Abstract: Literacy, the ability to ‘read’ and ‘write’ in any language, provides the basal stratum for the multi-level educational pyramid, a major component of the Human Development Index. The overall literacy rate of Rajasthan is 66.11 percent as per Census 2011 which has increased by 5.70 percent over 2001. The dismal status of literacy in the State is manifest in its 33rd position among all the States and Union Territories in the country. It also lags behind on other parameters, viz. male, female, rural, and urban literacy significantly. The present study undertakes a multifaceted investigation of the status and spatial patterns of literacy in Rajasthan based on the Census data of 2011 at the tehsil level. A robust methodology including cartographic, statistical, and geospatial tools has been employed to identify priority areas. Spatial variations in levels of literacy have been mapped and analyzed in the context of the socio-economic characteristics of the region. Results reveal high spatial variation in literacy with a clear north-east and south-west divide in the State. Western, southern, and south-western parts of the State form a cold spot for rural-urban literacy hence need top priority in policymaking.

Keywords: Literacy Rate, Social GIS, Hot Spot Analysis

The study of human behavior, their attitudes, and their responses to their natural and cultural milieu have been the focal theme of human geography. The concept of ‘Space’ i.e. the spatial context or geographical location, is of overarching significance for explaining social phenomenon effectively revealing the complex relationship between various factors, directly or indirectly affecting them. “One of the strongest arguments for looking at society through a spatial lens—through maps, GIS, and spatial analysis—is that it provides observations with context: processes can be examined in their geographic settings” (ESRI July 2009). The significance of geospatial techniques to infer solutions to social problems and other socio-economic aspects is a novel field of research. GIS is being used to analyze spatial patterns of human health (Shekhawat et. al. 2011) and concentration of SC/ST population for the purpose of electoral delimitation by Jalan (2015). Geographical Information System (GIS) with its vast capabilities of dynamic mapping, visualization, integration, spatial analysis, and modeling enables more robust analysis and unique insights into the geographical underpinnings of the socio-economic phenomenon. It has also facilitated an interdisciplinary approach towards researches specifically dealing with the spatial phenomena. Application of GIS in social science research is commonly termed as ‘Social GIS’.
Literacy is a significant milestone in the developmental journey of a nation as it acts as a yardstick for its socio-economic progress. According to census 2011, Rajasthan has a dismal status in literacy. Ranking 33rd among all the States and Union Territories with a total literacy rate at 66.11 percent only above Arunachal Pradesh (65.4 percent) and Bihar (61.8 percent) (Census 2011). Literacy rates in the State are below national averages in all categories viz. total, rural, urban, male, and female literacy. It also accounts for the lowest female literacy in the country. The challenge is to elevate the status of literacy in the State with paramount focus on regions that are lagging and simultaneous bridging of the disparities. For effective implementation of mitigation measures and policies, understanding the regional variation and identification of priority areas having the lowest literacy and the highest regional disparity is imperative.
Various studies have explored the spatial patterns and trends of literacy rates for different parts of the country including Rajasthan. Recent among these are by Chand (2015), Sharma (2015),

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