Form of Government: Federal republic
Area: 3 287 469 sq km
Population: 1 352 617 328 inhab. (estimate 2018)
Density: 411.45 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 37° - 8° N; long. 68° - 97° E
Capital: New Delhi (capital) 249 998 inhab. (2011); New Delhi (aggl. urb. Delhi) 16 349 831 inhab. (2011), urban agglomeration; New Delhi 28 514 000 inhab. (2018), metropolitan area
Currency: Indian rupee (100 paise)
Human development index: 0.647 (rank: 129)
President: Ram Nath Kovind (BJP), elected 17 July 2017
Prime Minister: Narendra Modi (BJP), since 26 May 2014
House of the People: seats based on the elections held from 11 April to 19 May 2019: NDA (National Democratic Alliance, guided by the BJP, People’s Party, Hindu nationalist), 353; UPA (United Progressive Alliance, guided by the INC, Congress Party, social democratic), 91; AITC (All India Trinamool Congress, Bengali social democratic), 22; Youth, Labour and Farmer’s Congress Party, 22; independents, 4; others, 50
Internet: mospi.nic.in (Ministry of Statistics)
Member of Commonwealth, EBRD, OAS observer, SAARC, SCO, UN, WTO
International license plate code IND
International dialling code 0091
Travel vaccinations requirement yellow fever (required only if traveling from a country with risk of transmission); malaria prophylaxis (recommended for some areas)
Electricity (Voltage) 230
Driving side left
Internet code .in
DST not applied
Annual average temperature (°C) New Delhi 24.7; Bangalore 23.6; Bombay=Mumbai 26.7; Calcutta=Kolkata 26.3; Madras=Chennai 28.7; Srinagar 13.2; Trivandrum 27.2
Average temperature in January/July (°C) New Delhi 13.5/31; Bangalore 20.5/23.5; Bombay=Mumbai 23.5/27.5; Calcutta=Kolkata 19.5/29; Madras=Chennai 25/31; Srinagar 1.5/24.5; Trivandrum 26.5/26
Daily sunshine hours in June/December (average) New Delhi 6/8; Bangalore 5/7; Bombay=Mumbai 5/9; Calcutta=Kolkata 5/8; Madras=Chennai 7/7; Srinagar 8/4; Trivandrum 4/8
Annual average precipitation (mm) New Delhi 781; Bangalore 920; Bombay=Mumbai 2084; Calcutta=Kolkata 1591; Madras=Chennai 1236; Srinagar 668; Trivandrum 1835
Days of rainfall (annual average) New Delhi 45; Bangalore 81; Bombay=Mumbai 72; Calcutta=Kolkata 103; Madras=Chennai 75; Srinagar 76; Trivandrum 133
Politics and current affairs
Second-class citizenship for Muslims was enshrined in law on 11 December 2019, which sparked an increase in clashes between the Hindu and Islamic communities. On 24 March 2020 Prime Minister Modi announced strict self-isolation measures to contain the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, throwing the informal economy that sustains so many Indians into crisis and forcing millions to leave the cities and return their places of origin. With over 7 million cases and more than 100 000 deaths at the beginning of October, the country is among the most afftected worldwide. A skirmish between Indian and Chinese soldiers along the Galwan valley on 15 June left dozens dead and ramped up tension between the two countries.
India comprises the whole of the Deccan peninsula, between the Bay of Bengal to the east and the Arabian Sea to the west, plus most of Hindustan (or Indo-Gangetic Plain). It is bordered by China, Nepal and Bhutan to the north, by Myanmar and Bangladesh to the north-east and by Pakistan to the west. There are three large natural sub-regions. The first is the Deccan Plateau, whose north-western part is made up of vast lava formations covered by regur (highly fertile soil suitable for cotton crops); to the east and west, the plateau is bordered by the Eastern and Western Ghats. The second region is the Indo-Gangetic Plain, formed by alluvial deposits. Lastly, to the north and north-east there are the hill and mountain ranges of the southern Himalayas. Ganges, Brahmaputra and Indus are the main rivers. Cut into two by the Tropic of Cancer, India has a monsoon climate.
India gained its independence on 15 August 1947. This followed a 60-year struggle by the Congress Party, led for many years by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948). However, Gandhi was not able to prevent this part of the British Empire being divided into two states: Pakistan (with a mainly Muslim population) and the Indian Union (where the population was mainly Hindu). In fact, on-going tensions between Hindus and Muslims led to a series of bloody clashes, followed by movements of large numbers of people (10 million Hindus from Pakistan to India and 7 million Muslims in the opposite direction). The differences between India and Pakistan culminated in 1947-1948 with the war over Kashmir, a region claimed by both countries. Other wars followed (1965-66, 1971) and a separatist guerrilla war supported by Pakistan, which also fuelled terrorist activities linked with Islamic fundamentalism. Relations between the two countries, which have both developed atomic weapons, have oscillated between attempts at dialogue and moments of fierce tension. Considerable border tension also occurred between India and China (that also possesses a part of Kashmir): the two countries clashed militarily in 1962 over control of Sikkim (annexed by India in 1975) and, furthermore, China lays claim to the Indian state of Arunāchal Pradesh.
India became a federal republic on 26 January 1950. For a long time power was detained by the family of the most important member of the Congress Party, Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister from 1947 to 1964, who was succeeded by his daughter, Indira Gandhi (1966-77; 1980-84), later the victim of an assassination. Her son, Rajiv Gandhi (1984-89), succeeded her, but was himself also assassinated in 1991. At this point, the Hindu fundamentalist party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), established itself as the main political force, under the guidance of Behari Vajpayee, by winning the 1998 elections. The 2004 elections restored to power the Congress Party, led by Sonia Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi’s wife, who delegated the role of Prime Minister to Manmohan Singh. Malaise at the economic management and corruption led to the victory of the BJP at the 2014 elections.
The Indian Union is made up of 29 states, each one with its own legislative assembly and government, and seven territories administered by the central government.
As well as in Jammu and Kashmīr, separatist movements are active in other states: the Bodo tribe in Assam, as well as separatists in Manipur and Nāgāland; other rebel groups are active in Tripura. In Odisha there are frequent outbreaks of violence against the tribal minorities; Maoist Naxalite rebels are waging guerrilla warfare in quite a large area of the eastern part of central India.
According to the Constitution of 26 January 1950, the President is elected by Parliament and by the state assemblies and remains in office for five years; he or she appoints the leader of the majority party as Prime Minister. The Parliament is made up of two Chambers: the Council of the States, formed by no more than 250 members (at present 233 elected for six years by the state assemblies in proportion to their population, plus twelve appointed by the President of the Republic), a third being renewed every 2 years; the Chamber of the People, made up of 542 members elected by direct suffrage for five years (plus two members appointed by the President to represent the Anglo-Indian community).
The armed forces in India are among the largest in the world in terms of numbers of soldiers. A general modernisation of military equipment is currently underway. The military service is voluntary. India possesses numerous nuclear warheads and is not a signatory to the non-nuclear proliferation treaty.
The judicial system is based on British Common Law. The highest organ in the judicial system is the Supreme Court. Homosexuality was made legal in 2009.
|Mumbai=Bombay||12 478 447||inhab.||2011|
|Delhi||11 007 835||inhab.||2011|
|New Delhi (metropolitan area of Delhi)||28 514 000||inhab.||2018|
|Greater Mumbai||18 394 912||inhab.||2011|
|Population by age and gender (% - 2018)|
Despite the fall in the average fertility rates, growth in the population has remained high on account, above all, of the decrease in the death rate, and in the coming years India should take over from China as the most populated country. Widespread backstreet abortions, so as to avoid giving birth to females, is causing a considerable gender imbalance in the youngest age bands. A large portion of the population lives in rural villages, but the drift towards the towns and cities is becoming increasingly marked. The largest ethnic and linguistic group is that of the Hindus, including several sub-groups; in the southern Deccan there is the Dravidian group of the Tamils and the Telugus. Hindi is the official language (the mother tongue of a third of the population); there are 22 officially-recognised languages, including Sanskrit and Tamil (considered classical languages); English is used for all public documents.
COVID-19 has curtailed the policy of economic growth that was passed into law back in 2014, supported by foreign investments made in exchange for promised reforms by Prime Minister Modi. The social distancing measures imposed by the government have wiped tens of millions of jobs from the informal economy, leaving a significant percentage of the population without income. Assistance programmes for the worst affected groups have been financed by international loans.
|Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)||144.91||index||2016|
|Balance of trade||- 159 701||M US$||2019|
|Active population||494 261 426||units||2019|
|Active population, Females||20.1||%||2019|
|Unemployment rate, Females||19.6||%||2019|
|Expenses||23 114 200||M LCU||2018|
|Revenues||16 660 600||M LCU||2018|
|Currency in circulation||32 786.7||BN LCU||2018|
|International reserves||463 469.9||M US$||2019|
The main crops are rice (grown in the Ganges Plain, in Punjab and on the Coromandel Coast), wheat (Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Haryāna), maize (Karnātaka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh), millet (Rājasthān, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarāt), potatoes and pulses. Industrial-scale crops include sugar cane (Uttar Pradesh, Mahārāshtra and Tamil Nādu), cotton (Gujarāt, Mahārāshtra, Telangana), soybeans (Madhya Pradesh, Mahārāshtra), peanuts (Gujarāt, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nādu), tea (in Assam) and coffee (in the southern regions).
India is rich in timber production (teak, rosewood and sandal-wood), with forests widespread, above all, in the Western Ghats and the adjacent coastal area of Malabar, on the Vindhya and Satpura Mountains and in the inner Deccan Plateau. Bengal is rich in bamboo, used in paper-making.
Livestock and fishing.
Livestock is made up principally by cattle, used mostly in the fields and for milk; the Hindu religion forbids the eating of beef. Silk farming is widespread in the states of Karnātaka, West Bengal, Assam and Jammu and Kashmīr. Aquaculture is developed (shrimp, carp, catfish, pangasius, tilapia).
|barley||1 780||1000 t||2018|
|cereals, total||318 320||1000 t||2018|
|cassava||4 651||1000 t||2018|
|potatoes||48 529||1000 t||2018|
|cabbages||9 035||1000 t||2018|
|carrots and turnips||583.405||1000 t||2018|
|beans, dry||6 220||1000 t||2018|
|beans, green||715.141||1000 t||2018|
|grapes||2 920||1000 t||2018|
|castor oil seed||1 198||1000 t||2018|
|groundnuts||6 695||1000 t||2018|
|coconuts||11 706.343||1000 t||2018|
|sugar cane||376 900||1000 t||2018|
|seed cotton||14 657||1000 t||2018|
|jute||1 951.864||1000 t||2018|
|apples||2 327||1000 t||2018|
|cashew nuts||785.925||1000 t||2018|
|citrus fruits||12 546||1000 t||2018|
|citrus fruits, nes||773.25||1000 t||2018|
|bananas||30 808||1000 t||2018|
|mangoes||21 822||1000 t||2018|
|maize||9 200||1000 ha||2018|
|potatoes||2 151||1000 ha||2018|
|carrots and turnips||37.48||1000 ha||2018|
|beans, dry||13 545.518||1000 ha||2018|
|beans, green||252.366||1000 ha||2018|
|castor oil seed||900||1000 ha||2018|
|groundnuts||4 940||1000 ha||2018|
|coconuts||2 098.946||1000 ha||2018|
|sugar cane||4 730||1000 ha||2018|
|seed cotton||12 350||1000 ha||2018|
|cashew nuts||1 003.601||1000 ha||2018|
|citrus fruits||970.597||1000 ha||2018|
|citrus fruits, nes||61.025||1000 ha||2018|
|mangoes||2 258||1000 ha||2018|
|natural rubber||978 317||t||2018|
|timber||352 856 168||m³||2018|
|cattle||184 464.035||1000 heads||2018|
|cattle and buffaloes||298 615.805||1000 heads||2018|
|buffaloes||114 151.77||1000 heads||2018|
|pigs||8 485.24||1000 heads||2018|
|sheep||61 666.343||1000 heads||2018|
|goats||132 749.78||1000 heads||2018|
|asses and mules||459.695||1000 heads||2018|
|birds||820 730||1000 heads||2018|
|silk, raw||23.679||1000 t||2014|
|butter||3 797.55||1000 t||2014|
|crustaceans and molluscs||1 584 527.043||t||2018|
|freshwater fishes||7 866 304.749||t||2018|
Coal deposits are of considerable importance, in particular those at Rānīganj (West Bengal) and Jharia (Bihār). The main oil reserves are in the Gujarāt (at Cambay, Ankleshwar, Olpad, Sānand, Kalol and Wavel), in the Punjab (at Ādampur and Janauri) and in Assam (at Digboi, Nahorkatiya-Hugrijan, Moran, Rudrasagar and Makum); offshore fields are found off the coast of Mumbai. At Nahorkatiya (Assam) and in the basin of Cambay there are natural gas deposits. There is iron ore in the areas around Singhbhum and Mayurbhanj (near the coalfields of Raniganj and Jharia), as well as in Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Bihār, Karnātaka, Tamil Nādu and Telangana. The extraction of rare earths is under development, with deposits in the states of Odisha, Tamil Nādu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Gujarāt and Mahārāshtra. Other minerals of importance are manganese (at Bālāghāt, Nāgpūr, Chindwāra, Sandur and Dhārwar), mica (in the states of Bihār, Andhra Pradesh and Rājasthān), bauxite (Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Travancore and Tamil Nādu), gold (at Kolar Gold Fields and Hatti/Hyderābād), pyrite (in Bihār, Karnātaka and Rājasthān), lignite (in Tamil Nādu, Rājasthān, Gujarāt and Kashmīr), chromite (in Bihār, Odisha, Karnātaka, Tamil Nādu and Mahārāshtra), copper (at Mushabani, Rakha and Dhobani Singhbhum), lead and zinc (in Rājasthān), magnesite (in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nādu, Karnātaka, Rājasthān and Uttar Pradesh), salt along the coasts, as well as the halite deposits of Himāchal Pradesh, natural phosphates (in Bihār and Andhra Pradesh), uranium (in Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand) and thorium (Andhra Pradesh and other states on the east coast).
Energy and industry.
The country suffers from a chronic inefficiency in electricity production. Most of the electricity produced comes from burning fossil fuels (coal and oil); there are 22 nuclear reactors (with seven more under construction), and a program to exploit thorium as a fuel is underway. Solar photovoltaics are booming (the major plants are in Kurnool, Bhadla, Kamuthi, Pavagada).
The main steel-making areas are those around Jamshedpur, Udaipur and the Dāmodar valley (the so-called “Indian Ruhr”). There are significant productions of lead (at Tundoo), copper, zinc (Zawar and Alwaye), aluminium (Mettūr, Alupuram and Korba) and cadmium. The most important oil refineries are in Barauni, Bathinda, Bongaigaon, Chennai, Digboi, Guwāhāti, Kochi, Mangalore, Mumbai, Panīpāt, Parādīp Garh, Vadinar, Vadodara, Vishākhapatnam. Regasification plants are located in Chennai, Kākināda, Kochi, Mangalore, Mundra, Pārādip, Pipāvāv, plus a gas liquefaction plant in Dahej.
The chemical industry produces sulfuric acid (plants in Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai, Kānpur, Sindri and Bhadrāvati), ammonia and ammonium sulfate (in the coal-producing areas of Giridh and Jharia), nitric acid (at Aruvankadu), nitrogenous fertilizers (at Sindri, Raurkela, Trombay, Vishākhapatnam and Vadodara), plastic materials and super-phosphates. There are also pharmaceutical plants at Kolkata, Sindri, Bulsār and Bangalore. The mechanical and electro-mechanical industries produce cars (at Mumbai-Kurla, Chennai, Bangalore and Kolkata), light motor vehicles (at Pune), motorcycles (at Chennai), railway rolling stock (at Chittaranjan, Chennai, Perambūr and Benares), electrical engines, transformers and machine tools (Naharkatiya and Kolkata). There are shipyards in Mumbai, Howrah, Kochi and Vishākhapatnam.
The production of cotton yarns and textiles (jute, wool and silk) are also important as are other industries such as paper, rubber, edible oils, essential oils, leather and sugar. In Sūrat about 90% of the world’s diamonds are worked, also of unlawful origin; Mumbai is home to the major diamond exchange. The film industry (Bollywood) is centred in Mumbai and is the number one in the world for number of films produced.
The high-tech industry and services are growing rapidly (aerospace, electronics, information technology and bio-technologies). They are centred in the area between Hyderābād and Bangalore, India’s “Silicon Valley”, where there are many science parks and factories belonging to both Indian companies and foreign companies. Many large European, US and Asian companies have moved their data-processing centres to the area, and India has thus become a major exporter of services to other countries. There are several “special areas” offering tax exemptions to products destined for export; the main ones are in Delhi, Kochi, Chennai and Kolkata (electronics and information technology), Jaipur, Mumbai and Sūrat (jewellery), Vishākhapatnam (the chemical industry and steel), Kandla and Pithampur (various products).
|coal||696 254.6||1000 t||2018|
|coal, total||756 443||1000 t||2019|
|bauxite||26 000||1000 t||2019|
|chromite||4 100||1000 t||2019|
|barite||2 200||1000 t||2019|
|kaolin||4 000||1000 t||2019|
|quartzite||3 000||1000 t||2015|
|- thermal||1 185 000||M kWh||2018|
|- other renew.||136 450||M kWh||2018|
|- thermal||280 000||1000 kW||2018|
|- other renew.||72 650||1000 kW||2018|
|total net generation||1 486 539||M kWh||2018|
|total installed capacity||404 379||1000 kW||2018|
|alumina||6 700||1000 t||2019|
|aluminium||3 700||1000 t||2019|
|bikes||13 828 000||no.||2011|
|cars||3 623 335||no.||2019|
|watches and clocks||13 756 000||no.||2011|
|air conditioners||2 077 400||no.||2011|
|fridges||10 183 700||no.||2011|
|bitumen||5 277||1000 t||2017|
|petrol||49 696.6||1000 t||2014|
|ammonia||12 000||1000 t||2019|
|caustic soda||2 092.8||1000 t||2011|
|cotton fabrics||38 837||M m²||2017|
|cotton yarn||4 055||1000 t||2017|
|footwear||273 146 000||pairs||2010|
|beer of barley||520.6||1000 t||2014|
|coconut oil||394.2||1000 t||2014|
|cigarettes||100 615||M units||2011|
|cigars and cigarettes||100 615||M units||2011|
|chemical pulp||2 434.8||1000 t||2018|
|chemi-mechanical pulp||3 106.8||1000 t||2018|
|cement||320 000||1000 t||2019|
|chemicals production||71 398.9||M US$||2018|
|food, beverages and tobacco production||42 299.8||M US$||2018|
India is one of the world’s main trading nations; the export of computer programs and information services as well as the import of raw materials are considerable.
Main exports (M US$ - 2017) petroleum products 35 239, diamonds 24 653, chemicals 18 901, iron and steel 18 357, jewels and precious stones 17 920, apparel and accessories 17 332, machinery 16 652, pharmaceuticals 12 895, vehicles and parts thereof 9 629, electric and electronic equipment 8 801, rice 7 081, cotton 6 898, cars 6 598, plastics and articles thereof 5 926, fish and crustaceans 6 665, household linens 4 963, ships and boats 4 579, meat 4 313
Finance and banking.
The central banks the Federal Reserve of India. Commercial banks fall into four categories: nationalized, private, co-operative and foreign.
The main stock exchanges are in Mumbai.
|manufactures||69.833||% of goods exports||2018|
|fuels||14.926||% of goods exports||2018|
|United States||54 288||M US$||2019|
|United Arab Emirates||29 539||M US$||2019|
|China||68 402||M US$||2019|
|United States||34 918||M US$||2019|
|Expenditures||25 790||M US$||2018|
|Number of arrivals||17 423 000||units||2018|
The railway network is one of the most important in the world in terms of size. A high-speed rail line between Mumbai and Ahmadābād is under construction. An ambitious program is underway to enlarge and modernize the highway network.
Media and telecommunication.
In order to strengthen the telephone network, the service has been opened up to the private sector and foreign investment.
|Civil aviation, km flown||327 000 000||km flown||2004|
|Civil aviation, passengers carried||164 035.6||1000 units||2018|
|Broadband subscribers||13.433||per 1000 pop.||2018|
|Computers||33||per 1000 pop.||2008|
Social and welfare
Education and research.
The school system has 4 cycles: elementary (from 6 to 11 years of age, provided in the child’s mother tongue and free), middle (from 11 to 14 years of age), secondary (from 14 to 17 years of age), and higher (with over 200 universities and many colleges). In secondary schools, apart from Hindi, the local language and English are taught.
Health & social indicators.
A comprehensive national health service is provided. It is run by the states and with hospitals and rural surgeries. The federal government funds the larger health programmes aimed at the prevention of diseases.
|Expected years of schooling||12.2||years||2017|
|Teachers, primary level||4 373 417||units||2017|
|Teachers, secondary level||4 667 986||units||2018|
|Hospital beds||0.53||per 1000 pop.||2017|
|Physicians||0.86||per 1000 pop.||2018|
|HIV||0.2||% of adults||2017|
|Research and development spending||0.6||% of GDP||2018|
|Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking||41.04||%||2016|
|Access to electricity||95.235||%||2018|
|food, non-alcoholic beverages||36.3||%||2008|