India is the largest, most populous democracy in the world. It is a multi-ethnic state and has nearly 1.2 billion inhabitants.
Although India is an emerging industrial nation, more than 800 million people live below the poverty line and only about 350 million people belong to the middle class and the privileged upper class.
For the poor and underprivileged the country's development has bought little improvement. 44 percent of India's population live on less than one U.S. dollar per day. In 2007, 46 percent of India's children were malnourished, and according to Unicef, every year 2.1 million Indian children die before their fifth birthday.
Currently, a third of adult Indians are illiterate. There is compulsory education, but the classes of the public schools are full (with up to 70 students) and one in four teachers do not attend their classes. Thus, the rate of early school leavers is high, even in primary school. Those who can afford it, send their children to private schools.