India is the largest democracy in the world with a population of over 1.2 billion. It is a multicultural nation with diverse ethnic groups. Although its people are deeply religious, representing various religions, it is a secular country with freedom for all to practise their faith, as written in the constitution.
The nation has one of the highest levels of poverty in South Asia (based on income, education, health and a number of other factors). There are 440 million people living under this ‘multidimensional’ poverty in India’s eight poorest states alone. Social divisions, frequent disasters and a lack of sustainable income opportunities add to a growing problem of huge income disparity.
While India is listed among the middle income countries of the world, it is common to see sprawling slum dwellings near wealthy residential and business locations. Rural to urban migration is exerting a phenomenal stress on the existing infrastructure in cities.
India shares a common geoclimatic region with Nepal, Myanmar, Bhutan and Bangladesh and is highly susceptible to natural disasters like earthquakes and flooding.