Similarly, to update the system of education

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Similarly, a former Prime Minister had expressed his confidence that while India would enter the 21st century, poverty as known today, will become thing of the past. When historians will look back on this period, they would say that in the half a century of its Independence, India was transformed front a stagnant colonial economy, beset with age-old poverty and a feudal social structure into a tested, vigorous democracy with a dynamic economy.

India had, no doubt, missed the ‘Industrial Revolution’ but now when has already entered the 21st century, it should not miss the ‘IT and Electronic Revolution’. In order to catch up with the rest of the world in the field electronics, the Government of India has decided upon a massive program for computerization. Computer education is being introduced at the school and university level so as to update the system of education and bring it consonance with the needs of the time. Even at present more and more government offices, banks, post offices, industrial and business houses, etc are taking to computerization in a big way.

A lot of stress is being laid by India on the acquisition of the latest technology from advanced countries of the world. In fact, in certain fields of software technology, India is one of the world leaders. The 21st century is an era of “high and sophisticated technology”. Such technology will disseminate information not only in the sphere of space, telecommunication, computer science, and electronics but in every sector of life. Even traditional fields like agriculture, irrigation and water management will be encompassed by sophisticated technology. The idea is to see that the benefits of sophisticated technology percolate to the rural masses that constitute a bulk of the country’s population.

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Though the future is always uncertain, there are enough indications already present from which we can draw broad outlines of the international, economic and cultural scenarios taking place in the ongoing twenty-first century.

The greatest challenge during the 21st century is posed by globalization which would undermine the social and moral values of Afro-Asian societies and bombard them with alternative Western values through the sweeping reach of Western media and entertainment. In this fast changing and highly challenging scenario, we have to make concerted efforts to find out new (synergies of institutional cooperation and technological up gradation and follow la highly professional approach so as to face the onslaught of global | competitiveness in an effective manner.

We can look ahead during the twenty-first century with excitement because the frontiers of information technology would expand in all directions with i ramifications in areas like communications, entertainment, education, commerce and industry. Cloning species would help to cure many a human genetic distortion or infirmity.

Science and technology would cross new frontiers by acquiring a more | humane face. Despite the fact that today’s trends in the social domain are dominated by the imperialism of pop music, nude models and lethal drugs, the 21 st century may relegate them to a state of non-entity. Pop on the top, theatre taking a back seat, electronic media scaling new heights and making inroads in the traditional strongholds of folklore and filial bonds, may not hold much (water during the twenty-first century.

Since the world survives on hope, it is everybody’s wish that the twenty- j first century opens new horizons of care, concern and courtesy for the I environment and an equally strong awareness that ‘turning a new leaf in one’s life is like half the battle won against all odds.

In order to harness and develop the vast human resources available in country, the Government has set up a separate Ministry of Human Resource Development at the Centre, In reality, human resources in a country of India size and dimensions are a “powder keg that could either explode into advises or generate energy for the country to take off’. With the adoption of methods of technology, India is poised to take off in the latter direction.

Ever since India launched its First Five Year Plan in 1950-51, the number doctors and hospital beds have increased by more than 2 times and that nurses by more than 6 times. The incidence of Malaria, T.B. and Cholera while used to take a heavy toll of life has been virtually controlled. Dreaded diseases like plague and small pox have been eradicated. Death rate has also come down. The life expectancy has increased from 32 years in 1941 -51 to 65 year.

What India has planned is that it should have a birth rate of 21 and the rate of 9 per thousand of population whereas crude birth rate is projected at 24.8% as against crude death rate of 8.9% in 2001. The driving force behind this health planning is the commitment of the nation to achieve the goal of “Health for All” as envisaged in the National Health Policy approved by the Parliament.

The moot point is that India should be a happy and a prosperous nation in the 21st century. Even if the Government lays down certain targets, it will be up to the people to lend a helping hand. First of all, it will be necessary for the people to get rid of superstitions, obscurantism, communalism, fundamentalism, etc. We will also have to say goodbye to social evils like dowry, child marriage and untouchability. Bureaucratic red-tapism, corruption, nepotism and favoritism will have to be eradicated. Only then, the people of India can hope to see their country as a forward looking, progressive, advanced, dynamic and great power in the 21st century.

It is appropriate that we should think about a few important questions. Has India made sufficient progress since Independence? Can we be happy about this progress? Have we kept up with the pace of progress in the rest of the world? Have we achieved progress that is sustainable? Have we fulfilled the dreams of our founding fathers who wanted an India where every individual would be free and provided with the wherewithal to raise to his/her fullest stature? Can we dream of an India where poverty, ill-health and ignorance would have vanished? To borrow the words of Rabindranath Tagore, an India where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; where knowledge is free. It is our responsibility to raise India to the ranks of the developed nations.

In a civilized society, every individual has to give back to the society, in some form or the other, more than what he or she has received from it. That is how countries achieve progress. Every hard-working, sincere and honest citizen – teacher, politician, bureaucrat, military personnel, professional, administrative staff, scientist, engineer, doctor, just to name a few professions-has an important role in this undertaking. Nobody is too small for this task. However, the educated ones amongst us have a greater opportunity and a greater responsibility to contribute to society. If we have to eradicate poverty from this country, we need a new Indian mindset for the 21 st century.

Today, with a working population of 630 million, India is a continent of consumers. In fact, among the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), India has the highest percentage of people in the working class. By 2016, this working class number is expected to touch 830 million.

With the current growth rate of over 8 per cent, India will challenge the global economic order in the next 15 years and by 2050 it will be second largest economy after China overtaking the United States. The report by the world’s leading investment banker says India can sustain the growth rate of about 8.4 per cent till 2020 and on an average basis should be 6.9 per cent until 2050. India’s current growth rate of around 8 per cent can be increased to 10 per cent.

India’s economy, which for decades was stuck with the so-called Hindu rate of growth of around 3 per cent, has hit the 9 per cent mark for the second year running, and leading economists said that this can be sustained in the coming years. Gross domestic product (GDP) growth is hovering close to the magical double-digit figure and not far behind that of China, the darling of the world’s investors.

Due to strong growth in the last five years, the average income of an Indian has more than doubled to Rs 38,084 in 2008-09, from Rs 18,885 in 2002-03. Despite the depreciation of rupee in the last six months against dollar, the size of the economy (GDP) will be more than $ 1 trillion (Rs 54, 26,277 crore at market price) in the current financial year. In 2007-08 also, the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country was more than $1 trillion (Rs 47, 23,400 crore at market price) as the exchange rate was around Rs 40 per dollar.

India’s economy will overtake the Japanese economy by 2025 to rank third in the world after the United States and China in terms of purchasing power parity. If we extend the current (growth) rate, India’s purchasing power parity will exceed that of Japan by around 2025 and will rank third after the United States and China.

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