A quarter of all married couples in India do not have a room of their own and are forced to share a bedroom with their parents, in-laws or children, according to a survey on living conditions in the country. The research, by the government's National Sample Survey Organisation, is the most comprehensive on the subject and looks at urban and rural India to see how patterns of living and consumption have changed over the past 10 years. In urban slums, nearly 44 per cent of married couples have to share a room with other adults and children because this is all that millions of poor families can afford to rent. The implications for these couples are obvious - a frustrating and difficult sex life with virtually no privacy, although most of them appear to cope remarkably well because the population in India is booming. For a child's psychological development, however, the impact of being exposed prematurely to their parents' sexual activity is a different matter. 'It's difficult to know precisely what young or teenage children see going on with their parents unless they are adversely affected and come to us later in life with psychological problems. 'But such exposure is not recommended as children can find it disturbing,' said New Delhi child psychologist Taruna Puri. Most psychologists, however, say such living conditions appear to do Indian children no harm at all. After all, they say, this is how poor Indian families have lived for generations and they will continue to do so for another few generations. Privacy is an alien concept in Indian social life except among the affluent because space is a luxury that most cannot afford. Most Indians spend their whole lives living in close quarters with families and neighbours. The survey, completed in 2002 but released recently, paints a bleak picture of life in India's rural regions that throws a question mark over the nation's recently stated ambitions to become a superpower. It showed that for rural Indians, life has barely improved in the past decade. Only 26 per cent of people in rural India have a television, 6 per cent a telephone, 4 per cent a fridge, less than 1 per cent a washing machine and only 0.6 per cent a computer.