India Facts: History of India
India is officially named the Republic of India and is a country located in South Asia. The people of India have had a continuous civilization culture since 3300 BC., when the inhabitants of the Indus River valley developed an urban culture based on commerce and sustained by agricultural trade. India quickly became a center of important trade routes, cultural development, and vast empires. Despite invasions over the past 5000 years, Indian culture and society has been very resilient. In the earliest years of the country, the southern kingdoms remained more stable than the north and carried out trade involving spices and precious gems with Arabia, China, and Europe. From the 16th century onwards, several European countries including Portugal, Netherlands, France, and the United Kingdom, started arriving as traders, later taking advantage of the relationships between kingdoms.
India Facts: Independence and Mahatma Gandhi
In the early twentieth century, a nationwide struggle for independence was launched by the Indian National Congress, and various revolutionary groups. The movement was mainly led by Mahatma Gandhi. India emerged as a modern nation-state on August 15, 1947 from British rule, when they went through an intense movement of social reforms and forged into a single nation. On January 26, 1950, they ratified a new Constitution and became a republic.
India Facts: Emerging World Superpower
Since their independence, India has seen violence and insurgencies in various parts of the country, but has maintained its unity and democracy. They also are a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement and the United Nations (at the time as part of British India). Significant economic reforms beginning in 1991, have transformed India into one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. India is now considered to be an emerging world superpower.
India Facts: Government of India
India Facts: Largest Democracy in the World
India is referred to as the largest democracy in the world, by virtue of the fact that it has the largest electing population among democratic countries. The country has a federal form of government and a bicameral parliament operating under a Westminster-style parliamentary system. It has three branches of government, similar to that of the United States. The executive arm, which contains a Chief of State (President), Head of State (Prime Minister), and Council of Ministers or cabinet (appointed by the president), headed by the Prime Minister. The judicial branch is made up of the Supreme Court which has one chief justice and 25 associate justices who are appointed by the president. The Supreme Court is headed by the Chief Justice. The legislature of India is the bicameral Parliament, which consists of the upper house (Council of States), and the lower house (House of People).
India Facts: Politics of India
For most of its independent history, India has been ruled by the Indian National Congress; a political party. India practices Hindi law and is home to the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Indian National Congress, and Bharatiya Janata Parties. Since their independence, India has maintained cordial relationships with most nations. They took the lead during the 1950s in advocating the independence of all European colonies in Africa and Asia.
India Facts: The Cold War and India
During the Cold War, India tried to maintain its neutrality among nations. After the Sino-Indian War and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, India’s relationship with the Soviet Union warmed at the expense of ties with the United States and continued to remain so until the end of the Cold War. They have consistently refused to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to maintain sovereignty over its nuclear program despite criticism and military sanctions.
India Facts: Close Relationships with South America, Asia, and Africa
In the economic sphere, India has close relationships with developing nations of South America, Asia, and Africa. In more recent years, India has played an influential role in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). They have also been a long time supporter of the United Nations, with over 55,000 military and police personnel having served in 35 UN peace keeping operations over four continents. Since the 1990s, India has been considered an emerging power on the global stage, meaning it has increased influence on international affairs.
India Facts: India Economy
The economy of India is fourth largest in the world as measured by purchasing power parity or PPP, with a GDP of $3.6 trillion. When measured in exchange rates in relation to the US dollar, it is the twelfth largest economy in the world, with a GDP of over $785 billion, as calculated by the World Bank. India is the second fastest growing major economy in the world with a GDP growth rate of over 9%, and annual industrial production change of over 12%, as of the first quarter in 2006. Wealth distribution in India is fairly uneven; the top 10% of income groups earn an estimated 33% of all income. It is calculated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that by 2007, the Indian economy will be ranked third measured by PPP. Population below the poverty line is ranked at below 25% and as of 2005 the public debt exceeded 53%.
India Facts: Government Control of Economy
For most of its independent history they have followed a quasi-socialist approach, with strict government control over private sector participation, foreign trade, and foreign direct investment. Starting from 1991, India has gradually opened its markets through economic reforms by reducing government controls on foreign trade and investment. Privatization of public-owned industries and some sectors to private and foreign players have continued to be subject to political debate.
India Facts: Labor Force, Agriculture, Industries, and Oil. Import Commodities
India has a labor force of over 496 million of which 60% is employed in agriculture or agriculture-related industries which contributes to only about 22% of GDP, 17% in mainstream industry, and 23% in service industry. Their agricultural produce includes rice, wheat, oilseed, cotton, tea, sugarcane, and potatoes. Major industries include textiles, chemicals, food processing, steel, transportation equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, and machinery. Electricity production is over 556 billion kWh (kilowatt-hour) and its electricity exports are 187 million kWh as of 2003. India’s oil production is 785,000 bbl/day (barrels per day) and their oil consumption exceeds 2.3 million bbl/day. The largest import commodities are crude oil, machinery, gems, fertilizer, and chemicals.
India Facts: Growth in Business Process Outsourcing
India’s large English speaking middle-class has contributed to the country’s growth in Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). It is becoming a major base for US tech companies for future targeted research and development, including Google, IBM, and Microsoft. All this has helped the service sector to increase its share of the economy to approximately 50%.
India Facts: Major Trading Partners
The most important trading partners India deals with are the United States, China, UK, Singapore, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Belgium, and the United Arab Emirates. They are a major exporter of financial and research and technology services as well.
India Facts: India Population, India People, Demographics
India Facts: Seventh-Largest, Second Most Populous, Language & Religion
India is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second most populous country, and has the largest democracy in the world. India borders Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. They are the second-most populous country in the world with an estimated 1.1 billion people as of 2006. Language and religion are determinants of social and political organizations within its diverse population. 81% of inhabitants are Hindu. India is also home to the second largest population of Muslims in the world with 12%, after Indonesia. Other religious groups include Christians, Buddhists, and Jews. The national average literacy rate is 64% (males 75% and females 54%). The state of Kerala leads the country with a literacy rate of approximately 94%.
India Facts: Sex Ratio, Median Age, Birth Rate & Growth Rate
Unlike the US, UK, and Australian Censuses; the national Census of India does not recognize racial or ethnic groups within themselves. India’s largest metropolitan areas are Mumbai (formerly Bombay), Delhi, Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), Chennai (formerly Madras), Bangalore, and Hyderabad. The national sex ratio is 933 females per 1,000 males and the median age is 24 years. Birth rate is currently averaged at 22 births per 1,000. The total fertility rate (TFR) is above the world average; however the growth rate is decreasing in Southern India.
India Facts: Two Major Languages, Indo-Aryan, Dravidian, Hindi
India is home to two major languages, Indo-Aryan; spoken by 74% of the population and Dravidian; spoken by 24% of the population. The Indian constitution recognizes a total of 23 official languages. Hindi and English are used by the Union Government of India for official purposes. The number of dialects in India is well over 1,600.
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