India at a glance
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Capital: New Delhi
Located in South Asia, India is the seventh largest, and the second most populous country in the world. Home to the Indus Valley civilisation and known for its historic trade routes and vast empires, India is recognised for its commercial and cultural wealth. It is the centre of amalgamation of many religions and ethnicities which have shaped the country's diverse culture. Colonised by the United Kingdom from early eighteenth century, India became a modern nation state in 1947, after a struggle for independence that was remarkable for its largely non-violent resistance and is the most populous democracy in the world today.

Location: South Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Mynamar and Pakistan.

Geographic Coordinates: 20 00 N, 77 00 E

Border Countries: Afghanistan and Pakistan to the north-west; China, Bhutan and Nepal to the north; Myanmar to the east; and Bangladesh to the east of West Bengal. Sri Lanka is separated from India by a narrow channel of sea, formed by Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar.

Coastline: 7,516.6 km encompassing the mainland, Lakshadweep Islands, and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Climate: Mainly tropical in southern India but temperatures in the north range from sub-zero degrees to 50 degrees Celsius. There are well-defined seasons in the northern region: winter (Dec - Feb), Spring (Mar - Apr), Summer (May - Jun), Monsoons (Jul - Sep) and Autumn (Oct - Nov).

Area: total: 3,287,590 sq km

Land: 2,973,190 sq km

Water: 314,400 sq km

Natural Resources: coal, iron ore, manganese, mica, bauxite, titanium ore, chromites, natural gas, diamonds, petroleum, limestone, arable land.

Land Use: arable land: 48.83 per cent

Irrigated Land: 60.2 million hectares (2005-06)

Political Profile

Political System and Government:

The 1950 Constitution provides for a parliamentary system of Government with a bicameral parliament and three independent branches: the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. The country has a federal structure with elected governments in States.

Administrative Divisions: 29 States and 6 Union Territories.

Constitution: The Constitution of India came into force on 26th January 1950.

Executive Branch: The President of India is the Head of State, while the Prime Minister is the Head of the government and runs office with the support of the Council of Ministers who form the Cabinet.

Legislative Branch: The Federal Legislature comprises of the Lok Sabha (House of the People) and the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) forming both the Houses of the Parliament.

Judicial Branch: The Supreme Court of India is the apex body of the Indian legal system, followed by other High Courts and subordinate Courts.

Chief of State: President Shrimati Pratibha Patil (since 25 July 2007)

Head of Government: Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh (since 22 May 2004)

Demographic profile

Population: 1,147,995,904 (2008 est.)

Population Growth Rate:
1.578 per cent (2008 est.)

Ethnic Groups: Indo-Aryan 72 per cent, Dravidian 25 per cent, Mongoloid and other 3 per cent (2000)

Religions: Hindu 80.5 per cent, Muslim 13.4 per cent, Christian 2.3 per cent, Sikh 1.9 per cent, other 1.8 per cent, unspecified 0.1 per cent (2001 census)

Languages: Hindi is the national language and mother tongue of 30 per cent of the people. There are 21 other official languages. English is the preferred language for national, political, and commercial communication.

Literacy: Total population: 64.8 per cent (2001 census)

Male: 75.3 per cent

Female: 53.7 per cent

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Economic Profile

Indian Economy

India's diverse economy comprises conventional village farming as well as modern agriculture, a wide range of modern industries and a large number of services and handicrafts. Services are the chief source of economic growth, accounting for more than half of India's output with less than one third of its labour force. The economy has registered an average growth rate of more than 7 per cent since 1997, reducing poverty by about 10 per cent. India achieved 8.5 per cent GDP growth in 2006, and again in 2007, considerably augmenting its gross production. India's chief strength comes from its large numbers of well-educated, skilled people, adept in the English language, helping India to become a major exporter of software services and software workers.

GDP at Factor Cost (constant prices-1999-2000) in 2008-09: US$ 660.16 billion (est.)

GDP at Factor Cost (current prices) in 2008-09: US$ 982.83 billion (est.)

Per Capita Income (constant prices) in 2008-09: US$ 505.44 (est.)

Per Capita Income (current prices) in 2008-09: US$ 750.13 (est.)

GDP Composition by Sector:

Services: 56 per cent
Agriculture: 18.5 per cent
Industry: 22 per cent

Forex Reserves: US$ 249.3 billion (in the week ended February 27, 2009)

Labour Force: 523.5 million (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed): 39 per cent of GDP (2008 est.)

Industrial Production Growth Rate: 8.9 per cent (2007-08)

Exports: US$ 144,266 million (April-January 2008-09)

Exports Commodities: mineral fuels, petroleum products, gems and jewellery, iron and steel, organic chemicals, nuclear reactors, heavy machinery.

Export Partners: US 12.71 per cent, UAE 9.59 per cent, China 6.64 per cent, Singapore 4.52 per cent, UK 4.11 per cent (2007-08)

Currency (code): Indian rupee (INR)

Exchange Rates: Indian rupees per US dollar - 1 USD = 50.77 INR (March 19, 2009)

Fiscal Year: 1 April - 31 March

Cumulative FDI Inflows: US$ 100,367 million (August 1991 to December 2008)

Top Investing Countries: Mauritius, Singapore, U.S.A, U.K, Netherlands, Japan, Germany, Cyprus, France and U.A.E.

Top Sectors Attracting Highest FDI Inflows: Services Sector, Computer Hardware and Software,Telecommunications, Construction Activities, Housing and Real Estate.

Transportation in India

Airports: 454
International Airports: Ahmadabad, Amritsar, Bangalore, Chennai, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi, Thiruvananthapuram.
Railways: total: 63,221 km (2006)
Roadways: total: 3,316,452 km
Waterways: 14,500 km (2008)
Major Ports of Entry: Chennai, Ennore, Haldia, Kolkata, Kandla, Kochi, Mormugao, Mumbai, New Mangalore, Paradip, Tuticorin and Vishakhapatnam.
Exchange rate used: 1 USD = 50.77 INR

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