India in The 21st Century
At the dawn of independence, India had to face stupendous problems. The first day Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India and his colleagues.,s were gall and wormwood to As a result of the partition, a large number of people reached India from the areas demarcated as Pakistan. They had to be rehabilitated. The assimilation of some states like Junagadh, Hyderabad and Kashmir created problems. But Vallabhai Patel, the Home Minister, tackled them deftly and intrepidly.
When the British left India, the condition of our economy was miserable. For many years, they had been exploiting our resources. They had no desire to ameliorate the lot of Indians.
We started economic planning in 1951 and Nine Five Year Plans were implemented. The Tenth Plan is now being implemented. As a result of these Plans, we have been able to achieve good progress in several fields.
The problems we have to solve remain gigantic. We have not been able to eradicate starvation, malnutrition,illiteracy, and unemployment, etc. froze our country. According to a UNICEF report, nearly 10,000 children die every day because of malnutrition. India’s malnutrition is the most disturbing in the world. The report says, “Chronic daily famine goes on.” One out of every forty-five women runs the risk of dying during pregnancy or child-birth. The population grows fast, which hinders the economic development of the country. Those living below the poverty line come to about 360 million. The number of dowry-deaths in some states like Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra is increasing. Female illiteracy is a very serious problem except in Kerala. There are 350 million illiterates in the country. The number of child prostitutes exceeds three lakh. In the report of the UNICEF, India figures in the list of countries known as “sex tourism destinations.” The privatization started by the government has reduced the chances of the weaker sections in getting employment. In government service and government companies these sections get reservation. But the private companies do not give reservation to these sections. To enable them to get employment in private companies the government should amend the Employment Exchange (Compulsory Notification of Vacancies) Act of 1959. So far the government has not decided to amend it. A UNICEF report published in 1993 ranked India 50th in primary education among a total of eighty-seven developing countries.
Corruption has become deep-rooted. Most of our politicians arc not sincere. They are very good at feathering their nests. Those who have influence, embezzle as much money as they can. Such people often escape punishment.
Because of the various problems mentioned above, we don’t think India will be prosperous in the 21th century. The rate of India’s growth in technology in the 20th century was only 8%. If India is to catch up with the world’s major industrialised countries, she needs a much better economic growth, about nine times higher. Those who expatiate upon the huge amounts of money that are spent on the development of the country forget that the fruits of progress have been monopolised by a few privileged persons. There is no magic or incantation by which the problems besetting us can be solved in a jiffy. Life will be irksome and onerous for the majority of the people of India in the 21th century.