India is an independent country situated in south Asia of Asian continent. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.18 billion people (Yr 2010 AD), and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the west, and the Bay of Bengal on the east, India has a coastline of 7,517 kilometres (4,700 mi). It is bordered by Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north; and Bangladesh and Burma to the east. India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka, and the Maldives in the Indian Ocean.
India was a home to the Indus Valley Civilisation (1500BC) and a region of historic trade routes and vast empires, the Indian subcontinent was identified with its commercial and cultural wealth for much of its long history. Four major religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism originated here, while Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam arrived in the first millennium CE and shaped the region’s diverse culture. Gradually annexed by the British East India Company from the early eighteenth century and colonised by the United Kingdom from the mid-nineteenth century, India became an independent nation in 1947 after a struggle for independence that was marked by widespread non-violent resistance.
India is a republic consisting of 29 states and six union territories with a parliamentary system of democracy. Economic reforms since 1991 have transformed it into one of the fastest growing economies in the world; however, it still suffers from poverty, illiteracy, corruption, disease, and malnutrition. India is a nuclear weapon state and has the tenth-largest military spending in the world. A pluralistic, multilingual and multiethnic society, India is also home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats.
- Population – estimated to 1.2 billion (Yr.2010 AD), 70% of it continues to reside in rural areas.
- Language – Hindi is official language, English is “subsidiary official language” and 21 “scheduled languages”
- Religion – 80.5% were Hindu, Muslims (13.4%), Christians (2.3%), Sikhs (1.9%), Buddhists (0.8%), Jains (0.4%), Jews, Zoroastrians and Bahá’ís. Tribal constitute (8.1%)
- Literacy rate – 64.8% (53.7% for females and 75.3% for males). The state of Kerala has the highest literacy rate at 91% while Bihar has the lowest at 47%.
- Human sex ratio – 944 females per 1,000 males
- Median age – 24.9, and the population growth rate of 1.38% per annum
- Health & Disease – 900,000 Indians die each year from drinking contaminated water and breathing in polluted air. Malaria is endemic in India. Half of children in India are underweight; many women are malnourished, too. There are about 60 physicians per 100,000 people in India.
- Marriages – Marriages are arranged by their parents and other respected family members, with the consent of the bride and groom. Marriage is thought to be for life, and the divorce rate is extremely low
- Cuisine – Staple foods in the region are rice and wheat. Spices are commonly used in the food
- Clothing – Sari for women and dhoti or lungi for men, Salwar kameez for women and kurta-pyjama and European-style trousers and shirts for men, are also popular.
- Festivals – Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi, Ugadi, Thai Pongal, Holi, Onam, Vijayadashami, Durga Puja, Eid ul-Fitr, Bakr-Id, Christmas, Buddha Jayanti and Vaisakhi
- National holidays – Republic Day, Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanthi
- Art – Indian architecture is one area that represents the diversity of Indian culture. Vernacular architecture also displays notable regional variation.
- Music – Classical Hindustani, Carnatic, Rabindra sangeet, filmi and folk music.
- Dance – Folk dances are Bhangra , Bihu, Sambalpuri, Ghoomar, Garba; Classical dances are Bharatanatyam, Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Kuchipudi, Manipuri, Odissi, Sattriya
- Drama – Bhavai, Jatra, Nautanki, Ramlila, Tamasha, Burrakatha, Terukkuttu, Yakshagana
- Film industry – Largest in the world. Hindi, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil, Punjabi and other regional cinema
- Literature – Sanskrit literature, and many regional language literature as well as English
- GDP is US$1.243 trillion, which makes it the eleventh-largest economy in the world.
- PPP is US$3.561 trillion, fourth largest in the world
- Per capita income – US$3,100
- Growth rate – Average annual GDP growth rate of 5.8%
- Labour force – 516.3 million people
- Output – Agricultural ( 28% of GDP) ; Service sector (54%) , Industrial sectors (18%)
- Agro products – Rice, Wheat, Oilseed, Cotton, Jute, Tea, Sugarcane, Potatoes; Cattle, Water buffalo, Sheep, Goats, Poultry, Fish
- Industries – Textiles, Chemicals, Food processing, Steel, Transport equipment, Cement, Mining, Petroleum, Machinery, Software
- Trade – 24% of GDP in 2006; India’s share of world trade was about 1.68%
- Exports – Petroleum products, Textile goods, Gems and Jewellery, Software, Engineering goods, Chemicals, and Leather manufactures
- Imports – Crude oil, Machinery, Gems, Fertilizer, Chemicals
In 2009, the Global Competitiveness Report ranked India 16th in financial market sophistication, 24th in banking sector, 27th in business sophistication and 30th in innovation; ahead of several advanced economies.