India- At The Start Of New Millenium

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INTRODUCTION
Many intellectuals tend to see India since independence as an area of darkness.
Even, S. Gopal, one of the tallest Indian historians said that with the passage of time Nehru era faded away which also resulted into fading of golden age. (High aspirations, High nationalism seemed to be lost by the time)
India even after 50 years of independence was strangled by various problems like mass poverty, gross inequality, intolerable illiteracy, social injustice, gender discrimination, social oppression, corruption, casteism and communalism and poor quality of life in general.
It does not mean that India didn’t progress. We have achieved a substantial amount of all-round progress.

NATIONAL UNITY
India has achieved a great success on this part.
Problems with the current national unity:
i) Communalism
ii) Regional economic and developmental disparities leading to demand for a separate state
iii) Right Wing Extremism (generally termed as ‘Naxalism’)
Factors that contributed to national unity:
i) Democracy
ii) Economic Development
iii) Genuine efforts of the government
iv) Rise in the number of state parties which helped to put a regional question at the central level
v) Favorable laws for the tribal people
 
DEMOCRATIC POLITICAL SYSTEMS
Indira Gandhi attributed political success as the greatest success after 1947.
Our political system is federal, secular & has a multi party system. All this has contributed to political stability.
Even though collation government exists today they still protect the constitution to the fullest & that is a real miracle.
Though Communist (says that the current government consists of elites only) & Communalists Parties (underlines the caste demands in the politics) still use their own tactics to win in the political arena but they with the time have got defenders of the constitution. Use of the respective tactics remain only for political purpose & has no further significance.
ENTRENCHMENT OF DEMOCRACY
Democracy has remained in its place since its inception.
Things that have contributed to strengthen democracy
1. Civil liberties: People in India have been given liberties by constitution itself. Not to mention the importance of Fundamental Rights.
2. Awareness: People after heavy political mobilization have understood their problems. They are aware of the politics & hence it strengthens democracy.
3. Voters: The power to elect good leaders in politics is strengthening democracy. The recent elections have shown that even a dominant political party can be changed by the voters depending on the performance.
4. Decentralization: People have been given more power through local government bodies to formulate laws & carry out the same suiting their local needs.
5. Literacy: People have got educated about the political system in India.
6. Greater participation in the political process: It includes all the reservation policies & the class based political parties.

FORMS OF POLITICAL PROTEST
Political protest in India today are not the one’s which were present in the British times.
Today they are mainly grievance & demand based.
These protest have various sources, like:
1. Caste or class demands
2. Due to economic disparities
3. Due to opportunity disparities
Today’s movements are not based on Gandhian Philosophy of “change of heart” rather it focuses on use of coercion & even try to overthrow the authority if needed. Blame for this should be placed on unequal opportunities being provided. Anti-social feelings should be eradicated.
But it is equally true that with fast changing society, it has become impossible to do solve problems by way of protest. People don’t have time for this & hence we can see open use of coercive methods.

ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE
Problems that came in the way:
1. Oil shocks of 1969 & 80’s.
2. Food shortage of 60’s
3. Low availability of technology & funds for development programs.
4. Continuing inflation
5. Low rate of industrialization
6. Low focus on agricultural development
It’s the economic parameter where India actually succeeded more. Economic situation of India has become quite vibrant & on the whole has remained satisfactory.
Indian successfully eradicated economic stagnation & vicious circle of poverty-underdevelopment-poverty.
Indian economy has become self-sufficient.
India right after independence developed an economic pattern named mixed economy where equal opportunities were provided for private & public players.
Land reforms also played an important role in solving problems of farmers & lead to development of agriculture.
Green Revolution solved all the problems of food shortage & lead to self sufficiency of India in food-grain.
Particularly, the Economic reforms that followed 1991, took India to the highest progress that it could achieve.

ECONOMIC PROBLEMS AND DANGERS
These problems were faced by India till the year 2000.
India was still a poor and backward country in comparison to other countries.
India was facing a huge technological gap. So, India was forced to produce technology indigenously.
Indian economy was mostly dominated by the public sector. India was not that open to private sector though in the last decade of the millennium economic reforms came in & market was made more open to private sector.
India was economically dependent on other countries.
Moreover, India had huge illiteracy so availability of skilled labour was low.
Due to low career oppurtunities available in the country, India witnessed brain drain to USA & other countries.
India was not much open to foreign investments.
 
POVERTY
India though was very prosperous in historical times, it was not that prosperous after independence.
India after so many years of independence was not able to eradicate poverty. Though, it has been lessened.
The reduction of poverty was mainly due to anti-poverty programs & employment generation programs.
Poverty also decreased because of more food production. (as calorie intake is the basis for measuring poverty line).
Incidence of poverty has decreased but undernourishment is found especially among the children.
The main problem for poverty to exist in India is due to the unequal benefit distribution.

QUALITY OF LIFE
Quality of life has increased but it is inadequate.
No all-around transformation has taken place in this regard & India lags heavily in comparison of the same.
Most of the time following three parameters are used to check the quality of life:
i) Life expectancy at birth
ii) Infant Mortality Rate (IMR)
iii) Literacy
Life expectancy at birth (the maximum period one can live) has increased drastically in India thanks to the technological & medical progress.
IMR (number of children dying whose age is below one year) is very low in India but India has not been able to bring it to zero.
India is showing progress in literacy with the help of various education programs & due to the legal recognition of education in the form of “RIGHT TO EDUCATION
In terms of health care, India has a big pharma sector because of which occurrence of dreadful diseases is a rare site.
Our electricity grid penetration has reached a higher level.
Quality of life of agricultural labourers & factory workers have not increased.
 
Practice Questions
Q1
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