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India - Overview

Capital: New Delhi

Population: 1,080,264,388 (July 2005 est.)

Languages: English enjoys associate status but is the most important language for national, political, and commercial communication; Hindi is the national language and primary tongue of 30% of the people although there are 14 other official languages

Religions: Hindu 81.3%, Muslim 12%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.9%, other groups including Buddhist, Jain, Parsi 2.5% (2000)

Currency: Indian rupee (INR)

Timezone: GMT+5.5

India is a country of diverse religions and cultures with total area of 3.28 million sq. kms. The northern part of Indian subcontinent is separated from other parts of Asia by Himalayan wall of mountains. It touches the Indian Ocean in south, Bay of Bengal in the east and Arabian Sea in the west. This also offers a great sea route for trading with a coastline of about 7000 kms.

Indian civilization dates back to 4000 B.C. Different rulers ruled it as a series of smaller kingdoms than as a country across centuries. The impact of this diversity can easily be seen in diverse cultures, castes and languages of its citizens. India got its independence from the British rule in 1947 A.D. and has 29 states and 6 Union territories at present.

The total boundary for India is 14,103 kms. It shares its borders with Pakistan (2,912 kms), China (3,380 kms), Bangladesh (4,053 kms), Nepal (1,690 kms), Burma (1,463 kms) and Bhutan (605 kms).

India represents about 15 % of the world's population. It stands second after China in this regard. It is a very densely populated country with only 2% of the total world's land. About 80% of these are Hindus, 10% are Muslims and Buddhists, while Sikhs, Jains and Christians make up for the rest.

India has a large number of rivers that makes agriculture a major occupation for about two-third of its population. Hindi is the national language whereas English is associate official and a major language of trade and service sector. There are 18 other official languages and about 37 total spoken languages.

India is politically very active with several national and regional political parties. It is a Democratic country and the poll period is 5 years. Supreme Court of India is the final word for the judicial system with a series of High courts and District courts to cover up the entire country. India is the world's largest democracy.

India experienced extensive liberalization after 1991 when government turned from public to private sectors for investments and controls. As a result of this, Indian economy experienced a positive strong growth. This made India a coveted destination for foreign direct and portfolio investment. A growth in well-educated skilled professionals who have a good command over written and verbal English has made India a major exporter of software services and software professionals. The only major consideration for its environmental, social and economic problems still remains its huge and ever growing population.

The major economic factors for India are:

Currency: 1 INR = 100 paise

Fiscal year: April 1 - March 31

Central Bank: Reserve Bank of India (RBI)

Inflation rate: 4.2%

Gross Domestic Product (GDP):

GDP at PPP (Purchasing Power Parity): $3.319 trillion

GDP real growth rate: 6.2%

Production: Agriculture (GDP 23.6%), Industries (GDP 28.4%)

Services contribute about 48% of its GDP.

Unemployment rate: 9.2%

Major Imports: $89.33 billion f.o.b (2003); include crude oil, machinery, fertilizer, chemicals etc.

Major Exports: $69.18 billion f.o.b; include textile goods, engineering products, gems and jewelery, leather manufactures

Major Trade partners: USA, China, UK, Belgium, Hong Kong, Germany, Singapore etc.

Read more about this country

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