73rd Independence Day “One Nation One Constitution”

Raju Vernekar
As we are set to celebrate 73 rd Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to highlight the achievements of NDA government and announce new measures of development, from the ramparts of Red Fort, New Delhi, after paying tribute to the freedom fighters and leaders of the Indian independence movement.
A grand march past by the Indian armed forces and paramilitary forces will be organised. The independence day celebration takes place in different states of diverse cultural traditions where Chief Ministers of that state hoist followed by cultural activities.
With abrogation of article 370 according status of union territories to J&K and Ladakh, for the first time in history, J& K will hoist tricolor (without separate flag of Kashmir), with national anthem. This time the tricolor is expected to fly high with the slogan of “One nation, One Constitution” from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, Assam to Gujarat celebrating the largest democracy.
On this occasion, it is equally important to take stock of different aspects of economy and social conditions prevailing in the country.
Slow down
n view of the reverse economic slowdown, the central Government is working on measures including tax cuts and sops for specific sectors. The idea is to roll out a host of countercyclical measures, including sectoral incentives and confidence-building steps for the private sector, to stimulate the economy that is grinding through losses, layoffs and an investment freeze.
The country’s goal to become a USD 5 trillion economy in the next few years from USD 2.7 trillion is “achievable” and its GDP requires to grow at 7-8 per cent per annum to meet the target. However recently tabled national annual budget, projects a nominal GDP growth of 12% for financial year 2020, at Rs.211 lakh crore. Whereas the “medium term fiscal policy strategy statement”, also presented with the budget, pegs the nominal GDP growth at 11 per cent.
The retail inflation, calculated on the basis of Consumer Price Index (CPI), continues to go up and it reached an eight-month high of 3.18 per cent in June 2019. The CPI data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed that the food inflation was 2.17 per cent in June 2019, up from 1.83 per cent in the preceding month.
Indian Rupee
Indian rupee which is in the region of Rs 70 is expected to slide down further in view of the heavy expenditure incurred for 2019 general elections. The fall in Indian currency can be attributed to global and domestic cues. When the external value of the domestic currency depreciates and the internal value remains the same, such situation is known as the devaluation of the domestic currency. The basic difference between the devaluation and depreciation is that, the devaluation is done by the government of the country deliberately, while the depreciation take place because of market forces i.e. demand and supply.
The population of India is estimated at 1,368,938,792 which is equivalent to 17.74 per cent of the total world population and India ranks second in the list of countries by population. 33.6 per cent population is urban (460,249,853) and remaining population is settled in rural areas. The population comprises 70,71,26,717 (51.6 per cent) male and 66,24,07,581 (48.4 per cent) women population.
Despite various public health schemes, health care sector has been ailing. Every year, around 60 million people become impoverished by paying health-care bills. Worse, more than a fifth of people do not seek health care, despite being unwell, because of their inability to pay for it. Sixty per cent of primary health centres (PHC) in India have only one doctor, while five per centres PHCs have none. Only 20 per cent of the PHCs fulfil Indian public health standard norms.
The country faces shortage of doctors and one allopathic government doctor attends to a population of 11082, which is 10 times more than the WHO recommended a doctor-population ratio of 1:1000. The situation is worst in Bihar where one doctor serves a population of 28391 people. Uttar Pradesh is ranked second with 19962 patients per day, followed by Jharkhand (18518), Madhya Pradesh (16996), Chhatisgarh (15916) and Karnataka (13556). Delhi is better in terms of doctor-population ratio amongst other states, where the ratio stands at 1:2203 which is still twice the recommended ratio by WHO.
Food grains
The government has set an ambitious food grains target of 291.1 million tonnes (MT) for 2019-20, nearly 2.6 per cent more than the previous year’s 283.7 MT. The rice output is projected to be 115.6 MT, while that of wheat is 99.12 MT. Besides, the government, is hoping to have a 10 per cent increase in pulses production at 26.3 MT, as against the target of 24 MT in the previous year. The target set for coarse cereals is 48.3 MT as against 46.7 MT last year.
Country’s literacy rate has grown to 74 percent, from 12 per cent at the end of British rule in 1947. The male literacy rate is 81.3 per cent, while the female literacy rate is at 60.6 per cent. But this level is below the world average literacy rate of 84 per cent. Kerala with 93.91 per cent literacy rate is at the top, Lakshadweep and Mizoram are at second and third position with 92.28 per cent and 91.58 per cent literacy rate respectively. Bihar with 63.08 per cent literacy rate is the last. Rajasthan has the lowest female literacy rate.
Basically the school education system in India is facing a shortage of trained teachers and a lack of proper infrastructure. 92,275 government schools at both elementary and secondary level have only one teacher to teach all the subjects. One in every 4 schools in rural India, does not have an electricity connection, as per Annual Status of Educational Report (ASER) and almost the same number of schools lack a library.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 29, 2018, had declared that 6 lakh villages were electrified by 100 percent. However official data, reveals that only 7.3 % of the total Indian villages, are having 100% household connectivity, and about 31 million homes are still in the dark. The government deems a village “electrified” if power cables from the grid reach a transformer in each village and to 10% of its households.
However homes without electricity are spread across Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan, with each having nearly 6 million unconnected households. Uttar Pradesh, the giant north Indian state, accounts for 14.6 million households without electricity access, followed by Odisha and Bihar. By and large the government is required to electrify about 5 million households every month-about four times the current rate of 1.3 million households to meet its target.
Space Technology
The successful launch of “Chandrayaan-2” is another shot in arm. It is the nation’s first lunar landing mission. The payloads aboard Chandrayaan-2 will help in understanding the origin of moon and how it is related to the earth. It consists of an orbiter, a lander and a rover together referred to as “composite body”. It will be injected into an Earth parking orbit.
Besides the Government has put its best foot forward with the launch of New Space India Limited (NSIL), to look after launch vehicles, to focus on transfer of technology (TOT) and to help the Indian space agency- Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), to commercialise its launch vehicle and other state of the art technologies in the global space market. NSIL will act in coordination with ANTRIX, ISRO’s another commercial arm.
ISRO is also planning to put up its very own 30 tonne space station in the orbit by the end of 2030. “Ganganyaan”, is ISRO’s another ambitious indigenous human spaceflight programme, to send astronauts to space is already underway. It envisages two unmanned and one manned flight, with three member crew space craft. Three Indian astronauts will be sent to space for up to seven days by 2022.
India is expected to become one of the most powerful countries in the time to come. Let us hope that we become super power by 2030.