60 years of Independence – India’s achievements Contemporary India with a scientist President and an economist Prime Minister is very successfully treading the fast track of development Starting from an utterly ruined and exploited country under the rule of the haughty Britishers who sponged away the India wealth, the story of India’s success in the last 60 years, is one of the proverbial rise from ‘rags to riches’. India’s development within a short span of time, to the level of a country which on its own conducted nuclear test, joining the elite club of nuclear powers, and now becoming a rightful contender for getting a permanent seat in UN Security Council, speaks volumes about India’s success. Statistics and facts bear a testimony to this, that the country once thought to be just a place for the ‘snake charmers’ is making its presence felt in the land of ‘elephants’. In fact, India is flourishing in the real sense, catching the imagination of the world and thus causing blinking of the eyes of westerners who are awestruck at the sudden metamorphosis of this sleeping giant. When Kanwal Sibal, a retired foreign secretary says, “there is little doubt that India became a major player in the international checker board. It forced the world to engage with India on an entirely new basis,” there is no exaggeration in it. The truth of this statement is vindicated by the Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Juan Yew, who says, “China and India will shake the world…, and in terms of global corporate presence and representation, India is ahead of China. ” India has arrived on the world market with a bang – five lakh engineers, 2. 5 lakh doctors and 75 lakh graduates. Goldman Sach’s BRIC report sees India as the third largest economy in the world by 2050. Another report says that by 2020 only, India will be the fourth largest economy. All is going well for India now – an improved investment climate, high economic growth, a young population (70% population below 34 years of age) and above all positive attitude of people. India is now among one of the best performing economies of the world in terms of annual growth rate of Grass Domestic Product. Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman Aditya Birla Group says, “we have emerged stronger, fitter and a leader in many ways. I believe we are at an inflection point, past consolidation into a phase of growth not just incremental but accelerated”. The fact that our foreign exchange reserve crossed 1 $ billion, reflects the growing confidence of investors in India. The companies of India netted over Rs. 70000 crore in exports when the global economy was seething in 2002-03. There are 16 companies whose exports net over Rs. 1000 crore, 15 companies exports goods worth Rs. 500 crore and 150 compnaies which earn over Rs. 100 crore in foreign exchange. The FORBE’S list has included 18 Indian companies under its list. Noting these positive developments, the US National Intelligence Council in its report has predicted that India will become global player in the 21st century. For the first time India has entered the ranks of the world’s tenth largest economies. The World Bank has described India as an Asian Giant and its report mentions ‘This country rose form 12th to 10th in dollar term between 2002-04, its G. D. P. overtaking Korea and Mexico. The economy of India has grown by more than 7% in the past two years. Apart from economic advancement, the performance of India in political sphere is also praiseworthy. The present Prime Minister of India Mr. Manmohan Singh has successfully come from two foreign trips. In France the Prime Minister very competently ‘leveraged India’s new economic clout into advancing the vital strategic objective of breaking the restrictive Nuclear Suppliers Groups’. In US, he very intelligently coaxed President Bush to work for giving legal status to India in the nuclear powers club, in return of giving, “voluntary” right of inspection of only the civilian nuclear facilities to the international atomic watchdog I. A. E. A. Those who allege India to have become a party to the US unilateralism in view of India’s voting in Iran’s case, alongside U. S. , must remember that India remained on its principle and didn’t join US on its war against Iraq inspite of enormous US pressure. It out-rightly rejected this proposal. This bears ample proof that India has its independent foreign policy. It has matured politically and has now become very realistic in its approach. It takes decision according to whichever way suits best for the national interest. Now there is no place for misplaced idealism or shibboleth of third worldism. Showing utmost political maturity, India shoved aside decades of sloth and signed major agreement with China a country earlier thought of as a backstabber and talk with it was a big no. Our country has now refused to be trapped hopelessly in the remains of a bad yesterday, proving once again that this is a nation hardened by history, that it suffers only to renew itself the other day and that it keeps pace with the changing needs so as to be in consonance with the ever changing time. Talks with Pakistan, restoration of the Muzaffarabad bus service, the historic exchange of prisoners etc are the cases in point. Another important factor which radiates the flourishing of India is its successful and smooth functioning of democracy. Right from its start, it allowed Universal Adult Franchise, a unique achievement in itself. Many scholars at that time predicted that a country as poor, illiterate and diverse as India, could not survive on Universal Adult Franchise but succeeding years proved then wrong. These days the general election in India is the largest organized human event in history so much so that Indian Election experts are invited by America. Inspite of being not very affluent, the wisdom of Indian electorate has been proven time and again. The Economist” of London has very rightly made an apt comment regarding Indian electorate that, “the Indians have more political wisdom per thousand calories than any other people”. Prof Lani Gunier of Havard Law school says, “The best barometer to measure the health of a society is to look at the condition of its minorities who are like the coal minor’s canary…, the first to notice toxic gases in coal mines. ” Seeing with this perspective also, Indians electroate’s performance is quite good. They discarded the NDA under whose aegis Gujrat cauldron of 2002 took place, not with landing the hooplah of India shining. Communal forces have been out-rightly discarded and secularism is on its hold. At present the sovereign head of India is a Muslim and the Prime Minister is a Sikh both from minority community. Social conditions are also developing fastly. The number of middle class enjoying a good standard of living is growing at a rapid pace. The hope for an egalitarian society is fulfilling its dream as today we have 13% scheduled caste grade I officers in the I. A. S. climbing from less than 1% in the early 50’s. The Indian diaspora with their commitment and hardwork are also making India proud. The per capita availability of grain and cloth is greater than before and health care is better. Now even foreigners are coming to India for cheaper medical treatment. Today India is for more integrated than it was at 1947. Problems do occur but have resulted in stronger identities and a larger Indian consciousness. Nativism is now giving place to Indianism. Disasters and calamities do not dumbstruck us. We have defiantly faced the havocs of nature like the Earthquake or Tsunami on national level. The whole country unites as a family in giving succour and solace to the victims. In the field of education also, India is progressing. The literacy rate in 2001 reached 64. 8% from 52. 21% in 1991. This increase of 12. 5% during this period is the highest increase in any decade. It is also an achievement that the rate of growth in literacy is more in rural areas than in urban areas. The gap in male female literacy rate has decreased from 24. 84% in 1991 to 21. 60 in 2001. In higher studies the IIT’s AIIMS and IIM’s of India could compete with the best institutions of the world. Recently Times Higher Education Supplement ranked the IIT’s as 3rd in all Technological Universities of the world. Seeing the enormous talent of Indian students the European Union has announced 100 Erasmus Mundus Scholarship for Indian’s students which was previously offered to European students only. In scientific, technological and bio medical research India has made a mark. The launching of EDUSAT – a satellite purely for educational purposes marks a great lead forward in the area of satellite education. Space technology has also got a boost. Culturally India is witnessing a great renaissance. Indian music, dance and various performing art have blossomed in the last 50 years. Now these have greater audience and their appeal is becoming universal. Language of India has seen resurgence. Indian writing in English, like that of Arundhati Roy, Jhumpa Lahiri etc has been acclaimed in the English speaking world. In the field of sports and entertainment also India is shining. Sania Mirza, Lender Paes, Sachin Tendulkar, Vishwanath Anand and Shekhar Kapoor, Amitabh Bacchan, Aishwarya Rai, Shah Rukh Khan are the bright Indian faces in the world arena. All the above mentioned points emphatically proves that India’s achievement in the last 60 years has been commendable.