Land area: 3.29 million square kilometers

Capital: New Delhi

Political system and government: India attained independence from British rule on 15 August 1947. The 1950 Constitution provides for a parliamentary system of Government with a bicameral parliament and three independent branches: the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. The country has a federal structure with elected Governments in States. There are 28 states and 7 Union Territories (administered directly by the Central Government). There is healthy competition between all the states to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for speedy economic growth and employment generation.

Population: 1,027 million (2001).

Population growth rate: 1.93 per cent (1991 2001)

Population density: 324 persons per square kilometre

Life expectancy: 60.4 years, male: 61.8 years, female: 59 years

Literacy rate: 65.38 percent (Kerala has the highest literacy rate of 90.92 per cent. As per 2001 census all States and Union Territories have achieved a male literacy rate of 60 per cent and most of the States have attained a female literacy rate of over 50 per cent).

Languages spoken: India is a multilingual society with 18 principal languages recognised by the constitution. Hindi is the language of a large percentage of people (38 percent), while English is the preferred business language.

Major religions: Majority are Hindus, though a significant number are Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, and others.

International airports: Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi, Thiruvananthapuram.

Major ports of entry: Kandla, Mumbai, Mormugao, New Mangalore, Kochi, Tuticorin, Chennai, Vishakhapatnam, Paradip, Kolkata, and Haldia.

Climate: Mainly tropical in Southern India but temperatures in the north range from sub-zero degrees to 50 degrees Celsius. There are well defined seasons in the northern region : winter (Dec Feb), Spring (Mar Apr), Summer (May Jun), monsoons (Jul Sep) and autumn (Oct Nov).

Time zone: GMT +5 ½ hours.

Currency unit: Indian Rupee (INR), 100 paise=1 INR. Coins in vogue 50 paise, INR 1 and 5. Currency notes INR 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000.

Economic profile

GDP at current prices: US$ 422 billion (2001-02)

Average real GDP growth: 5.4 percent (2001-02)

Inflation rate measured by CPI: 5.1 percent (2001-02)

Average savings rate: 23 percent (2001-02)

Cumulative FDI approved: US$ 74.3 billion (1991-2001)

Cumulative FDI inflow: US$ 28 billion (1991-2001)

Cumulative foreign institutional investments: US$ 22.6 billion (1991-2001)

Foreign exchange reserves: US$ 68 billion (Dec 02)

Exchange rate: Rs.48.00 per US$ (approx.) (Dec.'02)

Foodgrains production: 209 million tonnes (2001-2002)

Buffer foodgrains stock: 50 million tonnes

Merchandise Exports: US$ 43.8 billion (2001-02)

Principal exports: Traditional exports include cotton yarn and textiles, readymade garments, leather goods, gems and jewellery and agricultural and processed food products. However, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, engineering goods, automotive components, transport equipment, software, electronic goods and manufactured metals constitute the rapidly growing export segments.

Principal markets for exports: USA, Canada, UK, Germany, Japan, Russia, Belgium, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.

Imports: US$ 51.4 billion (2001-02).

Principal imports: Capital goods, crude oil, lubricants and other petroleum products, precious and semi-precious stones, chemicals, edible oils and fertilizers.
Principal markets of imports: USA, UK, Japan, Germany, Nigeria, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, Ghana, South Africa, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.


• Stable democratic governance throughout 55 years of independence.

• Large market of a middle class of 300-350 million people with increasing purchasing power as reflected by a sustained growth in sales of consumer durables in recent years.

• Access to regional international markets through membership of regional cooperation frameworks such as SAARC, Indian Ocean Rim countries (IOC-ARC), and dialogue partnerships with EU and ASEAN. India also have Memoranda of Understanding/Cooperation partnerships with most African and Latin American regional groupings.

• Foreign investment is welcome in almost all sectors barring those of strategic concern like atomic energy, railways and sensitive defence production. Large and diversified manufacturing base spread across the country.

• Thrust on technology, innovation and knowledge based industries and services.

• Well developed R&D infrastructure and technical and marketing services.

• Large resources of untapped natural wealth.

• Promising future in the burgeoning information technology and biotechnology industries.

• Developed banking system, commercial banking network of over 63,000 branches, supported by a number of international banks, insurance joint ventures and national and state level financial institutions.

• Vibrant capital market comprising 23 stock exchanges with over 9,000 listed companies.

• Developing as one of the largest cost-competitive technical workforce nation.

• Conducive foreign investment environment that provides freedom of entry and exit, investment, location, choice of technology, import and export.

• Acceleration of the privatisation process and restructuring of public enterprises.

• Current account convertibility, capital account convertibility for foreign investors and progressive implementation for Indian residents. Indian tourists allowed to carry US$ up to 10,000 for general purpose and US$ 25,000 for education, healthcare and family support overseas.

• Established, independent judiciary with a hierarchy of courts and the existence of several arbitration mechanisms outside the courts.

• Special investment and tax incentives given for exports and certain sectors such as power, electronics, telecom, software, oil & gas and research and development activities.

• Legal protection for Intellectual Property Rights.

• Import regime in conformity with WTO commitments removal of remaining quantitative restrictions on imports of goods into India barring certain items on grounds of national security, defence and health.

• Establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) which provide virtual offshore operation facilities and advantages of a free trade area.

© 2003 Consulate General of India ,Sydney