Home > Special report, part one: the women of India's slums
Special report, part one: the women of India's slums
Bundles of filthy string hang from bars on her only window. Sacks of clothes are piled high in the corner. Outside, in the alley below, untreated sewage and anonymous grey liquids seep through the stones. Incense sticks dry in the sun. Handmade benches are varnished in the street next to stalls crammed with pineapple and watermelon. Cows wander past waste dumps, barefoot children, colourful rickshaws and rusting bicycles. There is nothing in the surrounding slums to hint at Bangalore's reputation as India's Silicon Valley.
1984, 17 out of 20 people in India lived on the equivalent of less than $2 a day and more than 50% lived on less than $1.25 a day – the international threshold for poverty. By 2004, there were still 300 million Indians living in dire poverty.
India has experienced rapid growth since 1991, which still stands at about 8%, but there has been little significant reduction in poverty or hunger.
"In Bangalore, the prosperity is very much linked to IT and the service sector," says Chiranjib Sen, professor of economics at Azim Premji University in Bangalore.
"These IT jobs are very well paid but there are few of them and the IT sector cannot integrate huge numbers of people. It is a magnet of growth but can be a great spreader of inequality. In many ways Bangalore is a make-believe modern city," Sen explains.