India at 75: Journey of Indian Economy since 1947
India will celebrate its 75th Day of Independence on August 15, 2021, and it is time to learn some interesting facts about the Indian economy and its journey since 1947.
India will celebrate its 75th Day of Independence on August 15, 2021, and it is time to learn some interesting facts about the Indian economy and its journey since 1947. In its journey of 75 years, India has travelled from being a third world country to be one of the biggest economies in the world.
Here is a look at Journey of Indian economic journey since 1947:
- At the time of Independence, India's GDP which stood at around Rs 2.7 lakh core has travelled far to be Rs 147.79 lakh crore today and is also the fifth-largest economy in the world at present. As per Bank of America, the Indian economy is expected to become the third-largest economy by 2031. Interestingly, the Indian economy at constant prices has seen a 10-fold increase in the GDP since the economic reforms that took place in 1991. It was a year when the Indian economy was liberalized with an aim to make it more market and service-oriented and expand the role of private and foreign investment. The reform was prompted by a balance of payments crisis that had led to a severe recession. Although, India has emerged as the fifth largest economy its GDP per capita is less than USD 2000 which puts India under a struggling LMIC (Lower Middle-Income Country). At the same time, being the fastest growing economy, India's national debt reportedly has increased to a whopping 91 lakh crore.
- Indian forex reserves, which stood at RS 1,029 crore in 1950-51, now stands at Rs 46.17 lakh crore. In fact, India's forex reserves in 1991 stood just at $1.2 billion, which was too low to finance the country's imports even for just 3 weeks, which led to kickstart the economic reforms. Post reforms, Indian forex reserves is the world's fifth-largest at present.
- Railways, which is a major and essential source of transportation for most Indians and goods. Indian Railways was one the biggest railway lines around the independence has been able to unify all rail gauges, electrifying most of the railway lines and connect Northeast India with the mainland till date. Currently, the railway line has reached a route length of 67,956 kilometres by 2020.
- Roadways, the other source of transportation for citizens and goods in India and its length has increased exponentially in the last 75 years. According to the government figures, Indian roadways stood at just 0.4 million kilometres in 1950 has reached a mark of 6.40 million kilometres in 2021. With this growth, the Indian road network is the second largest road network in the world. At the same time, Indian Railways is the largest employer at present but the issue is that passengers still have to face a long waiting list to get a reserved seat in a train.
- Making electricity available in the rural areas of the country has been among the goals of India's socio-economic policymaking. Power Ministry data suggest that electricity was available in just 3,061 villages in 1950, while every village of India – 5,97,464 villages in total – was electrified by 2018. The criteria to declare a village electrified means access to electricity to 10 per cent of the households in a village.
- At the time of independence, the total foreign investment in India in 1949 stood at Rs 256 crore. In 2020-21, India received a record US$ 81.72 billion in Foreign Direct Investment.
- In terms of food production, India has seen a turnaround in food production and has emerged as a net exporter since the 1950s and 1960s when it was in a stage where it used to receive food as aid. Indian total food production stood at around 54.92 million tonnes in 1950 has risen to around 305.44 million tonnes in 2020-21. Although today, we are self-sufficient in terms of agriculture, the issue is the farmers are moving out of the profession at an alarming rate. Profitability in agriculture is a burning issue.
- Indian has world-class healthcare facilities which encourage medical tourists to India for treatment purposes. However, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the reality, which led to import things essential for medical purposes like beds, medicines, ventilators and oxygen to save lives. India is the pharmacy of the world but 70 per cent of APIs for manufacturing medicines are imported.
- In terms of telecom, India has travelled from landlines to 5G – to be launched soon. From landlines, we have seen the telecom industry's journey to 2G, 3G and 4G (currently available across the country). Now, we are planning to launch 5G soon.
Along with India, four other countries celebrate their independence on August 15 and they North Korea, South Korea, Bahrain, and Liechtenstein.