India’s Major Achievements in 60 years

India has close to a million schools- three times the number in 1947. Around 200 million children go to these schools every day. However, on the half empty side of the glass 40 million or so still don’t make to schools. Some data on India comparing India’s economy as in 2007 with the situation in 1947 (Figure in bracket for 1947) will be interesting reading.

Population today is 1.13 billion (300 million), per capita income is Rs 29, 382 (Rs 255, but a rupee in 1947 would be worth about Rs 32 today), gold price per 10 gm is about Rs 9,000 (Rs 88), total wheat output about 72 million ton (5-6), per capita power consumption in Kwh 606 (15.5), Number of doctors 5.54 lakh (0.5), exports Rs 5,64,000 crore (403.4), import Rs 8,20,000 crore (408), government revenue Rs4, 03,000 crore (171), Government expenses Rs 5,64,000 crore (200), telephones 218 million(1.1), average life expectancy 64 years (31.4) and literacy rate 67% of population(14). The list can be further extended. But I intentionally kept this small. It is great that India has moved ahead ‘from emerging to surging’, still the country has many miles to go.

However, it was courtesy my friend OP Khanna that I received the link of the article of Narayana Murthy that appeared in Forbes. Perhaps it is one of the best summaries prepared by many, including even reputed economists.

According to Narayana Murthy, the major achievements that have transformed the lives of our people in a way we never imagined would happen, are:


Green Revolution

Perhaps, no other Indian initiative has enhanced the national confidence as the Green Revolution initiated by Dr. M.S. Swaminathan. This revolution, which started in 1965, not only transformed India into a food-surplus economy from a food-deficit economy but also triggered the expansion of the rural, non-farm economy. The lives of at least 400 million to 500 million Indians have been uplifted due to this initiative. From being a perennial importer of grains, India became a net exporter of food grains 10 years ago.

White Revolution
Coming from a generation that experienced an acute shortage of milk, it is unimaginable that, today, we have become the largest producer of milk in the world. The credit goes to the extraordinary vision of one person, Dr. Verghese Kurien.

Economic Reforms Of 1991
The economic reforms of 1991–initiated by the late Narasimha Rao, Dr. Manmohan Singh, Shri P. Chidambaram and Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia–opened up the minds of Indian corporate leaders to the power of global markets, helped them accept competition at home and abroad, and raised the confidence of consumers. Our hard currency reserves have gone up from a mere $1.5 billion in 1991 to over $220 billion today. The reforms encouraged entrepreneurship and gave confidence to businessmen and entrepreneurs to dream big, create jobs, enhance exports, acquire companies abroad and follow the finest principles of corporate governance.

Independent Media, Brave Journalists
The success of a democracy depends upon certain important values of governance: fairness, transparency and accountability. The freeing of media, particularly television, has laid the foundation for improving these values in our governments. The courage, enthusiasm and zeal to seek truth of scores of idealistic journalists like N. Ram, Arun Shourie, Sekhar Gupta, Sucheta Dalal, Barkha Dutt and Rajdeep Sardesai are what make us feel confident that the future of this country is safe.

Telecom Revolution
No other technology has brought India–the urban and the rural–together so effectively as the 500-line EPABX designed and implemented by the Center for Development of Telematics under the leadership of Sam Pitroda. This program brought fresh confidence to the people, as they could reach out, in a jiffy, to their loved ones, officials and doctors, just to name a few.

Space Technology
Yash Pal’s Satellite Instructional Television Experiment blossomed into a full-scale television facility connecting millions of villages of India. Television has made our political masters realize that their actions and inactions will be seen and judged by every citizen–from the forgotten villages of Assam to the activist villages of Kerala. This technology has given voice to the opinions of a billion people.

Atomic Energy
Dr. Homi Bhabha conceptualized the Indian nuclear program and initiated nuclear science research in India. His program has made possible successful utilization of nuclear energy in defense, power generation, medicine and allied areas. Our peaceful use of nuclear energy has raised India’s prestige as a mature and responsible player in this field.

Software Revolution
N. Vittal’s Software Technology Program, along with the economic reforms of 1991, laid the foundation for this industry’s spectacular progress. India’s information technology exports grew from a mere $150 million in 1991-92 to $31.4 billion in 2006-07, and is projected to reach $60 billion by 2010. The Indian IT industry is unique for several reasons. It focused on exports; benchmarked with the best global companies; followed the finest principles of corporate governance; created the largest number of jobs in the organized sector; and demonstrated that Indians, too, could succeed in the most competitive global markets.

Read Forbes’ India at 60

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