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Last Updated: Monday, 5 February 2007, 00:03 GMT
Caste clouds India's high hopes
poll results
Indians want to see their country punch its weight around the world - but are worried the caste system is holding it back, a BBC poll suggests.

Almost two-thirds of respondents in the World Service poll said India being an economic superpower was important.

But 55% thought caste issues were still a "barrier to social harmony".

Visitors to BBC websites chose questions for the survey. A nationally representative sample of 1,616 Indians was interviewed in December.

The poll found that a majority (71%) are proud to be an Indian.

Most also thought it was important that India should be a political (60%) and military (60%) superpower.

A majority were optimistic about many aspects of the modern Indian state - more than half (55%) think the Indian justice system treats rich and poor people fairly, a statistic which some may find surprising given perceived failures in the police and courts.

Poll results

Nearly as many (52%) think being a woman is no barrier to success any more.

And the survey found that twice as many people (48%) would rather work for a private company than for the government (22%).

But on other topics respondents were less positive.

Forty-seven percent agreed that "corruption is a fact of life which we should accept as the price of doing business in today's world", although younger people were less tolerant of corruption than older people.

And if Indians are agreed on the need for India to be an economic superpower, they are less sure they are seeing the fruits of recent economic growth.

Asked whether India's economic growth over the past 10 years had benefited them and their families directly, exactly the same proportion (45%) said that it had, as disagreed.

One in two (50%) felt that "people in India don't take their religion seriously enough", while two in five (40%) believed that "young people have lost touch with their heritage and traditions".

In total 1,616 citizens in India were interviewed between 5-15 December 2006.

Polling was conducted for the BBC World Service by the international polling firm GlobeScan and its research partner in India. The margin of error is +/-2.5.

Poll results




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