Education Ministry, National Book Trust Launches Rashtriya e-Pustakalaya

In a move to promote reading among children and adolescents, the Department of School Education, Ministry of Education, Government of India, signed the MoU with the National Book Trust (NBT), on Monday. The MoU, signed in the presence of senior officials, aims to establish the Digital Library Platform, Rashtriya e-Pustakalaya, to make a wide range of non-academic books accessible to young readers across the nation.

The event, held in New Delhi, witnessed the participation of K. Sanjay Murthy, Secretary, Department of Higher Education; Sanjay Kumar, Secretary, Department of School Education & Literacy (DoSE&L); Archana Sharma Awasthi, Joint Secretary; and other distinguished officials from the Ministry.

In his address, K. Sanjay Murthy highlighted the vital role of non-academic books in shaping children’s future academic choices and urged the NBT to collaborate with academic faculty to produce quality books for the Rashtriya e-Pustakalaya. Sanjay Kumar emphasized the importance of cultivating reading habits among children, noting that the digital library would be accessible 24/7, thereby overcoming the geographical barriers to book access.

The Rashtriya e-Pustakalaya aims to address the ‘last mile’ library accessibility challenge in many states. A Content Enrichment Committee will oversee the selection of books for the platform, which aims to host over 10,000 books in more than 100 languages within the next 2-3 years.

Smt. Awasthi underscored the importance of including non-academic titles in the digital library and announced that over 1,000 books in 23 languages, including English, have already been added to the platform.

The first-of-its-kind digital library will offer a diverse range of books, including adventure, mystery, humour, literature, fiction, classics, non-fiction, self-help, history, biographies, comics, picture books, science, and poetry. The Rashtriya e-Pustakalaya will cater to four age groups—3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years—as outlined by the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.

Available for download on both Android and iOS devices, the Rashtriya e-Pustakalaya app will provide device-agnostic accessibility to readers. The platform aims to foster cultural awareness, patriotism, and empathy, aligning with the principle of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the world is one family).

The initiative is poised to bridge the digital divide and create an inclusive environment for all, allowing children and adolescents to read quality books anytime, anywhere. The MoU marks the beginning of a collaborative effort between DoSEL and NBT to enhance the educational landscape and promote healthy reading habits among India’s youth.

The event also featured a panel discussion on ‘Re-discovering Reading Habits in Bharatiya Youth,’ where experts from the Indian publishing industry shared their insights with an audience that included Ministry of Education officials, school principals, publishers, scholars, and media representatives.

This landmark initiative promises to transform the availability and accessibility of quality non-academic reading materials, paving the way for a more literate and culturally enriched youth population in India.

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