What India achieved in 60 years after Independence and what Modi govt achieved since 2014

Former Commissioner of Police, Mumbai, Julio Ribeiro has in a comment piece in The Indian Express today (Saturday, March 9) written how “The fake news is correct : Constant tall claims by BJP detract from the positives of the government”. A few days ago an extract in a speech in his name was circulated which we too published. All other data in the story was verified, save the fact that it emanated from Mr Ribeiro. For this we apologise-Editors)

In the decade leading up to 1947, undivided India was ravaged by famines and food scarcity. In the 21st century, it is among the top 10 economies of the world. How much of it can be credited to policies and how much to politics?

Speaking in the Parliament in March 2016, PM Modi had said, “If the Congress had helped the poor in 60 years, the poor wouldn’t still be facing trouble…We can’t ignore 60 years of misgovernance.” The constant harping on the 60 years of Congress rule and that the country achieved nothing in that time period could not farther from the truth.
At public rallies before the election in 2014, he would say, “You gave 60 years to the Congress, they gave you nothing but misrule. Give me 60 months to fix the nation’s ills.”
Data collected from several quaters counters this claim and suggests that the PM should not take the masses for granted. “You are the Prime Minister of a country which was under British rule for more than 200 years. The people were living just like slaves. Congress came to power in 1947 after independence started with zero. There was nothing in this country except garbage left behind by the British. India didn’t have the resources then even to produce a pin since the British left India. Electricity was available only in 20 villages across the country. Telephone facilities were available only for 20 rulers (kings) in the country. There was no drinking water supply. There were only 10 small dams. No hospitals, no educational institutions, no fertilisers, no feeds, and no water supply for cultivation. There were no jobs and rampant starvation in the country. There were many infant mortalities. Very few military staff manning our borders. Only 4 planes, 20 tankers & fully open borders on all 4 corners of our country. Very minimum roads and bridges, empty exchequer. Nehru came to power under such circumstances,” he said.
Without taking sides with either party, it would be good to take an objective look at what India achieved in 60 years before Modi came to power.
“In the decade leading up to 1947, undivided India was ravaged by famines and food scarcity. Soon as India became independent, it was confronted with a food and milk crisis. The country had to import 55,000 tonnes of milk powder every year in the early 1950s, according to government records,” a report by Scroll said.
“India was not yet one, its territorial integrity was being challenged, the 1948 war had complicated an already-fraught relationship with Pakistan, new state institutions had to be built, and so on. Through it all, food security could not be compromised. Self-sufficiency was, after all, a key agenda of independent India’s first leaders, and tied deeply to nationalism,” the report said.
In a radio address to the nation in 1952, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru declared that he will raise food production by nearly 8 million tonnes as their goal for the Five Year Plan.
Relying on the economist S Sivasubramonian’s data, Balakrishnan arrayed the growth rate of three key sectors – agriculture, industry and services – to map the trajectory of the Nehruvian economy. He analysed the data for three periods – 1900-’01 to 1946-’47, 1950-’51 to 1964-’65, and 1947-’48 to 1999-2000 – and showed that “not only does growth in the Nehru era amply exceed what was attained in the final half-century of colonial rule but the quickening of the economy observed over the second half of the 20th century may be seen to have been already achieved in the Nehru era,” the report said.
“What has India achieved after 60 years? World’s largest army. Thousands of warplanes, tankers, lakhs of industrial institutions, electricity in almost all villages, hundreds of electric power stations, several kilometres of national highways and over bridges, new railway projects, stadiums, super speciality hospitals, most of the Indian households with television, telephone services for all countrymen. Improved infrastructure to work in and outside the country, Banks, Universities, AIMS, IITS, IIMS, Nuclear weapons, submarines, nuclear stations, ISRO, Navarathna Public sector units,” Ribiero wrote.
“Indian Army split Pakistan into 2 pieces. One lakh military & commanders surrendered to the Indian army. India started exporting minerals & food items. Bank nationalisation by Mrs. Indira Gandhi. Computers were introduced to India and many job opportunities were created in India and outside. India is ranked among the top 10 economies of the world. GSLV, Mangalyan, Monorail, Metro rail, International airports, Prithvi, Agni, Naag, Nuclear submarines….all these were achieved before you became PM,” he said.
His claims are yet again not entirely unfounded. India’s growth story is not fake news.

“Modi would not have been the prime minister of the country had it not been for the first leaders of independent India who held the centre against all odds,” said the historian Ramachandra Guha in a report by Scroll, whose book India After Gandhi traces the early years of independent India and the immense, complex work that went into making of the nation.
 “Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, BR Ambedkar for about four years from January 1948 to January 1952 did a truly extraordinary job,” Guha added. “They gave India a fighting chance by determining territorial integrity, uniting the country, resettling refugees, working out an egalitarian Constitution, setting economic growth in process and then conducting the first general election. Think of India as a start-up, not even the most optimistic investor would have put his/her money in 1947 because it looked like it would collapse in a year,” he said in the report.
“Nehru’s administration pushed for planned economic and agrarian growth; public sector spending; setting up of steel and power plants; establishing Indian Institutes of Technology and Indian Institutes of Management, among other measures. He spoke endlessly about ensuring progress for all Indians and cultivating a “scientific temper”. His government encouraged space exploration and put the country on the nuclear path – boldly for a new and struggling nation,” the report said.
Though the Congress rule had its flaws when it came to primary education, healthcare, planned urbanization, personal law reform and increasing communal divide; the country saw relative progress.
“The economic reforms of 1991–initiated by the late Narasimha Rao, Dr. Manmohan Singh, Shri P. Chidambaram and Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia–opened up the minds of Indian corporate leaders to the power of global markets, helped them accept competition at home and abroad, and raised the confidence of consumers. Our hard currency reserves have gone up from a mere $1.5 billion in 1991 to over $220 billion today. The reforms encouraged entrepreneurship and gave confidence to businessmen and entrepreneurs to dream big, create jobs, enhance exports, acquire companies abroad and follow the finest principles of corporate governance,” a report from 2007 said when India actually celebrated 60 years of Independence.
“Please do not come to people asking what Congress has achieved in 60 years rather tell the people what you have achieved in the last four and a half years except changing names of places, building unwanted statues and introducing cow politics, failed demonetisation, poorly executed GST, and making people stand in long queues,” Rebeiro asked.
India’s unemployment rate rose to 7.2 per cent in February, the highest since September 2016, and up from 5.9 per cent in February 2018, according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE). It reported that demonetisation led to a loss of 3.5 million jobs.
The Rafale deal has raised a stink as news sources claim that BJP colluded to get the deal for a 2-month-old company founded by Anil Ambani over HAL owned by the Indian government.
Oxfam’s latest report Reward Work Not Wealth shows that 1% of India’s population owns about 60% of its private wealth and that in 2017 the wealth of India’s richest 1% increased by over Rs 20.9 lakh crore, equivalent to total central budget in 2017–18.
Farm distress, attacks on minorities and women, the dismantling of nation’s biggest institutions are just some of the highlights of the last four and a half years.
So what more did India achieve in the 60 years since Independence and what did the Modi led BJP government achieve in the last four and a half years? The reports available in the public domain are there for everyone to see.



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