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India Profile

INDIA TODAY
Country Facts

Area: 3,287,623m sq km (1,269,219 sq miles)
Population: 1.21 billion (provisional Government of India Census data, 2011)
Capital City: New Delhi
Languages: The official language of India is Hindi, written in the Devanagari script and spoken by some 30% of the population as a first language. Since 1965 English has been recognised as an 'associated language'. In addition there are 18 main and regional languages recognised for adoption as official state languages.
Religions: India is a secular state and freedom of religion is protected under the Constitution. The main religious groups are Hindus (80.5%), Muslims (13.4%), Christians (2.3%) and Sikhs (1.9%).
Currency: Rupee
Government: United Progressive Alliance, a Congress-led coalition.
Head of State: President Pranab Mukherjee
Prime Minister: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Foreign Minister: Salman Kurshid
Membership of international groupings/organisations: Commonwealth, United Nations, United Nations Human Rights Council, World Trade Organisation; G20, South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC), ASEAN (dialogue partner); G4, IBSA.

ECONOMY
Basic Economic Facts

Nominal GDP: $1,826.8 (IMF, 2011)
GDP Growth: 6.8% (2011)
Major Industries: Textiles, chemicals, food processing, steel, transportation equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery, software, gems and jewellery, leather manufactures.
Major trading partners for 2009-10: China (9.1%), USA (7.8 %), Saudi Arabia (4.5%), Germany (3.4%)
Imports for 2009-2010):  China (10.7%), UAE (6.8%), Saudi Arabia (5.9%), USA (5.9%), and Switzerland (5.1%)
Exports for 2009-2010: UAE (13.4%), USA (10.9%), China (6.5%), Hong Kong (4.4%), Singapore (4.2%), Netherlands (3.5%), UK (3.5%)

Exchange rate: Indian rupees per UK Pound Sterling is 87.31 (OANDA).

Economic

India’s economy is one of the fastest expanding in the world, with a rapidly expanding consumer class. The UK has strong ties with India, and UK companies are well positioned to take advantage of this growing export and investment market.

The 2012/2013 budget presented to the Indian Parliament on 16 March by Finance Minister Mukherjee set out five objectives: to promote demand driven growth, revive private investment, address bottlenecks in energy, infrastructure and agricultural sectors, tackle malnutrition, and improve delivery, implementation and transparency. 
Recent economic developments

India’s economy was among the first in the world to recover after the global crisis, growing by 5.9 per cent in 2009. Looking ahead India is expected to play an increasingly vocal role in key international negotiations.

GEOGRAPHY

India forms a natural sub-continent with the Himalayas to the north. The Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, which are sections of the Indian Ocean, lie to the west and east respectively. India's neighbours are China (Tibet), Bhutan and Nepal to the north, Pakistan to the north-west, and Burma to the north-east. To the east, almost surrounded by India, is Bangladesh. Near India's southern tip, across the Palk Strait, is Sri Lanka.

India has 28 states with constitutionally defined powers of government. The states vary greatly in size, population and development. Each state has a Governor appointed by the President for five years, a legislature elected for five years, and a Council of Ministers headed by a Chief Minister. Each state has its own legislative, executive and judicial machinery, corresponding to that of the Indian Union. In the event of the failure of constitutional government in a state, the Union can impose President's Rule. There are also seven Union Territories including the National Capital Territory of Delhi, administered by Lieutenant Governors or Administrators, all of whom are appointed by the President. The Territories of Delhi and Puducherry also have elected chief ministers and state assemblies.

The 28 states are: Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal.

The Territories are: Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Delhi, Lakshadweep, and Puducherry.

POLITICS

India is a federal country. The Indian Constitution provides a system of parliamentary and cabinet government both at the centre and in the states. The Indian Parliament consists of the President, elected for a five-year term as the constitutional head of the executive and two Houses: The Lower House - Lok Sabha ('House of the People') - directly elected on the basis of universal adult suffrage; and the Upper House - Rajya Sabha ('Council of States') - indirectly elected by the members of state legislative assemblies.

Whilst neither can command a clear Parliamentary majority, following their good performance in the May 2009 general election, the Congress is now in a dominant position and heads the ruling coalition at the Centre, called the United Progressive Alliance (UPA).  The BJP leads the Opposition alliance known as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Assembly elections took place in several states March 2012. Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur in 2012. The Samajwadi party won a majority of 225 in Uttar Pradesh. Congress retained Uttarakhand and Manipur, the BJP won Goa and a BJP-Shiromani-Akali Dal (SAD) coalition won Punjab. The other elections were respectively won by x the BJP and Congress Party. Former Finance-Minister Pranab Mukherjee was elected President in July 2012, replacing Pratibha Patil.

Television

  • Doordarshan - public TV; operates national, regional, local and satellite services
  • CNN-IBN - 24-hour news channel in English, partially owned by CNN's parent, Turner International
  • New Delhi TV (NDTV) - operates NDTV 24x7 and NDTV-India news channels in English and Hindi
  • Star TV - operates satellite, cable TV services, owned by News Corporation
  • Zee TV - satellite, cable TV services operated by Zee Group
  • Sony Entertainment TV - commercial channel
  • Aaj Tak - 24-hour news channel in Hindi, owned by India Today magazine group

Radio

  • All India Radio - public, operates domestic and external networks
  • Radio One - commercial radio network in six big cities
  • Radio Mirchi - commercial network, stations in Mumbai, Delhi and other cities, mainly music, operated by The Times Group
  • Radio City - commercial, FM stations in Delhi, Mumbai and other cities, owned by News Corporation
  • Red FM - commercial, operated by India Today Group

News agencies





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