Literacy is traditionally understood as the ability to read and write.The term's meaning has been expanded to include the ability to use language, numbers, images and other means to understand and use the dominant symbol systems of a culture. The concept of literacy is expanding in OECD countries to include skills to access knowledge through technology and ability to assess complex contexts.
The key to all literacy is reading development, a progression of skills that begins with the ability to understand spoken words and decode written words, and culminates in the deep understanding of text. Reading development involves a range of complex language underpinnings including awareness of speech sounds (phonology), spelling patterns (orthography), word meaning (semantics), grammar (syntax) and patterns of word formation (morphology), all of which provide a necessary platform for reading fluency and comprehension. Once these skills are acquired, the reader can attain full language literacy, which includes the abilities to apply to printed material critical analysis, inference and synthesis; to write with accuracy and coherence; and to use information and insights from text as the basis for informed decisions and creative thought.
Literacy is defined by the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, as "[the ability of] a person aged 7 years and above [to]... both write and read with understanding in any language." According to the 2011 census, 74.04 percent of the population of India is literate.High rates of literacy are concentrated predominantly in urbanized metropolitan areas, with the urban and rural literacy rates being 84 percent and 69 percent, respectively.