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India: 62 glorious years of Independence
On its 62nd year as an Independent nation, India has achieved many achievements. These span out into all sectors - whether in defence, space missions, life expectancy, literacy, technology, telecommunications, films or sports
ON AUGUST 15, 2009, India will become a 62-year-old independent nation, which has seen numerous troughs and crests in its recent history, but survived them all to become a major power in South Asia. For every Indian, it is important to understand what have been our achievements as a nation in the last 62 years. Often we discuss only the negative aspects of our country, belittling the countless positive achievements made by us since England left us to make our tryst with destiny on August 15, 1947.

In the last few years, India has made decent progress in several areas and produced world class scientists, engineers, bureaucrats, journalists, doctors, sports person, artists, industrialists and politicians, who have made a mark on the world stage.

First of all, we should salute our soldiers who battled for us, in 1962 Indo-China war, 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars, 1999 Kargil war and saved us from the jaws of the enemy many times. They are ever ready to provide us safety, security and tension free sleep. Our scientists have done extraordinary work and India has attained the capability to send satellites and rockets into space and we are now working on a Moon mission.

We have increased life expectancy from 32 years in 1947 to 65 years in 2009. We have built about 1.25 million miles of new roads in this short span of time. In 1947 our literacy rate was 12.2 per cent and it is up to around 70 per cent now.

In the industrial sector, we are marching ahead of many developed countries. We have increased our exports from a few million dollars at the time of independence to more than $125 billion now, with about $150 billion of imports. GDP growth was around 2.3 per cent in 1951-52 and has reached to more then 9 per cent at present.
The economy of India is the twelfth largest economy in the world by market exchange rates and the fourth largest by purchasing power parity (PPP) basis. India's per capita income is $1016 and we currently account for 1.5 per cent of World trade as of 2007, according to the WTO. Our hard currency reserves have also grown from a mere $1.5 billion in 1991 to over $220 billion today.
India's information technology exports grew from a mere $150 million in 1991-92 to $31.4 billion in 2006-07, and is projected to reach $60 billion by 2010. The Indian IT industry is unique for several reasons. It focused on exports; benchmarked with the best global companies; followed the finest principles of corporate governance; created the largest number of jobs in the organised sector; and demonstrated that Indians, too, could succeed in the competitive global markets.
We are at the eighth position in the world Telecom sector. Total mobile phone users reached 362.3 million in January 2009 in India and the total subscriber base of fixed lines are more than 50 million. Forty five million Internet user are in India and the number is increasing rapidly.

India is the world's largest producer of films, producing close to a thousand films annually. Indian cinema has found markets in over 90 countries, where our films are screened. Indian artists like Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ustad Zakir Hussain, Lata Mangeskar, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Amitabh Bachcahn are respected everywhere in world.

Now finally coming to sports, Indians are achieving new heights in every kind of sports. In cricket, the Indian team is one of the best teams in every format. Vishwanathan Anand is world's best chess player, Abhinav Bindra won a gold in Olympics, whereas Leander Pace and Sania Mirza gave new dimensions to tennis.

In these glorious 62 years after Independence, India has moved ahead and is still gaining in every field of life thus making every one say "I feel proud to be an Indian" and hum the lines "Honge Sabse Aage Hindustani."

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zakir hussain
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