India is located in South Asia and is the seventh largest country, geographically, in the world. Your research paper on India will also want to point out that it is the second most populated country, hosting over 1.2 billion people within its boarders. India research papers will often focus on a number of the countries most interesting features, such as:
- Taj Mahal
- Qutub Minar
- Humayun’s Tomb
Since India gained its political independence in 1947, the country has witnessed significant economic and social transformations. The application of modern scientific, technological, and managerial techniques has contributed to important expansions and diversifications in the country's bases of production. By the standards of much of the "developing" world, India has witnessed steady and remarkable rates of economic growth: only in four years since 1950 has positive economic growth not been noted. These relatively high rates of economic growth contributed to important social advances for the Indian people: life expectancy increased from 32 years at Independence to 61 years in 1998; infant mortality fell by half since the 1960s, to 71 deaths per thousand live births in 1999; and increased contraceptive use has helped lower the crude birth rate per thousand people from 40.8 in 1951 to 25.4 in 1998.
India's problems with poverty and inequality are attributable to a host of potential causes, some age-old and some decidedly contemporary. In part, India's problems are the direct results of the deeply entrenched and intractable system of social stratification that has long plagued that society. Organized since the fifth century B.C., India is referred to as a "caste" society, one where people are born into a particular position in the social hierarchy and remain there until death. Broadly speaking, India's caste system is comprised of five social strata, with the Brahmans-the priestly and intellectual religious elite-occupying the topmost tier, and the despised Harijan "untouchables" existing essentially as outcastes, direct or indirect contact with whom is perceived to be polluting by members of the higher castes.
Despite the rapid social and economic changes that have occurred in India during recent decades, caste-based prejudices continue to obstruct the possibilities for socioeconomic advancement for vast segments of the population and to lend legitimacy to grinding inequalities. India's relatively well-functioning democratic political system has proven rather ineffective at addressing old caste prejudices. Since Independence, India has evolved as the world's most populous democracy, with considerable freedoms of expression, a vibrant civil society, active nongovernmental organizations, and an involved electorate that enjoys considerable political and civil liberty. Indeed, most of the other "developing" countries that have witnessed relatively stable and long-lasting democratic systems of government-Costa Rica, Sri Lanka, Botswana, and certain former British Caribbean colonies-have populations that are considerably smaller. Although popular perceptions might suggest that democracy would bring more benefits to poor people, in terms of poverty alleviation democracy has produced rather mixed results in many developing countries: authoritarian regimes in South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan were rather more successful at attacking impoverishment and inequity.
For the four decades immediately following independence, India's strategies for economic development focused on state-led "import-substitution industrialization"-heavy government involvement in public enterprises to produce goods previously imported from abroad with the aim of improving the nation's economic self-sufficiency and increasing employment levels. These policies undoubtedly contributed to the significant improvements in economic growth and social welfare that the country witnessed during the period. However, import-substitution industrialization also contributed to repeated shortages of foreign exchange and made the national economy vulnerable to sudden shifts in international markets, especially to increases in the prices of petroleum, a large quantity of which India is forced to import.