Key facts

Capital City: New Delhi

Population: 1.25 billion

Life expectancy: male 66.97 years, female 69.42 years

Population with improved drinking water: urban 97.1%, rural 92.6%

Infant mortality rate: 41.81/1,000

Under 5 mortality rate: 53/1,000

Adult literacy rate: male 81.3%, female 60.6%

Religion: Hindu 79.8%, Muslim 14.2%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.7%, other and unspecified 2% (2011 est.)

Percentage living on less than $1.90 a day: 21.25% (2011 data - most recent available)

A little bit of history

India has a complex and rich history, which can be traced back centuries. Since the 1800s Britain had become the dominant political power on the subcontinent. Years of nonviolent resistance to British rule, led by Mohandas Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, eventually resulted in Indian independence in 1947.

However, violence followed partition when two separate states - India and Pakistan where created. The neighbouring nations have fought three wars since independence, the last of which was in 1971 and resulted in East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh.

How India makes a living

As the second most populous country on earth, India faces numerous challenges, such as overpopulation, environmental degradation, extensive poverty and widespread corruption. However, economic growth following the launch of economic reforms in 1991 and a massive youthful population are driving India's emergence as a regional and global power.

Much of this growth has been within the service sector as India has made the most of its large, educated, English-speaking population to become a major exporter of information technology services, business outsourcing services and software workers.

Challenges faced by children

Despite it’s economic growth, the World Bank estimates that a third of the world’s poorest people live in India. 

Education in India has made a significant contribution to its astounding economic growth. However, for children from poorer communities, the cost of books and resources prevents them enjoying the benefits of free education. Other families rely on their children to work and as many as 38% of children under the age of 14 are involved in some form of child labour.

Compassion in India

Compassion has been working to release Indian children from poverty for the past 48 years. Compassion assists more than 147,000 children in India, with two separate field offices, India and East India.



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