Before independence our country was at the mercy of her foreign rulers. They did whatever they liked for the good of their own country. After independence much has been done to improve the condition of the masses. Some of the important achievements of free India made during the last fifty years are as follows.
In the economic field, unprecedented progress has been made. Our five year plans have been successfully completed. Many Multipurpose projects have been taken in hand. Bhakra Nagal, Hirakud and Damodur valley projects have been completed. Many new factories have been started. Sindri Fertilizers Factory, Haldia Fertilizer Complex, Barauni and Guna Fertilizer Factory etc., are producing chemical fertilizers. Important Steel plants are fulfilling our requirements of steel. The per capita income has been raised. Our exports have been increasing in different spheres. The difficult food problem has been solved. To-day there is enough food for all.
Power –generation has also been increased several folds. A net-work of ordinance factories has been established and most sophisticated weapons for the defense of the country are being produced. In 1989, India successfully fired Agni, a long range missile. Since then ‘Akash’ surface to air long range missile, ‘Trishul’, ‘Nag’ and recently ‘Prithivi’ surface to surface short range missile have been launched. This shows further advance in the growth of the country’s science and technology. Rapid advances have been made in the field of electronics and comprehensive program of computerization is also under way. Thus gradually, but steadily, we are achieving self-sufficiency and stability in the economic field.
Free India has also made rapid advance in the field of science and technology. Atomic energy has been successfully used for power generation. India successfully conducted under ground atomic tests for peaceful purposes. Now India is nuclear power nation. The launching of “Aryabhatta”, “Rohini”, “Apple” INSAT-1 and INSAT-1(D) satellites marks the entry of India in to the space age. Since then many more multi-purpose satellites have been sent in to outer space. India Space Organization had completed four launchers of the Satellite Launch Vehicle-3(SLV-3) for of Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicles (ASLV) and two developmental PSLV. With this India became the fifth nation in the world capable of launching 1000 kg satellite in its intended orbit. Now it is ready to enter the GSLV programme through which India will not only have vastly improved telecommunication capability, but also satellite monitoring capabilities which will be of great value of our security.
Revolutionary changes have also been brought about in the political field. Our country is now sovereign Democratic Republic. All citizens have equal rights in the eyes of law, irrespective of their caste, creed, sex and religion. To bring democracy to the villages, Panchayats have been established and Panchayati Raj has become a reality. The launching of the Jawahar Rozgar Yojna is another revolutionary step to improve the conditions of rural poor. There is a general awakening among the people. They have begun to understand their rights and duties. We may find men in the street discussing various political problems with great interest. Thus, we are enjoying the fruits of freedom. We may hold our heads high due to the success of foreign policy, which has raised the prestige of the country.
Achievements in the social sphere are also clearly visible. The Zamindari system has been abolished. The tiller of the land is now its owner. Untouchability is a legal offence today. To drive out the demon of drink from society, prohibition has been introduced. Socialistic pattern of society is the aim towards which our country is making rapid progress. To reduce the inequalities in the industrial field many industries have been nationalized. To bring about uniformity in weights and measures, the metric system has been introduced. Prostitution, in any form has been made legal offense. These achievements are of great social significance.
Social security schemes have been introduced in some big industrial towns. The government is busy in clearing slums and constructing new houses for the industrial workers and the weaker sections of society. Lakhs of refugees came to India first from Pakistan, then from Bangladesh, and more recently from Ceylon. But India has successfully solved the refugee problem. This is a mighty achievement. So it becomes clear that no aspect of life has been left untouched.
India has successfully followed the policy of noon alignment. As a result of India’s efforts, the non-alignment movement has become a force in the world affairs. India’s voice now carries weight in international forums. Important laurel won by India recently is the obtaining of the sole right for the exploration of a very large area of the Indian Ocean for its mineral wealth. Similarly, India has established its base in the Antarctica for exploration and research in the difficult region.
But this long list of free India’s achievements should not make us proud. We should not feel satisfied by looking at our achievements. We should keep in mind the problems which are yet to be solved. The masses of country are still poor and backward. Many social evils still prevail. Corruption is widespread. Terrorism is raising its ugly head in several arts of the country. The balance of payment position is difficult and threat sanctions are looming large.
To face various economic problems a comprehensive programme of economic reforms has been undertaken. Economic polices have been liberalized, a number of controls have been removed, and multinationals have now been allowed to operate freely in the country. Private enterprise has also been encouraged, and Indian capitalists have been invited on a large scale to set up industries in various field.
Above all the appeal of democracy has depended over the years. This style of governance has neatly fitted the lifestyle of a majority of Indians. Democracy now cuts across the parties, educational levels, classes, castes, religions, and gender and ethnics divisions. Indeed India democracy today despite all its institutional problems is stronger in the minds of people then it ever was. The social and territorial spread of legitimacy has survived even the sharp decline in the peoples trust in politicians in recent years.
However with faith in our leaders and our capacity for works, we are sure to overcome our present difficulties. The present difficulties should not discourage us. Free India is destined to become a powerful nation of the world.