India is a socially deeply stratified society with a
small wealthy elite, a growing often highly educated
middle class mainly in the cities and a large slum and
rural population who rarely live in poverty. The
conditions are also very different for men and women,
although a strong movement for increased equality gained
momentum after a prominent group rape in Delhi 2012.
Many years of high economic growth in India have
mainly benefited the growing middle class of cities.
Highly educated Indians in Bombay (Mumbai) or Delhi
enjoy approximately the same living conditions as the
corresponding group in the Western countries. At the
same time, a large majority of the population lives
under almost medieval conditions, without having been
aware of modernization.
Countryaah Official Site:
Official statistics for population in India, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
Despite the reforms, the assets that have been
created have ended up in private pockets rather than in
investments in better healthcare and education. One can
also see a growing gap between a less developed north
and a more prosperous southern India.
Even though the proportion of poor people has dropped
significantly around a fifth of Indians still live in
poverty and have problems with access to food, housing,
clean water, healthcare and education. The worst is
poverty in the states of Orissa, Bihar and Chhattisgarh
as well as in the slums of the big cities and in the
countryside. Particularly vulnerable are women,
children, low-caste and tribal people.
According to an index of the incidence of slavery in
the world, the Global Slavery Index, in 2018, nearly
eight million people in India lived under slave-like
conditions. It placed the country in 53rd place among
167 countries on the list. The index was created by the
Australia-based human rights organization Walk Free
Foundation, which bases its ranking on conditions such
as the prevalence of human trafficking, debt slavery and
Lack of medical care
India has a highly qualified medical profession,
which only a fraction of its residents - in the cities
- have access to. Social security systems with pensions
and other things reach only a small part of the
population and are not very extensive.
Child mortality has dropped but still 35 every year
of 1 000 children die before the age of one year, and
almost 40 percent of all Indian children under five
suffer from malnutrition. Tuberculosis and malaria are
Lack of clean water and functioning sewage are
closely associated with health care. In 2014, the newly-BJP
government launched the "Clean India" campaign (about
Keep India clean) to increase cleanliness. Among other
things, 100 million toilets were promised until 2019.
According to Prime Minister Modi, that promise has been
fulfilled, but there are critics who question that
In September 2018, the same government introduced a
new health insurance system, called Modicare, after
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It provides the poorest 40
percent of the population (about half a billion people)
insurance of the equivalent of $ 6,900 annually for free
treatment of serious illnesses.
The woman's situation
India has a secular constitution but within family
law Hindus, Muslims and other religious groups have
their own laws. Daughters generally inherit less than
sons, boys are often valued higher than girls. In poor
families, several daughters pose a huge financial
burden, as the girl's family is expected to pay for a
wedding party and a dowry. Claiming a dowry is illegal
but is practiced in the form of demands on expensive
wedding gifts and gifts for the groom's family. Abortion
of girl fetuses is a widespread problem and making
ultrasounds to find out the sex of the fetus is now
Most marriages are arranged by the parents and occur
mainly between people who are from the same caste or
profess to the same religion. In the cities so-called
"love marriages", where the couple themselves choose
each other, are increasingly accepted. Divorce is still
uncommon and in many social groups it can be very
difficult for a woman to live as divorced.
The big family dominates and young adults generally
live at home until they get married. After the wedding,
the woman moves to her husband's family. The oldest
woman in the extended family controls the household as
long as she can. It is usually the eldest son's duty to
provide for his parents, as very few have any pension to
speak of. In the cities and among the middle class, the
nuclear family becomes more common. Occupational work
among women is also increasing. Intrinsic home care that
takes care of cleaning, cooking and childcare is common
among the middle class and rich. Home help gets food and
shelter, but wages are low and job security is lacking.
During the 2010 century, a popular movement for
increased equality has grown stronger. It was sparked by
brutal group rape on a young female student in Delhi in
2012, a crime that led to the victim's death. Since
then, special courts have begun to be set up, the first
in Calcutta, where cases involving women's rights or
violence against women must be dealt with extra quickly.
Some other laws were also adopted to strengthen women's
rights, but gender discrimination is still a major
In September 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that a
19th-century law that criminalizes adultery violates
India's constitution. According to the law, it was
criminal to have a sexual relationship with a married
woman without her husband's permission. According to the
HD ruling, the law treated the man as the superior woman
in a marriage and violated the woman's dignity.
In March 2019, a law was passed giving women the
right to 26 weeks' leave with full payment in connection
with the birth of the first two children. Thereafter, 12
weeks per child applies.
Children's and young people's situation
In the cities there are hundreds of thousands of
street children who are sent out to beg or sell small
things. Child labor in the textile industry, agriculture
and household work is common. The middle and upper class
children generally live in a sheltered world, but the
pressure to succeed in school is great. Beating children
for educational purposes is acceptable.
In the cities, young people are growing rapidly as a
consumer group in terms of clothing, communication and
entertainment. Bombay's film industry Bollywood
dominates India's popular culture. Young women are not
expected to smoke or drink alcohol, but here too,
attitudes are beginning to change. International
magazines publish Indian editions for the
English-speaking elite with similar content about
fashion, sex and relationships as the sister magazines
in the western world.
In rural areas and in conservative families,
unmarried men and women usually have little contact with
each other. Sex before marriage is generally taboo. It
is considered inappropriate for men and women to kiss or
hold hands in public, even if they are married. Western
traditions like Valentine's Day are slowly gaining
ground in the cities but are being countered by
conservative religious leaders.
The situation of LGBT people
Indian men are often seen holding hands but only as
friends. Until the fall of 2018, homosexual acts were
illegal and punishable by up to ten years in prison,
according to a colonial-era law of more than 150 years.
In 2009, Delhi's highest court ruled that sex between
homosexuals would no longer be a criminal act. The
decision was a milestone for Indian gay activists.
In 2013, a backlash came when the Supreme Court of
India (HD) ruled that the colonial law was still in
force because it is the Parliament that is supposed to
establish and abolish laws. In September 2018, however,
HD decided that homosexual acts were no longer illegal.
The decision upheld the 2013 judgment. The Court ruled
that discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation
violates fundamental human rights. The HD verdict was a
big victory for the country's LGBTQ movement, while
intolerance against LGBTQ people remains strong in many
parts of India, especially in the conservative
Hijras, men who live and dress like women, have a
special place in society. An estimated 100,000 are hired
in India. They are tolerated but many Indians harbor
fear and feel superstition before them. Traditionally,
people are supported by blessing weddings and newborn
babies, but now more and more people are forced into
prostitution, which makes them a particularly vulnerable
group for HIV infection.
About our sources
FACTS - SOCIAL CONDITIONS
30 per 1000 births (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean
87.6 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to
59.5 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on health care as a
percentage of GDP
3.9 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person
$ 63 (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament
12 percent (2018)
Infants are killed in terrorist acts in Varanasi
A one-year-old girl is killed and about 40 people injured when an explosive
charge detonates near the Hindu temple of Vishwanath near the Ganges River in
the city of Varanasi. Police say it is likely a terrorist act. The Islamist
group of Indian mujahedin takes on the blame for the blast. The group writes in
an e-mail that the deed is to be seen as a revenge act for the destruction of
the Babri Mosque and a protest against the court's ruling in the ownership
dispute over the location of the mosque (see September 2010).
Telecom scandal - government in windy weather
The Congress party-led government ends up in windy weather. The Minister
responsible for telecommunications leaves his post after being accused of having
sold licenses for mobile phone traffic at a lower price. The scandal is causing
the opposition to block the work in Parliament.
Judgment on the Babri Mosque
A regional court decides that one third of the land on which the demolished
Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, belongs to the Sunni Muslims, one third
of the land belongs to a Hindu sect and one third belongs to a number of Hindu
organizations worshiping the god Rama (for the background to the conflict around
the mosque, see Modern History). The decision is intended to resolve the market
dispute that has been going on since 1949, but all parties announce that they
will appeal the court's ruling in the hope of gaining a larger share of land.
Bomb attack against cafe in Pune
German Bakery in the city of Pune outside Mumbai (Bombay) is subjected to a
powerful explosion that results in the death of 17 people. At least 64 people
are injured. The bakery / café is packed with students and foreign tourists when
the explosive charge detonates. A member of a banned militant organization is
arrested by police, suspected of planning the blast.