Development in India After Independence
August 1, 2014
by Subhojit Goswami
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.
The Two Phases of Economy
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.
The economic reforms came to India’s rescue with the launching of a policy of liberalisation and privatisation. A flexible industrial licensing policy and a relaxed FDI policy started getting positive responses from international investors. Among the major factors that drove India’s economic growth following the economic reforms of 1991 were increased FDI, adoption of information technology and an increased domestic consumption.
Service Sector Growth
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.
Growth of Agriculture Sector
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.
As India needs power to drive its growth engine, it has triggered a noteworthy improvement in the availability of energy by adopting a multi-pronged approach. After almost seven decades of Independence, India has emerged as the third largest producer of electricity in Asia. It has increased its electricity generation capacity from 1,362 MW in 1947 to 1,13,506 MW as of 2004. Overall, power generation in India has increased from 301 billion units (BUs) during 1992- 93 to 558.1 BUs in 2003- 04. When it comes to rural electrification, the Indian government has managed to bring lights to 5,93,732 (2013 figures) villages as compared to 3061 in 1950.
Progress in Education Sector
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.
Achievements in the Field of Healthcare
A decrease in death rates is considered one of the major achievements that came India’s way in this sector. While life expectancy was around 37 years in 1951, it almost doubled to 65 years by 2011. Infant mortality has also seen a marked decline with death rate coming down to half of what it was during the 50s. Similar improvement was noticed in maternal mortality rate also.
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.
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Home » Subject » Essay » 60 years of Independence - India's achievements
India-it's achievements in 60 years of independence
The foundation of independence laid before 150 years in 1857 , which is described As First war of Independence got success after 100 long years of struggle & On 15th August 1947 when a new Democratic country which has taken over the attention of the world with it's principles of Non-violence & peace & above all had many challenges before it to stand in the world scenario. Today we have achieved a milestone by completing 60 years of independence. It's now the time for everyone or every Indian to undergo self-introspection of the achievements we already made & also those that are to be still achieved. While talking of achievements we should have a look at the challenges that India had at it's birth. We had problems of Social, economical, political etc . Partition of the country had serious consequences in the entire country. Country was experiencing violence, communal riots & a chaotic situation all over. First of all it needed a major attention to restore peace in the country to do anything else. On the economic front Britishers had exploited maximum resources of our country which is well explained by Dada Bhai Naoroji in his book titled " drain of wealth". Politically also we had to face many hurdles as we had no constitution , law of our own . The other most important thing was to establish a Democratic set up of Government in the country which at that time was felt almost impossible with diversified nature of India. So the country's position was no less than a baby learning walking ,applying all trial & error methods. We will now examine how Country able to solve the above problems:
First, the credit of restoring peace in the country goes to our first Prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru , who efficiently tackled this problem by using media to spread messages of peace & also deployed Army where the situations were serious. Second, getting India consolidated was not a simple task as many Princely states wanted to be independent but Sardar Vallabhai Patel with his great abilities able to convince all the States to join Indian federation which even involved at times to take up military help. But Patel emerged triumphant in this task. Third, framing of constitution, that took long time to get framed taking into consideration all aspects that suits India needs , incorporating the aspects needed for a holistic development of country in all fields of Social, economical & political. Thus country emerged as a republican country with it's own constitution 7 ruling. Fourthly, at the time of independence there was a cold war between the super powers of World & it became a puzzle before the country as to which side it has to take, but again Nehru , in view not to take any side came up with a plan of Non-alignment which set another example of our peace loving & having friendly relations with all the countries. Last but not the least was the domestic social problems of unemployment, illiteracy, Self-sufficiency, poverty, poor health, communal disharmony etc which were all to be dealt with the same urgency. Achievements:
With all the above mentioned problems India struggled to make it's own place in the world. Now we will have a brief glance at the glimpses of India's achievements in various sectors:
" Self-reliance : India had to rely on other countries during the initial years of independence But with the major importance given to Agriculture we could able to achieve self-sufficiency in the agriculture sector. With the advent of Green Revolution we not only became self-reliant but also able to export many produce to different countries. Introduction of modern machinery, hybrid seeds etc has also contributed to the progress in this sector.
India has achieved an enormous progress in this sector From Industrial policy of 1948 to today it's been a long journey from extreme reliance on khadi & village industries to Heavy industries in all the sectors. The development of this sector is evident from the inflow of huge FDIs & FIIs in the country. Today we have industrialists like Azim Premji, Ambani's who are competing with the world no.1 industrialists. Many industries of our country are getting global recognition.
Services is yet another sector which has placed India & Indian's & their capabilities before the advent. Service sector especially with reference to BPO industry has reached the levels where we have left all the other countries behind. The contribution of this sector in GDP is growing day-by-day.
" Employment :
The growth of Industry & Services sector has provided for huge employment opportunities to the youth, thus able to bring down the unemployment curve downwards. Self employment schemes like RGSRY, JRY etc have given new life to many people. Social
" Education :
Education is the backbone of any country's development. During the initial years of independence the percentage of literates were only 30% approx. Today we have got 65% literates and that too with enormous progress in the percentage of women education. Government has declared it a fundamental right to get free & compulsory education to all upto 14 years of age & introduced many schemes like Mid-day meal, sarva sikhsha abhiyaan etc .
" Women welfare:
The status of women have improved a lot from just being a synonym for kitchen to the rulers of our country. Many policies have been introduced to protect women rights & enhance her dignity & self respect The amendment Acts of 73rd & 74th which deals with Panchayats & municipalities have taken the initiative to provide reservations to women . It is a sense of pride for India to have a Women president for the country at it's 60 years anniversary, which Many countries including developed one's have not yet reached this dignity of having women as their rulers.
" Weaker sections :
As stated in the preamble of our constitution we have provided for equality to all in all sectors. We have declared right to equality as a fundamental right dealing with Articles 14-18 & have also provisions in Article 324 for sc's & st's. Providing reservations to the weaker classes made them to take up various activities in Government sectors & thus improved their life conditions to significant levels.
" Infrastructure: Roads, Railways, Communication systems have made significant progress in these 60 years. We have now able to connect several villages by road network . Golden Quadrilateral connecting all the four metropolis is a major project undertaken . Railways being the common man transport making profits & spreading all over the country connecting all the villages. Aviation & communication have also been on the lines of progress.
" Science & technology: From Aryabhatta in 1970s we have achieved a distinguished position in the space technology , by launching several GSLVs, PSLVs, & Insat series vehicles which in turn have contributed for communication development of the country.In the field of medicine several vaccines been introduced to cure diseases & thus increased the average life expectancy of a person. Achievement in the IT sector with principle centres of Bengaluru & Hyderabad have made India a important hub of the world will be no exaggeration.
" Art , Sports : In the area of sports we have created several records. We have sports persons like Sania mirza, Rajya vardhan singh rathode , Pankaj Advani, Anju B.George etc who have won several titles internationally. In the field of art Indian cinema is considered to be the huge industry which produces more than 5000 movies Political :
" Bilateral relations : India has good relations with all the countries of the world. India has always been a supporter of Peace & cooperation. During the initial years of independence there was a cold war between the then super powers USSR & USA. India cleared on it's side that her motive is not be part of any of the super powers , , Instead to have good relations with all. The result is the existence of Non Alignment group formed by the then prime minister of the country Nehru. India has improved it's relations even with our neighbour countries like Pakistan & china with whom we had wars earlier. Optimistically we may resolve all the issues soon. We have signed CECA with Singapore & soon will sign with Malaysia too & to be finalized Us nuke deal are big achievements for India.
" Aid to other countries : Apart from working on our own development India is aiding several countries in their development too. For eg.. India is aiding 53 Pan African countries in the areas of education & health , India also provided funds to several countries five year plans like Nepal etc. So from being a support receiver we have now become a support provider for many countries which in itself mention the development of the country.
" People's participation : With the increased education levels among people , their participation , involvement & response to actions of government have increased thus depicting a true democratic nature. " International scenario : The significance of India & it's moves have gained momentum in International scenario which we achieved mainly because of our belief in Peace, non-violence methods. Challenges still India Facing:
" Corruption : This is the major & most dangerous problem India is facing from pre-independence period too. India ranks 83rd in corrupted nations being placed among 30 most corrupt countries of the world. So for any development to be made first corruption to be tackled & measures to be taken for it at the earliest. " Human development Index: It is really unfortunate to mention that we have achieved less in the areas of health, education, standard of living etc & hence placed at 127 among world nations by UN. " Social problems: Problems like poverty, unemployment, population growth, illiteracy etc are still there even after 60 years. Though we are able to bring the rates a little lower, but the way of development is still so long. Measures to tackle challenges: India along with several nations at UN pledged to remove poverty, unemployment, improve health & other conditions of people by 2015. To achieve this target every Indian has role to play effectively. Several experts have given their views to tackle the above said challenges. The first & foremost is the report of national knowledge commission headed by Sam Pitroda. Sam Pitroda opined that transparency in governmental activities can curb corruption to a great extent, which is the root cause of other problems. He emphasized that it can be achieved by the concept of E-governance by setting up portals for different departments & tackling many issues online. Creating Awareness & educating people about several issues like literacy, health, participation, abolition of child marriages, child labor etc. Unless people know about the effects of these issues clearly it is difficult to tackle them. Governments should be more accountable & responsible to people & they should frame policies as to enhance the living condition of people as whole. Political tricks should not be played to grab the vote bank. Policies should be more realistic & practical in achievement. Bureaucracy should put in sincere efforts & be more efficient in implementing the plans & policies of the Government.
Measures taken :
To provide transparency in Governmental activities Government has passed Right to Information Act on 12th October, 2006. This will empower the citizen to question on any issues of Government where they lack transparency. To abolish the evils like child labor government has come out with Protection acts By which the children not only get protected from exploitation but also been provided with education & health also. Making education free & compulsory for children aged below 14 years & including it in Fundamental rights is an appreciable measure in tackling illiteracy problem. Under Bharat Nirman scheme Government is covering all the areas of development from sanitation to drinking water, infrastructure, health, education etc. We have even partly achieved the set targets. Several ministries have now started operating online. For ex. Income tax returns can now be filed online thus ensuring transparency & reducing unnecessary costs. Annual reports of ministries are made public thus can act as a measure of their functioning. Several commissions have been set up to assess & review the conditions of weaker sections, Women, Children & status of nation as a whole etc .Ex Minority commission, National knowledge commission etc & their recommendations are yet to be implemented. With the introduction of PIL functioning of Judiciary has been activated to major extent .this acts as a check on the erratic behaviour of Government & it's policies. To strengthen Administration & it's functioning Administrative reforms commission , Police reform commission been set up & yet to accept the recommendations.If the recommendations get implemented the efficiency of administration will definitely enhance which in turn would faster the development. Last but not the least is the area of Art, sports & entertainment where, by providing quotas, subsidies, good coaching for sportsmen etc Government has been encouraging many youth to take part in these activities & enhance their performance globally.
In these 60 years India has made it's own mark in almost every field. For a country with huge diversities in culture, language etc is not easy to achieve this progress & the credit for this goes to our national leaders who from the very beginning sowed the seeds of oneness & emphasized Unity as the major strength India has. Let us all hope that the dream of our former President Dr. A.P.J Abdul kalam of a developed India by 2020 will come true & we all should realize our own responsibilities & part to make this. To conclude, the quotes of Dr Manmohan singh on the completion of India's 60 years is perhaps the effective one. Dr.singh said "While there is much to be proud of in our record of the past 60 years, the unfinished agenda should make us humble and energise us to work together. The emerging challenges, at home and globally, should make us firm in our resolve to be united and to be cooperative".