04/27/09 - India is now in the midst of national elections. The nation's eligible voters go to the polls on five main days between April 16 and May 13.
At stake are Parliamentary seats. Following England's system, India's Parliament includes an upper and lower house. India's lower house is especially powerful. Whichever party or, more commonly, alliance of parties, holds a majority of its 545 seats gets to determine the next prime minister.
At present, India's two top parties—the ruling Congress Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party—are facing challenges from smaller regional parties no longer willing to ally with either one. That will make it harder for either main party to garner a governing majority. Elections results are uncertain.
With the vote's outcome cloudy, some observers are concerned about the effect of a potentially weak government on India's economy. Indian law mandates that a government be formed by June 2. If the winning parties cannot fashion a majority alliance, the government may have to call another election. This could erode investor confidence at a time when India's large economy is already in a slowdown.
The Economy and India's Citizens
Girl carrying a water jug in Akkampettai, India
Though India has one of the world's fastest growing economies, many of its almost 1.2 billion people remain impoverished. The Oscar-award-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire, filmed in Mumbai, exposed the depth of poverty faced by Indians living in urban slums. The precarious lives of Indians like those depicted in the film can hinge on the state of the economy.
But what happens at India's political center does not always directly or swiftly affect that country's poorest people. They have more immediate needs. Fortunately, SOS Children's Villages is on the ground to help vulnerable children and families.
SOS Children's Villages Helping Vulnerable Indian Children Since 1968
Children smiling at the SOS Children's Village Pondicherry in India
SOS Children's Villages, the world's largest charity devoted to providing loving homes to orphaned and abandoned children, runs 37 villages in India. SOS offers children warm homes, professionally trained SOS mothers, and an extensive support system that launches them into adulthood.
In addition to raising children in stable homes and communities, SOS runs schools and clinics for needy local populations. SOS also provides emergency relief to families devastated by disease or natural disasters.
If you would like to help a child in India secure a warm home, a full stomach, and a bright future, consider sponsoring an SOS child.