1956: APSARA, Asia's first nuclear reactor, became operational on 4 August at Trombay, Mumbai (2002).
1974: The first nuclear test in India code-named 'Smiling Buddha' was carried out in Pokhran, Rajasthan, on May 18. The second nuclear test was also in Pokhran in 1998, known as 'Operation Shakti'.
1975: Aryabhatta, India's first artificial satellite was launched on 19 April from the USSR. Its launch coincided with the 1500th birth anniversary of the great Indian mathematician and astronomer, Aryabhatta.
1978: On October 3, 1978, India's first test tube baby, Kanupriya Agarwal was born in Pune. Dr Subhash Mukherjee was the first physician in India (not Dr Indira Hinduja as is widely believed) and the second in the world to use IVF technology after Dr Patrick Steptoe of the UK.
1983: Dakshin Gangotri, India's first permanent manned research station, was set up in the icy continent of Antarctica in 1983-84. It is now used as a transit point to reach Maitri and Bharati, India's second and third permanent research centre there.
1984 : Rakesh Sharma became the first Indian to go into space aboard the Soviet spacecraft, Soyuz T-11. The take-off was from Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic.
1995: Telecommunications changed for the better with the introduction of mobile phone and internet services in India. Today, India boasts the second-largest percentage of the population using mobile phones and the internet.
2008: On October 22, Chandrayaan-I, the country's maiden moon mission was launched from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. Its major achievement was to detect water molecules on the surface of the moon. India's second lunar exploration mission Chandrayaan-2 took off on 22 July, 2019 from Sriharikota.
2009: India's first indigenously-built nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, INS Arihant, was launched in 2009 and entered service in 2016. A second, the INS Arighat, was launched in 2017.
2013: Mangalyaan, which is the size of a small car, was launched using an indigenous PSLV rocket, from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, on November 5, 2013. After almost a year-long voyage it slipped into a smooth orbit around Mars on September 24.
1951: The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are government-owned autonomous engineering institutes located across India. There are a total of 23 IITs. The first one was established at Kharagpur in West Bengal in 1951.
1956: The University Grants Commission (UGC), a statutory body of the Government of India, was established in 1956. It is responsible for co-ordinating, determining and maintaining standards of higher education and providing recognition to universities.
1961: The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) are government-owned business schools that offer world-class post-graduate management programmes. There are totally 20 IIMs. The first IIM was set up in Kolkata, in 1961.
1961: The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), an autonomous organisation set up by the government in 1961, develops the national curriculum framework, syllabi and textbooks.
1968: The National Policy on Education (NPE) was first framed in 1968. It is a comprehensive framework to guide the development of education in India. In 1986 a new NPE was framed. The latest National Education Policy (NEP) was introduced in 2020.
1985: Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), established in September 1985 is one of the world's largest open university. It is responsible for the introduction and promotion of Open University and distance education system on the educational pattern of the country and for the co-ordination and determination of standards in such systems.
1988: National Literacy Mission (NLM), programme launched by the government of India in the year 1988. The main objective of the mission was to educate the adults in the age group of 15-35 years. Till November 2002, the mission had covered up 596 districts out of the total 600 districts of the country.
1995: Ministry of Education introduced the Midday Meal (MDM) Scheme in India, designed to better the nutritional standing of school-age children nationwide. Under this scheme, free lunches were supplied on working days for children. The Midday Meal Scheme was the largest of its kind in the world. The scheme was redesigned and changed to PM-POSHAN (Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman) Scheme, in September 2021, by Ministry of Education.
2001: Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) aims to provide elementary education for all children. It seeks to open new schools and improve school infrastructure through provision of additional classrooms, toilets, drinking water, increasing teacher strength, etc.
2009: Right to Education Act (RTE) makes it obligatory for the Government to provide free and compulsory education to every child between the age of 6 and 14 years in a school in their neighbourhood.
1948: Independent India won its first Olympic gold medal in hockey beating Great Britain 4-0. India followed it up with spectacular performances by winning gold medals in the Olympics in 1952, 1956, 1964 and 1980. Team India also won its first and only hockey World Cup in 1975.
1951: India hosted the inaugural Asian Games in New Delhi. Japan had the highest medal count with 60 followed by India winning 51 medals.
1980: Shuttler Prakash Padukone became the first Indian to win the All England Championship. Pullela Gopichand is the only other Indian to win the prestigious tournament. Saina Nehwal became the first Indian to win an Olympic medal in badminton in 2012. P V Sindhu stepped up to keep the trend alive in the next two Olympic Games by winning a silver at Rio 2016 and a bronze at Tokyo 2020.
1983: India won the cricket world cup for the first time by beating the West Indies, champions of the last two World Cups. Team India repeated the feat of becoming World Champions in 2011 and also won the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007.
1988: Viswanathan Anand became India's first chess Grandmaster. He won the title of the World Champion in 2000. He remained the undisputed champion from 2007- 2012.
1997: Tennis players Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi formed the deadly duo affectionately known as 'Lee-Hesh' and won many Grand Slams including Wimbledon and French Open and became world No. 1 in the men's doubles tennis rankings. Sania Mirza won many Grand Slams in doubles tennis and was ranked world No.1 in 2015.
2003: Anju Bobby George made history by winning the bronze medal in long jump at the World Championships in Athletics in Paris. P T Usha won 4 gold medals and 1 silver medal in 1986 Asian Games and missed out on Olympic medal by just 0.01 seconds.
2004: India hosted the inaugural Kabaddi World Cup and won the competition. India has dominated the sport of Kabaddi and won all subsequent Kabaddi World Cups.
2008: Shooter Abhinav Bindra became the first Olympic gold medalist for India. Later, athlete Neeraj Chopra won India's second individual gold medal in javelin throw at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
2012: Sachin Tendulkar became the first and only batsman to score 100 international centuries. Sachin often referred to as 'God of cricket' is the leading run-scorer in Test and ODI cricket with over 34,000 runs across various formats of the game.
1957: The first Ambassador car rolled out of the Hindustan Motors plant at Uttarpara in West Bengal. Priced at Rs 14,000, it ruled the Indian roads for decades before it faced stiff competition from the cheaper and sleeker Maruti 800. Unable to keep up with the times, the Ambassador stopped production in 2013. It was once adjudged the best taxi by a popular car show.
1960s: Agricultural scientist M. S. Swaminathan collaborated with the American agronomist and Nobel laureate Norman Borlaug to bring about sweeping changes in Indian agriculture. Use of high yielding variety (HYV) seeds, mechanised farm tools, irrigation facilities, pesticides and fertilizers helped to double food production, especially of wheat. It was hailed as the Green Revolution.
1965: India's largest offshore oil field, Bombay High, was discovered by an Indo-Soviet oil exploration team about 161 km north of the Mumbai coast. It is controlled by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), the largest government-owned oil and gas exploration and production company in the country. It accounts for 38 per cent of all domestic production of crude oil.
1970: Dr Verghese Kurien launched Operation Flood, powered by Amul. Hailed as the White Revolution, it made India the world's largest milk producer. Amul unites over 35 lakh milk producers in a dairy co-operative. One of its greatest achievements was the invention of skim milk powder and condensed milk from buffalo milk instead of cow milk.
1982: NABARD came into existence on 12 July 1982 by transferring the agricultural credit functions of RBI and refinance functions of the then Agricultural Refinance and Development Corporation (ARDC). It was launched to promote sustainable and equitable agriculture and rural development through participative financial and non-financial interventions, innovations, technology and institutional development for securing prosperity.
1983: Maruti 800 was launched by Maruti Udyog Limited with a price tag of Rs 47,500. A bestselling car, it made buying cars possible for middle class families.
1990s: India emerged as a popular business process outsourcing (BPO) hub for Western multinational companies because of its young, tech-savvy, English-speaking labour force. India is now arguably the world's biggest BPO destination.
2000s: With the growth of the technology sector and the government's push for digitisation, many Indian entrepreneurs founded start-ups offering various software services in different fields. Today India has become the 3rd largest start-up ecosystem in the world after the US and China.
2002: Bt cotton, a genetically modified pest-resistant cotton plant, was introduced in India. It has led to India becoming the largest producer and one of the biggest exporters of cotton in the world.
2014: Make in India, a scheme launched in 2014 intended to boost the domestic manufacturing sector and also augment investment into the country. It was devised to transform India into a global design and manufacturing hub. The logo of 'Make in India' is the silhouette of a lion on the prowl, made entirely of cogs, symbolising manufacturing, strength and national pride.
1952: The Government set up Primary health centres (PHC). PHCs are state-owned rural and urban health care facilities in India. They are basically single-physician clinics, usually with facilities for minor surgeries.
1956: The first AIIMS was set up in New Delhi. The All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) are a group of renowned public medical institutes of higher education.
1963: The National Centre for Disease Control is an institute established by the government. It conducts research in the cause and control of communicable diseases like malaria and tuberculosis. It undertakes investigations of disease outbreaks all over the country.
1966: The world's largest manufacturer of vaccines, the Pune-based Serum Institute, was founded. It is a key supplier of Covid-19 inoculations to developing countries.
1975: Formation of Anganwadi, a type of rural child care centre. It was started by the Indian government as a part of the Integrated Child Development Services programme to combat child hunger and malnutrition.
1985: The Expanded Programme of Immunization (EPI) was launched in 1978 and renamed as Universal Immunization Programme. It provides vaccines free of cost against 12 diseases - tuberculosis, diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, poliomyelitis, measles, hepatitis B, diarrhoea, Japanese encephalitis, rubella, pneumonia and pneumococcal diseases.
1994: The government rolled out the Pulse Polio Immunization Programme on 2 October 1994. India was certified 'polio-free' by the World Health Organization in 2014.
2001: The telemedicine network of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation), started in 2001, now connects 45 remote hospitals and rural hospitals and 15 super specialty hospitals, including those in the islands of Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep and the hilly regions of Jammu and Kashmir.
2005: India's advanced facilities, skilled doctors and low-cost treatment make it a popular destination for medical tourists. The Indian government introduced medical visas, thus promoting medical tourism.
2018: Ayushman Bharat Yojana is a national public health insurance fund that aims to provide free access to health insurance coverage for low income earners in the country. It was launched in 2018 by the Government of India.
1947: The Public Distribution System (PDS) is a food security system that distributes food and non-food items to the poor at subsidised rates. Usually, staple food grains, such as wheat, rice, sugar and essential fuels like kerosene are distributed to the needy through a network of fair price shops across the country.
1950: The Constitution of India was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 26th November, 1949 and came into force on 26th January, 1950. The Constitution provides for a Parliamentary form of government which is federal in structure with certain unitary features. It is the longest written national constitution in the world.
1959: Panchayat raj system was adopted with an aim to build democracy at the grass-root level. It is a system of local self-governance at the village level.
1972: Permanent Account Number (PAN) was issued to individual tax payers by the Income Tax department. It is mandatory for financial transactions like receiving salary, investing money in stock markets, mutual funds, sale, and purchase of assets. It can also be used as proof of identity.
2005: The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) provides at least 100 days of guaranteed employment in every financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
2005: The Right to Information Act (RTI Act) provides a tool for citizens to seek information about the activities of the Government. It is meant to give the citizens access to information which is under the control of public authorities. Citizens can question delays in government projects and ask for details about spending from the taxpayers' money in various projects.
2005: Hindu Succession Amendment Act was enacted so that daughters and wives get equal share in the property. It allows daughters, like sons an equal birthright to inherit joint Hindu family property.
2009: Aadhaar is an ID system that stores personal and biometric information of Indian citizens in the databases of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). It can be used as proof of identity.
2013: Direct Benefit Transfer is a mechanism of electronically transferring the subsidies of the welfare schemes in the account of the beneficiary. Earlier, the benefits of welfare schemes rarely reached the poor due to corruption. When money is directly transferred into the account of the beneficiary, there is little scope of corruption and delay.
2016: The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana offers women from Below Poverty Line (BPL) households free LPG connections. It aims at reducing dependence on cooking fuels such as wood and coal that cause indoor pollution and often lead to illnesses.
1951: Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) or censor board was established to regulate the exhibitions of films in India. Films can be exhibited to the public only after they have been certified by the CBFC.
1956: Acclaimed film-maker Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali, was the first film to receive international acclaim and awards including the 1956 Cannes festival.
1958: Mehboob Khan's Mother India (starring Nargis as a powerful female protagonist), became the first Indian movie to be nominated for the Oscar awards. It was followed by Mira Nair's Salaam Bombay (1988) and Ashutosh Gowariker's Lagaan (2002) - a period drama woven around the game of cricket.
1959: Doordarshan (now DD National) began its broadcasting. The 1980s was the golden era of DD when its popularity soared, thanks to a number of quality serials like Hum Log, Buniyad, Ramayan, Mahabharat and Malgudi Days.
1968: Sitar maestro Ravi Shankar became the first Indian to win a Grammy Award. Till date as many 18 Indian musicians have won the Grammy Awards including Zubin Mehta (conductor of Western classical orchestra), Zakir Hussain (table player), A. R. Rehman and Sonu Nigam.
1983: Bhanu Athaiya won the Oscar for Best Costume Design for the film Gandhi. Satyajit Ray won the honorary Oscar award in 1992 while A. R. Rahman (song composing), Gulzar (lyrics) and Resul Pookutty (sound mixing) received Oscars for the movie Slumdog Millionaire in 2009.
1991: The melodious sisters - Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosale dominated play-back singing in India for close to eight decades. In 1991, Lata Mangeshkar became the most recorded artiste with an estimated 30,000 songs while Asha Bhosale entered the record books in 2011 for having the most single studio recordings.
1997: Arundhati Roy became the first Indian to win the Booker Prize for her book The God of Small Things. Kiran Desai won the Booker Prize in 2006 and Aravind Adiga in 2008. Geetanjali Shree has become the first Indian writer to win the International Booker Prize for her Hindi novel Ret Samadhi (2022).
1999: Superstar Amitabh Bachchan was voted the greatest star of stage or screen in a BBC Your Millennium online poll. The legendary actor continues to regale the audiences with his immaculate performances.
2021: V. S. Gaitonde (1924-2001) was regarded as one of India's foremost abstract painters. One of his paintings has been sold at international auction at a record price (Rs.39.98 crore) in 2021, making him the highest selling Indian artist till date.
1947: The First Stamp of Independent India was issued on 21 November 1947. India has the largest postal network in the world with over 1.5 lakh post offices. During the COVID-19 lockdown, India Post delivered medical equipment including COVID-19 tests kits, ventilators, medicines, and N95 masks across states as part of their 'essential services'!
1947 onwards: India has 197 hydro power plants - the Koyna Hydroelectric Project on River Koyna in Maharashtra and Tehri Hydropower Complex on River Bhagirathi in Uttarakhand being among two largest.
1963: The Bhakra-Nangal dam was one of the earliest river valley projects undertaken after independence. Built on Sutlej River, it is Asia's second tallest dam with a height of around 207.26 meters. The Bhakra Canal fed by this dam provides irrigation to fields in Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan.
1969: Tarapur Atomic Power Station was the first commercial nuclear power station built in India. At present, India has 22 operational nuclear reactors with an installed capacity of about 6,780 MW.
1984: The Kolkata Metro is the first planned and operational rapid transit system in India. Today, metro services are operational in 15 Indian cities with the Delhi Metro being the largest and the busiest.
1993: The 760 km-long Konkan Railway, traversing through the Western Ghats passes through one of the most difficult terrains in the world. Its completion within just eight years by Indian engineers is hailed as a unique feat of civil engineering.
2001: The Golden Quadrilateral is a national highway network that links the four metros - Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai. It facilitates speedy transportation between India's main economic, agricultural, and cultural centers and ports.
2010s: India is known for its roads and railway tunnels, an affordable option to make places more accessible to people. High altitude tunnels including Atal Tunnel, Pir Panjal Railway Tunnel and Syama Road Tunnel bear testimony to India's engineering prowess.
2017: The 9.2 km long Bhupen Hazarika Setu over River Brahmaputra is the longest bridge in India. It greatly reduces travel time by connecting the northeastern states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
2017 Bhadla Solar Park is the largest solar park in the world. It is spread over an area of 5,700 hectares in Bhadla, Rajasthan. The park has a total capacity to generate 2245 MW electricity through solar panels.
1950: The Planning Commission was formed to plan and allocate funds for the development of the country. The first five year plan was implemented in 1951. It focussed on agriculture and irrigation. It succeeded in boosting India's economic growth.
1956: The Indian government abolished the zamindari system. It did away with the rich class of landlords who exploited the farmers. As a result, about 2 crore farmers became owners of the land they tilled. The government also established its control over a lot of land.
1957: The monetary system was modernised. The government introduced the decimal system of coinage. It replaced the earlier system of 16 annas to a rupee. 1 rupee was made up of 100 naye paise.
1969: The Government of India nationalised 14 major banks including Bank of India and Punjab National Bank. More banks were nationalised in 1980. It enabled the government to streamline the banking system and boost public confidence in banks.
1991: Finance Minister Dr Manmohan Singh designed a new economic policy based on the principles of Liberalisation, Privatisation and Globalisation (LPG). It allowed foreign direct investment in companies, abolished the industrial license permit raj, and reduced import duties. It gave a tremendous boost to the Indian economy and reduced poverty.
1994: The first private sector banks like HDFC and ICICI were established. They offered quick, customised services to customers.
1998: Amartya Sen won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. He argued that simply calculating the gross national product (GNP) is not enough to assess the standard of living of people. Based on his principles, the Human Development Index (HDI) was created to measure the human development of a country.
1990s: The Indian government launched its disinvestment policy whereby it reduced its stake in public sector enterprises. While these companies had initially contributed to India's growth in the years following independence, they had ceased to be profitable and hindered economic growth. Many government concerns were slowly privatised, the latest being Air India in January this year.
2016: The Indian government demonetized the 500 and 1000 rupee currency notes to root out corruption, counterfeiting, menace of black money and funding for terrorist activities.
2017: The Indian government implemented the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Buyers have to pay different tax slabs for various goods and services used. The GST replaced existing multiple taxes levied by the central and state governments.
1972: Chipko was a mass movement against the indiscriminate felling of trees. The word 'Chipko' means to hug. Women from the villages hugged trees to prevent contractors from felling them. Environment activist Sunderlal Bahuguna led the movement.
1973: The Silent Valley Movement was an agitation launched to protect Silent Valley, an evergreen tropical forest in the Palakkad district of Kerala. It was a movement to save the Silent Valley Reserve Forest from being flooded by a hydroelectric dam project.
1973: India's first national park was Jim Corbett NP, established in 1936 in Uttarakhand. In 1973, India enacted the Wildlife Protection Act and launched Project Tiger to safeguard the habitats of species such as tigers and rhinos, whose numbers were declining alarmingly. Now there are 106 national parks in India.
1974: The State Pollution Control Board was a statutory organisation established in each state under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act. They were supervised by the Central Pollution Control Board to implement the environmental laws and rules within the states for the protection of the environment.
1976: India was the first country to incorporate protection and improvement of the environment as a fundamental duty under the Constitution Act of 1976.
1985: Led by Medha Patkar and other social activists, the Narmada Bachao Andolan started in 1985. It was against the construction of the Sardar Sarovar and Narmada Sagar dams because the projects displaced thousands of people. The 'Save the Narmada Movement' wanted the government to resettle and rehabilitate the displaced people.
2003: Mawlynnong village in Meghalaya became famous for its cleanliness. Travel magazine Discover India declared it the cleanest village in Asia in 2003, and the cleanest in India in 2005.
1986: The Indian government made several efforts to clean up the Ganga River. Ganga Action Plan in 1986; then in 2009, the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) was set up; lastly in 2014, the 'Namami Gange' mission, India's most ambitious endeavour to clean the Ganga. It included cleaning the ghats, ridding the river of biological contaminants and improving rural sanitation and afforestation.
2015: The Swachch Bharat Mission was launched and the Clean India Survey was started. The Quality Council of India (QCI) evaluated cities on sweeping, garbage collection, transportation, processing and disposal of garbage; easy availability of community/public toilets and adequate manpower and efficient monitoring systems for solid waste management.
2022 : From July 1, India banned the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of identified single use plastic items, which have low utility and high littering potential, all across the country.
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