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What Congress did between 1947 and 2014

Author: Shashank Goyal

Read Time: 3 minutes

In 1947, India gained independence from the British rule and started it’s “tryst with destiny”. In the last 70 years since then, a lot has changed –

Education:

  • In 1947, India was a massively poor bunch of population with a literacy rate of a mere 12%. Despite being a large country, India had a total of only 25 Universities and 600 colleges
    • In 2017, India has 800 Universities and 40,000 colleges. There are more Universities than there were Colleges in 1947
    • IISc and IITs are ranked in World’s Top 200 Universities
    • Literacy rate has increased from 12% to 74% (per 2011 census – expected to be much higher by the next census in 2021)

Source: https://www.topuniversities.com/…

Healthcare:

  • In 1947, due to poor medical infrastructure, the average life expectancy was a mere 35 years
    • In 2017, the average life expectancy has doubled to 70 years
    • The list of world’s Top 1000 hospitals includes 9 from India
    • India has developed into an attractive hub for medical tourism
    • Because of high quality healthcare being available at affordable prices, almost 200,000 foreign patients arrive in India every year to seek medical treatment
    • India’s Narayana Hrudayalaya (Heart Hospital) and Aravind Eye Care are being taught as case studies at Harvard and other prominent global business schools

Railways – the backbone of economy:

  • In 1947, India had inherited basic railway infrastructure from British
    • By 2017, India has developed it to become Asia’s largest train network (and world’s 4th largest) that runs more than 20,000 trains at any given moment
    • Indian railways has built the capability to carry more than 1 billion tons of freight every year –only five countries in the world have this capability (the other four being China, USA, Russia and Australia)

Industrialization:

  • During colonial rule, Frederick Upcott, then head of British Railways was so contemptuous about India’s industrial potential, that he committed to eat every ounce of steel if India could ever produce it
    • In 2015, India overtook US to become world’s 3rd largest steel producer (after China and Japan)
    • In 2016, India overtook South Korea to become the world’s 5th largest in Automobiles manufacturing (after China, US, Japan and Germany)
    • In 2017, India ranks 2nd largest in Cement production (after China) and 10th largest in Pharmaceuticals exports
    • Fortune 500 list of world’s biggest corporations by revenue includes 7 companies from India
    • Total Manufacturing output from India is world’s 6th largest – ahead of UK (and other major economies like France and Italy)

Self-sustenance:

  • In 1947, India was dependent on foreign aid for sustenance and growth
    • In 2017, India is world’s 2nd largest producer of rice and wheat, world’s largest producer of Milk and is in top 5 for most fruits and vegetables
    • In 2017, India builds its own cars, two wheelers, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, electronics and industrial machinery. India has its own space program, satellites launching capability and a gigantic IT services industry
    • One of the biggest new IT job creators in America is an Indian company

Image Source: https://qz.com/1013287/one-of-th…

Financial strength:

  • In 1947, India had Foreign Exchange Reserves of a mere half a billion
    • In 1991 crisis, India was close to bankruptcy, Forex reserves had plunged to an all-time low and were just enough to support two week’s worth of imports. 47 tons of country’s gold was pledged to IMF for raising money
    • In 2017, Forex reserves have increased 800 times to reach an all-time high of $ 390 billion
    • Strong Forex reserves have given the economy more strength to withstand any external shocks (economic or military)

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li…

Overall Economy:

  • In 1947, India was an underdeveloped country with economy being largely dependent on Agriculture
    • In 2017, India’s economy is world’s 7th largest at $2.1 trillion (nominal GDP) and world’s fastest growing with an average growth rate of approximately 7% over the last two decades
    • From a largely agriculture based Economy, India has graduated to the classification of “Newly Industrialized Countries” as defined by IMF

Developing country – Wikipedia

Grey: Developed Countries
Blue: Newly Industrialized Countries
Green: Developing Countries

Summary:

  • India has made significant progress, particularly after the economic reforms of 1991
  • However, as a large country with more than 1,300,000,000 people, India still has a huge set of challenges for itself that it needs to continue focusing on
  • With 200 million people still living below the National Poverty Line, 63 million people not having access to clean drinking water, hundreds of millions not having access to proper sanitation facilities and India ranking 133 out of 188 on Human Development Index – there’s still a lot of work to be done

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