India, the second most populous country in the world, is known for her rich, vibrant culture and civilization that has spanned thousands of years. Over the last two decades, India’s economy has grown at breakneck speed becoming the world’s 10th largest economy in 2011 and is projected to be among the fifth largest by 2050 (per a recent report by economic think-tank Centre for Economics and Business Research). Yet despite the enormous economic success of the “Elephant“, as India has been sometimes called, tragically a large percentage of the Indian population have been left behind.
Millions of Indians live in dire poverty especially the people who have left the villages and have come to the urban centers searching for a better life. According to the World Bank, rural and urban poverty in India remains painfully high, holding the unfortunate record of having the largest concentration of poor people in the world: 240 million rural poor and 72 million urban poor. With poverty, an immeasurable suffering has also taken hold. Hunger, malnutrition and a high level of preventable diseases and death have struck India’s poor and have unfairly impacted women and children.