From ancient times, India has been considered a geographically and culturally rich nation. Here natural resources are in abundance for development. India's geographical area is very vast, natural resources are good, climate is favorable forest wealth is in adequate quantity, essential resources of energy are also available in adequate quantity and human power is also enough. But often it is said about India that- India is a rich nation but its residents are poor. It is an ironical statement. India is a wealthy nation but the second part of the statement infers that Indians are poor. Our young and dynamic late Prime Minister Rajeev Gandhi had promised to take India right into the 21st century. The tremendous progress that our country has made after getting independence gives us an optimistic picture of the country. If we compare the progress of these four decades with the country that India was at the close of the 19th century, we would wonder at the difference. The present century has witnessed far reaching advances in politics, economic, trade, industry, education and science. We were a primitive nation of snake charmers and grass cutters at the close of the last century. Now we are a free nation and have our place in the comity of nations. Our economic growth rate is at par with that of many advanced countries of the world. Our scientists have acquired great name in the world of science and in no way inferior to the top-ranking scientists that the world has today. We have come to assume the role of a big brother in the South East Asian Region and have a big name in the non-aligned countries of the world. Ours is the biggest democracy in the world. These are no mean achievements.
Progress in Indian economy
The Indian government has launched ambitious plants and if these are sincerely implemented one can jolly well hope that in the twenty-first century things are going to improve still further. Indian economy has already shown significant growth rate of 5 percent per annum in a sustained fashion. India is a country with developing economy. After the independence, especially during planning period the different aspects of Indian Economy have improved qualitatively as well as quantitatively. Today as a result, Indian economy is placed among the most powerful economy of the world. Although we have reached high dimensions of economic development through the growth of economy, but simultaneously many challenges have also arisen, such as poverty, rapidly increasing population, wide spread unemployment, rapidly increasing price rate etc.
Distribution of population
Distribution of population was uneven in India. In India causes of population growth are as follows:
1) Birth rate and death rate: During 1911 to 1921 birth rate and death rate were 48.1 and 47.2 respectively, i.e. both were quite high. From 1921 to 1951 though birth rate decreased slowly but, death rate decreased rapidly. Between 1991 to 2001 difference between the two increased to 17.4 resulting in continuous growth of population. The cause of decline in the death rate was increase in health facilities and adequacy of facilities of livelihood.
2) Increase in Life Expectancy: The difference between birth rate and the death rate is called natural growth rate. The average age of life is known as life expectancy. In our country, life expectancy (average age) was 50 years in 1921 which increased to 62 in 1991. Hence due to longevity population kept on increasing.
3) Lack of Education: Illiteracy gives birth to superstitions. Most of the uneducated people believe that children are gift of God. Believing this they keep on begetting children and hence population also increases. Desire for son was also responsible for many children in one family. The lower class hesitates from adopting family planning programs.
4) Literacy in India: Literacy rate has increased in last hundred years. In the beginning of the country in 1911 the literary rate was about 6%. After independence in 1951 it has increased to 18.3%. It has increased from 52.21% in 1991 to 65.38% in 2001. After independence we had fast development in all fields of literacy continuous efforts are still needed. It is outcome of Central Government aiming at providing free primary education to all.
No doubt we have not been able to check the ever increasing numbers of our population but there are indications that educated couples are increasingly taking to the advantages of small family. If we are able to educate more and more people we can certainly hope to curb the increasing trend of our population on the years to come. Once we are able to tame the monster of population problems, we shall be able to make our economic programs more meaningful.
Progress in agriculture
The development of agriculture has taken place along with the development of human civilization. At that time there was no problem of food grains due to lesser population and limited needs. The population increased at a very fast rate, due to which available food grains became insufficient. At that time our country was dependent on import of food grains from other countries. Our scientists made a lot of efforts to solve the food problem because of which our country became self-sufficient for food grains. For this achievement the role of Green Revolution has been very significant under which high yielding crop varieties, chemicals, fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides irrigation, sustainable agriculture and modern agricultural implements were effectively used and there was expected increase in food grain production. We have to take appropriate measures to meet the challenges posed by the frequent drought in some parts of our country. Such unforeseen calamities often push the wheel of progress backward. If only we are able to provide our laborious farmers with adequate means of irrigation, they can do wonders in the realm of agriculture. We can eliminate our dependence upon foreign countries in the matter of food grains.
Progress in military
India can boast of one of the best armed forces in the world. Equipped with the latest weapons, our soldiers are second to none in the world and they can defend the frontiers of our country ably. Our soldiers have already shown their velour in the wars fought more than twice in free India.
Progress in technology
High technology is being used both in the civilian and military sectors. Today, India became the sixth nation in the world to have capability of designing its own satellite and launching it in space. The two long-range missiles Agni and Prithvi made India self reliant in this key are of defense and earned it a respectable position among the superpowers. We are self reliant in nuclear energy. Today, India builds its own power reactors, heavy water and reprocessing plants and plans to add 22 reactors within the next 15 years to the 6 already in the operation. The day is not far off when it will become second to none in Asia.
Progress in industry
Industries play an important role in the economic development of our country. Industries are helpful in the rapid economic growth of a country. No country can prosper without the development of industries. There were many industries which are providing employment to people who do not have any job.
Some of these industries are:
1) Cotton Textile industry: This industry is the oldest industry of India. The first cotton mill was set up in 1818 on Calcutta. The Capital Investment in this industry is about 5,000 crores rupees. This industry is providing employment directly or indirectly to 9 crore people.
2) Iron and Steel Industry: India has been famous for its Iron and steel Industry from ancient times. Jamshedji Tata, established an iron and steel industry. There are total 10 plants in India. At present there are 196 small scale plants in the country. The capital investment in this industry is 90,000 crore rupees. It has provided employment to 5 lakh people.
3) Jute Industry: India stands first in the production of jute in the world. Out of the total production of the world 50 percent is produced only in India. The jute industry in India started in 1855. The capital investment in these industry is about 300 crore rupees. 2.61 lakh people are employed in this industry.
4) Paper Industry: In India the art of making paper by hands is developed from the ancient time. The first modern mill was set up at Bali near Calcutta in 1870. At present there are 515 paper mills in the country. The contribution of the small and medium units is 50 percent of the total production. Around 15 lakh people are employed in this industry. It ranks twentieth in the world in the production of paper.
India is an industry giant among developing countries. With an ever-growing internal market of 1000 millions people, her industrial products have reached markets across the seven seas. It has also developed a technology appropriate for the needs of the third world. The performance of India's private industrial sector has been exemplary and is still growing. If the Industrial growth continues at this rate we will witness in the coming century as India which will be at par with many advanced nations of the west.
Progress in rural areas
Indian villages are no longer the same as these were forty years ago. Government of India has been giving top priority to rural development. The entire five year plans have been geared to improve the lot of the villagers. The schemes like Integrated Rural Development Program are basically aimed at making our backward villages modern. Schools and Hospitals are being opened in the villages to improve the lot of the villages and spread literacy among them. The new Education Policy recently launched by the Government envisages opening of Navodaya Vidyalas at district centers. These schools would impart the most modern education to the village children who have hitherto fore been ignored from such sophisticated schools.
India no doubt has shown the way of progress. Now it has attracted the attention of the whole world as a largest world market. Even the USA has been trying to develop its good relation with India. It is our great achievement.
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