India welcomed its new dawn with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s famous words – “Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom…”
Independence Day in India is celebrated on 15th August every year to mark the end of British rule in 1947 and the establishment of a free and independent Indian nation. India’s Independence represented for its people the start of an epoch that was imbued with a new vision. The year 1947, the country commence its long march to overcome the colonial legacy of economic underdevelopment, gross poverty, near-total illiteracy, the wide prevalence of disease and stark social inequality and injustice. The task of nation-building was taken up by the Indian people and their leaders with a certain elan and determination and with confidence in their capacity to succeed. Finally, on 14.08.1947 when the famous speech of Jawaharlal Nehru of ‘Tryst with Destiny’ reflected this buoyant mood on every citizen of Indian. It has been more than seventy years since the Independence, but still India has a long way to achieve its important targets and mark great heights. In the recent years, India has taken significant steps to achieve its goals and mark its journey towards the path of development. Even though the Journey of India has been a positive in the past few years, India need to work on the obstacles which are hampering the path of its growth and development.
2. HISTORY OF THE INDEPENDENCE
Almost for near about 2 centuries, the Britisher ruled over India. India was considered the jewel in the crown of the British Empire. Queen Victoria had been made Empress of India and the British had a major military presence in India. Everyone was struggling for the Independence but some of the renowned freedom fighters like Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, Nana Saheb, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Subhash Chandra Bose, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Mangal Pandey, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Bhagat Singh, DadabhaiNaoroji, Chandra Shekhar Azad, Ram Prasad Bismil, Sukhdev Thapar and there are many more who sacrificed their lives for our motherland.
The following are some landmark events which resulted in India gaining Independence.
- 1857 – It was India’s First War of Independence; termed Sepoy Riots by the British was an attempt to unite India against the invading British.The rebellion led to the end of the East India Company’s rule in India. By the Government of India Act 1858, the company was formally dissolved and its ruling powers over India were transferred to the British Crown.
- 1885 – The Indian National Congress (also known as the Congress Party/INC) was created and became India’s major political party. This party became the Nation’s leader in the Independence Movement in its struggle against the British Empire.
- 1915 – During this period Gandhiji returned to India and joined the Indian National Congress. He took leadership of Congress in 1920 and began agitating against the British. On 26thJanuary 1930, the Indian National Congress declared the independence of India which the British did not recognize.
- 1916 – Lucknow Pact was an agreement reached between the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League. This agreement was entered into to pressurize the British government to adopt a more liberal approach to India and give Indians more authority to run their country.
- 1919 – In this year the tragic Jallianwala Bagh massacre took place on 13thApril 1919. This event in which Brigadier-General Reginald E.H. Dyer ordered indiscriminate firing at a crowd including women and children, killing hundreds of them, caused much resentment and anger among the people. Due to such destruction, it gave birth to the Non-Cooperation Movement.
- 1920 – The Non-Cooperation Movement was a significant phase of the Indian struggle for freedom. Protestors would refuse to buy British goods, adopt the use of local handicrafts, picket liquor shops, and try to uphold the Indian values of honour and integrity.
- 1935 – The Government of India Act, 1935 and the creation of a new constitution laid the foundations for the events that would follow in the next decade and thereafter.
- 1940 – England’s involvement in the Second World War weakened the British Empire. After shaking off the effects of the First World War this war caused the thinning of the British resources and would be significant in deciding India’s future.
- 1942 – The Quit India movement took place in this year. This movement called for the immediate withdrawal of the British from India and the Britishers ponded by putting most of the INC leadership in jail.
- 1947 – End of British rule and partition of sub-continent into mainly Hindu India and Muslim-majority state of Pakistan.3. ESTABLISHMENT OF INDIAN CONSTITUTION
After the Independence, the Constitution was adopted on November 26, 1949, and it came into force on January 26, 1950. The Indian Constitution is unique in its contents and spirit. The Constitution of India is considered the world’s lengthiest document because originally it contained 395 Articles divided into 22 parts and 8 Schedules. At present, it contains 448 Articles, 25 parts and 12 Schedules. The constitution of India has several salient features that distinguish it from the constitutions of other countries. Many people criticise that the Indian Constitution is a bag of borrowings or just a paper and scissor work. It is true that it had borrowed some features but drafted according to the historical perspective,geographical diversity,cultural and traditional characteristics of India. The chairman of the drafting committee Dr. Ambedkar had said in this regard that –“As to the accusation that the Draft Constitution has reproduced a good part of the provisions of the Government of India Act, 1935, I make no apologies. There is nothing to be ashamed of in borrowing. It involves no plagiarism. Nobody holds any patent rights in the fundamental ideas of a Constitution….”As on date, there have been more than 100 Amendments to the Constitution since 1950.
Following are some of the features of Indian Consitution which are borrowed from few Countries around the world –
- Structural Part – The Government of Indian, 1935.
- Fundamental Rights – United States of America
- Directive Principle of State Policy (DPSP) – Ireland.
- Fundamental Duties – Russia.
- Emergency – Germany.
- Amendment – South Africa.4. CHALLENGES FACED BY INDIA POST INDEPENDENCE
Following are the major challenges which are faced by India post Independence:
- The division of assets
According to the Indo- Pakistan financial settlement of 1947, India had to pay rupees 55 crores as the latter’s share of the assets.
2. The Refugee Problem
The partition of India gave way to the refugee problem. By mid-1948 about 5.5 million non-Muslims had moved into India and a very large number of Muslims had left India for Pakistan. According to the Indian government, the non-Muslims left behind property worth 500 crores in West Pakistan whereas the Muslim losses in India are put to 100 crores.
3. Origin of the Kashmir Problem
The Maharaja Hari Singh was a Hindu while 75% of the population was that of Muslims. Kashmir was strategically important for both India and Pakistan, however, the famous movement lead by Sheik Abdullah wanted integration with India. The Maharaja, on the other hand, feared democracy in India and communalism in Pakistan. Hence, this was a big challenge for India to tackle.
4. Foundation of the Indian Democracy
The first general elections in India which were held in 1952 were a landmark event in the history of the state which marked the establishment of the Indian democracy. It was held over a period of 4 months from October 1951 to February 1952. Congress got more than 70% of the votes polled.
5. Linguistic Reorganization
Most provinces were multilingual and multicultural and after independence, many former princely states were absorbed into them. There was a demand for linguistically homogeneous provinces.
6. The Indus Water Dispute
The dispute arose because Indus and its tributaries flow through both India and Pakistan. West Pakistan and West India were both dependent on Indus and its tributaries for water, power supply, and irrigation. These rivers rise in India and the canal system is also in India. Partition cut through a complex and unified system of canals.
7. The Elections of 1967
February 1967 was a period of elections in India.. This time the popularity of the Indian National Congress had declined considerably although the INC did win for the fourth time. The number of seats won was less. The reason behind the dismissal show of the Congress was the death of two prominent leaders, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Lal Bahadur Shastri. There were also internal problems in the party. The most important feature of the elections of 1967 was the coming together of the opposition parties.
8. JP Movement
From 1973 there was a sharp recession, growing unemployment, rampant inflation and scarcity of basic food. The oil crisis of the mid ’70s had also contributed to the crisis and all of these developments together led to riots and large-scale unrest and strikes and erosion of support for the Congress from the poor and the middle class.The students asked Jay Prakash Narayan, an elderly man who was in political retirement, to take over the leadership of the movement.He had made a public criticism of the central government. His movement came to be known as the JP movement. He asked students to boycott their classes and the people to raise their consciousness against the corruption of the government.
The government responded to the JP Movement by declaring National Emergency which was the greatest threat to India’s democratic foundation. From 1973 there was a sharp decline in the economic situation, a combination of growing unemployment, rampant inflation, and scarcity of basic food and essential commodities created a serious crisis.
Unemployment is the most challenging issue in front of the Indian Economy. Most of the people are unemployed due to many reasons namely; due to high expectation, high standard of living or it can also be due to illiteracy, lack of education etc.The reasons for the rise in the unemployment are many. One of the main reasons is that the Indian economy is not witnessing a sustained rate of high growth because investment is subdued and the manufacturing sector, which creates the maximum jobs, is growing at a snail’s pace.
Corruption has been one of the major obstacle in the development of the nation. Corruption leads to hindrances in development, hampers the growth of businesses, results in backwardness and poverty, loss of faith in Judicial System, etc. The major reason for the increasing corruption is the mismanagement in the system and lack of self responsibility.There is an immediate need to curb the practices which promotes corruption. It is the responsibility of all the individuals to ensure that they are not promoting the corrupt practices.
12. Population Growth
The population of India today is estimated to be 1.32 billion. Further, it is expected that it will increase by 1.8 billion around the middle of this century. The consequences of population growth will be faced by the whole world sooner or later, but it will be worse for India. Today the problems faced by India are lack of freshwater, whether it is for domestic, agricultural or industrial use, crumbling sewage treatment and waste management systems, rapid depletion of natural resources and increase in the use of fossil fuels, increasing urbanization, deforestation and loss of ecosystems, increased levels of life, air and water pollution, hunger due to extreme poverty are some of the results of overpopulation that India is already experiencing today.
13. Impact of COVID – 19 Pandemic
COVID – 19 has drastically affected the world. Many countries have been severely affected due the spread of the virus. COVID – 19 is the biggest challenge today in terms of economic policies. In this scenario, it has been predicted that India would go into recession. This Pandemic has affected all the sectors especially the labour sector as they are not provided jobs due to lockdown, most of the labour sectors are associated with the construction companies and are dependent on daily wage. This situation has jeopardized the lifestyle, the economy of the countries and has impacted the business and assumption of common well – being. The lockdown has also adversely affected the service sector like banks, restaurants, food vendors, and food delivery providers. In India, states like Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh have the highest number of registered MSMEs, and it is estimated that a quarter of over 75 million is facing closure and if the closure is extended the current situation would worsen affecting the employment of 114 million people affecting the GDP.
14. External Aggresion
Recently India is facing aggression from China in the eastern part of Ladakh. 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a violent clash in Galwan Valley on 15th June 2020. On this day there was a disagreement over two Chinese tents and observation towers that India officials had built on its side of the LAC. The Chinese troops breached the Line to set up temporary “structures” in the Galwan Valley even after the military officials had reached an agreement on 6th June to de-escalate, this was informed by the Indian Foreign Minister to China’s Senior diplomat on a phone call. The problem arose when an Indian patrol visited the area near a ridge to verify a Chinese assertion that its troops had moved back from the LAC. A large group of Chinese soldiers arrived and confronted the Indian troops. It is not clear what happened but the two sides soon clashed and the Chinese soldiers used iron rods and batons with spikes which resulted in the killing of 20 Indian soldiers and wounding dozens of others. It is predicted that the major reason for such attack is India’s unilateral move last year to repeal Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which had guaranteed a measure of autonomy to the former Jammu and Kashmir, which also included the disputed areas in Ladakh region.
5. SIGNIFICANT CHANGES IN RECENT YEARS
- Surgical Strike: In September 2016, the Indian Army carried out surgical strike against terror launchpads on and along the Line of Control (LOC). The strike was carried out nearly 10 days after the Uri terror attacks where 18 soldiers were killed when four terrorist launched a barrage of grenades at the Army’s 12 Brigade headquarters in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir. India had to initiate this step as there was an increase in terror activities and infiltration by them. This step gave a strong answer to the terrorist activities.2. Demonitization: On November 8, 2016, PM Narendra Modi announced the demonitization of Rs. 500 and Rs.1,000 currency notes. This step was initiated to curb the black money, improve tax payers for the unaccounted cash, curb terrorism, promote digital India movement by making cashless India. Demonitization has helped to promote the initiative of digital economy where many people have started using the debit cards for making payments, increased in saving as people have started to deposit cash in banks instead of keeping cash at home, low lending rates as the cash moves to banks and financial institutions. Hence, demonitization has lead to better economic development.
3. Implementation of GST: The year 2017 will be marked as a significant year in the Indian history. In the year 2017, India implemented the Goods and Service Tax (GST) which is considered as the biggest and most important economic reform since Independence. The reform was actually implemented after an intense debate of almost a decade and it was brought into implementation from 1st July 2017. GST, which was publicised as ‘one nation, one tax’ by the government, aims to provide a simplified, single tax regime in line with the tax framework applicable in several major economies across the Globe. This single tax has helped streamline various indirect taxes and brought in more efficiencies in business. GST law in India is a comprehensive, multi-stage, destination-based tax that is levied on every value addition. Implementation of GST has lead to improve the taxation system and bring uniformity which has help to enhanced economic development.
4. Revocation of Article 370: In August 2019, the BJP led government declared the revocation of the controversial Article 370. The article 370 allowed the state of Kashmir a certain amount of autonomy in terms of its own constitution, a separate flag and freedom to make laws, wherein foreign affairs, defence and communications remained with the Central Government. The Government took this significant step to integrate Kashmir and put it on the same footing as the rest of India. This step would mean that Kashmir will no longer have a separate constitution and it will have to abide by the Indian Constitution.
5. Ayodhya Ram Mandir Judgment: On 9th November 2019, the Supreme Court delivered its unanimous per curiam judgment in the Ayodhya Title Dispute. The Supreme Court heard the long-pending Ayodhya land dispute for a period of 40 days at a stretch and pronounced the historic verdict. The Court said that a report by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) provided evidence that the remains of a building “that was not Islamic” was beneath the structure of the demolished Babri mosque. The court further said that, after taking into consideration the evidences and facts the disputed land should be given to Hindus for a temple to Lord Ram, while Muslims would be given land elsewhere to construct a mosque. It then directed the federal government to set up a trust to manage and oversee the construction of the temple. This is considered as one of the epic judement in the history of India.
6. National Education Policy: The Union Cabinet has approved the new National Education Policy (NEP), 2020 with the aim to introduce several changes in the Indian Education System. The National Education Policy envisions an education system rooted in Indian ethos that contributes directly to transforming India, that is Bharat, sustainably into an equitable and vibrant knowledge society, by providing high-quality education to all, and thereby making India a global knowledge superpower. The Policy envisages that the curriculum and pedagogy of our institutions must develop among the students a deep sense of respect towards the Fundamental Duties and Constitutional values, bonding with one’s country, and a conscious awareness of one’s roles and responsibilities in a changing world. The vision of the Policy is to instill among the learners a deep-rooted pride in being Indian, not only in thought, but also in spirit, intellect, and deeds, as well as to develop knowledge, skills, values, and dispositions that support responsible commitment to human rights, sustainable development and living, and global well-being, thereby reflecting a truly global citizen.
6. STRATEGY FOR NEW INDIA @ 75
In 2022, Independent India will turn 75 and hence the government has unveiled its comphrensive strategy for New India, which defines clear objectives for 2022-23. The “Strategy for New India @ 75” is put together by NITI Aayog, and it is an attempt to bring innovation, technology, enterprise and efficient management together, at the core of policy formulation and implementation. The forty-one chapters in the document have been disaggregated under four sections: Drivers, Infrastructure, Inclusion and Governance. The project of NITI Aayog has identified 41 different areas that require either a sharper focus on implementing the flagship schemes already in place or a new design and initiative to achieve India’s true potential. These sectors includes sectors like Technology and Innovation, Housing, Travel, Tourism and Hospitality, Energy, Railways, Digital Connectivity, Swachh Bharat Mission, Sustainable Environment, Education, Civil Services Reforms, among others. By 2022, New India will provide a solid foundation for clean, inclusive, sustained and sustainable growth for the next three decades. The ‘Strategy for New India @ 75’ reflects India’s preparedness to make this transition. Its recommendations are practical and detailed to facilitate time-bound implementation. It also proposes that all levels of government must work together to achieve the vision of New India. Working together as ‘Team India’ will ensure prosperity for all while protecting our environment and promoting the emergence of an innovative eco-system, propelling India to the front ranks of the global economy.
In coming two years, Independent India will turn 75. In terms of lifespan of nations, India is still a young where the best is surely yet to come. Under the current situations, India’s youthful and the ambitious population deserves a speedy transformation of the economy. This can help to create more opportunities and boost the economy which can lead to the prosperity of all. It is important for us to work as “Team India” and raise the spirit and combine our energies to achieve the targets which can help us to reach greater heights.
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