India now has 410 million people living below the U.N. estimated poverty line of $1.25 a day.
The latest official estimates show the poverty rate has risen to over 37 percent of the population… a ten percent increase in the past six years.
In New Delhi, thousands of slum dwellers live in cheek-by-jowl shanties next to a stinking sewer with piles of garbage strewn all around.
People like Meena, a slum resident and mother of four, have failed to reap the benefits of India's economic growth.
[Meena, Slum Resident]: (Hindi, female)
"Poor will always remain poor and backward. How can the poor progress when everything is getting so expensive? For the poor providing food for the children is a massive job, any progress or improvement in the life of the poor is out of question."
While India's economy is slowly recovering from a global recession, millions of poor in India are finding it difficult to cope with around 17 percent food price inflation.
[Gomti Devi, Slum Resident]: (Hindi, female)
"Everything is a struggle, everything is so expensive, it is very tough -- we are living on just one meal a day. We eat only in the evenings and have to forgo meals.”
Experts warn that unless economic growth trickles down to the masses, India's dream of playing a major role on the world stage will remain only a dream.
India has more than 220 million hungry and ranks 94th out of 119 countries in the Global Hunger Index.