India's Independence Day and India's development story

Hritika.N.K, IIK Young Contributor
Monday, July 29, 2019

If there is any land on this earth that can lay claim to be the blessed punybhumi,….. the land where humanity has attained its highest towards gentleness, towards generosity, towards purity, towards calmness, above all, the land of introspection and og spirituality- it is India.

Our country, India, is an ancient land with a glorious history. Our free spirit, futuristic ideas, rich traditions, and teeming prosperity made India a coveted land. We traded in gold, spices, indigo, and textiles. It is perhaps this wealth and industry that brought invaders throughout the medieval ages.

In the 1600s when Britain’s ambitious colonialism reached out far into Asia, India became a natural object of conquest. The days of the British Raj were the darkest in modern Indian history. Not only were our indigenous industries destroyed and wealth and produce exported back to Great Britain, our protests and struggles for freedom were put down ruthlessly. Brave men and women rose from every corner of the country – some adopted peace and non-violence and some rather radical methods. It is after much sacrifice and indomitable resistance that the British realized that their days in the country were numbered. By the mid-1900s, however, India’s colonial masters could not quell the voice of a united India, of millions of Indians seeking their freedom.

The myth of 200 years of British rule in India. Almost everyone in India knows this by heart — Britishers ruled India for 200 years.

On 15 August, 1947, India awoke into independence once again. In fact, the country did not sleep. India’s first Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru delivered his historic address and our countrymen geared up to keep our “tryst with destiny”.

Independence Day is a celebration of the freedoms that we enjoy – of thought, action, speech, movement, and mandate. While Delhi is certainly at the heart of national level celebrations, state capitals are not far behind. Schools and colleges too unfurl the tricolor, reenact the freedom struggle, sing songs, and glorify the nation’s heroes. This is a reminder of what we have achieved and what values we enshrine. It teaches our children and inspires our youth.

India is a democratic country that is developing at most promising pace. Its economy is growing stronger and stronger every day. Since it is the second largest country, the demand for almost everything is always high. Hence India is an ideal place for investment. Many MNCs have already invested heavily in India which has created a ripple effect of job creation and wholesome economic activates. More people have more purchasing power now.
India’s Independence Day is not only a day of celebration, it is also a day of remembrance and veneration. We owe our very existence, our freedom to the martyrs who have given up their lives in the service of the nation. We owe our undying gratitude to the armed forces personnel who guard us at the cost of their own happiness, wellbeing, and safety.

This year as we celebrate the nation, its sovereignty, the tricolor, and its leaders – mahatma Gandhi, Subash Chandra Bose, Nehru, Tilak, Gokhale, Ambedkar, Bhagat Singh and others, let us look back at the hardships they overcame and inculcate their values to take the nation ahead on a path of glorious progress and development. Our nation, its security, and the sanctity of its freedom shall be our guiding light.

While some have a high opinion of India’s growth story since its independence, some others think the country’s performance in the six decades has been abysmal. It’s arguably true that the Five-Year Plans did target specific sectors in order to quicken the pace of development, yet the outcome hasn’t been on expected lines. And, the country is taking its own sweet time to catch up with the developed world. All efforts are frustrated by lopsided strategies and inept implementation of policies.
An independent India was bequeathed a shattered economy, widespread illiteracy and shocking poverty.

Contemporary economists divide the history of India’s economic growth into two phases – first 45 years after independence and the two decades of free market economy. The years preceding the economic liberalisation were mainly marked by instances wherein economic development got stagnated due to a lack of meaningful policies.
A major development in the nation’s services sector has been the tele services and information Technology. A trend that started some two decades back is now well in its prime. Several multinational firms continue to outsource their tele services and IT services to India. The acquisition of expertise in information technology has led to the generation of thousands of new jobs, which in turn increased domestic consumption and naturally, more foreign direct investments happened to meet the demands.

Presently, the services sector employs 23% of the Indian workforce and this process of development started back in the 1980s. In the 60s, the sector employed only 4.5% of the working population. According to the Central Statistical Organization, the services sector accounted for 63% of Indian GDP in 2008 and the figure continues to grow. Since 1950s, the progress in agriculture has been somewhat steady. The sector grew at about 1 percent per annum in the first half of the 20th century. During the post-Independence era, the growth rate nudged about 2.6 percent per annum. Expansion of farming area and introduction of high-yielding varieties of crops were the major factors of growth in agricultural production. The sector could manage to end dependency on imported food grains. It has progressed both in terms of yield and structural changes.

Consistent investment in research, land reforms, expansion of scope for credit facilities, and improvement in rural infrastructure were some other determining factors that brought about an agricultural revolution in the country. The country has also grown strong in the agri-biotech sector. The Rabobank report reveals that the agri-biotech sector has been growing at 30 percent since the last few years. The country is also likely to become a major producer of genetically modified/engineered crops.

The Indian road network has become one of the largest in the world with the total road length increasing from 0.399 million km in 1951 to 4.24 million km as of July 2014. Moreover, the total length of the country’s national highways has increased from 24,000 km (1947-69) to 92,851 km (2014). Governmental efforts have led to the expansion of the network of State highways and major district roads, which in turn has directly contributed to industrial growth.

Pulling itself out from widespread illiteracy, India has managed to bring its education system at par with the global standard. The number of schools witnessed a dramatic increase during the post-independence era. The Parliament made elementary education a fundamental right for children in the age group of 6-14 years by passing the 86th amendment to the Constitution in 2002. At independence, India’s literacy rate was a paltry 12.2 % which increased to 74.04% in 2011.

The Government launched the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan in 2001 to ensure education for the children from 6 to 14 years. Prior to that, it had launched an effective initiative – Sponsored District Education Programme, which increased the number of schools across the country. In a bid to attract children to schools, especially in the rural areas, the government also started implementing the mid-day meals programme in 1995.

After a long-drawn struggle, India has finally been declared a polio-free country. Malnutrition in children under five years came down to 44% in 2006 from 67% in 1979. Government’s efforts yielded result as the number of tuberculosis cases also got reduced to 185 per lakh people in 2009. The cases of HIV-infected people are also witnessing a declining trend. Besides increased public health spending (about 6% of the GDP), the government has launched a series of ambitious initiatives including ‘Healthcare for all by 2020' and distribution of free medicines to the people falling under lowest-income group.

Independent India has taken confident strides in its road to scientific development. Its prowess is being manifested in a gradual scaling up of ambitious projects. India takes pride in its space programmes, which began with the launch of its first satellite Aryabhatta in 1975. Since then, India has emerged as a space power that has successfully launched foreign satellites. Its first mission to Mars was launched in November 2013 which successfully reached the planet’s orbit on 24 September 2014.

India is also aggressively pursuing both nuclear and missile programmes. That has simultaneously augmented the country’s defence strength as well. BrahMos inducted into the defence system is the world’s fastest cruise missile that has been jointly developed by India and Russia. After more than six decades of independence, India has now come closer to being an independent force to reckon with in the field of nuclear and missile technology.

ISRO, if it manages to achieve this, will add another feather to its glittering cap. Chandrayaan-1 was India’s first lunar probe. It was launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation in October 2008 and operated until August 2009. Mangalyaan is another Indian space project. The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), also called Mangalyaan, is a space probe orbiting Mars since September 24, 2014. India is proud of our scientists, who are excelling in their research and are at the forefront of innovation. In the year 2022 or if possible before, India will unfurl the tricolour in space,”announcement that an Indian astronaut, be it a man or a woman, will go on a space odyssey by 2022 on board ‘Gaganyaan’.

India is stunning the world with its self-reliance in scientific and technological advancement. ISRO, India’s premier space research organization has amazed the world with its expertise andfeats. The Mars Orbiter Mission won praise from all the countries. Recently it successfully launched 104 satellites into the space and made a world record. Similarly, Indian DRDO,BHEL, ADA and other defense organizations have successfully created advanced surface-to-surface, surface-to-air missiles along with other cutting-edge weapons of self-defense. LCA, Arihant Class Submarine, Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS), etc. are some of the many milestones achieved by DRDO.

India has progressed by leaps and bounds since the attainment of independence. From green revolution to industrial revolution on one hand, and from white revolution to IT revolution on the other hand, India has gained self-reliance in many spheres.
All these are good indicators for the future of India.

Hritika N Kademani
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