INDIA. Mumbai: Despite a shadow of COVID-19 still looming large, with a host of programs being organized by the government and voluntary organizations, a yearlong 75 th Independence Day celebrations are expected to be a cheerful mega affair, reviving memories of freedom struggle.
‘Nation First, Always First’ is the theme of India’s 75th Independence Day celebration at the Red Fort, in New Delhi, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hoist the national tricolour and will address the nation on August 15, Sunday. From paintings to floral arrangements, all aspects of the program will bear the “Nation First, Always First” theme. Thirty-two athletes who have won medals at the Olympics and two officials of the Sports Authority of India have been invited to participate in the celebration. For the first time, as soon as the tricolour is hoisted by the PM, flower petals will be showered at the venue by two Mi-17 1V helicopters of the IAF in Amrut formation.
“Azadika Amrit Mahotsav”
The celebrations of “Azadika Amrit Mahotsav”(a festival to commemorate 75 years of Independence), which began in Gujarat in March, will continue throughout the year, with a slew of programs to showcase India’s development in the last 75 years. The Union Ministry of Culture has organized programs based on different themes. Also, all government departments and ministries are hosting a set of activities for a resurgent “Atmanirbhar Bharat” (self-reliant India).
An exhibition on the ‘Quit India Movement” being held at the National Archives of India, New Delhi, portraying the significance of the Quit India Movement in Freedom Struggle, will remain open till November 08. The programs to mark India’s victory in the Indo-Pak war of 1971 are also being organized by defence forces and a Victory Flame is being taken to different parts of the country. The flag hoisting at 75 places and 100 islands and the expedition of Indian Army teams to scale 75 mountain passes will be an added attraction. Over 40 events are being organized by the Armed Forces and other segments.
A crowd-sourced “Rashtragaan” (sing the national anthem together) has been organized on Independence Day, for which an online portal “rashtragaan. in” has been developed. The people can record and upload their videos singing the national anthem on this portal.
The celebration in the US
While the I day will be celebrated by Indian embassies, consulates and Indian diaspora across the world, the Federation of Indian Association (FIA), in the US is hosting the 6 feet by 10 feet tricolour placed on a 25 feet pole at the iconic Times Square in New York. The National flag will be unfurled by the consul general of India in New York, Randhir Jaiswal. An Independence Day message will also be displayed on the largest Jumbotron at Times Square for 24 hours. The Empire State Building will be lit in the colours of the Indian tricolour and the day will end with a gala cruise on the Hudson River to be attended by top government officials, special guests, and members of the Indian American community.
Special facility for oversees people
To enable people across the globe, to participate in the I-day celebrations, the Union Defence Ministry has launched a website –https://indianidc2021.mod.gov.in. It will live stream the I Day celebrations from the Red Fort. It provides features like the E-books on deeds of Gallantry, 50 years of 1971 Indo-Pak war victory, and Blogs on the freedom movement and war memorials.
As per the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the economy is on the road to recovery, while the Union Agriculture Ministry has predicted a bumper production of food grains this year. It is imperative to take the stock of various aspects related to the country, on Independence Day.
As per RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das’s recent speech on the Monetary Policy, the projected GDP growth for Financial Year 2022 (FY22), will remain unchanged at 9.5 percent. The projected inflation for FY22 has been revised upwards to 5.7 percent. Besides, the consumer price inflation (CPI) is likely to be at 5.1 percent.
India attracted a US $ 6.24 billion total Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow during April 2021 and total inflows were 38 percent higher, compared to US$4.53 billion in April 2020. There was a 60 percent increase in FDI equity inflows amounting to US $ 4.44 billion, compared to US$ 2.77 billion in April 2020. In April 2021, Mauritius was the top investing country with 24% of the FDI Equity inflows, followed by Singapore (21%) and Japan (11%). India is a preferred investment destination amongst global investors, as per the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).
Loss of jobs
Due to COVID-19 pandemic, this year April and May accounted for 22.7 million job losses, according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE). In June 2021, the urban unemployment rate fell but remained high at 10.07% compared to 14.73% in May. The rural unemployment rate in June stood at 8.75% from 10.63% in May. The people with businesses, small traders, and daily wagers faced the brunt of the economic disruption caused by the pandemic.
The country’s foodgrain production is expected to rise to 305.43 million tonnes in the current crop year 2020-21, on the better output of rice, wheat, and pulses, according to Union agricultural ministry. The rice production is pegged at a record 121.46 million tonnes this year as against 118.87 million tonnes last year. Wheat production is estimated to increase to a record 108.75 million tonnes in 2020-21 from 107.86 million tonnes last year. Similarly, the output of coarse cereals is likely to increase to 49.66 million tonnes, from 47.75 million tonnes a year ago.
The current population of India is 139.48 crore, which is equivalent to 17.7% of the total world population.35.0 % of the population is urban and 65 percent population is rural. The population density in India is 464 per Km2 (1,202 people per mi2) and the total land area is 2,973,190 Km2 (1,147,955 sq. miles). India’s population is growing faster than China’s and it is expected to surpass China as the world’s most populous country around 2024.
In India, 77.7% of people can read and write. On average 73.5% of people in rural areas and 87.7% of people in urban areas are literate. The male literacy rate is higher, at 84.7%, compared to the 70.3% women literacy rate. Kerala is the most literate state, with a 96.2% literacy rate, followed by Mizoram at 91.33 %, according to a report based on a National Statistical Office survey. The states with the lowest literacy rate include Bihar-61.80 %, Arunachal Pradesh-65.38 %, Rajasthan-66.11 %, and Jharkhand-66.41 % and Andhra Pradesh-67.02 %.
During this festival, India will make a “Shatabdi Sankalp”(a centenary resolution), which will be a guiding light, during the next 25 years. The year 2047, will be a watershed moment in 100 years of India’s Independence. A focus will be on the aspiration of India’s youth and what India will be like in the next 25 years.
Amid the pandemic, the economy is slowly limping back to normalcy. India is expected to become one of the most powerful countries and emerge as a “World Guru”, in the time to come.