Amidst the talk of all controversies and conspiracy theories, the Iron Lady of India, Indira Gandhi has achieved a great deal for this country. During her second longest reign as the Indian Prime Minister, the first being her father’s, India underwent prominent changes; that to this day prevails over many others. Here are her top 3 contributions towards the country without which, Indians would have had a thorny time in their own country.
The Green Revolution Facilitation
The greatest struggle for Indian politicians was to counter the problems of mass hunger by increasing the production of foodgrains to erradicate poverty and unemployment in the country. One of the most effective decisions taken by Indira Gandhi was to make provisions in the Nehru and Shastri governments towards increased production of food grains, through the ‘Five-Year plans’. When the relationship between India and USA started to strain due to India’s refusal to support USA in the Vietnam War, India Gandhi had to find an alternative to stop the shortage of food supply in India. This lead to Indira Gandhi adopting Norman Borlaug‘s Green Revolution ideology. Agriculture was then shifted to the industrial sector and adopted modern methods. The use of HYV (High Yielding Variety) seeds, use of pesticides and fertilizers, and the adoption of modern technology such as tractors and irrigation facilities helped improve the agriculture situation of India.
Nationalising 14 Private-Sector Banks
In July 1969, the government of India under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi nationalized 14 private-sector banks. This ordinance was called the Banking Companies (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertakings) ordinance. The reason for nationalising was because 14 major commercial private banks controlled 70% of the country’s deposits. These banks had an unpredictable manner of functioning where 361 private banks ‘failed’ across the country between 1947 and 1955. This way, all the depositers would lose all their money as there was no guarantee given by their respective banks. These banks only catered to large industries and businesses, where the agriculture sector was largely ignored. Thus, under this ordinance, the ownership of these 14 banks were transferred to the Central government.
Indians go to Space
India first entered space under the governance of Indira Gandhi. The first Indian to fly into space aboard Soyuz T-11 was Rakesh Sharma. He was a former Indian Air Force pilot and spent 7 days, 21 hours and 40 minutes abroad the orbital station Salyut-7. His 3 member Soviet-Indian conducted scientific and technical studies, including 43 experimental sessions which proved to be very helpful. Upon return, Rakesh Sharma and his Soviet counterparts received the highest peace time gallantry award, the ‘Ashoka Chakra‘.