Data | 75 years of independence: A comparison of India’s growth with other nations across ten indicators

Where does India stand when compared to countries that had become independent in the same time period and with other developed nations?

August 15, 2022 10:50 am | Updated 09:03 pm IST

India at 75: Students from Government School in Kerala celebrating the 75th Independence Day on Sunday

India at 75: Students from Government School in Kerala celebrating the 75th Independence Day on Sunday | Photo Credit: SURESHKUMAR C

India completes 75 years of independence this August 15. As every country including India has progressed in the past 75 years, it becomes imperative to compare India’s relative progress with other countries. A look at India’s performance across several indicators, earlier and now, with a specific set of countries*

In the following charts (black circle) indicates India, (yellow circle) indicates BRICS, (light purple circle) indicates Emerging economies, (lavender circle) indicates Indian subcontinent and (light blue circle) indicates G7 countries

Population: 1960 vs 2021

India’s population increased from 4,505 lakh in 1960 to 13,934 lakh by 2021. While its population has remained the second-highest throughout this period, it is now catching up with China, the most populated nation. Of the 32 nations compared, UAE has had a considerable rise in population (from 92,000 in 1960 to 99.9 lakh) mostly owing to in-migration. The graph shows population in lakh 

Hover over the charts to find the exact figures

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HDI: 1950 vs 2019

The Human Development Index (HDI) is a measure of life expectancy, access to education and standard of living. The graph shows HDI measured on a scale of 0 (worst) to 1 (best). India’s HDI improved from 0.11 in 1950 to 0.64 in 2019. Despite the progress in absolute terms, its ranking among select countries dropped from 26th to 28th. Two countries — Indonesia and Saudi Arabia surpassed India

GDP per capita: 1960s vs 2020s

India ranked 24 out of the selected 26 nations in GDP per capita. Its ranking remained unchanged in the 1960s and in 2020. While Indonesia lagged behind India in the 1960s, it moved ahead by 2020. The graph shows GDP per capita ($) which is the sum of gross value added by all resident producers in the economy divided by midyear population

IMR: 1960-75 vs 2020

In 1960, with an infant mortality rate (IMR) of 161.8, India ranked 26th out of 32 nations. It had a better IMR than Turkey, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Egypt, Nepal and Pakistan. The graph depicts IMR which is the number of infants dying before their first birthday per 1,000 live births. By 2020, India’s IMR improved to 27, but except for Pakistan, the aforementioned five countries surpassed India

Women in Parliament (%): 1997-98 vs 2021

Despite having seen several women in political leadership positions, India’s relative growth in the share of women in Parliament has been slow with many countries outpacing India. From 7% in 1997, the share doubled to 14% in 2021. Among the 31 nations compared, India ranked 27, positioned slightly ahead of Hungary. Notably, India had a better rank (20) in 1997 

Net migration : 1960s vs 2017

India has always been a country with net outmigration. That is, it sends out more people than it takes in. However, in the past five decades, the outmigration has intensified. In 2017, India had the highest number of out-migrants among the 31 nations considered. In the 1960s, 11 countries had more out-migrants than India. The graph shows net migration, in-migration minus out-migration (in lakh)

Access to electricity: 1993- 2000 vs 2020

In 1993, only 51% of India’s population had access to electricity. It was ranked 29 among the 32 nations considered. In 2020, India gained 3 positions to the 26th rank, outpacing Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Nepal, South Africa and Pakistan. The graph shows the share of the population with electricity access in %

Individuals using the Internet : 1990 vs 2020

Only the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany, France, Japan and Italy out of 32 countries considered had individuals using the internet in 1990. But by 2020, internet usage was widespread with 43% of Indians using it. India ranked 28, ahead of Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh in 2020. The graph shows the share of the population with internet access in %

CO2 emission: 1990 vs 2019

India’s emission of carbon dioxide per capita has been significantly lower than other countries in the past three decades. But its position has fallen by two places between 1990 and 2019 among the 32 nations considered. It was the 6th lowest emitter in 1990 and 8th lowest by 2019. Colombia and the Philippines bettered India in this period. The graph shows C02 emission in metric tonnes per capita

Electricity from renewable resources: 1971 vs 2015

India’s electricity production from renewable resources such as wind, biomass, and biofuels has grown at a sedate pace. In 1971, it was yet to open its account. By 2015, 5.3% of India’s electricity was produced using renewable sources, ranked 15 out of 30 nations. The graph shows the share of electricity produced using renewable resources except hydropower (in %)

*Select countries: BRICS (Brazil, Russia, China, South Africa), G7 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States), the emerging economies (Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Mexico, the Philippines, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates) and the Indian subcontinent (Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka)

Source: Ourworldindata, World Bank

Also read: A tryst with the past

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