Did India change in the last 75 years of Independence?

Did India change in the last 75 years of Independence?

When countries wave their flags to celebrate the 75th anniversary of India’s independence, it’s also time to consider it. What did India’s founders and citizens dream of, how did India live, and what were our challenges and achievements? It tells the story of the time through personal accounts, and Native American hopes in culture, business and science. How did India’s modern state come into being, what does the flag represent? How did literature and cinema deal with the trauma of division?

 India, 75, is a mix of progress and missed opportunities. We have achieved a lot since independence, but we still have a long way to go to become an advanced society. The pandemic has blatantly exposed India’s shortcomings.

The savage living conditions of the majority of citizens were revealed. According to a report from Azim Premji University, 90% of the worker said they did not have enough savings to buy essentials during the week during the lockdown. This has led to the mass migration of millions of people in difficult situations from cities to villages in hopes of access to food and survival.

In general, tech-related sectors, pharmaceuticals, and some manufacturing key sectors have performed well in the organized sector despite the pandemic. So while parts of the economy are doing well despite adversity, at least 60% of those at the bottom of the income ladder are experiencing falling incomes (PRICE survey, 2022).

The gulf between the unorganized and organized parts of the economy is widening. The background to these developments is briefly described below.

Economic structure and growth  

 When it became independent in 1947, India’s socioeconomic parameters were similar to those of Southeast Asian and Chinese countries. Levels of poverty, illiteracy, and inadequate health infrastructure were all similar. Since then, these countries have developed rapidly, with India lagging in all respects.

 In 1950, agriculture was the dominant sector, accounting for 55% of GDP, but today it has shrunk to around 14%. The service sector’s share grew rapidly, surpassing agriculture in 1980 and now accounts for around 55% of GDP. The Indian economy is diversifying its production “from pins to spacecraft”.

 Agriculture is growing at less than 4% a year, while the services sector could grow as much as 12% a year. As a result, the composition of the economy has shifted from agriculture to services, accelerating economic growth. From the 1950s to the 1970s, the economy averaged about 3.5% growth.

In the 1980s and 1990s, it rose to 5.4% due to changes in composition.

Economic growth in the 1990s did not accelerate significantly compared to the 1980s. This rate rose again after 2003, but it fell in 2008/09 due to the global financial crisis. As a result, both global events and India’s political conundrum have resulted in huge fluctuations in growth rates. 2012-2013 saw a taper tantrum that hampered recovery from the global financial crisis. November 2016 decommissioning harmed growth.

 This was followed by the structurally flawed GST. These policies shocked the economy. Then came the 2020 pandemic. The quarterly growth of the economy had already fallen from 8% in the fourth quarter of 2017-18 to 3.1% in the fourth quarter of 2019-20 just before the outbreak of the pandemic. was doing. 1980-81 was the turning point. Before then, the drought would result in negative growth rates for agriculture and the economy as a whole.

 For example, the drought of 1979-80 caused the economy to shrink by 6%. But that was the last time. According to this, the decline of agriculture has not led to a negative economic growth rate. A major drought in 1987-88 caused the economy to grow by 3.4%.

From 1980-1981, the economy experienced a negative growth rate only during the pandemic, severely impacting the service sector, especially contact services.

Issues related to work and technology  

 Agriculture employs 45% of its workforce, but agriculture’s share of the economy (14%) is currently marginal. The increased use of tractors and combines has led to mechanization and the replacement of labour. The situation is similar in non-agriculture. Thus, overwork stalls agriculture and leads to large-scale hidden unemployment. India’s employment data is questionable.

The reason is that people who lose their jobs have to find another job without unemployment benefits or they starve to death. They ride rickshaws, push carts, carry head loads, or sell something on the roadside. This counts as employment even if you only work a few hours and are underemployed. India is therefore characterized by disguised unemployment and underemployment.

 Recent data show that unemployment among educated youth is on the rise. They are waiting for the right job. As a result, India’s (the mid-40s) labour force participation rate (LFPR) is low compared to other similar countries (over 60%).

This means that 20% of her who could work in India have stopped looking for work. No wonder millions of young people apply for hundreds of substandard government jobs. The gender dimension of unemployment and the low LFPR are of concern, as women suffer the most.

These aspects of poor job creation are related to automation and investment patterns in the economy. New technologies currently used in the modern sector are replacing the workforce. For example, large infrastructure projects, such as building roads, once used hundreds of people, now use large machines with just a few workers.

Also, the organized sector receives the majority of the investment, leaving very little for the unorganized sector. This is especially true in agriculture. Therefore, neither the organizational sector nor agriculture increases employment.

As a result, those entering the workforce are mostly forced to join the non-agricultural, unorganized sector. The unorganized sector also acts as a reserve army of workers, holding down the wages of the organized sector.

Lack of living wage

 To increase profits, the organized sector is increasingly hiring contract workers instead of permanent employees.


 Neither the public nor the private sectors need to worry about this. Therefore, not only workers in the unorganized sector but also those in the organized sector cannot earn a living wage. As a result, most workers have little savings to deal with the crisis.

They are unable to provide their children with proper education and cannot afford proper medical facilities. Most children drop out of school and can only do simple jobs that require physical labour. They cannot get better-paying jobs and remain poor for the rest of their lives. The 2018 Delhi Socio-Economic Survey highlighted the low purchasing power of the majority of Indians.

Delhi showed that 90% of households earn less than INR 25,000 per month and 98% earn less than INR 50,000 per month. Since her per capita income in Delhi is 2.5 times her all-India average, lowering the figure for Delhi by this factor approximates the figure for all of India. Thus, 98% of the families were on less than INR 20,000 per month and 90% on less than INR 10,000 per month.

This effectively means that 90% of households in 2018 were in poverty, if not extreme poverty (implied by the poverty line). During the pandemic, many of them lost their income, fell into poverty, and were forced to consume even less.

 Invisible Confused Sector

 In the unorganized sector, workers are unorganized and unable to negotiate higher wages when prices rise. They make up 94% of the working population and have little social security. No other major global economy has such a largely unorganized sector.

No wonder large segments of the population are facing livelihood crisis and the economy is in decline, as we saw during the pandemic. India’s official growth rate declined more than any other G20 member country. Policymakers largely ignore the unorganized sector. This is illustrated by the sudden implementation of lockdowns that plunged the sector into a deep existential crisis.

The micro sector has 99% units and 97.5% employment of MSMEs, which is different from the SME sector. Policy benefits for the MSME sector do not go to micro entities. The underlying problem is the inability to see unorganized sectors in the data. Data on this sector are available in regular intervals, so-called base years. In the meantime, it is assumed that this sector can be represented by organized sectors.

 This can be considered correct if the economy has no shocks and its parameters remain unchanged. The abolition and flawed GST have hit the economy hard and weakened the unorganized sector. Lost connection to organized sector. This means that the data do not reflect the decline in the unorganized sector since 2016.

Worse, the organized sector has grown at the expense of the unorganized sector as demand shifts from the unorganized sector to the unorganized sector. The continued use of flawed data by policymakers has been good for painting a rosy picture of the economy.

1947 Political Paradigm Shift

 Rising unemployment and deteriorating socio-economic conditions are not sudden events. Its roots lie in the political paradigm adopted since independence. In 1947, leaders influenced by the national movement realized that the problems of poverty, illiteracy and poor health were not the responsibility of the people and could not be solved by themselves.

It was therefore accepted that these issues would be dealt with collectively in an independent India. Governments are therefore given the responsibility to address these issues and are given an important role in the economy. The country’s leaders, who were predominantly from the elite, were also enthusiastic about Western modernity and wanted to copy it to transform India into an “advanced country”, which was the most advanced form of Western development at the time.

 His two tools were the free market and Soviet-style central planning. India has adopted a combination of both, led by the public sector. This path was also chosen for strategic reasons and access to technology that the West was reluctant to provide. But this choice also created a dilemma for India’s elite. We had to ally with the USSR for defence and access to technology, but we wanted to be like Western Europe.

Both paths chosen were based on a top-down approach. The assumption was that it would drip down. People accepted this proposal, believing in the common good of all. Resources were mobilized and invested in the construction of large dams and factories (called temples in modern India), but few jobs were created. Not only did they evict a lot of people, but they also kept leaks to a minimum.

The Indian economy has diversified and grown rapidly. An economy that grew about 0.75% in 50 years grew about 4% in the 1950s. However, the drop in mortality has led to a surge in population growth. As such, per capita income did not increase correspondingly and poverty persisted.

 After the drought of 1965-1967 and the wars of 1962 and 1965, food shortages exacerbated the problem. The Naxalite movement began in 1967, and the years 1972-1974 saw a BOP crisis and high inflation due to increased dependence on energy and the Fourth Middle East War. Political instability soon followed, and a state of emergency was declared in 1975. The country has gone from crisis to crisis.

The plan failed because of cousin capitalism. The dominant political economy has allowed the business to systematically subvert politics for its narrow ends by fostering the growth of the informal economy. Failure to leak and containment of development gains by a limited number of people has led to widening inequalities and a loss of people’s trust in the development process


. Different sections of the population found themselves in need of a portion of the power to supply their groups. All sectors of society were exploited: castes, regions, communities. Leadership became more short-term, indulging in competitive populism and promising immediate gains. The policy consensus that existed at independence quickly collapsed. The campaign’s promise to win votes was not fulfilled.

 For example, Prime Minister Morarji Desai said the promises made in his 1977 manifesto for Janata Dal were not government plans, but party plans. Such undermining of the accountability of the political process has undermined democracy and trust and exacerbated marginalization.

 Shadow Economy and Political Failure

 The informal economy has grown rapidly since the 1950s under the influence of political, social and economic influences. Most analysts ignore it, even though it underlies the country’s major problems. It undermines elections and increases the influence of self-interest on political parties.

Compromised party leadership can be threatened by both foreign interests and those in power. If they have power, they make interest group bids. Thus, the black economy undermines accountability and undermines democracy to dominate politics and maintain power. The dark economy dominates politics and corrupts it to perpetuate itself. Honesty and idealism corrupt quickly, as happened with leadership emerging from the anti-corruption JP movement in the mid-1970s.

Many of those who came to power in the 1990s was accused of corruption and even prosecuted. Proposals for government funding of elections only provide additional funding and do nothing to help clean up the policy.

It is at the core of lack of resources for development, low tax-to-GDP ratio, policy failures, low investment productivity and increasing criminalization in society.

 1991 Political Paradigm Shift

 Policy failures before 1990 led to one crisis after another. The policy itself is to blame, not the crony capitalism and informal economy that have led to its failure. Politics before 1990 were often described as socialist. The mixed economy model was developed to promote capitalism.

This policy can be described as state capitalist at best and achieved its goals. Private capital he accumulated rapidly before 1990. The Iraq crisis of 1989-1990 led to his BOP crisis in India, triggering a paradigm shift in politics in favour of capital. The previous more humane and less unequal path of development has been abandoned.

In 1991 a new political paradigm was introduced. In other words, “individuals are responsible for problems, collectively not”. Under this regime, the role of the state in the economy was reduced and individuals were expected to go to the market to solve their problems. This is sometimes called “marketing”. This has led to a philosophical shift in the way individuals and societies think.

These policies encourage ‘growth at all costs, at a cost to marginalized communities and environments, thereby further perpetuating poverty. Thus, existing problems in Indian society are exacerbated in another way. Poverty is defined in terms of “minimum social consumption” that varies in space and time. Driven by increased consumption and a deteriorating environment, marketing is changing the minimums and imposing high healthcare costs, especially on the poor. 

The highly unjust New Economic Policy (NEP) creates a precarious development environment. The base for growth became narrower and narrower, leading to periodic crises. Weaknesses of knowledge generation

 Why isn’t the obvious happening in India?

No one denies that poverty, illiteracy and disease must be eradicated. In addition to the problems posed by the informal economy and top-down approaches, India lags in generating socially relevant knowledge to address the problems and make society dynamic. India’s weakness in knowledge generation is related to its low priority on education and research and development.

Education in learning institutions is based on “red learning” and does not allow the absorption of knowledge and its further development. As such, education is no longer the joy of learning and broadening one’s horizons. Despite education policy initiatives such as the National Education Policy of 1968 and 1986, there is a deterioration. Because politics is in the hands of bureaucrats, politicians, or academics with a bureaucratic mindset. Therefore, the policy is mechanically assembled.

It is similar to the idea that underlies many educational policies that “standards can be achieved through standardization”.

 Learning needs democratization. The institution must therefore be freed from its current feudal and bureaucratic domination.India

Institutions now tend to treat objections as an annoyance to be resolved rather than glorified. Attempts are being made to copy foreign university courses. JNU is meant to be like Harvard and Cambridge. This is a contradiction in itself.

Originality cannot be copied. Courses copied from abroad are better suited to local social conditions rather than Indian conditions. This goes against the idea of ​​generating socially relevant knowledge. Gandhi said that the Indian education system was and still is marginalizing many people. Ideas are required to be borrowed from abroad, so learning is a low priority.

As a result, rulers place little value on institutions that generate new ideas, and inadequate resources are allocated to institutions and education in general.

Change in her per capita income over the last 75 years

 75 years ago, India ushered in a new dawn. In the face of economic turmoil, the country’s founding fathers promised themselves and their people to put this country on par with the larger and wealthier nations. The task at hand, marred by 200 years of colonial rule, seemed daunting and overwhelming. But now, 75 years after her independence, India is a force to be reckoned with.

And the numbers speak for themselves. According to the World Bank, India is the sixth largest country in the world with a gross domestic product (GDP) of about $3.17 trillion. Since 1950, per capita income (PCI) has increased 500-fold. It was Rs 265 in 1950 but rose to Rs 1,28,829 in 2020-21. The 2020-2021 Economic Survey shows that PCI has risen 7 times from 2000 to 2001 when it was Rs 18,667.

India’s foreign exchange reserves have increased 335-fold since independence, acting as a buffer against external shocks in today’s globalized world. Since 1990, when India opened its doors to the world through liberalization, globalization and privatization (LPG) reforms, the exchange rate has appreciated 60 times. The exchange rate from 1951 to 52 was $1.82 billion. By 2021-22, reaching her $607 billion, her fourth highest in the world.

These foreign exchange reserves have also helped maintain the country’s stability despite the turmoil caused by the ongoing Ukrainian civil war. Living up to its name as the ‘World’s Spice Basket’, India today meets 75% of the world’s spice demand with exports. Since 1950, spice exports have grown 15-fold in volume and 120-fold in value. Export volumes increased almost eightfold from 2000 to 2001.

According to Economic Survey 2021-22, Indian spice exports amounted to 47.2 thousand tons in 1950-51. The figure for 2020-21 was 1,607,000 tons. The value of these exports increased from 1.7 billion rupees in 1950 to 2,952.9 billion rupees in 2020-2021.

In addition to spices, India has greatly improved the per capita availability of cooking oils despite its rapid population growth in the 1970s.

He improved from 3.2 kg in 1960 to 19.7 kg, six times his per capita availability of cooking oil. Much of this can be attributed to the National Food Security Mission launched in 2007. The mandate promoted improvements in the country’s oilseed production to reduce its dependence on imports. From 2020 to 2021, the country produced 38.5 million tonnes of her oilseeds. India is also showing signs of strong growth in the textile sector.

Fabric availability per capita increased 3.5 times from 15 meters in 1960-61 to 53.33 meters in 2019-20. The government has also allocated Rs 1,068.3 crore under the Production Related Incentives (PLI) scheme for the textile sector to boost Indian production and improve supply chains.

As the wheels of the economy turn, more and more Indians can afford their cars. In 1951, 300,000 vehicles were registered in the country. Today, 29 million vehicles have been registered in the country. Vehicle registrations have experienced a growth rate of 9.91% over the last decade. After becoming independent on 15 August 1947, India was no longer under British rule.

After gaining political freedom, India’s founding fathers faced a path fraught with social and economic challenges. Political leaders began their journey in hopes of making the country economically and politically independent.

 Initially, famine and starvation prompted India to seek outside help for food security. Illiteracy was another big lag for the economy. At independence, India had a population of about 3.4 billion and a literacy rate of only 12%, or about 400 million. Other challenges included declining economic performance due to sluggish agricultural growth and a poor industrial base.

Decades after independence, former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh once said that “the brightest jewel of the British royal family” was the world’s poorest country by his per capita income in the early 20th century.

Since the country won its freedom in 1947, it has experienced several economic ups and downs, including the agricultural crisis, three wars, privatization in 1991, abolition and the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Here are some of the highlights of the Indian economic journey.


 1951: Former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru first presented his five-year plan to parliament. It was based on Harrod Dormer’s model with some modifications. Her main focus was the development of the country’s core industrial sectors.

1969: India experienced its worst drought in the 1960s and was dependent on the outside world for food and crops. But the crisis was a hidden blessing, the country realized the importance of developing grain self-sufficiency, and the Green Revolution became a reality.

1991: The year was a golden age for business travel in India. As the currency depreciated and the government’s budget deficit increased, India’s external debt rose from about $35 billion in late 1984 to late 1985, to about $35 billion in late 1990 to late 1991. nearly doubled to $69 billion.

 Foreign exchange reserves were depleted, leaving India barely able to 

finance her imports for three weeks. The government of Prime Minister PV Narsimha Rao and Finance Minister Manmohan Singh announced in 1991 a series of steps to change the face of the Indian economy: liberalization, privatization and globalization. In US History –


The Lehman Brothers Meltdown. India’s economy grew 6.7% in 2008-09, while other countries are facing the worst. India was reportedly less affected as exports accounted for only 15% of her GDP.

2016: The term ‘de-monetization’ is etched into India’s economic history. On November 8 of the same year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that banknotes of 500 rupees and 1,000 rupees were not legal tender. Just months after its repeal, Parliament passed the all-important Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill.

2020: The country experienced another shock in the form of the coronavirus pandemic. The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic reportedly pushed 23 million people below the poverty line. Poverty increased by 15% in rural India and 20% in urban India in the last year of the pandemic, according to the report.

Let’s talk about some change makers of modern India:

In 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister, declared, “At midnight when the world fell asleep, India will awaken to life and freedom. Leaping from the old to the new, the era will come to an end.”, comes a rare moment in history when the soul of a long-suppressed nation is expressed.”


 On the eve of independence, Nehru’s speech was aptly titled “Rendezvous with Fate”. Simply put, the Trist can be defined as a pre-arranged secret meeting, and from that moment on, freedom was destined to be ours. We’ve seen everything from attacks to multiple wars while making great strides in wealth, technology, and education. With its rapid growth, India is on track to become a global superpower in the near future. As the nation’s 76th Independence Day approaches, take a look at the phenomenal figures who have contributed so much to the country’s progress and growth. The people who shaped modern India as we know it. 

  1. Asima Chatterjee: Asima was an organic chemist. In 1944, she was awarded her Doctor of Science degree as the first woman in India. Chatterjee’s work led to the development of the antiepileptic drug Ayush-56 and several antimalarials. She has also published approximately 400 articles in national and international journals.
  2. Kinkuri Devi: Courageous Dalit environmentalist. Kinkuri finds that uncontrolled quarries are ravaging the Himalayas, polluting water supplies, and destroying the once-thriving rice fields of Himachal Pradesh. Her activity and tedious lawsuits have led the Supreme Court to declare a blanket ban on hill blasting and restrictions on mining in the beloved hills.
  3. Jyotindra Nath Dixit: A prominent diplomat, Dixit joined the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1958 and when he was appointed as India’s National Security Advisor, he undertook official and backdoor negotiations with Pakistan and China. played an important role in both. He was posthumously awarded Padma Shree Bhushan, his second highest civilian honour in India.
  4. Dr V Shantha: An oncologist and chairman of the Adyar Cancer Institute, Chennai, Dr Shantha is best known for his efforts to provide high-quality, affordable treatment for cancer patients across the country. I’m here. She is also known for her research and educational approach to educating the next generation of physicians on her latest cancer treatment techniques.
  5. Judge K Chandru: A former Madras Supreme Court Justice, Judge Chandru recently came into the spotlight when a film was made about a case where he fought to protect an individual from a particularly vulnerable tribe. In nearly his six-and-a-half-year tenure, he settled his 90,000 lawsuits, setting a fruitful record 
  6. in the legal profession. Some of his key decisions include declaring a common burial ground regardless of caste, community-based reservations at noon-meal centres, and women becoming temple priests.



 India is a diverse society and its economy is more complex than any other country in the world. This has presented serious challenges to development over the past 75 years, but there is no denying that things are not what they used to be.

The big mistake was adopting a trickle-down policy that did not help many people living in uncivilized conditions. They should not focus on increasing inequality, especially after 1991, when globalization entered the phase of the market economy and left marginalized people behind.

The growth strategy at any cost came at the expense of workers and the environment. This has narrowed the base for growth and created social instability politically, socially and economically. The situation is exacerbated by recent policy failures – abolitions, GST flaws, and abrupt lockdowns. The current war in Ukraine will likely lead to a new world order, which will only add to the challenges.

The answer to the question ‘Why is the obvious not happening’ in India is not only economic but also social. Unless this challenge is resolved, there is no silver lining for India at 75.

edited and proofread by nikita sharma 

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