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Development of India

Development of India

Not long ago, India suffered from famines, and immense poverty and was not well developed. India these days is a Newly Emerging Economy (NEE) and is developing at a rapid rate. An awful lot has changed! But not everything. The development of India is still ongoing as it changes from a farming society to a modern state.

Development geography of India

Within the next decade (before 2030), India is predicted to become the world's largest country in population, passing China!

India will likely be the largest country in the world for the rest of the century, and also the world's largest democracy. India is also the fastest-growing major economy in the world.

Here are some more key facts about India's development geography:

  • Mostly tropical climate; more farmable soil than any country other than the US.
  • Many port cities; located along a major maritime trade route connecting Europe with Asia.
  • Has most of the natural resources it needs.
  • Nuclear power; unfriendly relationships with Pakistan and China.
  • Discrimination based on caste (class) is widespread, though this has been banned for many years.

For more basics on India, see our article India Country Profile.

Urban development geography in India

The National Capital Territory of Dehli, with over 30 million people is one of the largest urban areas in the world. Other megacities (over 10 million) include Calcutta and Mumbai.

Over a third of all people in India live in cities. Though these cities contain vast slums with very poor living conditions, for many migrants they are still preferable to the rural areas they left. Cities have jobs, healthcare, and education that villages do not.

Development of India, Tardeo Mumbia, StudySmarterFig. 1 - Tardeo at night. This Mumbai neighbourhood is one of the wealthiest in India

Impacts of development in India

Until around 1990, India's government played a central role in economic development decisions. With the government largely controlling how the economy grew, businesses could not thrive and with outdated farming techniques in the villages, India became associated with poverty and starvation. And then...

  1. The 'Green Revolution' brought modern farming techniques and better seeds, helping boost how much food India could grow. India became a food exporter and could mostly feed its own people.
  2. The government loosened its grip and let people run their own businesses and form companies without much interference. Various economic sectors boomed, many people became millionaires and billionaires, and over 400 million people joined the middle and upper classes. India became an advanced country in high technology, manufacturing, the service sector, education.

Social impacts of development

Hundreds of millions of Indians remain in poverty. Today, close to 70% live in poverty, and 30% live in extreme poverty.

Let's look at some statistics. We call these indicators. This means that they can tell us what India's development level is.

For much more detail on this, you can read our articles Social Development of India and Economic Development of India.

Development of India, Street market Uttar Pradesh, StudySmarterFig. 2 - A street market scene in Uttar Pradesh state

Gross National Income (GNI) per head

This measures how much income an average person receives.

We get it by dividing the total income of the country by the population. In 1962, the GNI per head was 75 British pounds equivalent. This grew slowly until 2002 when it was around 380 pounds. After that, the GNI per head grew quickly and now is around 1750 pounds. This reflects annual economic growth of 5% to over 10%, which is two to three times what is considered good growth in the UK or US.

You should keep in mind that this is only an average. Development in India is uneven (see below). Many people receive far less, and many receive far more.

Infant mortality

This measures how many children die at birth. It indicates health conditions and level of social development. India's rate is around 30 infant deaths per 1,000 live births.

India has achieved a lot when you consider that in 1950, its infant mortality rate was 189/1,000. What is more, by 2100, the United Nations predicts that the rate will drop to just 5/1,000.

Life expectancy

India's life expectancy is 70, a massive increase from only 35 in 1950. Still, this only puts India at #191 in the world, meaning that 190 countries have higher expectancies and only 37 lower. Improved access to vaccines and antibiotics has greatly increased life expectancy.

People per doctor

The World Health Organization recommends one doctor per 1,000 people. India has around one per 1,400 people. Developed countries have over 3 per 1,000.

Literacy rate

India has made great strides in educating its people. Around 75% of Indians over the age of 15 can read and write: 82% of men and 68% of women. Compare this to the 1980s, only around 40% of Indian people were literate.

Access to safe water

Unsafe water means it is contaminated and dangerous to drink. This leads to many health problems. Now, after decades of improvements, less than 15% of Indians don't have clean water. However, this still means that 160 million people are without a source of safe water for drinking.

Environmental impacts of development

How does India's 1.4 billion people interact with the natural environment, and how are they affected by climate change?

In urban and rural areas, contamination has worsened from industrial pollutants, agricultural chemicals, and other sources. More people and more economic activity have led to more pollution. India is one of the world's top food producers, but climate change could cause wetter crop areas to dry out. Droughts could cause devastating damage. Even the Ganges River, a water source for hundreds of millions, is not safe, because much of its water comes from the Himalayan glaciers, and these are melting fast.

You can read more about these problems in our article Environmental Development in India.

Development of India, Oshiwara River contamination Mumbai, StudySmarterFig. 3 - The Oshiwara River in Mumbai

India also has many environmental solutions. India has more environmental groups than any other country an is legendary for its tree-planting efforts. It has a strong national parks system that protects its important and famous animals and plants. Environmental laws are very strict in India.

For many visitors to India, the worst effect of development they will see is air pollution in the major cities. The National Capital Region is one of the most polluted urban areas in the world, and the air is often dangerous to breathe. The main polluters are automobiles, cooking fires, dust, and industrial emissions.

Birth rate and death rate in India

India's birth rate dropped from 44/1,000 people in 1950 to just 17/1,000 in 2022, or a 1.2% drop per year. It is projected to keep dropping. This works out to a fertility rate (average children born per woman) drop from six to a little over two. At the same time, thanks to modern medicine, the death rate dropped from 28/1,000 to 7.3/1,000. This all works out to a current population increase rate of about 1%, meaning India adds around 11 million new people to the world population every year.

Uneven development in India

India has poorer and richer regions. Let's take a brief look at why.

Development of India, Tilling a field traditionally in Tamil Nadu, StudySmarter Fig. 4 - Traditional farming in Tamil Nadu state

The biggest factor in India's uneven development is the divide between rural areas and urban areas. States like Uttar Pradesh, which has over 200 million people, are mostly rural, which means much lower development indicators than states that are mostly urban and industrial.

There are many reasons why India's farmers are poorer than its city dwellers. Here are a few:

  • It is harder to provide services to areas that are spread out and sometimes difficult to reach, compared to cities. Cities have many education, health, and job sites nearby.
  • Jobs in cities pay more than what farmers can earn.
  • Different cultures in rural areas versus cities. Rural areas are more traditional than cities, so people may not accept change as easily, even if it means better and faster development.
  • The caste system may be stronger in rural areas. Low-caste people have difficulty getting good jobs.

Development of India - Key takeaways

  • India is a country of 1.4 billion growing around 1% a year; it is projected to become the world's largest country before 2030.
  • India has made many advances in its human development since 1950, as measured by various indicators. It has gone from a country stricken by famine to a Newly Emerging Economy in the middle of the world's countries in health, education, and income.
  • Though India's rapid economic development has harmed the environment, the country has many environmental groups, parks, and environmental laws.
  • India's birth rate is around 17/1,000 and its death rate is 7.3/1,000.
  • India suffers from uneven development, in which rural states are much less developed than urbanized and industrial states.

Frequently Asked Questions about Development of India

India's tropical climates make it favorable for agriculture, while its location along a major maritime trade route gives it good access to world markets.

India is centrally located between Europe, the Middle East, and Africa to the west, and eastern Asia and the Pacific to the west, which means its development has benefited from the trade that moves between these areas.

India's economic and social indicators have improved greatly since 1950, but almost 70% of the population still lives in poverty. India no longer suffers from famine, and its very high rate of economic growth and relatively low rate of population growth means that every year, there is more income available. Environmentally, India's population, industrial development, and urbanisation have contributed to many environmental problems, including air pollution.

Yes, India is a developing country ranked as a NEE (Newly Emerging Economy).

India still has almost 70% of its population in poverty and has many social and environmental indicators that rank it toward the middle to the low end of the world's countries. These include life expectancy, ratio of doctors to population, GNI per head, and others.

Final Development of India Quiz

Question

What country will India pass in population in the next few years?

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Answer

China

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Question

Uttar Pradesh is an example of uneven development because ________.

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Answer

it is a predominantly rural state.

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Question

(True or False) The caste system is not really an issue anymore in India.

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Answer

False. Though discrimination based on the caste system is not legal, it is still practiced. 

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Question

What Indian urban area is one of the largest in the world?

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Answer

National Capital Region, which contains Delhi and New Delhi.

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Why are India's cities so polluted?

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Answer

They are polluted from cooking fires, industry, emissions from vehicles, dust, solid waste (rubbish), and other sources.

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Question

Why is the GNI per head not an accurate indicator of India's development?

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Answer

Because it only measures an average, whereas many Indians received far less than this, while others receive far more. (It also doesn't tell you how much an average Indian can buy with that amount of money.)

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Why is life expectancy an important development indicator?

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Answer

Because it tells you a lot about the state of health in a place. In general, the higher a country's life expectancy, the higher its level of development.

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Question

If a country's birth rate is higher than a country's death rate in a given year, what happens to a population?

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Answer

The population grows.

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Why is India slated to be the world's most populous country in a few years?

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Answer

Because its population is growing faster than the population of the world's largest country now, China.

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Question

What is the capital of India?

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Answer

Kolkata

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What is the difference between Delhi and New Delhi?

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Delhi refers to the entire metropolitan area that consists of 11 districts. New Delhi is the capital of India and is one of the 11 districts of Delhi.

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Why did India's population grow so rapidly during the 20th century?

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Answer

Because of high fertility and high birth rates

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Question

True or False:

The Deccan plateau is flanked by the Vindhyachal Mountain Range.

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Answer

True

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Which river in India is considered "most sacred" by Hindus?

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Answer

Indus River

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How many climatic seasons are there in India?

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Answer

1

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What controls the climate in India?

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Answer

The land

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True or False:

The SW monsoon brings most of India's annual rainfall.

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Answer

False

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What is the official language of India?

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Answer

Hindi, but English is the subsidiary official language. 

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TRUE or FALSE: 

India's economy grew rapidly because of the economic liberalisation policies implemented in 1991.

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Answer

True

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Question

What was the average annual growth of India's economy between 2000-2010?

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Answer

3%

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Question

Which countries were part of the BRICS?

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Answer

Brazil, Romania, India, China, South Africa

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Question

The largest proportion of India's population is employed in the ___________ and ____________ sectors.

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Answer

Tourism and banking

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Question

Prominent current environmental issues in India are surrounding              , air and water                ,                of the natural environment and waste management. 

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Answer

Pollution

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True or False: the lack of capacity to treat the amount of sewage is due to the closed government-owned treatment plants with a lack of staff and electricity.

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Answer

True

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What does water pollution cause to people?

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Answer

Polluted water causes unhygienic conditions and affects the livelihood of residents. 

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True or false.

Coal and oil are primarily used for fuel, along with biomass burning, vehicle emissions and traffic congestion leading to India having a serious issue with air pollution. 

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Answer

True

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Question

What is the Asian brown cloud? 

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Answer

A layer of air pollution that covers parts of South Asia.

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Question

What is the solution to vehicle emissions adding to air pollution in India? 

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Answer

The government has introduced schemes to support electric and hybrid vehicles and is testing cleaner fuels for buses.

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Question

Desertification is                             .


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Answer

a process of spreading desert conditions in arid conditions caused by natural and human activity

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Why does deforestation happen in India?

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Answer

Deforestation is happenings in India due to making space for agriculture and reservoirs, logging, urbanisation and forest fires. 

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What are the problems of landfills not being managed well in India?

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Answer

Both

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Question

Many of its cities such as Dehli, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai have exhausted their              resources.


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Answer

groundwater

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Which of the below is NOT used to measure social development?

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Answer

age

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In which stage is India of the demographic transition model?

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Answer

Stage 3

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Which of the below is NOT helping India's rise in life expectancy?

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Answer

Gender inequality

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With the _____ and _____ industries growing, more of the population became middle class.

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secondary, tertiary

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Why is literacy important for social development?

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Answer

Literacy is important in social development as being able to read and write is vital for comprehending and communicating, which is needed for human development.

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Which of the below has NOT contributed to the rising numbers of adult literacy?

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Answer

More libraries

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Which of the below did the Constitution of India not implement to help literacy amongst citizens?

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Answer

Foreign exchanges of students with other countries 

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Question

India was particularly strong in the areas of              and              according to the human development index.

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Answer

life expectancy, schooling

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Question

Which of the below are NOT areas of potential for social development in India?

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Answer

higher life expectancy

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Question

TRUE or FALSE: The gender gap is the difference in how men and women are treated in society. This can be seen in the rights each person has, the access to opportunities, and the benefits that are given.

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Answer

True

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Question

What does NEE mean?

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Answer

New emerging enterprise

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TRUE or FALSE: India is the world's largest vaccine supplier in terms of doses produced and sold.

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Answer

True

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Question

What event in the 1960s improved India's agricultural technology?

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Answer

Industrial Revolution

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Question

Which statement is FALSE?

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Answer

Globalisation in India was facilitated by changes in government policies.

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TRUE or FALSE: India's GDP has grown 4 times since 2004/2005.

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Answer

True

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TRUE or FALSE: India has one of the lowest GDPs per capita in the world.

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Answer

True 

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Question

What was India's unemployment rate as of August 2022?

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Answer

8.3%

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Question

Which Indian state is the most economically developed?

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Answer

Rajasthan

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