Divorce soars in India's middle classDivorce soars in India's middle class
Divorce rates are soaring among India's newly affluent middle classes, as working women with independent incomes refuse to submit to the traditional ideal of marriage. Cases in New Delhi have doubled in five years to a projected figure of 8,000 for 2005, with similar rises seen in Calcutta, Bombay and Bangalore. Most marriages are still arranged by the parents, with the bride and groom meeting on only two or three occasions before the ceremony. The bride is expected to move into her husband's house where - for the first four or five years at least - the couple get to know each other under guidance of their joint or extended family. But a new breed of independently-minded women is often not well-adapted to this role. The virtues of individualism and self-reliance that are prized by employers who are vying for the services of bright young graduates do not sit easily with the accepted role of a Hindu wife. In Bangalore, India's showcase tech-city, where women work in call centres and as IT managers, the number of divorces tripled between 1988 and 2002.
Sharp rise in India's growth rate
The Indian economy grew faster than expected in the first part of 2005 on the back of a sharp rise in industrial exports and buoyant domestic demand. India's economy grew 8.1% in the three months to June, well ahead of the 7% rise seen in the previous quarter. Rapid growth in manufacturing and business services, such as outsourcing, offset a small rise in agriculture. India's huge industrial capacity and growing affluence have made it one of the world's fastest-growing economies. Growth in the first quarter of the year was driven by the manufacturing sector, which expanded by more than 11% on an annualised basis. We expect India's growth to remain on track for a superior, sustainable expansion. Businesses were able to withstand the impact of higher energy costs, thanks to booming demand for products and infrastructure in India.