Passers-by in a slum in New Delhi, India, where the population lives mainly from garbage collection

Social situation Extreme wealth and extreme poverty

India is a country of extreme contrasts: metropolitan areas such as Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, which are booming, and a growing number of billionaires; but also millions of people living in extreme poverty.

Almost 15 per cent of Indians are undernourished. More than a third of all children under the age of five suffer from stunted growth as a result of chronic undernourishment or malnutrition. Child mortality is higher in India than in its neighbours Nepal and Bangladesh, both of which are counted among the least developed countries (LDCs) in the world. The 2019 Global Hunger Index describes the situation in India as “serious”.

Public spending on education and health is still insufficient to meet the needs of the entire population. There are also shortcomings in the country's infrastructure. For example, nearly 100 million people in India live in homes with no electricity and about a quarter of the population has no access at all to toilet facilities.

Although gender equality is enshrined in the constitution, girls and women are still seriously disadvantaged in Indian society. While their access to educational and health facilities has improved significantly, in many families there is still a bias towards the male members when it comes to food, medical care and education. Violence against women is widespread.