The hit-film slumdog millionaire is a well-known film about three children from the slums. Many people have watched this film, and although its storyline is thrilling, the perceptions it gives about India as a whole being poor and dirty and that everyone is a thief, killer or prostitute are misleading; although the slums are poor and dirty, not everyone in India lives in a slum. Not everyone who does live in a slum is a thief and will do anything for money, and many people in India are well-enough off and have ‘normal’ lives like the western world does.
Fashion is becoming a huge part of New India and the western fashion is becoming more and more popular than traditional Indian clothes. India’s fashion imports are rising by 11% a year. This shows that India’s economy is expanding because the country can now spend money on luxury clothing like Gucci and Giorgio Armani where as before they could not. 350 million Indians also speak English as well as their native language and as English is the world’s main trading language; this means that they can easily trade and communicate with more economically developed countries (MEDCs) who can help them develop.
India is a huge part of the IT industry; 40% of the world’s IT industry is based in Bangalore. This and other factors mean that India’s economy is rapidly expanding. You may have heard it said that India is at the centre of the world and this is true geographically and economically. India has had an open economy since 1991, meaning that Trans-national companies (TNCs) can set up centres and factories there. This generates a lot of income for India as 30 major multi-national firms like Lloyds TSB have Indian call-centres and lots of TNCs like Chanel and Coca-Cola have factories there.
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India is an attractive place for TNCs to set up a factory because in India there are over 1. 1 billion people and a high percentage of these people are of legal working age. Many of these people work for little amounts of money meaning that the TNC will get more. The factories that are being built in India are creating lots more jobs for people to work in. These jobs are being created in the city so many people who live in rural areas and do farming work, are moving to the global cities like Bangalore and Mumbai.
An example of one of these people is Ganesh RC who moved from a rural area of India to Bangalore and is now the manager of the Royal Habitat Hotel. Ganesh says that globalisation and the building of factories in cities means that his hotel is getting more customers and money. Ganesh also told us that the traditional Indian food which used to be a favourite is now less popular and the children who stay at his hotel just want KFC and pizza all the time so they have to order it in.
However although globalisation affects Ganesh positively and his attempt to gain employment and money by moving from his rural home to Bangalore paid off, not everyone’s does. Many farmers and families from rural areas of India move to global cities in the hope of getting a job and then being able to educate their children. However many people find that once they have moved to the city they don’t have the skills required for the jobs available, for example IT skills to work in an IT call-centre or another part of the hugely successful IT industry.
Because of this lack of skill that they previously did not require, they cannot work and have no money or house. This leads to them having to live in a slum. The rate at which India’s economy is expanding is causing a great increase in the wealth for many of India’s people. However many people are also being left behind, meaning that the rich and poor live literally side by side and the wealth gap is colossal. In India 300 million people live in absolute poverty in slums and one third of the world’s malnourished children live in India.
The quality of life in slums is poor and disease ridden with several hundred thousand children dying each year from dirty water. However in some slums life is better. For example in the Dharavi slums the 19 million people that live there make 700,000 pounds a year from recycling the city’s waste. That’s a lot of money to make from something that other people just threw away! However whether you think that this makes up for the fact that they are living in or right next to the waste, is up to you! India is 12 times the size of the UK; covering over 3. million sq km.
This means that throughout the country there is not only a huge difference in wealth and living conditions but also in the landscape. These different environments change how the people there react and survive in them. For example, in India there is a desert outside the city of Jaisalmer in Bikaner but also in India is Cherrapunji which is one of the wettest places in the world, getting 11,000mm of rainfall per year. The people who live in Jaisalmer have adapted to life in the desert and the people who live in Cherrapunji have adapted to rain.
In Cherrapunji the people face a lot more problems than in Bangalore because Cherrapunji can often get flooded which means that people can’t get to work or school and also might have their drinking water polluted. This is another example of a place which is facing huge challenges and not really getting much of the advantages or rewards from the expanding economy. [pic] In conclusion, the new India is giving some people huge advantages and more money through providing jobs, using/learning skills and by starting to develop the country generally from a newly industrialised country (NIC) to an MEDC.
However most of these advantages aren’t trickling down from the cities to the people who now need it the most and are living in rubbish, by recycling rubbish. In the future it is possible for India to help the people who really need it and overcome the problems facing parts of the country and then they can use advantages that they have by being at the centre of the world to its full extent. New India is fast developing and gaining more money and status but is it leaving people and old traditions behind in order to?
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