There seem to be a huge number of social problems in India.
Slavery still exists in parts of India and, in fact, half of the world's slaves (about 15 million people) are located in India. Source: http://in.reuters.com/article/2013/10/16/slavery-index-idINDEE99F0DN20131016
About 3,000 children die of starvation in India EACH DAY. That means over 1 million per year. Source: http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/02/16/10424930-indias-hunger-shame-3000-children-die-every-day-despite-economic-growth?lite
There is a huge amount of poverty in India and recently the world has learned that about 500 million Indians do not even have indoor bathrooms. Source: http://www.kmsnews.org/news/2014/06/02/50-percent-of-indias-population-defecates-in-the-open-unicef.html
One of the big problems is that the Indian government - which is supposed to be a democracy - does not seem to care. Here is a very strange story in which the government of India seems to be attacking international charity organizations who oppose pollution in that country. The government seems to feel that these charities are bad for Indian businesses.
Vocabulary to help you understand the article:
to oppose something - to be against something
a charity - an organization that tries to help people without making a profit
slavery - when people are forced to work for little or no money and they are not free to leave their situation
starvation - dying from a lack of food
poverty - not having enough money to live according to basic standards
pollution - when the air or water becomes dirty
a Greenpeace activist - Greenpeace is an organization that wants to protect the environment. An activist is someone who tries to change things and make them better.
a protest - when a group of people dislikes something and they join together in public to express their disapproval
cracking down/ to crack down on - if a government cracks down on something, they take very severe action against something to try to stop it.
alleging - claiming, stating
GDP - Gross Domestic Product, the amount of money a country makes
rallying communities against polluting industries - these organizations are encouraging communities to protest and fight against companies that are polluting the environment (to rally means to organize and encourage)
to serve as tools etc. - so the Indian government is saying that other governments are trying to harm Indian companies by pointing out that these companies pollute the environment
sparked a firestorm of debate - caused a lot of arguments among Indians as to whether the government should be doing this. To spark something is to cause something. a firestorm..as if it is raining fire. debate - arguments.
until they are cleared - until they are declared 'OK'
they called the allegations ludicrous - an allegation is a claim that someone or some group did something wrong. To be ludicrous means to be so inaccurate or wrong that it is funny. So the charities are saying that the report is ridiculous and that they are not harming the economy of India. It seems that the companies that are polluting the environment do not want these organizations to rally people against the pollution that is being caused.