It was interesting to observe the festive mood of people while celebrating 77th Independence Day in Kashmir. Over the past few years, a cheerful atmosphere on the occasion has returned among the common people in Kashmir irrespective of age, gender and status. The celebration of the Independence Day on large-scale in every nook and corner of the Jammu and Kashmir region is a testimony that widespread fear among populations across the region stands neutralized. And nobody can deny the credit of this irreversible change for betterment to the Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha whose accountability, transparency and merit (ATM) - driven governance is doing wonders in not only pulling Kashmir out of the turmoil successfully, but simultaneously rebuilding it on modern lines as undisputed crown of the country. Today, Kashmir is fast re-emerging as a region with tolerant traditions and pluralistic democracy.
All of us know that Independence Day is one of our most important national events. It was on August 15, 1947, when our country won freedom from British colonial rule. In other words, the day is a historic milestone in the history of India as on this day nearly two centuries of British rule ended and a journey of self-governance to determine the destiny of free India started. Even as many nations have a history of achieving freedom from their occupiers or coming into existence after creating geographical boundaries within a particular region, it has been an uphill task for most of them to stay afloat as a free nation. Such countries have been facing developmental and other challenges, hampering their growth after achieving freedom.
In other words, it has never been an easy task for countries to stay afloat as a free nation for lack of adequate resources and guidance.
However, India has dominated the global growth story by emerging as the most successful story after winning freedom from the British colonial rule and remains strong at 77. During its journey as a free nation, the country has been calibrating its developmental strategy to explore the economic potential and achieve economic independence to stay strong.
Today, according to the World Bank, the Indian economy is expected to be the fastest-growing among the seven largest emerging markets and developing economies. The International Monetary Fund estimates that India's economy surpassed that of the United Kingdom in terms of size in 2022 and rose to become the fifth largest in the world with a 7.2% growth forecast for FY 2023. The Reserve Bank of India predicts that India will be a $3.7 trillion economy in 2023, maintaining its lead over the UK as the fifth largest economy of the world. India's GDP growth is expected to be around 7% in the current fiscal year, which is a significant improvement over the negative growth recorded in the previous fiscal year.
Even as the World Bank has expressed its fears that the ongoing decline in global economic growth will likely result in a “lost decade”, many market analysts are of the firm view that this could well be India’s decade. Most of the global analysts have turned their heads towards India for the kind of growth it is achieving at the moment. There are projections in place which suggest that India is expected to surpass Germany and Japan to hold the third economic power by 2030. This feat could be achieved even earlier than this by 2027 or 2028, according to a report by the State Bank of India's Economic Research Department.
Notably, as per the World Bank's Economic Outlook, the US is expected to grow at 1.4 per cent in 2024, while Germany at 1.1 per cent and Japan at 1 per cent. India, on the other hand, is projected to grow at 6.3 per cent in 2024, while China is to grow at 4.5 per cent. China's economic growth too is expected to falter in the coming years due to a combination of factors including the decline in the working-age population. This means India is all set to become the world's third largest economy in the coming times.
Remarkably, PM Narendra Modi in his 10th Independence Day address said that the country is on the cusp of a unique opportunity in which it can transform itself by 2047 as a developed nation.
Meanwhile, some money lessons merit a mention on this Independence Day. Let's have a look at how independence, which in essence means freedom, should be pursued by the citizens in a free nation. The basic meaning of independence is the ability to live on your own terms and conditions. But, today, it’s not an easy task to live, talk and walk on your own terms and conditions. You need a lot of blessings from a lot of corners to enjoy freedom despite living in a free environment. However, these lots of corners which are acting as pillars of freedom need one big pillar to survive. Yes, I mean the pillar of financial independence. It’s this pillar of financial freedom that will drive you to live on your own terms and conditions.
Honestly speaking, financial standing has remained a key factor in the independence struggles of nations. History is on record that in order to fuel and drive the freedom movements, people used to pool money when other financial resources used to dry-up to pursue their goal of freedom. Had finances not been important, why was the money used to be collected to run the Independence campaign? This means financial freedom is precursor to achieving any other plan or kind of freedom.
What does financial freedom actually mean? Do you need to be rich? You should be able to make decisions without being overly stressed about the financial implication of the decisions. This means you should have complete control on your finances. Most importantly, financial independence doesn't mean to get rich quickly. It also doesn't absolve you from the responsibility of handling your money well.Precisely, the mantra is simple. You have to live within your means. Ensure that you earn regularly to meet your needs. However, you have to be careful that you don't stretch your need beyond your income limits. Otherwise you will end in financial disaster.
The most important pillar in financial freedom is your income. Here, while pursuing financial freedom, you career plays an important role for you. Even if your initial income is not making your dream start towards financial independence, capitalize on opportunities for your income to increase. Remember, it's your career which drives your goal financial freedom.
Having money in abundance doesn't mean to meet needs. But it is this financial freedom which sews your healthy relationships at all levels. In absence of financial freedom you compromise your other levels of freedom and you unnecessarily make yourself accountable to someone.
(The views are of the author & not the institution he works for)