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In-Depth Jobs


Volume-19, 11-17 August, 2018

 

Journey Since Independence to Make India The Nation of Our Dreams

Shree Prakash Sharma

The independence of India, won on the 15th August 1947, spontaneously conjures up a string of unforgettable memories of sagas of sacrifices, fierce and struggles and psycho-physical afflictions inflicted upon those thousands of great martyrs of  mother India who laid their lives happily on the altar of the motherland to make us free from around 350 years’ slavery of the British rule. The freedom struggle of India, unlike other nations’ struggle for the freedom, has been an awe-inspiring story of the mass-movement and mass-participation which stands witness, to the globally-respected and widely-recognized philosophies of truth and non-violence of the great saint, Mahatma Gandhi, outrages endured by peasants, labour, professionals and the common masses. It is also the story of the realization of the dreams of millions of the people to establish.

“Swaraj hamara janmsiddh adhikar hai” (Swaraj is our birth right) by Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, “Give me blood and I will give you freedom” by Subhash Chandra Bose, “Do or die” by Gandhiji, the Father of Nation and many other motivating slogans and ideologies of the eminent freedom fighters and revolutionary leaders recount the war of independence of the country and go on filling our hearts with emotion. That is why the independence of India is not merely a watershed event in the political history of the country but it is also a great opportunity to remember, respect and pay homage to all those patriots and martyrs of the nation and all those brave sons and daughters of the brave mothers, who suffered the atrocities and outrages by the oppressive and inhuman policies of the British government.

Over seven decades have now passed since we became free and now we are celebrating 72nd anniversary of the freedom of the country. In fact, the time period of seven decades is not a very long period in the life of a nation but from the perspectives of evaluating the fulfilment of people’s aspirations and achievements of the milestones of development, it is not too short period to overlook either.

The Independence Day, besides giving us the chance to recalling and showing our respect to our martyrs, must also serve as an important occasion to assess how far we have marched ahead in the direction of fulfilling the various promises made to the common masses of the country.  It is also the great occasion to introspect on the efforts made and duties rendered for the upkeep of the essential features of an integrated and sovereign nation, enshrined in the preamble of the Constitution of the country.

The day is also important to take stock of an array of policies and programmes initiated by the successive governments for the masses. And, finally, the day is also worth remembering and reassessing our moral responsibilities of bequeathing the rich legacy of sustaining the security, liberty, integrity and sovereignty of the nation and the great stories of sacrifices, pains, patriotism, loyalty and trials and tribulations of our freedom fighters.

Looking back to the days when the country had just got freedom in 1947 and comparing it with the 21st century’s India brings before us an incredible story of historical achievements and incredible laurels in almost all the sectors of the economy.

There is no gainaying the fact that we have not yet reached our destinations, but we must also not forget that we have come a long way from where we had started in 1947. We have as a nation succeeded in making our presence felt in almost all the domains of the economy vis-a-vis the world economy.

We have started the efforts to explore mars. This is not a mean achievement taking into consideration the situation of the country on the eve of independence when we were not capable of much manufacturing. Now we have developed and gained the technical prowess and scientific know-how even to manufacture helicopters, aeroplanes, satellites and variety of sophisticated weapons and machines indigenously in our own factories and plants with the help of our own engineers, scientists and technicians.

The famines like that of Bengal of 1770 and 1943 and death of thousands of the people from the epidemics such as plague and cholera do not occur now. We have also now become virtually free from various diseases like chicken pox, polio, diarrhoea, tuberculosis and various others which had proved to be the main reason of colossal deaths of all age groups of the people before independence.

We have now world-famous 23 Indian Institute Technologies (IITs), over 460 medical colleges providing admission to over 50,000 students every year. The country now boasts of having a perfectly sound network of supertech hospitals, with ultra-modern medical facilities and faculties, like that of All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the number of which has grown currently to 7.

The number of premier Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) has now increased to 20 which is a landmark achievement in a country like ours which lacked entrepreneurial and manage-ment skills until recently. We have currently around 260 million children who attend around 1.5 million schools across 633 districts in both the public and private sectors. Out of this over one million schools are run by both the central and state governments.

Jawahar Navodaya Vidyal-ayas, established in 1986 as per the New Education Policy (NEP, 1986) of the government of India, considered as the model schools for promoting the quality education, especially to the talented students of the rural areas, have been proving to be the trailblazer of the fast spread of education in the villages of India.

Over 600 JNVs, boarding schools with 100 per cent subsidized education facilities, are now functioning across the country providing quality education to over 2 lakh students. This has proved to the most radical milestone in the education sector of the government of India.

On the front of other demographic statistics too, the country has made a lot of historial advancements. As per the latest data of World Health Organization (WHO), the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) of the country has recorded substantial decline in the current years. It has come down to 174 per 100,000 live births which is a significant achievement. We have achieved more than 75 per cent decline in the Infant Mortality Rate (the number of infants dying per 1000 before their first birthday). As per the latest data of the World Bank, the IMR has decreased to 38 deaths from 165 deaths during 1960s.

The life expectancy has also recorded more than double increase since the pre-independence day. The average age of an Indian was merely 32 years before  independence which has now registered a record increase and reached to 68 years. This shows the consistently increasing health status of the country.

The literacy rate of India as per the latest census of 2011 was 74.04 while in 1947 it was 20 per cent. At the time of independence, only two persons out of 10 Indians were literate whereas as per the latest data now more than 8 persons are literate out of 10 persons, that too with the computer education as a conspicuous achievement.

The national income of a country is considered as one of the key parameters of measurement of development of a nation. According to Ministry of Commerce, Government of India, the country’s national income was merely Rs. 6,234 crore during the 1945-46 which has risen to the staggering figure of Rs. 134.08 lakh crore during the 2017-18.

The Indian economy grew at less than 2 per cent rate of growth during the first half of the 20th century which has now increased to 7.7 per cent per year which is even more than 7 per cent growth rate of China, the fastest growing economy of the world.

In fact, the odyssey of the development saga of independent India commences with that of setting up of the Planning Commission (currently called as NITI Aayog, the National Institution for Transforming India, rechristened and restructured by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi).

Mahatma Gandhi had once said, “I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test: Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man whom you may have seen and ask yourself if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him. Will he gain anything by it? Will it restore him to a control over his own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj for the hungry and spiritually starving millions? Then you will find your doubts and your self melting away.” The quote has a deeper meaning and it relates to the testing of the economic condition of the common masses of the country. The political freedom of a nation is essential for the dignified life of its countrymen but what about the economic freedom? What about the financial security of the people, especially that of proletariat segment of the country?

In fact, without the attainment of economic freedom, the true spirit of political freedom is completely lost. Successive governments have launched the various programmes and initiated the policies to bring about economic security to nearly more than one fourth of the below poverty line (BPL) families of the country since independence itself but the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi who came to power in 2014 has shown great concern to bring prosperity and happiness to these segments of the country.

The government has launched the following most important and epoch-making programmes to financially strengthen the marginalized families to ultimately bring them into the national mainstream. All these programmes are set to metamorphose the economic condition of the long-deprived and destitute people and ultimately help them in realizing the dreams which our freedom fighters and policy makers had envisaged.

PRADHAN MANTRI JAN DHAN YOJANA

Started on the eve of Independence Day of 2014 by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, this programme is seen as the greatest ever tool to financially include the people who did not have any accessibility to the various essential financial services such as opening of the account in the bank, depositing savings and withdrawing money as and when required. Under this programme around 30 crores of the accounts have so far been opened in the banks and nearly 66,000 crore rupees have been credited to these accounts. This is one of the historical steps in the direction of making the people financially literate and secured.

SUKANYA SAMRIDDHI YOJANA

On January 22, 2015, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana under the “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” campaign. The programme’s main objective is to meet the education and marriage expenses of a girl child in a family. Under this scheme, an account can be opened after the birth of a girl till she turns 10.

PRADHAN MANTRI JEEWAN JYOTI BIMA YOJANA

This programme had been announced by Shri Arun Jaitley, the Union Finance Minister, while presenting Budget in 2015. It is a renewable insurance scheme which offers the insurance cover of Rs 2 lakh on death. The scheme aims at providing the financial assurance to the economically backward families of the nation in case of any casualty which may befall them.

ATAL PENSION YOJANA (APY)

Named after the former Prime Minister Sri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, this scheme offers financial security to the citizens of India. It has been launched to focus on the economic security to the labour force working in the unorganized sector. Under this scheme, the labour force of the unorganized sector is covered under National Pension Scheme (NPS).

The beneficiaries under this scheme are entitled to get a guaranteed monthly pension of Rs 1000 to Rs 5000 after the age of 60 years subject to their contributions made to the scheme. APY is reckoned as a revolutionary step in the direction of providing economic security to the people who are left with no past savings and security when they are physically and mentally less capable of getting employment.

DIGITAL INDIA

In the fast developing information technology age of the 21st century, digitization has proved to be one of the latest additions to the sophisticated life styles which have caught the fancy of  people across the country. The easy accessibility and cheap affordability of the common masses to the internet services has changed the country into an electronically empowered economy. The main purpose of the scheme is to connect all government departments with the help of internet. Making government services available to the people electronically is a revolutionary step in the direction of using knowledge for creating income, employment and the future. No doubt, this initiative of the government is

poised to make India a knowledge superpower in the 21st century.

PRADHAN MANTRI SURAKSHA BIMA YOJANA (PMSBY)

This is an insurance scheme for providing social security which covers accidental death and disability on nominal premium. This scheme is available to all the people between the age group of 18 to 70 years. As an initiative to offer financial inclusion of the citizens of India, the scheme is one step ahead in the direction of fulfilment of Narendra Modi’s Mission of“Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas”.

SAANSAD ADARSH GRAM YOJANA

This is one of the very ambitious programmes launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the holistic development of villages, the integral part of the development of the Indian economy. The programme was launched on the occasion of birth anniversary of Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan on October 11, 2014. Under this scheme, a Member of Parliament chooses and adopts one Gram Panchayat from his or her constituency of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha to develop it as a model village which will have all the infrastructural facilities, education, sanitation, communication, health care and other civic amenities. Implemented by the Ministry of Rural Development, Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana aims at strengthening the villages and various administrative units of Gram Panchayat.

MAKE IN INDIA

‘Make in India’, one of the most radical programmes  aims at configuring the roadmap of development of India in the wake of fast sweeping impact of globalization across the nations in the world. The programme was announced by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the 15 August 2014. The call to manufacturers, especially the foreign ones, to produce goods in India is likely to boost the industrial development of the country. Run by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, the scheme is set to promote innovation and investment facilitation in the country. It also aims at making India an important manufacturing hub for the producers and ultimately generating employment opportunities. “Make in India” is going to provide new identity to the fast emerging industries and economy of India in the years to come. Development of a nation is a dynamic concept. It goes on eternally and that is why it is said that if a nation’s development ever is complete and the aspirations of her people are ever fully realized then it ceases to be a nation. The story of India is no way different. Our advancements in almost all the sectors has been substantial since we became an independent nation and our Constitution came into force. Challenges and problems still exist but there no doubt that we are on the fast move to overcome them one by one keeping the resource crunch in mind. The famous English historian and author Edward Gibbon had once said, “In the end, they wanted security more than they wanted freedom.” Security here refers to the economic security and as a nation we must not ever forget that the ultimate goal of the liberty of a nation is to achieve the economic liberty because a hungry man is not a free man. No doubt, we have covered miles of our journey in this direction to keep our promises and miles are underway to fulfil the rest of them.

(The author is a Principal Jawahar Navodaya Vidy-alaya, Mamit, District-Mamit (Mizoram) Email: spsharma.rishu@gmail.com