India at 75: Here’s how much our per capita income has zoomed since 1950

75 years ago, India stepped into a new dawn. With the economy in turmoil, the country’s founding fathers made a commitment to themselves and its citizens to bring this country at par with the big, more prosperous countries. Ravaged by 200 years of colonial rule, the task at hand seemed difficult and far-fetched. Yet as it completes 75 years of independence, India is a force to reckon with. And the numbers speak for themselves.

According to World Bank, India is the sixth largest country in the world by gross domestic product (GDP), with a size of around $3.17 trillion. Since 1950, the (PCI) has jumped over 500 times. In 1950, it stood at Rs 265. It increased to Rs 1,28,829 in 2020-21. Since the fold of the new millennium, in 2000-01, when it was Rs 18,667, the PCI has jumped seven times, the 2020-21 showed.

India’s foreign reserves, which serve as a cushion against the shocks from the external world in today’s globalised world, have jumped 335 times since its independence. Since 1990 alone, when India opened up to the world through its liberalisation, globalisation, and privatisation (LPG) reforms, the forex has jumped 60 times.

In 1951-52, the forex stood at $ 1.82 billion. By 2021-22 it has risen to $607 billion, the fourth highest in the world. These foreign reserves have also helped the country maintain stability despite the disruption caused by the ongoing war in Ukraine.

True to its name ‘Spice Basket of the World’, India today meets 75 per cent of the global demand for spices through exports. Since 1950, spice exports have grown 15 times in quantity and 120 times in value. The quantity exported has significantly increased nearly eight times since 2000-01.

According to 2021-22, India’s spice exports were 47.2 thousand tonnes in 1950-51. In 2020-21, the number was 1,607 thousand tonnes. The value of these exports rose from Rs 17 crore in 1950 to Rs 29,529 crore in 2020-21.

Along with the spices, India has massively improved the per capita availability of edible oil, despite facing a population boom in the 1970s. From 3.2 kg in 1960, the per capita edible oil availability has improved 6-fold to 19.7 kg.

Much of it can be credited to the National Food Security Mission launched in 2007. The mission facilitated improvement in the production of oil seeds in the country to decrease the dependence on imports. In 2020-21, the country produced 38.5 million tonnes of oilseeds.

India has also shown signs of tremendous growth in the textile sector. The per capita cloth availability has increased 3.5 times from 15 metres in 1960-61 to 53.33 metres in 2019-20.

The government has also allocated Rs 10,683 crore under the Production-linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for the textile sector to encourage production and improve the supply chain in India.

Also, with the wheels of the economy spinning, more and more Indians have found themselves capable of buying their own vehicles. The number of vehicle registrations in the country jumped from 300,000 in 1951 to 29 million in 2019. Vehicle registration has seen a growth rate of 9.91 per cent in the last ten years.

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