India today boasts one of the world’s fastest growing and most vibrant economies, but the benefits of economic growth have yet to reach the one third of India’s people still living on less than 1 US dollar per day.
Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) has a population of over 16 million inhabitants, of whom 2.5 million live on the streets and in slums.
Kolkata is a sprawling, raucous, fascinating city, buzzing with enormous energy and vitality. As the capital of West Bengal, the city is famous for its thriving cultural scene, its cuisine and the warmth and friendliness of its inhabitants. It has a prestigious history as the former capital of the British Raj, and headquarters of the East India Company.
However, in recent decades Kolkata's infrastructure has been stretched to breaking point, with massive urban migration from neighbouring rural areas and Bangladesh. These extremely poor newcomers live amongst piles of rubbish in shacks and hovels made of corrugated tin, cardboard, and discarded tarpaulins. Disease is endemic in Kolkata’s poorer communities and malnutrition is increasing as food prices rise.
India has 20% of the world's population, of which 40% are malnourished.
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