New Delhi: More differently abled people in India are going to schools and colleges, with literacy levels among them seeing a marked improvement between 2001 and 2011, data released by the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India revealed on Friday.

Of the 2.68 crore differently abled population in 2011, 1.46 crore, or 54.5%, are literate—an improvement of five percentage points over the 2001 figure.

In 2001, of the differently abled population of 2.19 crore, the percentage of literates was 49.3%.

While the numbers look encouraging when compared with those a decade ago, in actual terms the differently abled population is lagging behind the national literacy rate, which is 74%.

Within the differently abled population, the numbers of those who are graduates or more have gone up significantly from a decade ago. As per the data, at least 8.5% are now graduates or more as against 6% in 2001.

The 2011 census puts India’s differently abled at 2.21% of the total population.

The data released on Friday also showed that blindness has shown a sharp decline from 48% in 2001 to almost 19% in 2011. In the case of people with hearing challenges, the number has shown an increase from 7% in 2001 to 19% in 2011, Mint reported on 16 September.

Elizabeth Roche and Prashant K. Nanda contributed to this story.