Many think that India’s growth story since the 1947 was good. But several experts often opinion that the country’s development for the past six decades has been average. Despite the announcement of Five-Year Plans which focused on many sectors in order to speed up the pace of development, the result hasn’t been on expected lines. And, the country is taking its own time to climb up with the economic and social world.
Telecom and software development had most of the growth in the nation’s services sector. A trend that started some twenty years back is now well in its prime. Several multinational companies continue to outsource their telecom and IT services to the country. In terms of employment, the services sector employs 24 % of the Indian workforce and this process of development started back in the 1980s. In the 1960s, the sector employed just 4.5% of the working population. According to the experts, the services sector accounted for 63% of Indian GDP (2008-09) and the numbers continues to grow.
Since Independence the growth in agriculture has been somewhat steady. The growth of the sector was about 1 percent per annum up to 1950’s. During the post-Independence era, the growth rate bumped about 2.6 percent per annum. Rapid expansion of farming lands and introduction of high-yielding varieties of crops were the major factors contributing to the growth in agricultural production. One of the significant effects of the growth was that it could well manage to end dependency on import of food grains. Despite the unpredictability of the monsoon, the sector has progressed both in terms of yield and structural changes. Other factors contributed to the growth include, good investment in research, land reforms, expansion of scope for lending facilities, and improvement in rural infrastructure. Besides, the country has also grown strong in the agri-biotech sector. A report from a leading financial institution had revealed that the agri-biotech sector has been growing at 30 percent since the last few years.
Allocation of huge funds and availability of electricity had triggered large scale expansion of infrastructure. The Indian road network has become one of the largest in the world with the total road length increasing from 0.399 million km in 1951 to 4.24 million km in 2014 (July 2014). Moreover, the total length of the country’s national highways has increased from 24,000 km (1947-69) to 92,851 km (2014). Governmental efforts have led to the expansion of the network of State highways and major district roads, which in turn has directly contributed to industrial growth. After almost seven decades, India has bagged the third place in the list of largest producers of electricity in Asia. It has increased its electricity generation capacity from 1,362 MW in 1947 to 1,13,506 MW in 2004. When it comes to rural electrification, the Indian government has managed to bring lights to 5,93,732 (2013) villages as compared to 3061 in 1950.
India has somewhat managed to bring its education system at par with the global standard in some cases. A number of initiatives have been implemented to eradicate illiteracy. The number of schools witnessed a dramatic increase after 1950’s. The government had declared elementary education, a fundamental right for children in the age group of 6-14 years by passing the 86th amendment to the Constitution in 2002. At independence, India’s literacy rate was a paltry 12.2 % which increased to 74.04% in 2011. The Government launched a big initiative under the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan programme in 2001 to ensure education for the children from 6 to 14 years.
Increase in life-expectancy is considered one of the major achievements in health care in India. For example, life expectancy was around 37 years in 1951, it almost doubled to 65 years by 2011. Besides, Infant Mortality (IM) has also declined with death rate coming down to half of what it was during the 1940-50s. Moreover, similar developments were noticed in maternal mortality rate also. After a long-drawn struggle, India has finally been declared a polio-free country. Malnutrition in children under five years came down to 44% in 2005-06 from 67% in 1980. The number of tuberculosis cases also got reduced to 185 per lakh people in 2009. Moreover, the cases of HIV-infected people are also witnessing a declining trend. Government had also increased public health spending which is about 6- 6.5 % of the GDP.
India has reached new heights in rocket science and space technologies. Ever since, the launch of its first satellite Aryabhatta in 1975. India has emerged as a growing power that has successfully launched several foreign satellites. Its first mission to Mars was launched in November 2013 which successfully reached the planet’s orbit on 24 September 2014. Besides, space technology, India is also aggressively pursuing both nuclear and missile programmes. BrahMos Missile (with the help of Russia) inducted into the defence system is the world's fastest cruise missile. After more than six decades of independence, India has reached the level of being self-dependent in the field of space and missile technology.