting-edge  echnology for all segments of society and for all age-groups. The NBT also publishes a wide variety of books for children and post- iteracy reading material for new-literates. Moderately priced, NBT publishes books under different series in English and in all major  ndian languages of India, viz. Hindi, Asamiya, Bangla, Gujarati, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali,  riya, Punjabi, Rajasthani, Bhojpuri, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. In addition, NBT also publishes select books for children in Bhili,  ondi, Santhali and some northeastern languages, such as Ao Naga, Bhutia, Boro, Garo, Khasi, Kokborok, Lepcha, Lirnboo, Mising, Mizo and Newari. NBT pays special attention to those genres which are not adequately covered by other publishers. These relate to books on science & technology, environment, the land and people of India, and the books in Braille;  esigned especially for the general reader.  

Nationwide Readership Survey (Naprdy)

The NBT conducted a National Action Plan for Readership Development Among the Youth (NAPRDY) with a vision to make all youth  n the age-group of 15-25 an active reader by the year 2025. The first major step under the NAPRDY has been the undertaking of the  irst ever National Youth Readership Survey among rural and urban youth across the country, which was undertaken by the National  ouncil for Applied Economic Research (NCAER), to assess the readership patterns as well as the reading needs of   the youth. The urvey has since been published as a Report by the NBT. [2]

The follow-up study in the form of a second Report on the Youth of North-East India: Demographics and Readership, giving an  nalytical and detailed account of the reading habits of the literate youth in the north-eastern states and their exposure to different  orms of media, was also published by the NBT. 

National Book Week

aunched in the year 1982 the National Book Week is an initiative of the NBT to promote books and the habit of reading in the country.  uring the National Book Week, held from 14 to 20 November every year, the NBT organizes a number of book promotional  ctivities and literary programmes throughout the country, like book exhibitions, seminars, discussions, meet-the-author programme,  orkshops and other literary events. During the year 2013 more than 200 such events were organized all over the country including an  nline contest for children on story writing with Science fiction as the theme 

Add a comment & Rating

View Comments