15th August 1947. The day when our country got its independence. 70 years have passed and where are we? How has our country shaped up? Have we become a nation that has developed over the past 70 years? Answers to all these questions are known to everyone. But not exactly, by that, we meant to say that not many of us are aware of these facts and stats. So here we are giving an opinion on where the country with the world’s largest democracy has come since its independence. Let us start with…..
HEALTH – This has been a major concern for the people of India. Malnutrition, hunger and some more issues are present to date. One of the biggest achievement was in 2014 when the country was declared polio-free. India used to invest only 1% of its GDP into healthcare. India’s healthcare expenditure was one of the lowest in the world. Life expectancy in India rose to 68 years in 2015 from 32 years at the time of independence in 1947, but its infant mortality rate —40 deaths every 1,000 births— remains among the highest in the world. But we are improving at a rapid rate, in 2012 the infant mortality rate was 50.
POVERTY – It has been an important issue in India for a long time now. Despite having one of the fastest growing economies in the world, clocked at a growth of 7.6% in 2015. Estimation shows that nearly 300 million people are in middle class. Since 1950’s the Indian government and non-government organizations had several programs to remove poverty. Despite significant economic progress, one quarter of the nation’s population earns less than government’s specified poverty threshold of Rs.32 per day! “We have the best of programs on paper, but fail miserably on delivery and implementation,” D.K. Joshi, chief economist at Mumbai-based ratings and research firm CRISIL, said.
EMPLOYMENT – Despite India’s heavy dependence on farming, agriculture accounted for 17.9% of India’s gross domestic product. More than half of the country’s workers are into agriculture. And India is the 2nd largest producer of agriculture in the world. India’s contribution in agriculture sector is much higher than the world’s average (6.1%). In comparison, the contribution of industry and services sector is pretty lower than the world’s average of 30.5% in industry and 63.5% in the service sector. Services sector which employs about a third of the country’s workers accounted for just 57.9% of India’s GDP in 2013-14 which was lower than world’s average. “Agriculture is overburdened by too many people,” said Mr. Joshi, the CRISIL economist. In fact, an overwhelming majority of farmers, he added, are not working for most of the year owing to the seasonal nature of their work.
EDUCATION – Literacy levels in India have grown from about12% to the end of British rule, 16% in 1951, when the first census was conducted, to around 65.38% in 2001 to 74% in 2011. Thus registering an increase of over 9% in 10 years. Although this was great but is still less than 84% which is world’s average literacy rate. Out of all the nations, India currently has the largest illiterate population. Even though various government programs were made and executed the literacy rate increased only in slow motion. An acceleration in the growth of this rate happened during the 1991-2001 period. In 2016 literacy rate was 75%. Those who are working in the education field say that Indian education system emphasizes more on rote and less on practical learning and independent thoughts. Millions are going to schools but are they really learning? That is the biggest question to answer.
DEMOCRACY – We are the world’s largest democracy with a population of 1.25 billion people. Since 1947 India has had an uninterrupted democratic rule, apart from during the emergency in the 1970s. Indira Gandhi, India’s then prime minister suspended the democratic rights from 1975 to 1977. People have always wondered that how our democracy could survive but it strengthened more. Voting turnouts have also increased significantly in some sections of society. Belonging to a political family is a huge advantage for someone who is contesting in elections. There has been transparency in politics but a greater transparency is needed with regard to political parties and the money they receive and the way it is utilized by them.
FOREIGN POLICY – Since independence, India has fought 4 wars with its neighbors, one with China and three with Pakistan. Even though we have major regional foreign policy setbacks, India has got some things right how they should be. What India needs to do about its bad relations with its neighbors, China and Pakistan are to be more assured internally. With better military capability, economic indicators, scientific research, and human resource development. Presently Mr. Narendra Modi is focusing on India’s relationship with its neighboring countries. Also, Mrs. Sushma Swaraj is very active in external affairs. India is currently focusing on “Make in India” which facilitates investment in the manufacturing sector.