Much more to look forward to

From a vandalised English colony to an entity making its mark in the world with a variety of accomplishments, India has remarkably come a long way in seven decades. There have been numerous watershed moments in our history that has shaped India to be what it is today. The Partition has a lasting impact on the nation for the magnitude of displacement of people as well as the wars that followed. The founding fathers of this colossal nation had before them a sprawling territory with much to set right. The scope of development was as much as the struggle for fixtures in myriad areas. The Planning Commission was instituted shortly in 1950 with the aim of implementing five-year plans to draw out a blueprint for India's future, fighting hunger and poverty that was caused as a result of crumbling economy because of partition.

This was upgraded to National Institution for Transforming India, better known as NITI Ayog policy think-tank established by the BJP government to which follows the top-down model. The stated aim for NITI Aayog's creation is to foster involvement and participation in the economic policy-making process by the State Governments of India. The emphasis is on a bottom-up approach and makes the country to move towards cooperative federalism. Cooperative federalism is a concept of federalism whereby a state and local governments interact cooperatively and collectively to solve common problems, instead of making policies separately or clashing over a policy in a system dominated by the national government. This is a method to encourage better coordination and working in tandem. Policy making in India has seen some major and significant shifts to suit changing requirements without following any rigid linear frameworks.

India contributed 23 per cent of world GDP in the 18th century and became impoverished in the two centuries of British rule. Picking up from there, India has paved itself a path to development with the economic reforms of 1992 to effectively cushioning the impacts of global recession; a uniform Goods and Services Tax, the end of five-year plans, doing away with the Railway budget - India has adapted to newer methods to plan and manage its economy. Infrastructure sector has been a key driver for the Indian economy. The sector is significantly responsible for propelling India's overall development and has garnered intense focus from our Governments for initiating policies that would ensure the time-bound creation of world class infrastructure in the country. Since the beginning of Planning era to the latest initiatives of Make in India and Digital India, the emphasis on creating assets of various kinds is a key component of India's governance and functioning. The ambition of infrastructural development has gone beyond securing societies and facilities within the country. India has collaborated with foreign nations in various areas to upgrade existing infrastructure as well as introduce new things. From bullet trains for public transport to more sophisticated war equipment, ground breaking advancement in science and technology has taken India much ahead in fields of agriculture. Indian agriculture benefited from the developments made in the fields of Biotechnology, for which a separate department was created in 1986 under the Ministry of Science and Technology. The Mars Orbiter Mission, also called Mangalyaan is another accolade earned by India. India's telecommunication network is the second largest in the world. It has one of the lowest call tariffs in the world enabled by mega telecom operators and hyper-competition among them. India has also the world's second-largest Internet user-base. Indian telecommunication industry employs an extensive system of modern network elements such as digital telephone exchanges, mobile switching centres, media gateways and signalling gateways at the core, interconnected by a wide variety of transmission systems using fibre-optics. Areas of space technology, medicine and medical treatment, renewable energy, have achieved significant milestones. The acquisition of nuclear technology and research pertaining to it has come a long way in terms of orientation. Not only does it serve as a deterrent internationally, it is on its way to meet the nation's energy requirements. Both the Indian private sector and the government have invested in the medical and agricultural applications of biotechnology. Massive Biotech parks were established in India while the government provided tax deduction for research and development under biotechnological firms. Bangalore is considered to be the technological capital of India. IT, Biotechnology, Aerospace, Nuclear Science, Manufacturing Technology, Automobile Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Ship Building, Space science, Electronics, Computer Science and other Medical Science related research and development are going on a large scale in the country. The southern part of India is responsible for the lion share of technology and advancements the country has made. The golden triangle of IT and technology (Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai) forms the backbone of Indian Manufacturing, R&D and Science and Technology.
The Smart Cities initiative has been conceptualised to describe the level of aspiration of the people in India. This aims to provide for the aspirations and needs of the citizens with a view of urban planners aiming at developing the entire urban eco-system represented by the four pillars of comprehensive development-institutional, physical, social, and economic infrastructure. This is a long term goal and cities can work towards developing such comprehensive infrastructure incrementally, adding on layers of 'smartness' to 100 major Indian cities. Its core infrastructure elements include adequate water supply, assured electricity supply, sanitation including solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport, affordable housing, especially for the poor, robust IT connectivity and digitalisation, good governance, especially e-Governance and citizen participation, sustainable environment, safety and security of citizens, particularly women, children and the elderly, and health and education. A very important aspect of an upgraded modern city is cleanliness. This aspect is especially undertaken with the flagship programme of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. With a humble beginning to clean the streets, roads, and infrastructure, the aim of this initiative is to eliminate open defecation through the construction of individual, cluster and community toilets. The Swachh Bharat mission will also make an initiative of establishing an accountable mechanism of monitoring latrine use.
The government is aiming to achieve an Open-Defecation Free (ODF) India by 2 October 2019, the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, by constructing 12 million toilets in rural India, at a projected cost of Rs. 1.96 lakh crore (US$30 billion). This has been India's largest ever cleanliness drive with 3 million government employees, and especially school and college students from all parts of India, participating in the campaign. Abolition of bonded labour in 1976 was a landmark step towards achieving social justice in India. Since then, social justice has seen its scope widen to include greater freedom for women, enabling them to contribute significantly to the nation. Education has been an integral component in materialising this aim. Encouraging and promoting the education of girl child has born spectacular fruits. From women making their mark in the field of sciences to being pioneers of social justice, to even stunning the nation with their achievement in sports, women are fast reclaiming their due in society. India has come a long way in this seventy years.
The road to development we see today has been far from smooth. There is still a long way to go and much more to achieve. An informed citizenry is essentially the source to guarantee continued development.

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