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13 things you probably never knew about India

Hair, pollution, whiskey and babies – there’s a lot going on in India.

INDIA IS ONE of the world’s largest economies, and it has the second largest population.

This means things in India tend to be fairly large-scaled — consider its network of roads, consumer spending, or its youth population. But it also experiences some problems on a large scale like suicides and road accidents.

We pulled together some staggering statistics from the sub-continent that you probably didn’t already know. If you did, well done smarty-pants.

India’s road network is long enough to loop around the Earth over 117 times

India’s road network totals 4.7 million kilometres and is the second largest in the world. Earth has a circumference of 40,075 kilometres.

Source: AP/Press Association Images

New Dehli’s air is the most polluted in the world

The World Health Organization found that New Delhi’s PM 2.5 — particulate matter that is 2.5 micrometers or less and that is dangerous for lungs — mean was 152 micrograms per cubic metre. This was nearly three times that of Beijing which has an annual mean of 59.

Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

The wettest place in the world is in India, and it averages about 40 feet of rain a year

While Cherrapunji, India, likes to advertise itself as the wettest place in the world, it is argued that a neighbouring town, Mawsynram, could in fact top it. On average, Mawsynram gets about 467.35 inches of rain per year, while Cherrapunji gets up 463.66 inches. Hawaii’s Mount Waialeale receives about 450 inches of rain each year.

Source: Mahesh Kumar A.

One person died on the roads in India every three minutes in 2012

India saw 138,258 people die in road collisions in 2012. But in terms of the number of deaths per 100,000, India’s road death rate equalled 18.9 for every 100,00 people, only slightly higher than the global average of 18.

Source: Rajesh Kumar Singh

India will become the world’s youngest country by 2020

By 2020, the median age in India will be 29. The population in the 15-34 age group is expected to rise from 430 million in 2011 to 464 million in 2021.

Source: Rajesh Kumar Singh

India consumes about half the world’s whiskey

India consumed about 1.2 billion litres of whiskey in 2012. While India is the world’s largest whiskey market by volume, on a per capita basis, France takes the top spot.

Source: whiskey image via Shutterstock

India exports over $415 million worth of hair a year

Hindus donate their hair in temples as a spiritual offering, especially those who can’t afford to donate money or jewellery. About 40,000 pilgrims are believed to donate their hair every day.

Source: AP/Press Association Images

India’s 25 richest people have a combined net worth of $174.8 billion, which is about as much as Ukraine’s GDP

Mukesh Ambani is India’s richest man and is worth $24.2 billion. Ukraine has a nominal GDP of $176.2 billion, according to the IMF.

Source: Lewis Whyld

About 25% of India’s land is turning into desert – that’s the equivalent of three United Kingdoms

Overuse and changing rainfall patterns have led to massive land degradation in India. Some 81 million hectares of land in the country face “desertification.” This has raised concerns about food security.

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Source: Press Association Images

India has the world’s largest dairy cow population

There were 44.9 million dairy cows in India in 2011 and about 260 dairy million cows in the world. Of the world’s dairy cows, 17.2% reside in India.

Source: Aijaz Rahi

India saw 371 suicides a day in 2012

In 2012, 135,445 people died by suicide in India, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). Suicide rates were the highest in Puducherry at 36.8 for every 100,000 people. Student suicides are a huge problem as well.

Source: AP/Press Association Images

India was the fourth most dangerous country for journalists last year

India saw 13 reporters killed in 2013, according to the International News Safety Institute (INSI). Syria and Iraq, both countries dealing with armed conflict, had the highest number of deaths, followed by the Philippines.

India Activist Killed Activist Narendra Dabholkar who edited a weekly magazine in the country was gunned down in August last year. Source: AP/Press Association Images

The most expensive home in India cost $1 billion to build, about the same as Somalia’s GDP

Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s home, Antilla, cost $1 billion to construct, making it the most expensive home in the world. Somalia has a GDP of $1.3 billion.

Source: Arun K. Mishra/Dinodia

- Mamita Badkar.

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