5 Career Milestones Of Indira Gandhi On Her 105th Anniversary

The ‘Iron Lady of India,’ of India, was known around the globe as a fiercely strong leader. On Indira Gandhi's 105th birth anniversary, here are 5 Milestones from her career.

Being the daughter of a man who was one of the leading figures of the Independence movement and the first Prime Minister of India came with expectations and scepticism. Indira Gandhi, the first and only woman Prime Minister of India, till this date, was both a symbol of women empowerment and privileged upbringing.

Born on 19th November 1917, she grew up when history was happening. She was born in a colonized India, and later she became a global leader representing an Independent India.

Her career as a politician was full of ups and down, some policies were paved with good intention but were executed poorly and left tragic incidents. And some policies and laws she spearheaded are still benefiting this country.

Indira Gandhi was both prolific and controversial, as a leader who helped Bangladesh win its freedom by tactical warfare she was hailed by International media. As a Prime Minister, she also declared Emergency, which lead to many tragedies and suppression of media voices.

On the occasion of her 105th birth anniversary, we have created a list of achievements that were attained during Indira Gandhi’s tenure as the Prime Minister of India.

Green revolution

Post the death of John F. Kennedy, India’s agricultural relations with the USA were straining. Previously, our country had been highly depended on the USA for its supply of grains and other agricultural produce.

By 1971 India had refused to support the USA for it’s war on Vietnam, and it had further deteriorated our import relations – which could’ve led to food crisis of massive proportions.

Under the supervision and guidance of M.S. Swaminathan, the father of Indian Green Revolution, the agrarian society of India saw a change. High Yielding Seeds were introduced, modern farming techniques and tools were made available, and pesticides and fertilizers were introduced to farmers all over India.

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Abolishing the Privy Purse given to Indian royalty

Royal families of former princely states of pre-independent India, were given a certain amount of payment for integrating their territories with India, in lieu of them giving up their ruling rights.

The government of India had tried to abolish this payment in 1969, as paying the royalty was sending the country into deficit. The first bill that tried to abolish the Privy Purse failed because it couldn’t secure a majority in Rajya Sabha.

In 1971 with the help of 26th Amendment of the Indian constitution, the bill was passed on the grounds of equality for all Indian citizens.

Can you imagine paying tribute to the prince and princess till this day, just because their ancestors were rulers?

Nationalizing of the 14 Private sector banks

Among the many institutions, we, as in Indian’s trust in, especially us women, is our public banks. As nationalized banks come with a guarantee of safe-keeping, the principal savings. We entrust our jewellery, our savings, our legal documents with banks as we know they will be secure!

On 19th July 1969, the government of India nationalized 14 private-sector banks by means of an ordinance, under Indira Gandhi’s leadership. This ordinance, transferred the ownership of 14 privately owned banks to the Central Government of India.

As 70% of India’s deposits were controlled by these banks. Fearing the repetition of past actions; where multiple private banks between 1940s-1950s had declared bankruptcy and sunk common people’s wealth.

Indira Gandhi and her government didn’t want to leave the fate of wealth of masses in the hands of fickle and unpredictable fate of private banks. And these banks were taking people’s money without any guarantee.

Many of these private banks also only provided aids and loans to industries, and ignored the agricultural sector, which was in dire need of aids.

Abortion law in India

Until 1960, abortions in India were illegal – it was a punishable crime in India to seek one. The law was introduced by the British and had been in effect since the 1860s.

In the 1960s the Shantilal Shah Committee was set up under the supervision of Dr Shantilal Shah, to look into and examine the issue of abortions from a medical standpoint. Under his guidance, the committee was to ascertain if India required a law for the matter.

Not only did the committee study the medical and legal reasoning behind the need of an abortion, it also explored the socio-economic and cultural aspects of abortion in India. Furthermore, they presented their detailed report with abortion after-care in 1964, which sadly was not paid much attention in the early years.

The study also focused on how to reduce unsafe abortion practices and decrease maternal mortality rates. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971 was passed and from 1st April 1972 applied to all of India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Though abortion is still a topic, met with uncomfortable silence and frowns. We Indian women are entitled to get a safe abortion in this country.

Nationalizing coal, steel, insurance and petroleum

Indira Gandhi with the aim to protect organized labour of the country and to secure their employment nationalized the coal, steel, copper, cotton textiles, and insurance industries.

Fearing a potentially irrevocable economic divide between the labour force and private owners, these industries were brought under the government. Remember all those Amitabh Bachchan films where the union labour leaders were fighting evil corporations that were exploiting poor workers?

Later, she brought multiple other private sector industries under the government, and introduced strict regulatory control.

After the 1971 war with Pakistan, India was facing an oil crisis, her government under her orders swiftly nationalized the oil companies operating within India.

With government supervision, India saw the formation of, ‘Indian Oil Corporation’ (IOC), the ‘Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited,’ (HPCL) and the ‘Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited’ (BPCL).

All of these corporations had to maintain a minimum stock of oil so that if the Indian Army ever required fuel in cases of emergency, an immediate supply would be provided.

The ‘Iron Lady of India,’ of India was known around the globe as a fiercely strong leader, many influential people who had met her once, would remember her years later. And the masses who attended her rallies and heard her speech didn’t forget her, either.

Indira Gandhi’s political sense and tactical skills made her earn a place in Indian politics, and her fearless drive to lead made her the first woman Prime Minister of India.

Image source: Wikipedia

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Aritra Paul

Editor at Women's Web. She/They. 30. Bi. Bookworm. Comic book connoisseur. read more...

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