POPULATION: India has a population of 1.2 billion and is predicted to be the most populated country in the world within the next 2 decades.
RELIGION: Hinduism 80.5%, Islam 13.8%, Christianity 2.3%, Sikhism 1.9%, Jainism and Buddhism 1.5%
West Bengal: The province where RHCCC P.E.A.C.E. teams have been ministering: Population – 91 millions-72.5% Hindus, 25% Muslims and the rest are Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsees, Jains etc. Kolkata, the capital city, has 15 millions.
India has the largest Unreached People Groups of 2,325
ECONOMY: Predominantly agricultural with a labour force 64% but rapid industrialization and urbanization is taking place. Is one of the world leaders in computer software production seen mainly in the southern part of India. Economic growth accelerated in 1990 but has been offset by high birth rate, inflation, illiteracy, caste system, widespread corruption and bureaucratic inefficiency.
POLITICS: India became independent from the rule of Britain in 1947. It is the world’s largest democracy yet being strongly influenced by the Hindu extreme national movements. This has also shaped the power structure politically and the two dominant political powers are INC and BJP with INC leading the federal government for most years since independence.
PROSTITUTION: Prostitution is legal in India but activities such as soliciting in public places, managing brothels, pimping and human trafficking are crimes. The largest red light districts are Sonagachi in Kolkata, Kamathipura in Mumbai, G.B Rd in New Delhi, Kashmiri Market in Agra, Reshampura in Gwalior and BudwarPeth in Pune has thousands of sex workers. These are common places for international sex tourism. Children are preferred over adults for sexual exploitation. In India there are approximately 3 million women prostitutes and 1.2 million are under 18 years of age.
CHILD LABOUR: India has more than 440 million children. More than 60 million children are actively in many forms of labour such as in agriculture, carpet, bricks, mines, hotels, restaurants, domestic help, construction, fireworks, leather, factories and sex trade. Over 50% of children are subjected to some form of physical, sexual and emotional abuse. According to statistics, 50.6% children are sexually abused.
HUMAN TRAFFICKING: Although human trafficking is illegal in India, it is a significant problem. In India people are trafficked for purposes of commercial sexual exploitation, forced or bonded labour. Eighty percent of human trafficking victims are women and children and half are minors.
POVERTY: One in three of the world’s poorest people live in India despite a growing economy. The poorest states or provinces are West Bengal, Jharkhand, Orissa and Bihar where almost 50% of the population live below poverty line. An income of less than $1.25 per day per head is defined as extreme poverty. By this estimate, about 40% of Indians are extremely poor. The poor face challenges to provide food for themselves and family and health care and education is an unattainable dream for many indians.
The apostle Thomas was known to have travelled and shared the gospel in Muzris, Kerala in 52 AD. This is in the southern part of India which has more Christians than the northern parts. Roman Catholicism was brought to India by the Portuguese, Italians and Irish Jesuits whereas Protestantism was brought by British and American missionaries. The Portuguese established a settlement in Bandel, Hooghly district in West Bengal and the Bandel Church, perhaps the first church, was built in 1599. William Carey went to work as a missionary to India in 1793 and founded the Baptist Missionary Society in Serampore in West Bengal.