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75 years of Independence!! Financial and Economic milestones!

India which was, at one time, tagged as a “Third world country”, has now made it to the list

of one of the most famous ones today. This journey had various downfalls and aggressive

changes both in financial and socio-economical realities. 


Some milestones the Nation saw during this journey of 75 years are:


1948 – Industrial Policy Resolution proposed a mixed economy


This was the most important time for India as it was Independent India’s first resolution

under the supervision of the first prime minister of India, honorable Jawaharlal Nehru.


Earlier, eight influential industrialists proposed the Bombay plan including Tatas and Birlas,

who viewed the economy to be a substantial public sector one, with state supervision to

protect and claim fair trade. 


Later, in 1948, Industrial Policy Resolution proposed a mixed economy for rapid

development of heavy industry, by both public and private sectors.


1950 – Planning commission was set up to oversee five-year plans


Planning commission was instituted by the government to formulate India’s five year plans.

India’s emergence from a beaten country during the days of the Raj to an independent nation with ambitious developmental goals, has a vital contribution from the Planning commission. 


In 2014, NITI Aayog replaced the planning commission and became a more robust think tank

that works together with stakeholders for developing the country.


1951 – Agricultural focus and irrigation boost.


In 1951, the first five-year plan was launched focused on agriculture and irrigation in order to

boost farm output, the reason being India was losing foreign reserves on food-grain imports. 


In 1956, a second five-year plan was launched which laid the foundation for economic

modernization with a hope to serve India’s long-term growth. 


1953 – Nationalization of airlines.


In May, 1953 Air corporation act came into force to make Aviation a power of India. Several

airlines named Air India, Air Services of India, Airways (India), Bharat Airways, Deccan

Airways, Himalayan Aviation, Indian National Airways, Kalinga Airlines, and the Air India

International merged and were named as Indian Airlines and Air India International. They

were taken over by the Government of India, and Aviation ceased to be within the purview of

Private Businesses.


1957, Mundhra scandal, independent India’s first big financial scam.


Independent India’s first big scam took place in 1957 known as Mundhra Scandal. Evidence

was found that Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) had bought fraudulent stock worth Rs 1.24

crore in six companies owned by Kolkata-based Haridas Mundhra, without consulting with

its investment committee. 


Due to this event, T T Krishnamachari, the finance minister resigned. 


1964 – persisting inflation, food shortages, the war with China had exposed more of

India’s economic weakness.


Major events occurred after Nehru’s demise, Lal Bahadur Shastri became India’s Prime

Minister. 


India was already suffering from quick industrialisation of the nation causing a large

reallocation of funds away from the farm sector. With the same food shortages worsened,

inflation spiked and China had exposed more of India’s economic weakness.

 

There, the new prime minister moved away from centralised planning and price controls, and

he renewed focus on agriculture.


The Reason for this was that India was on the verge of mass famine, and food aid imports

from the US were beginning to hit India’s foreign policy autonomy.


1966 – devalued the Indian rupee from Rs 4.76 to Rs 7.50 to a dollar in one swoop.


It was a dire situation as the wars had left the economy severely weakened and the vital

monsoon rains had also failed, worsening food shortages and causing a sharp spike in

inflation. 


Food grains were required to be imported and seeking foreign aid also posed a serious risk to India’s political economy. 

Indira Gandhi piloted a number of policies in an attempt to trigger economic growth. In an

attempt to come out of the crisis the rupee devalued to Rs 7.50 to a dollar in one swoop.


1969 – Nationalization of banks.


From 50s to 91, several industries, companies were nationalised by the government. Not only airlines but many other sectors were nationalised such as banking, life insurance, general insurance and mining. 


Indira Gandhi announced nationalisation of 14 leading banks. The move was aimed to

encourage businesses in order to serve the needs of the economy.


1991 – India asked for a $1.8 billion IMF bailout loan which demanded de-regulation in

return.


In 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed, hitting a spike in oil prices, resulting in a major balance-

of-payments crisis for India, which found itself facing the prospect of defaulting on its loans. 


India had applied for a $1.8 billion bailout loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

which demanded de-regulation in return.


New reforms were introduced with Manmohan Singh being finance minister. These reforms

had an aim to liberalise the Indian economy by doing away with the Licence Raj.


Tariffs and interest rates were introduced as well, as it ended many public monopolies,

allowing automatic approval of foreign direct investment in various sectors.


2008-09 – India’s fiscal deficit touched 6% from just 2.7%


The Government of India announced three stimulus packages in the space of three months

between December 2008 and February 2009, totalling Rs 1,86,000 crore or 3.5% of the

GDP. 


India’s fiscal deficit touched 6% of the GDP in 2008-09, from being just 2.7% in the previous

year. Subsequent to which RBI eased monetary conditions dramatically and the government

continued with the stimulus in 2009-10 too which led to fiscal deficit touching 6.4% of the

GDP.


However, the government failed to close the tap and the fiscal stimulus was never

withdrawn. 


2016 – Demonetization 


November 8, 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appeared on national television and said

all Rs 500, Rs 1,000 high value notes will turn invalid by midnight. All of us remember the

rush we felt during that time. 


The move was aimed at flushing out black money hidden from the taxman. This

announcement led to nearly 86 percent of the currency in circulation becoming invalid by

midnight.


2017 – Goods and services tax introduction. 


1st July 2017, GST was introduced. A whole new revolution in the world of indirect taxation.

It was really ambiguous to live up to that situation with a whole new phase introduced in the

Indian economy. 


With all these changes earlier it was hard for the citizens to understand and cope up with

changes so wide. Despite all the efforts by the government it was a lot of mess but eventually things got better.  


2018 – re-introduction of long term capital gains tax, mutual fund reclassification, ASM

list and PNB scam.


With entering in 2018, the Indian economy has really gotten better. Many changes came into

force at this time but initial changes have made people of India strong enough and boosted

them to grow better with the aim of financial stability.


Finance minister, Arun Jaitley, proposed to re-introduce long-term capital gains tax on gains

arising from the transfer of listed equity shares exceeding Rs 1 Lakh at 10 percent, without

allowing any indexation benefit.


Also, steps to get better investments were taken by SEBI by reclassification of mutual funds.

Additional survival measures were taken as well. 


Also, this year PNB scam was discovered. 


Further, such things have happened in following years –


  • 2019 – corporate tax rate down to 22%, merger of 10 banks and PSU Insurance companies, push to start ups and cheaper home loans.

  • 2020 – Covid-19 hitting India hard, ban on Chinese apps, Tata's again getting control of Air India, amazing export and manufacturing by India of vaccine, masks and other pharma requirements.

  • 2021 – 1.5% GDP growth marking Rs. 147.35 trillion.

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