Nostalgia: India @76 going on 77

By Vipul Tamhane

The flight of Chandrayaan-3 through the clouds and into space on July 14 was a wonderful metaphor for India’s exponential expansion on her 76th anniversary of Independence. India has achieved great progress since winning independence in 1947 with her exponential development, a rich cultural tapestry, a diversified population, and a dynamic democracy.

The last 75 years in India have been a transforming journey after a bitter partition. Economic liberalization in 1991 boosted prosperity. The IT boom of the 1990s and early 2000s grew the middle class and global awareness. Nuclear tests conducted in 1998 established India’s nuclear status. The 2000s and 2010s saw economic development and poverty reduction, but also issues with income inequality.

India’s potential was demonstrated when it hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2010. The achievements of ISRO in space exploration were notable.

The Indian economy has grown dramatically as a result of economic reforms, international investment, and technological and service developments. Initiatives such as “Make in India” and “Digital India” have promoted innovation and entrepreneurship, propelling India to the forefront of the global economy. Economic reforms, globalization, and increasing investment contributed to an average annual GDP growth rate of 6.7% between 1997 and 2022.

The World Bank, on the other hand, forecasts 7.5% growth in 2023 and 7.0% growth in 2024. This expansion has resulted in both beneficial outcomes such as higher living standards and less poverty, as well as negative outcomes such as rising inequality and environmental destruction. addressing inequities in the economy and supporting inclusive growth is crucial for India’s progress.

India’s youth population represents a demographic dividend for economic growth, and the government has prioritized education and skill development to capitalize on this potential. Literacy rates and enrollment in secondary and postsecondary education have improved. Education and skill development efforts have resulted in expanded work possibilities, poverty reduction, and improved health outcomes.

However, there is still work to be done to guarantee that all students have access to high-quality education, which will include improvements in infrastructure, curriculum alignment, and teacher training. The “Skill India” program has helped to increase employability, but problems remain, demanding continuing efforts to enhance education quality and relevance to the economy.

In the last 76 years, India’s industrial sector has risen tremendously, contributing 29% of GDP in 2022. As cities grow in size, it is critical to invest in infrastructure and urban planning. Addressing urbanization concerns requires developing smart cities, enhancing transportation networks, and guaranteeing sustainable urban expansion. The pace of urbanization has also increased to 34% by 2022, although infrastructural issues persist.

Despite its advancements, India continues to confront environmental concerns such as pollution and climate change. The country has made strides towards greener energy sources, conservation, and reducing emissions. For example, the PM 2.5 level in Delhi has fallen by more than 50% since 2013. Water contamination is being addressed by initiatives to enhance wastewater treatment and limit agricultural runoff.

The government has set aggressive objectives for renewable energy deployment, which has resulted in energy conservation. With an installed capacity of 45,000 MW in 2022, India is already one of the world’s largest producers of solar and wind power. While challenges remain, India may become a worldwide leader in environmental sustainability with ongoing commitment.

Since 1947, India’s healthcare system has achieved great strides in lowering infant mortality and increasing mother health. Ambitious programs such as the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) have increased access to healthcare while also improving results. Moreover, with a huge economy, experienced experts, and world-class medical institutions, it has chances to develop.

Despite several of her own issues, India seizes international relations possibilities, recruiting investments and participating in the fight against terrorism and climate change. India is poised for greater growth and development, and it will soon become a significant global force.

In the past 76 years, India has achieved enormous technical advances, emerging as a key global participant. Key successes include the launch of its first satellite – Aryabhata in 1975, and successful space missions including the INSAT series, the Mars Orbiter, and the Chandrayaan series, as well as the creation of PSLV and GSLV. 

India has one of the largest telecommunications networks in the world, a high mobile phone penetration rate, and a rapidly rising internet industry. There has been significant progress in artificial intelligence, robotics, and nanotechnology. Scientific publications and patent applications have increased, as has the number of internet users.

To realize its full technological potential, India must address issues such as greater research funding, improved education, and closing the digital gap.

Cricket has been a national passion for the past 76 years, with players such as Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni, and Virat Kohli achieving international renown and adoration. In hockey, India won eight Olympic gold medals. Tennis has produced talent such as Sania Mirza and Leander Paes, while badminton has produced PV Sindhu, who won the 2019 World Championships. Vijender Singh and Mary Kom have won six world championships in boxing, and Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt have won bronze medals in wrestling. Sunil Chhetri is an Indian footballer who is happy to be the third-highest active international goal scorer. In the next few years, India’s rich athletic tradition is projected to continue producing world-class athletes.

India’s journey over the previous 76 years has been nothing short of spectacular. India’s story displays tenacity and constant improvement, from its hard-won independence in 1947 to becoming the world’s fifth-largest economy.

The country’s achievements in technology, space exploration, and healthcare have received universal recognition, reinforcing its global standing. This dramatic path, characterized by economic liberalization, technical progress, and worldwide recognition, exemplifies India’s ascension to the status of global economic superpower. However, issues such as income disparity, environmental degradation, and healthcare insecurity must be addressed.

India’s demographic dividend, economic expansion, and dedication to global cooperation make it a prominent geopolitical power. India is primed for greater improvement with ongoing investments in education, technology, and sports. Its arts, music, and cinema continue to enchant the globe, exemplifying India’s rich cultural legacy and creative creativity. 

India’s rise to prominence may be credited to her continuous dedication to development, promoting innovation, and wielding tremendous power on the global arena. As India approaches its 77th year of independence, it stands on the verge of boundless opportunities and accomplishments. India, as a rising force, is poised to leave an unmistakable impact on the globe, paving the way for a bright and important future.

Vipul Tamhane is a counter terrorism expert and a visiting faculty with Pune University (SPPU) at Dept. of Defense and Strategic Studies (DDSS). He is also founder and Editor-in-Chief at Diplomacy Direct, a public interest Think Tank based in India.

Disclaimer: The views expressed are not necessarily those of The South Asian Times 

Images courtesy of Outlook India and Provided

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