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India - Overview


OUR WORLD IS HOME TO 6 BILLION PEOPLE. Nowhere in the explored region of the universe, such a unique place as our planet Earth exists. The elements of life: air, water, land and others abundantly found in our planet sustain the human population and myriad other living species. No wonder, poets and sages down the centuries have sung praises of the Mother Earth while scientists struggle to explore her seemingly incomprehensible ways and nature.

The origin of our Earth remains till today a matter of academical debate. Scientists, geologists and spiritual faiths advance separate versions of theory of origin of the planet. Whichever theory is true, it is irrefutable that our earth has undergone a tremendous change physically and environmentally. Men have evolved to a great degree to be able to control or in most cases to adapt to the natural forces.

With the cognitive prowess men are gifted with, they have overcome the difficulties nature has imposed on them and in the process have mastered techniques to manage them. Men have landed on the moon, explored the deepest ocean floor, fly in the air, travel as fast as the speed of sound, communicate through any measure of distance and accomplished many other things that defy the natural limitations.

Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the fifth largest. The physical dimensions are:

Orbit: 149,600,000 km (1.00 AU) from Sun
Diameter: 12,756.3 km
Mass: 5.9736e24 kg

71% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water. The Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean and the Arctic Ocean constitute a major body of water. Liquid water is, of course, essential for life as we know it. The heat capacity of the oceans is also very important in keeping the Earth's temperature relatively stable. Liquid water is also responsible for most of the erosion and weathering of the Earth's continents, a process unique in the solar system today. The Earth’s atmosphere is 77% nitrogen, 21% Oxygen, with traces of argon, carbon dioxide and water. The tiny amount of carbon dioxide resident in the atmosphere at any time is extremely important to the maintenance of the Earth's surface temperature via the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect raises the average surface temperature about 35 degrees C above what it would otherwise be (from a frigid -21 C to a comfortable +14 C); without it the oceans would freeze and life as we know it would be impossible. Based on the continuity of the landmass, there are seven continents: Asia, Europe, South America, North America, Africa, Australia and Antarctica.

The Earth is divided into several layers which have distinct chemical and seismic properties (depths in km):

0- 40 Crust
40- 400 Upper mantle
400- 650 Transition region
650-2700 Lower mantle
2700-2890 D'' layer
2890-5150 Outer core
5150-6378 Inner core

The crust varies considerably in thickness, it is thinner under the oceans, thicker under the continents. The inner core and crust are solid; the outer core and mantle layers are plastic or semi-fluid. Most of the mass of the Earth is in the Mantle, most of the rest in the core; the part we inhabit is a tiny fraction of the whole (values below x 10^24 kilograms):
Atmosphere = 0.0000051
Oceans = 0.0014
Crust = 0.026
Mantle = 4.043
Outer core = 1.835
Inner core = 0.09675

There are about 200 countries in the world of which 189 are the members of the United Nations. The countries have their own flags, system of government and freedom of decision making in regard to matters of their national security, economy and administration. The United Nations Organization endeavours to protect the interests of every member country from threat, aggression and exploitation by another country and at times of crisis between the States, it intervenes to resolve them amicably. When a deviant nation defy norms of peaceful international relations with potentials of upsetting the power balance of the world the UN takes upon itself the task of reforming the erring state by diplomacy, mediation and in extreme cases by military means. In spite of the UN’s objective of bringing about an equal and just world, the reality is far from true. Deep inequalities are evident in areas of the nations’ wealth, influence and political say in the world order. The world continues to be dominated by few nations with deep pockets and military strength.

Population of the world has reached the six billion milestone. On October 12, 1999, the United Nations Population Fund estimated the world's population reached six billion, celebrating the occasion as the "Day of 6 Billion". At two minutes past midnight, a male baby born in Bosnia was symbolically designated the world's six billionth person by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. According to the US Census Bureau, the world population reached the 6 billion mark on July 19, 1999, at about 12:24:02 am GMT (July 18 at 8:24:02 pm EST). Every minute there are an estimated 250 births and 103 deaths in the world, which equals an increase of 147 people every sixty seconds. China has the highest population with 1,482,261,832 people followed closely by India.

World Population Reached :
1 billion in 1804
2 billion in 1927 (123 years later)
3 billion in 1960 ( 33 years later)
4 billion in 1974 ( 14 years later)
5 billion in 1987 ( 13 years later)
6 billion in 1999 ( 12 years later)
World Population May Reach :
7 billion in 2013 ( 14 years later)
8 billion in 2028 ( 15 years later)
9 billion in 2054 ( 26 years later)

Different groups of people in the world follow different faiths. The different religions of the world in order of the number of adherents are:

Christianity: 2 billion
Islam :1.3 billion
Hinduism : 900 million
Secular/ Nonreligious/ Agnostic/Atheist : 900 million
Buddhism : 350 million
Chinese traditional religion : 225 million
primal-indigenous : 190 million
Yoruba religion : 20 million
Juche : 19 million
Sikhism : 18 million
Spiritism : 14 million
Judaism : 13 million
Babi & Baha'i faiths : 6 million
Jainism : 4 million
Shinto : 4 million
Cao Dai : 3 million
Tenrikyo : 2.4 million
Neo-Paganism : 1 million
Unitarian-Universalism :800 thousand
Scientology : 750 thousand
Rastafarianism : 700 thousand
Zoroastrianism : 150 thousand


The economy of the world is rather lopsided with a pocketful of developed countries controlling the economic landscape. The USA has been on a bullish growth trajectory reaching unprecedented economic boom in the last decade. On the other hand countries of the third world have further gone down in a sweep of corporate-led unequal economic regime. Globalization has further deepened the unequal growth. In many cases, international political interests have led to a diversion of available resources from domestic needs to western markets. No wonder voices of dissent have emerged decrying the pro rich economic order of the world and the “globalization” which have cemented it.

According to The Annual Report 2000 of the World Bank, economic progress is evident in regions of the world but obstacles still remain. Africa’s advances cannot keep pace with poverty, as conflict persists and HIV/AIDS continues its ravage of the continent’s working-age people as well as of its children. Recovery in crisis-hit East Asia was better than expected, and the crisis’ social impact less than feared, but an overhang of domestic bad debt clouds the picture.

South Asia continued to lead the developing world in growth but poverty remains entrenched, and conflict situations are diverting public resources. Eastern Europe is facing challenges of poverty and inequality that were unknown a decade ago. Inequality also mars Latin American and Caribbean nations’ economic and social landscape; in addition, these countries fell victim to natural disasters during the year. The numbers of poor are also rising in the Middle East and North Africa region, where, despite economic advances, high unemployment persists.

As the world shrink owing to information technology and transportation breakthroughs, the world has become a global village. Then, it is quite natural that the world today faces some common issues, some of them crying for prompt redressal.

Environment related issues have been in the eye of storm over the last some years. Global warming, air pollution, ecological disturbance and their escalation due to rich nations are in sharp focus. Ballooning population and the resultant stress on resources, environment and society are causes of worry. Blatant human rights violations are reported from hot spots from different parts of the world. Gender inequality is deeply entrenched in almost all society. In spite of the constitutional safeguards to discourage discrimination based on the colour of the skin, racism still hogs the headlines of news.

Poverty however retains its position as the most worrying issue in the world today. To understand the gravity of the issue, consider the following facts:

Half the world -- nearly three billion people -- lives on less than two dollars a day.
The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the poorest 48 nations (i.e. a quarter of the world's countries) is less than the wealth of the world's three richest people combined.
51 percent of the world's 100 hundred wealthiest bodies are owned by corporations.
The wealthiest nation on earth has the widest gap between rich and poor of any industrialized nation.
20% of the population in developed countries consumes 86% of the world’s consumer goods.
The few hundred millionaires now own as much wealth as the world’s poorest 2.5 billion people.
The 48 poorest countries account for less than 0.4% of global exports.

The need of the hour is solidarity and unity, unity that overlooks the narrow confines of geographical boundaries. Unity that recognizes the fact that we all are members of the mankind. unity to preserve our beautiful planet with all her trees, birds, ocean and air in harmony. Unity to see a better tomorrow instead of a common tragedy brought by war and hatred. The hope lives....

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