An Overview of India

Any country with a population of 1.2 Billion citizens is going to have many challenges in every avenue of social and economic growth. In India, huge strides have been made in recent years that have encouraged education, entrepreneurship and success! India has more than 50% of its population below the age of 25 and more than 65% below the age of 35. It is expected that, in 2020, the average age of an Indian will be 29 years, compared to 37 for China and 48 for Japan.

India supports as much as 16.87 per cent of the world’s population and the USA, the third largest country in the world with respect to population, supports only 4.63 per cent of the world’s population.

India needs little introduction to the world traveller. It was home to one of the earliest civilizations, the Indus Valley civilization which flourished on the Indian subcontinent from c. 2600 B.C. to c. 2000 B.C. It is generally accepted that the Aryans entered India c. 1500 B.C. from the northwest, finding a land that was already home to an advanced civilization.

India has been occupied by many cultures that have all left their mark on the country and its people. From the early Mongols to the French, Portuguese and the British, all have enjoyed is rich culture, natural resources and cuisines and have only added their mix to this already exotic culture.

  • Languages
  • Economic summary
  • Communications
  • Transportation

Languages


There are 22 major languages in India, written in 13 different scripts, with over 720 dialects. The official Indian languages are Hindi (with approximately 420 million speakers) and English, which is also widely spoken.

Principal languages: Hindi 41%, Bengali 8.1%, Telugu 7.2%, Marathi 7%, Tamil 5.9%, Urdu 5%, Gujarati 4.5%, Kannada 3.7%, Malayalam 3.2%, Oriya 3.2%, Punjabi 2.8%, Assamese 1.3%, Maithili 1.2%, other 5.9% note: English enjoys the status of subsidiary official language but is the most important language for national, political, and commercial communication; Hindi is the most widely spoken language and primary tongue of 41% of the people; there are 14 other official languages: Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, Kashmiri, Sindhi, and Sanskrit; Hindustani is a popular variant of Hindi/Urdu spoken widely throughout northern India but is not an official language (2001 census)

Ethnicity/race: Indo-Aryan 72%, Dravidian 25%, Mongoloid and other 3% (2000)

Religions: Hindu 80.5%, Muslim 13.4%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.9%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.1% (2001)

Literacy rate: 62.8% (2006 est.)

Economic summary


GDP / PPP (2013 est.): $4.99 trillion; per capita $4,000.

Real growth rate: 7.24 % (2014-15).

Inflation: 9.6%.

Unemployment: 8.8%.

Arable land: 47.87%. Agriculture: rice, wheat, oilseed, cotton, jute, tea, sugarcane, potatoes; cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats, poultry; fish.

Labor force: 487.6 million; agriculture 49%, services 31%, industry 20% (2013).

Industries: Textiles, chemicals, food processing, steel, transportation equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery, software, pharmaceuticals.

Natural resources: Coal (fourth-largest reserves in the world), iron ore, manganese, mica, bauxite, titanium ore, chromite, natural gas, diamonds, petroleum, limestone, arable land.

Exports: $313.2 billion (2013 est.): petroleum products, precious stones, machinery, iron and steel, chemicals, vehicles, apparel.

Imports: $467.5 billion (2013 est.): crude oil, machinery, gems, fertilizer, chemicals.

Major trading partners: U.S., UAE, China, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Singapore, Hong Kong (2012)

Communications

India has the second largest number of cellular phones in the world having crossed 1 Billion in 2016 after China and ahead of USA by almost a 3 fold lead.

Indian Internet users’ access is growing rapidly each year:

Year Internet Users** Penetration (% of Pop) Total Population
2016* 462,124,989. 34.8 % 1,326,801,576
2015* 354,114,747. 27 % 1,311,050,527

Transportation

Railways: Total 63,974 km (18,927 km electrified) (2010).

Roadways: Total: 4,689,842 km (2013).

Waterways: 14,500 km; Note: 5,200 km on major rivers and 485 km on canals suitable for mechanized vessels (2012).

Major Ports and harbors: Chennai, Jawaharal Nehru, Kandla, Kolkata (Calcutta), Mumbai (Bombay), Sikka, Vishakhapatnam.

Airports: 346 (2013).

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