Population and Living Standard
The complexity of India is mirrored in the tremendous variety of languages spoken on the subcontinent: 41% of the population speak Hindi, 8.1% Bengali, 7.2% Telugu, 7% Marathi, 5.9% Tamil, 5% Urdu, 4.5%Gujarati, 3,7% Malayalam, 3,2% Oriya, 2.8% Punjabi, 1.2% Assamese, 1.3% Maithili and 5.9% other languages such as Sanskrit.
English is close to a lingua franca in the country – however it is only spoken and understood by the educated part of the population. Die total population of India is an estimated 1.35 Billion (Jnaury 2018): each second one or two Idnian babies are born. China and India are competing for world leadership in population. India’s cities grow at breakneck speed – approximately one third of thepopulation is currently living in cities. Urbanisation brings another 2.38% of the population to the cities – each and every year.
There they live in dismal and inhuman conditions and it is very often nothing more than a mere fight for survival. Average living expectancy is relatively high with 68.5 years. And India’s population is young: more than 40% are in the age group 25-54 years, another 45% fall under the age group of 0-25 years.
Schooling, Education and Work
While the age structure of the Indian population in theory is a great asset. In practice it is one of the country’s biggest challenges to provide good education, proper schooling jobs and a fair income for these masses. Statistics are quite blunt: Whilst about 12% of children (5-14 years) engage in child labour in one form or another, unemployment rate for youths stands at 10%. Literacy rates show that gender remains an issue: Whilst 81% of all males are reportedly literate, literacy is a fact for only just 60% of the country’s females.
Indias economy is very diverse yet the country still faces big gaps in infrastructure such as transport and energy. And India suffers from its very own and special brand of “incredible” burocracy. The fact that almost 50% of the entire population depend on smallholder farming for survival is very often simply overlooked as the boom sectors such as IT, the film and entertainment industry and the services sector are so much in the limelight. India is one of the most unequal countrys worldwide and this is mirrored in the access to education and jobs.
HIV, Aids, Prevalence and Children
India is usually not top of the mind when it comes to HIV and Aids. Yet, 2.1 Million HIV-positive people live in the country – and that is why India ranks number three worldwide after Nigeria and South Africa when it comes tot he sheer number of HIV-positive people. In relation to the total population, prevance with 0.35% is low which means that there is not generalised pandemic such as in many sub-saharan coutnries. However, HIVS and Aids is very present in so called high risk or brinding populations, namely, truck drivers, migrant workers or female sex workers.
Depending on the setting up to 38% of female sex workers were found to be HIV-positive. Especially in urban areaes, poverty, the system of castes and trafficking force thousands of girls and young women into prostitution. UNICEF estimates that there are 4 Million HIV and Aids affected children in India, most of them living in so called hotspots and high prevalence settings in Mumbai, Hyderabad or Bangalore. UNCIEF also estimates that 7% of all childrens’ deaths are the fallout of HIV and Aids.
Religion has gained importance with the ascent of prime minister Narendra Mohdi and his political party. Hinduism is promoted as the one, real indian brand of religion. The religious issue is a complex one –as everything in this country of billions of gods and godesses. Almost 80% are Hindu (Source: CIA world factbook), 14% Muslim, 2.3% Christians, 1.7% Sikhs. Buddhists, Jain and many other religions account for another 4%. Tensions between Hindu and Muslims are deeply rooted in history. In some of the states they have a seriously destabilizing effect.