The importance of literacy can be stated at two levels: National and Individual.
At the national level, in a participative democracy like India, a literate population is required to build a nation with strong social, economic and political foundations. Literacy is an important starting point that brings awareness in people to work towards a better living. It helps them to break free of shackles of ignorance, avoid getting manipulated, and being left out of the mainstream.
At an individual level, the increased confidence of every newly literate person to achieve the impossible bears heartwarming testimony to the power of literacy.