India is a country known for its rich diversity of cultures. It is the seventh largest country in the world in terms of area. At 1.2 billion, India is the second most populous country in the world as well as the largest democracy. The country has a rich and colourful history with people of various ethnicities living in harmonious collaboration. Four of the world’s religions - Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism - originated here, with Christianity and Islam making their way into the country in the first millennium.
Today, India’s economy is the world’s third largest by purchasing power parity (PPP) and 11th largest by nominal gross domestic product (GDP). It has 29 states and seven union territories, and is a federal constitutional government run by a parliamentary system. India is fast becoming one of the prime industrialised nations in the world, on the back of rapid technological advances over the past decade. The country has a varied topography and climatic conditions which support its rich diversity of flora and fauna.
Location: India lies to the north of the equator in Southern Asia.
Latitude: 8° 4' to 37° 6' north
Longitude: 68° 7' to 97° 25' east
Neighbouring Countries: India share political borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan on the west while Bangladesh and Myanmar lie on the eastern borders. The northern boundary comprises the Xinjiang province (formerly Sinkiang) of China, Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan. Sri Lanka is another neighbouring country which is separated by a narrow channel of sea formed by the Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar.
Capital: New Delhi
Coastline: India’s total coastline is 7,516 kilometres (km) in length, which comprises 5,422 km for the mainland, 132 km for the Lakshadweep Islands, and 1,962 km for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Climate: The country’s varies significantly from the permanently snow-capped Himalayas in the north to the tropical south. It has four seasons. December to February is relatively dry and cool; March to May is dry and hot; from June to September, predominating southwest maritime winds bring monsoon rains to most of the country; and in October and November there are retreating dry monsoons originating from the northeast. Average temperatures range from 12.5° C to 30° C in the northwest, 17.5° C to 30° C in the north and northeast, and 22.5° C to 30° C in the south. Average annual rainfall is around 1,000-1,500 millimetres (mm) for most of the country, but can be quite low in some parts of the northwest (150-300 mm annually) and very high in the northeast and along the west coast (1,500-2,500 mm annually).
Area: India measures 3,214 km from north to south and 2,933 km from east to west with a total land area of 3,287,263 sq km.
Natural Resources: Coal (fourth-largest reserves in the world), iron ore, chromite, natural gas, magnesite, phosphorite, steatite, mica, bauxite, petroleum, manganese ore, apatite, titanium ore, limestone, arable land, dolomite, baryte, kaolin, gypsum, fluorite
Land: 2,973,190 sq km
Water: 314,070 sq km
Political System and Government: India implemented its Constitution in 1950 where it provided for a parliamentary system of government with a bicameral parliament and three independent branches: the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. India has a federal structure with elected governments in states.
Administrative Divisions: 29 States and 7 Union Territories
Constitution: The Constitution of India came into force on January 26, 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 forms the Cabinet.
Legislative Branch: The Federal Legislature comprises the Lok Sabha (House of the People) and the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) forming the Houses of 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, Mr Pranab Mukherjee (since July 25, 2012)
Head of Government: Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi (since May 26, 2014)
Population: 1,272,904,150 (March 2014 est)
Population Growth Rate: 1.58 per cent (March 2014 est)
Religions: Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism
Languages: Hindi, English and at least 16 other official languages
Literacy: Total population: 74.04 per cent (provisional data - 2011 census)
Male: 82.14 per cent
Female: 65.46 per cent
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Life expectancy:67.3 years (men) and 69.6 years (women) (January 2014 est)
India’s GDP growth is estimated at 5-6 per cent for FY 15 according to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) as compared to 5–5.5 per cent estimation by the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council for FY 14.
GDP Composition by Sector (2013 estimate)
Forex Reserves: US$ 309.444 billion in the week ended April 11 2014.
Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) at current prices: Gross Fixed Capital Formation in India increased to Rs 4,971.20 billion (US$ 81.25 billion) in the fourth quarter of 2013 from Rs 4,910.58 billion (US$ 80.26 billion) in the third quarter of 2013.
Value of Exports: The total value of exports in India was about US$ 25,634.08 million in April 2014. Exports in India reached an all-time high of US$ 30,541.44 million in March 2013.
Export Partners: US, Germany, China, UAE, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and the European Union. India is also tapping newer markets in Africa and Latin America.
Currency (code): Indian rupee (INR)
Exchange Rates: Indian rupees per US dollar; 1 USD = 61.19 INR (May 28, 2014)
Fiscal Year: 1 April-31 March
Cumulative FDI equity Inflows: Rs 1,108,091 crore (US$ 181.07 billion) (April 2000 - July 2014)
Share of Top Investing Countries FDI Equity Inflows: Mauritius, Singapore, UK, Japan, USA, Netherlands, Cyprus, Germany, France, and Switzerland (as on May 2014)
Major Sectors Attracting Highest FDI Equity Inflows: Services Sector, Construction Activities, Telecommunications, Computer Software and Hardware, Drugs and Pharmaceuticals, and Automobiles (as on May 2014)
Transportation in India
Airports: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) currently manages a total of 125 airports in the country. India is the ninth largest civil aviation market in the world and fourth in terms of domestic passenger volumes.
International airports: Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bengaluru, Calicut, Coimbatore, Chennai, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Imphal, Jaipur, Kochi, Kozikhode, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Mangalore, New Delhi, Nagpur, Port Blair , Srinagar, Thiruvananthapuram, Tiruchirapalli, Visakhapatnam.
Railways: The Indian Railways network covers 64,600 km spread across 7,146 stations, with more than 19,000 trains - 12,335 passenger and 7,000 freight trains - carrying 30 million travellers and 2.65 million tonnes of goods daily.
Roadways: India possesses the second largest road network in the world. At 4.7 million km, the network consists of expressways, state highways, national highways, major district roads and other roads. These roads carry about 80 per cent of passenger traffic and about 65 per cent of freight. National highways comprise 1.7 per cent of the road network, and carry 40 per cent of the total road traffic.
Waterways: 14,500 km (5,200 km on major rivers and 485 km on canals suitable for mechanised vessels)
Major Ports of Entry: Chennai, Ennore, Haldia, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), Kolkata, Kandla, Kochi, Mormugao, Mumbai, New Mangalore, Paradip, Tuticorin and Vishakhapatnam
Exchange Rate: INR 1 = US$ 0.0163 as on September 25, 2014
References: Press Releases, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)-The World Fact book, National Highways Authority of India website, Airports Authority of India (AAI) website, MOSPI Publication