The transition of India from a British colony to a sovereign, secular, and democratic nation was indeed historical. It was a long journey of around two decades that started with the conceptualisation of the dream in 1930 to its actual realization in 1950. A look into the journey that led to the birth of Indian Republic will make our celebrations more meaningful.
Lahore Session of the Indian National Congress The seeds of a republican nation were sowed at the Lahore session of the Indian National Congress at the midnight of 31st December 1929. The session was held under the presidency of Pt. Jawarhar Lal Nehru. Those present in the meeting took a pledge to mark January 26 as “Independence Day” in order to march towards realizing the dream of complete independence from the British. The Lahore Session paved way to the Civil Disobedience movement.
It was decided that January 26, 1930 would be observed as the Purna Swaraj (complete Independence) Day. Many Indian political parties and Indian revolutionaries from all over the country united to observe the day with honour and pride.
Indian Constituent Assembly Meetings
The Indian Constituent Assembly, which was constituted as a result of the negotiations between the Indian leaders and members of the British Cabinet Mission, had its first meeting on December 9, 1946.The Objective of the Assembly was to give India a constitution, which would serve a lasting purpose and hence appointed a number of committees to thoroughly research the various aspects of the proposed constitution. The recommendations were discussed, debated and revised many times before the Indian Constitution was finalized and officially adopted three years later on November 26, 1949.
Constitution came into force
Though India became a free nation on August 15, 1947, it enjoyed the true spirit of Independence on January 26, 1950 when the Constitution of India finally came into force. The Constitution gave the citizens of India the power to govern themselves by choosing their own government. Dr. Rajendra Prasad, took oath as the first President of India at the Durbar Hall in the Government House and this was followed by the Presidential drive along a five-mile route to the Irwin Stadium, where he unfurled the National Flag.
Ever since the historic day, January 26 is celebrated with festivities and patriotic fervor all around the country. The day owes its importance to the constitution of India that was adopted on this day. On this Republic Day, read what the great Constitution of India, that propounds liberal democracy, has in its store. Let’s also feel proud in pronouncing what the Preamble to our Constitution (External website that opens in a new window) says.
1971 Indo Pak War As in the 1965 Indo-Pak War, the main battles in 1971 between armoured formations was relegated to Chamb and Shakargarh sectors – located in the Western Theatre. Sporadic tank battles took place in the East Theatre, but these were one-sided battles weighed heavily in India’s favour. No action had taken place in the Punjab sector, but the South-Western sector in Rajasthan did see much activity. An offensive by the Pakistanis was blunted here solely on the use of air power.
The Indian Army had two armoured regiments and three independent armoured squadrons supporting Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora’s Eastern Command’s thrust into East Pakistan. India had one T-55 tank regiment in the northern sector supporting the XXXIII Corps’ offensive in the Hilli-Bogra area, with one PT-76 regiment in the western area supporting the II Corps’ thrust.
Finally three independent armoured squadrons (one PT-76, one AMX- 13 and one Ferret armoured car) were supporting the IV Corps’ offensive from the east. Opposing them were a Pakistani armoured force of a regiment of M-24 Chafees in the Bogra area, countering India’s T-55 regiment and two squadrons of Chafeee tanks supporting the west and Dacca sectors.
When full scale hostilities began, half the tanks were either knocked out or captured by the time the Indian troops were on the outskirts of Dacca. After which the rest of the tanks were finally accounted for, as part of the surrender deal. In it’s offensive, Indian losses were heavy. At least thirty PT-76 tanks were destroyed or damaged, another four T-55s had their tracks blown up over mines.
The high loss rate among the PT-76 tanks was due to the fact that this type of tank had very thin armour plating to help assist its amphibious capabilities and was an easy target for mines. However all, but eleven, of the PT-76s were repaired after the war. The AMX-13s did not see much action and the Ferrets had no battle casualties. One very interesting situation, had the tank squadron of the 7th Light Cavalry recovering one of their own tanks lost to the Pakistan Army during the 1965 War, which was displayed at the East Bengal Regimental Center as a war trophy.
The tank was then handed to the Army Ordnance Corps, which in turn handed it back to the East Bengal Regimental Center! The Battle of Basantar took place during the 1 Corps’ offensive in the Shakargarh Sector. India employed two armoured brigades to support its offensive by three infantry divisions and the Pakistani reaction was swift. On December 16th and 17th, when Indian infantry captured certain villages at the River Basantar, Pakistan sent in an armoured brigade.
The 17 Poona Horse equipped with the Centurion tank, blunted the Pakistani armoured offensive. One particular action at Barapind saw one lone tank troop (three tanks) of the 17 Poona Horse – Indian Army take on an entire squadron of Pattons of the 13th Cavalry – Pakistan Army. When one of the tanks was hit & disabled and another tank’s gun was jammed, the troop commander, Captain V Malhotra gave the order for the last remaining tank to withdraw.
But this tank led by Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal, stuck to its position and kept firing at the Pattons till the last moment when Second Lieutenant Khetarpal was hit and killed. These three tanks accounted for more than the ten tanks out of the squadron. So impressed were the Pakistanis with this action, that the Squadron Commander of Pakistan’s 13 Cavalry – Major Nissar came over to the Indian lines after the ceasefire to talk to the tank commanders who had blunted his offensive.
At the end of which, 66 Pakistani tanks were claimed as destroyed. Indian casualties were about 23 tanks, however the efforts of the EME (Electrical & Mechanical Engineers) saw to that all, but 10 of the tanks, were back on the road again.
Period of Liberalization
The arrival of the East India Company in India caused a huge strain to the Indian economy and there was a twoway depletion of resources.The British would buy raw materials from India at cheaper rates and the finished goods were sold at higher than normal price in Indian markets. During this phase India’s share of world income declined from 22.3% in 1700 AD to 3.8% in 1952. Post Colonial Indian Economy: After India got independence from colonial rule in 1947, the process of rebuilding the economy started. For this various policies and schemes were formulated. First five year plan for the development of Indian economy came into implementation in 1952.
These Five Year Plans, started by Indian government, focused on the needs of the Indian economy. If on one hand agriculture received the immediate attention on the other hand the industrial sector was developed at a fast pace to provide employment opportunities to the growing population and to keep pace with the developments in the world. Since then the Indian economy has come a long way.
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at factor cost, which was 2.3 % in 1951-52 reached 6.5 in the financial year 2011-2012 Trade liberalization, financial liberalization, tax reforms and opening up to foreign investments were some of the important steps, which helped Indian economy to gain momentum. The Economic Liberalization introduced by Man Mohan Singh in 1991, then Finance Minister in the government of P V Narsimha Rao, proved to be the stepping-stone for Indian economic reform movements.
To maintain its current status and to achieve the target GDP of 10% for financial year 2006-07, the Indian economy has to overcome many challenges. Challenges before Indian economy: Population explosion:The rising population is eating into the success of India. According to 2011 census of India, the population of India has crossed one billion and isgrowing at a rate of 2.11% approx. Such a vast population puts lots of stress on economic infrastructure of the nation.
Thus India has to control its burgeoning population. Poverty:As per records of National Planning Commission, 36 crore people are living below the poverty line in India in 2012. Unemployment:The increasing population is pressing hard on economic resources as well as job opportunities. Indian government has started various schemes such as Jawahar Rozgar Yojna, and Self Employment Scheme for Educated Unemployed Youth (SEEUY). But these are proving to be a drop in an ocean. Rural Urban Divide:It is said that India lies in villages, even today when there is lots of talk going about migration to cities, 70% of the Indian population still lives in villages.
There is a very stark difference in pace of rural and urban growth. Unless there isn’t a balanced development Indian economy cannot grow. These challenges can be overcome by the sustained and planned economic reforms. These include: Maintaining fiscal discipline Orientation of public expenditure towards sectors in which India is faring badly such as health and education. Introduction of reforms in labour laws to generate more employment opportunities for the growing population of India. Reorganization of agricultural sector, introduction of new technology, reducing agriculture’s dependence on monsoon by developing means of irrigation. Introduction of financial reforms including privatization of some public sector banks.
Scams That Rocked India
Ever since India has achieved her freedom, she has also been known as a corrupted land. The extend of corruption has increased to such an extend that, any person joining political parties does have an intention of making easy and fast money within the shortest period of time. If all the amounts that have been disclosed, for every scam till date is pooled up, I guess , India is most richest country and the power and strength She holds could not be compared with any other.
However, since people are getting more and more selforiented, when it comes to progress and wiping away poverty, nobody is least bothered. A few of the top scams that have taken place since the year 1947 is discussed here, just to bring to the notice of the public where we stand and how things are working. Let us get from the latest to the oldest.
1. The Indian Coal Allocation Scam: This is one among the latest scams that has occurred concerning the Indian government’s allocation of the nation’s coal deposits to public sector entries and private companies. According to the CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General of India), the Indian Government was accused of allocating coal blocks, in an in-efficient manner during the period 2004-2009.
The reason for this allegation was because, the Government had the authority to check on the allocation of coal blocks by a process of competitive bidding, but they failed to do so, resulting in lower payment by the public sector enterprises and the private firms. According to the CAG report, an amount of near to Rs. 185,591 crore (USD $ 35.08 billion) was lost to the government because of this improper screening in procedures, which might have happened due to bribery is what studies says. Whatever it may be, loosing such a huge amount by the Government is a fall from the Governments side.
2. The 2G Spectrum Scam: This scam was one which involved the politicians and government officials equally. The scam involved in issuing frequency allocation licenses by the telephone companies in re-creating 2G subscriptions for cell phones. When valued by the Comptroller and Auditor General ( CAG ) of India about the money composed from the 2G licenses , the defeat for the exchequer was Rs. 176,369 crore ( USD $ 39.16 billion ). The issuing of licenses began in 2008; however it came to public attention when the Indian Income tax Department conducted an investigation on the political campaigner Niira Radia.
The Supreme Court on February 2012 declared cancellation of all licenses issued in 2008 during the tenure of A. Raja, who was the minister of telecom then. There were about 122 licenses that were cancelled. The actual plan for awarding the licenses was on a first come first served policy. However, A. Raja manipulated the rules and instead pf the first who applied for the licenses, it was first who tipped Raja got the license. 3.
Commonwealth Games Scam:
This was a scam that was harshly criticized by several well-known social activists and politicians as billions of dollars were being spent on sporting event, although the fact that we have the leading concentration of poor people. Some of the other major problems that was being highlighted was grave corruption by the games organizing committee, delay in the erection of the main Games venues, and infrastructural compromise. Indian businessman Azim Premji called the Commonwealth games a “drain on the public funds” and also said that hosting such an expensive game event was not the priority for India, and India had other priorities to look into like education, public health and infrastructure.
4. Satyam Scam:
In the history of the corporate, Satyam Computer Services Scandal is biggest ever and the chairman, Ramalinga Raju confessed that the company’s accounts were falsified. For near to a decade, Raju kept the accounts details in the dark by pumping up revenues and earning up figures of Satyam. He confessed that , as per the balance sheet of 30th September 2008, the company had exaggerated figures for cash and bank balances of Rs. 5040 crore ( USD $ 1.12 billion ) as next to Rs. 5361 Crore ( USD $ 1.19 billion ) in the book thus acquiring an interest of Rs. 376 Crore , which was not existing.This scam was in tune of near to Rs. 14000 Crore.
5. Bofors Scam:
This scandal is also known as the hallmark of Indian Corruption. This was a most important corruption during the 1980`s where the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and quite a few others which also includes a powerful NRI family named the Hindujas were accused of receiving bribe from Bofors AB for engaging a proposal to supply India’s 155 mm field howitzer. The scale of the corruption was so worse that it led to the crush of Gandhi’s ruling in the Indian national Congress party.
It was hypnotized that the level of the scandal was tuned to be about Rs. 400 million. The middle man who was associated with this scandal was an Italian businessman named Ottavio Quattrocchi and who also represented the petrochemicals firm, Snamprogetti. Quattrocchi was very intimate to the family and emerged as a influential broker in the 1980`s between big business and the Government of India. Despite the controversy, the Bofor gun was used extensively during the Kargil War with Pakistan and gave India ‘an edge’ over Pakistan according to battlefield comrades.
6. The Fodder Scam:
This scam involved the misappropriation of about Rs. 950 crore (USD $ 179.55 million) from the government treasury, of Bihar. The scheme involved the manufacture of ‘vast herds of invented stock’ for which food, medicines and animal husbandry equipment was apparently acquired. In this scam even the Chief Minister of Bihar, Laloo Prasad Yadav was included then which finally led to his resignation. The scam had its origins in small scale by some government employees by submitting false expense reports, which grew in magnitude and drew additional elements over a period of time which ultimately led to the forming of a mafia. This scam still continues to be exposed by the media due to the widespread links between tenured bureaucrats, elected politicians and businesspeople involved.
7. The Hawala Scandal:
This was an Indian political scandal, which involved payments allegedly acknowledged by politicians through four hawala brokers, mostly the Jain brothers. It was about $ 18 million bribery humiliation. In an arrest linked to the militants in Kashmir is what gave way to the raid of the hawala brokers and the scandal through them, which revealed large scale payments to national politicians.
8. The IPL Scam:
Cricket is a game where lot of commotions occur and there hare many hurdles to cross over and the IPL (Indian Premier League) is no better at it. The BCCI (Board of Control for Crocket in India) has found itself in the middle of many conflicts with the coming of IPL. The IPL had set forth many terms at many occasions, which were not accepted and had to be terminated. There were conflicts with the Cricket Club of India, with the England and Wales Cricket board, with Cricket Australia and many more. The IPL chairman Lalit Modi was suspended in 2010 for alleged act of individual transgression by the BCCI. There was also spot fixing among the players during the IPL in 2012.
9. Harshad Mehta Scam:
Mehta was a famous stockbroker of his time. He was well known for his high record breaking profits from the stock market and trading and later was involved in the scandal worth Rs. 5000 crore ( USD $ 945 million) in Bombay Stock Exchange. He had a great way in convincing the public that through the banking system he could finance his buying. Two small and little known banks helped him in this and he made a great fraudulent price hikes in the stock markets. By the time the scandal came to limelight, many banks were left blank and in fact Managers from two reputed banks committed suicide.
10. Kinetic Finance Limited Scam:
In this scam, various banks lost about Rs. 200 crore (USD $ 37.8 million). The promoters of kinetic finance limited borrowed about Rs. 145 crore from an association of banks led by SBI, and Bank of Baroda. After borrowing the money, they used it for other purposes of the Kinetic group and eventually the promoters resigned and the firm was renamed in another name. A special Investigation Audit was conducted and based on the report it was found that about five banks filed criminal cases against the promoters.
11. Adarsh Housing Scam
In this scam, land was allotted to the war widows of Kargil war and also for the retired personal of The continued on page 48 Defense Services. Over a period of 10 years, the top politicians and bureaucrats bend several rules and commit various acts of commission and omission to have the building in order and finally they got themselves allotted with flats at the premium locality at a much cheaper cost. This scam is noticeable as it took keen planning and almost 10 years to execute this kind of brutality to the poor and left alone in the defense.
12. Citibank Fraud:
This was a fraudulent done by the bank employee by promoting false promises to the customers. Shivraj Puri, the Relationship manager of Gurgaon branch had convinced his customers to invest in a fake scheme that gave high interests. He made forged circulars from SEBI. He opened joint accounts in several names and made customers deposit into those accounts and he invested in places of his interests. This was bought to lime light when customers started complaining about being asked to invest in a scheme that was not available to the bank.
13. Madhu Koda Scandal:
Madhu Koda is the ex-chief Minister of Jharkhad. He was bought to limelight by the IT department by charging for laundering money for about Rs. 4000 crore and other disproportionate income. Almost five currency counting machines were seized from his residence. The amount was used to purchase hotels, mines, and companies, in foreign countries like Thailand, Liberia, Dubai and many other places. With this kind of laundering and investments, he builds an empire, but bigger to the most successful businessmen within a short period of time.
14. Barak Missile Scandal:
This is a case of alleged defense corruption which was related to the purchase of Barak 1 Missile Systems by India from Israel. The contracts have been signed by the Indian government to procure seven Barak systems at a total cost of Rs. 199.50 million. This was done despite objections raised by several groups, including members of the team that had actually visited Israel to observe the performance of the missile.
15. Kargil Coffin Scam:
This is one of a kind of scam, where even the coffins for the soldiers who died in the Indo-Pak war, were bought for low quality and at higher price. The government had paid about $2500 per coffin, which was earlier purchased for $172 per coffin. And moreover the quality was very poor. This led to range among the public and led to the resignation of the defense minister.
16. Mining Scam in India:
This scam is related to the ore-rich states of India and has generated controversies in India which spans encroachment of forest areas, underpayment of government royalties, and conflict with tribal regarding land-rights.
17. Sukh Ram Telecom Scam:
Sukh Ram is a former union communication minister in Indian National Congress Government. He was the telecom Minister during the P.V. Narasimha Rao`s cabinet. He was caught with allegations regarding irregularities in awarding a telecom contract. The CBI seized around Rs. 3.6 crores from his residence. He has been imprisoned for the fraud that he has done.
18. SNC Lavalian Scam:
This is a financial scam related to the government with a Canadian company. A loss of about Rs. 374.50 crores, for the renovation and modernization of the hydroelectric power stations at Pallivasal, Sengulam, and Panniar (The PSP Project as it is called) at the Idduki district in Kerala.
19. Belekeri Port Scam:
This scam relates to about 3.5 million of sequester iron ore that was exported illegally from Belekeri Port in Karnataka. This scam is said to be worth about Rs. 60,000 crore (USD $ 12 billion). The iron ore was illegally mined after giving a minimal pay to the government.
20. Telgi Scandal: The Telgi scandal is after the great Abdul Karim Telgi who issued counterfeit stamp papers. Had appointed about 300 people as agents to sell these counterfeit stamp papers to bulk purchasers like banks, insurance companies, and share broking firms. The size of the scam is about 20,000 crores (USD $3.78 billion). In this scam, many high ranked governmental officials were also recorded.