The Independence Day Anniversary issue of ‘Outlook’ presented some data compiled by Paromita Shastri in her article- ‘Best of Times, Worst of Times’. I have chosen the best ones here:
Income: India’s per-capita gross national income is $3,120, measured by the World Bank in terms of purchasing power parity or by equalising prices of commodities in different countries. The average Chinese earns $5,890 and the average American $39,820. The Economic Survey shows that an average Indian now earns six times more than in 1951, or over Rs 20,000 compared to just over Rs 3,500 in 1951, even if the rupee were to have the same purchasing today as in 1951.
Savings: The rate of savings has almost tripled-from a little over 10 per cent in 1950-51 to 29 percent today.
Foreign exchange reserves: From $1.9 billion in 1951 India’s forex reserves are now over $156 billion, and more than cover our external debt of $125 billion.
Indian MNCs: Between January and June 2006, India’s outward FDI flows for acquisitions and other purposes amounted to over $5 billion
Billionaires and Millionaires: India has 27 billionaires (Forbes) and are ranked eighth in the world with 70,000 millionaires (Merrill Lynch). In contrast, China has lesser number of billionaires (10), but more local millionaires (3,00,000).
NRI Remittances: Overseas Indian workers send home $21 billion every year, the highest among all countries. For China, it is $5 billion.
Women’s literacy and life expectancy: The female literacy rate is today at 54 per cent from 8.86 per cent in 1951. Female life expectancy was a mere 32 years in 1947. It has gone up to 67 years.
Food production: From 60 mt (million tones) in 1947, India produces 205 mt of foodgrain now. Globally, India is the largest producer of milk-over 200 ml per person per day-and the world’s second largest producer of vegetables
Infrastructure: From only about 10 lakh passengers in 1960, the airports ion India today handle over 60 million passengers. From 20,000 km of national highways in 1951, India has about 60,000 km now. The number of registered vehicles on road was just a little over 3,00,000; now it is 80 million.
Communications: There are 10 phones, including mobiles, for a 100 people, compared to less than one a decade ago. The cost of a one-minute call to the US is the same as a Delhi-Gurgaon call five years ago, and that of a national long-distance call is 1/15th of what it used to be in 1999. Even mobile rates have halved in the past two years. For a 1,000 Indians, there are 60 newspapers, 12 PCs, 45 TVs and 32 net users. India has one post office for about 6,000 people, compared one for 20,000 people in China.
Stock Exchange: India’s National Stock Exchange is the third biggest in terms of number of transactions, after the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ. The total market capitalisation of Indian firms is $550 billion.
Jobs: The IT sector alone created 1 million jobs since 1999. And the salary increases in India are higher than all the competing countries.
Can’t all these pride us and give us a sense of where India has reached today?