Republic@60

India became ‘republic’ in 1950, and interestingly, I started my formal schooling in the same year in class VI in Birlapur Vidyalaya. And now I am 70+. While there is hardly anything to achieve for me, I wish the republic at 60 to go stronger and stronger every year and make the prophecies of many to overtake china correct.

Some achievements of the republic in its life of 60 years are really amazing. The whole world is looking at India with a hope to be a savior.

The population grew by 220% since 1950 from 361 million to 1161 million.

Per capita income increased by 14600% from Rs 255 in 1950 to Rs 37490 in 2010.

Total wheat output increased by 1100% from 6.5 million tonnes in 1950 to 78.6 this year, whereas per capita power consumption saw a growth of 3950% from 15.6KWh in 1950 to 631.

In 1951, 19 million were enrolled at elementary level (classes 1 to 8), just 1.5 million from 9 to 12. Today, elementary sections have over 130 million enrolled, 37 million in higher classes.

Higher education has seen a stunning 100-fold enrolment growth — from 1.7 lakh students in 1951 to over 12 million currently.

And some growth figures are just unbelievable for a common man: Government revenue in 2010 (Rs 10.2 lakh crore) was more by 301100% when compared with 1950. The amount earned in 2010 from the export was Rs 77 lakh crore (higher by126900%) as the export earnings in 1950 was only Rs 606 crore.

During the last 60 years, India, a largely agriculture-dependent economy in 1950, has become an economy mostly driven by service sector. Contribution of agriculture to GDP has drastically dropped from over 53% in 1950 to 21% in 2008. While industrial sector’s contribution has risen from 14% to 27%, the services sector has zoomed from 33% to 52%.

But the burgeoning crisis is because of the diminishing returns in agriculture. It’s becoming unviable for cultivators. Contributing to farmers’ distress is the continuing fragmentation of land with average land-holding size getting halved from the beginning of the 1960s. Latest NSSO reports show that more than 67% of cultivated area is held in holdings less than 4 hectares in size, compared to just 35% in 1953.

Can some way be found to make this crisis in India’s agriculture create with some new innovative model to bring back its glory?

Further, who will help in crossing the hurdles and speed breakers required to get ahead of the competition for the country where the bureaucrats and politicians are still easy in mastering the art and science of corruption and red tape?

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