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December 2004



India is located in Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, surrounded by Burma, China and Pakistan. Although India occupies only 2.4% of the world's land area, it supports over 15% of the world's population. Only China has a larger population. Almost 40% of Indians are younger than 15 years of age. About 70% of the people live in more than 550,000 villages, and the remainder in more than 200 towns and cities.

India's population continues to grow at about 1.8% per year and is estimated at one billion. While its GDP is low in dollar terms, India has the world's 13th-largest GNP. About 62% of the population depends directly on agriculture. Industry and services sectors are growing in importance and account for 26% and 48% of GDP, respectively, while agriculture contributes

about 25.6% of GDP. More than 35% of the population live below the poverty line, but a large and growing middle class of 150-200 million has disposable income for consumer goods.

CIA World Factbook; U.S. State Department Background Notes, 03/2000