India 1997India

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Thrifty Traveler

India - Introduction 1997
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Background: The Indus Valley civilization one of the oldest in the world goes back at least 5,000 years. Aryan tribes from the northwest invaded about 1500 B.C.; their merger with the earlier inhabitants created classical Indian culture. Arab incursions starting in the 8th century and Turkish in 12th were followed by European traders beginning in the late 15th century. By the 19th century Britain had assumed political control of virtually all Indian lands. Nonviolent resistance to British colonialism under Mohandas GANDHI and Jawaharlal NEHRU led to independence in 1947. The subcontinent was divided into the secular state of India and the smaller Muslim state of Pakistan. A third war between the two countries in 1971 resulted in East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh. Fundamental concerns in India include the ongoing dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir massive overpopulation environmental degradation extensive poverty and ethnic strife all this despite impressive gains in economic investment and output.

India - Geography 1997
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Location: Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and Pakistan

Geographic coordinates: 20 00 N, 77 00 E

Map referenceAsia

Total: 3,287,590 km²
Land: 2,973,190 km²
Water: 314,400 km²
Comparative: slightly more than one-third the size of the US

Land boundaries
Total: 14,103 km
Border countries: (6) Bangladesh 4,053 km; , Bhutan 605 km; , Burma 1,463 km; , China 3,380 km; , Nepal 1,690 km; , Pakistan 2,912 km

Coastline: 7,000 km

Maritime claims
Contiguous zone: 24 nm
Continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: varies from tropical monsoon in south to temperate in north

Terrain: upland plain (Deccan Plateau) in south, flat to rolling plain along the Ganges, deserts in west, Himalayas in north

Extremes lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
Extremes highest point: Kanchenjunga 8,598 m

Natural resources: coal (fourth-largest reserves in the world), iron ore, manganese, mica, bauxite, titanium ore, chromite, natural gas, diamonds, petroleum, limestone
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 56%
Permanent crops: 1%
Permanent pastures: 4%
Forests and woodland: 23%
Other: 16% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 480,000 km² (1993 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: droughts, flash floods, severe thunderstorms common; earthquakes

Note: dominates South Asian subcontinent; near important Indian Ocean trade routes

India - People 1997
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Population: 966,783,171 (July 1997 est.)
Growth rate: 1.72% (1997 est.)

Noun: Indian(s)
Adjective: Indian

Ethnic groups: Indo-Aryan 72%, Dravidian 25%, Mongoloid and other 3%

Languages: English enjoys associate status but is the most important language for national, political, and commercial communication, Hindi the national language and primary tongue of 30% of the people, Bengali (official), Telugu (official), Marathi (official), Tamil (official), Urdu (official), Gujarati (official), Malayalam (official), Kannada (official), Oriya (official), Punjabi (official), Assamese (official), Kashmiri (official), Sindhi (official), Sanskrit (official), Hindustani a popular variant of Hindu/Urdu, is spoken widely throughout northern India
Note: 24 languages each spoken by a million or more persons; numerous other languages and dialects, for the most part mutually unintelligible

Religions: Hindu 80%, Muslim 14%, Christian 2.4%, Sikh 2%, Buddhist 0.7%, Jains 0.5%, other 0.4%

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 35% (male 173,420,822; female 163,433,648)
15-64 years: 61% (male 304,048,569; female 281,625,342)
65 years and over: 4% (male 22,536,104; female 21,718,686) (July 1997 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 1.72% (1997 est.)

Birth rate: 26.19 births/1000 population (1997 est.)

Death rate: 8.87 deaths/1000 population (1997 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.08 migrant(s)/1000 population (1997 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; overgrazing; desertification; air pollution from industrial effluents and vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage and runoff of agricultural pesticides; tap water is not potable throughout the country; huge and rapidly growing population is overstraining natural resources

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.04 male(s)/female
Total population: 1.07 male(s)/female (1997 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 65.5 deaths/1000 live births (1997 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 62.41 years
Male: 61.68 years
Female: 63.18 years (1997 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.29 children born/woman (1997 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 52%
Male: 65.5%
Female: 37.7% (1995 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

India - Government 1997
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Country name
Conventional long form: Republic of India
Conventional short form: India

Government type: federal republic

Capital: New Delhi

Administrative divisions: 25 states and 7 union territories*; Andaman and Nicobar Islands*, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh*, Dadra and Nagar Haveli*, Daman and Diu*, Delhi*, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachel Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Lakshadweep*, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Pondicherry*, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal

Dependent areas

Independence: 15 August 1947 (from UK)

National holiday: Anniversary of the Proclamation of the Republic, 26 January (1950)

Constitution: 26 January 1950

Legal system: based on English common law; limited judicial review of legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state: President Shankar Dayal SHARMA (since 25 July 1992); Vice President Kicheril Raman NARAYANAN (since 21 August 1992)
Head of government: Prime Minister I.K. GUJRAL (since 21 April 1997)
Cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister
Elections: president elected by an electoral college consisting of elected members of both houses of Parliament and the legislatures of the states for a five-year term; vice president elected by both houses of Parliament; prime minister elected by parliamentary members of the majority party following legislative elections
Election results: Shankar Dayal SHARMA elected president; percent of electoral college vote - NA; Kicheril Raman NARAYANAN elected vice president; percent of Parliament vote - NA; I.K. GUJRAL elected prime minister; percent of vote - NA

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament or Sansad consists of the Council of States or Rajya Sabha (a body consisting of not more than 250 members, up to 12 of which are appointed by the president, the remainder are chosen by the elected members of the state and territorial assemblies; members serve six-year terms) and the People's Assembly or Lok Sabha (545 seats; 543 elected by popular vote, 2 appointed; members serve five-year terms)
Elections: People's Assembly - last held 27 April through May 1996 (next to be held NA 2001)
Election results: People's Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - BJP and allies 194, Congress I Party 140, Janata Dal Party 44, CPI/M 32, Tamil Maanila Congress 20, Dravida Munnetra Kazagham 17, SP 17, Teluga Desam (Naidu) 16, CPI 11, RSP 5, Asom Gana Parishad 5, Congress (Tiwari) 4, AIFB 3, Muslim League 2, Madhya Pradesh Vikas Congress 2, Karnataka Congress Party 1, independents and other regional parties 30

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, judges are appointed by the president

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: AfDB, AG (observer), AsDB, BIS (pending member), C, CCC, CP, ESCAP, FAO, G- 6, G-15, G-19, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, NAM, OAS (observer), PCA, SAARC, UN, UNAVEM III, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNITAR, UNMIBH, UNMIH, UNOMIL, UNU, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation
In the us chief of mission: Ambassador Naresh CHANDRA
In the us chancery: 2,107 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20,008; note - Embassy located at 2,536 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20,008
In the us telephone: [1] (202) 939-7,000
In the us FAX: [1] (202) 483-3,972
In the us consulates general: Chicago, Houston, New York, and San Francisco
From the us chief of mission: Ambassador Frank G. WISNER
From the us embassy: Shanti Path, Chanakyapuri 110,021, New Delhi
From the us mailing address: use embassy street address
From the us telephone: [91] (11) 600,651
From the us FAX: [91] (11) 6,872,028
From the us consulates general: Bombay, Calcutta, Chennai (Madras), Mumbai

Flag descriptionflag of India: three equal horizontal bands of orange (top), white, and green with a blue chakra (24-spoked wheel) centered in the white band; similar to the flag of Niger, which has a small orange disk centered in the white band

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

India - Economy 1997
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Economy overview: India's economy is a mixture of traditional village farming, modern agriculture, handicrafts, a wide range of modern industries, and a multitude of support services. A large share of the population, perhaps as much as 40%, remains too poor to afford an adequate diet. The policy in the 1980s of fueling economic growth through high government expenditure proved unsustainable, however, and in the wake of an international payments crisis in 1991 India has been transforming its semi-socialist, insular economy into a more open, market-oriented economy. Production, trade, and investment reforms since 1991 have provided new opportunities for Indian businesspersons and an estimated 200 million plus middle class consumers. New Delhi has stimulated exports, attracted foreign investment, and revived confidence in India's economic prospects. GDP growth exceeded 6% in 1995 and in 1996. Most of the country's external fundamentals - including the current account balance and reserves (now about $19 billion) - are healthy. Even so, the Indian Government needs to restore the early momentum of reform, especially by continuing reductions in the extensive remaining government regulations. The government will also have to deal with rising government expenditures and higher debt servicing which could create a debt trap by the turn of the century. Even if a series of weak coalition governments come to power in the next few years and are unable to push reforms aggressively, parts of the economy that have already benefited from deregulation will continue to grow. Moreover, the country can build on other strengths, including its diverse industrial base, large scientific and technical pool, its well-developed legal system, and its large middle class.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 6.5% (1996 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin
Agriculture: 30%
Industry: 28%
Services: 42% (1993/94)

Agriculture products: rice, wheat, oilseed, cotton, jute, tea, sugarcane, potatoes; cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats, poultry; fish catch of about 3 million metric tons ranks India among the world's top 10 fishing nations

Industries: textiles, chemicals, food processing, steel, transportation equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery

Industrial production growth rate: 11.2% (1996)

Labor force
Total: 370 million (1995 est.)
By occupation agriculture: 65%ormore
By occupation services: 4%
By occupation manufacturing and construction: 3%
By occupation communicationsandtransport: 3%
Labor force

Unemployment rate: NA%

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $34 billion
Expenditures: $52.3 billion, including capital expenditures of $N/A (FY95/96)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Total value: $30.5 billion (f.o.b., 1995)
Commodities: clothing, gems and jewelry, engineering goods, chemicals, leather manufactures, cotton yarn, and fabric
Partners: US, Japan, Germany, UK, Hong Kong

Total value: $34.5 billion (c.i.f., 1995)
Commodities: crude oil and petroleum products, machinery, gems, fertilizer, chemicals
Partners: US, Germany, Saudi Arabia, UK, Belgium, Japan

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $97.9 billion (March 1995)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: Indian rupees (Rs) per US$1 - 35.872 (January 1997), 35.433 (1996), 32.427 (1995), 31.374 (1994), 30.493 (1993), 25.918 (1992)

India - Energy 1997
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 380 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 419 kWh (1995)

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

India - Communication 1997
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system: probably the least adequate telephone system of any of the industrializing countries; three of every four villages have no telephone service; only 5% of India's villages have long-distance service; poor telephone service significantly impedes commercial and industrial growth and penalizes India in global markets; slow improvement is taking place with the recent admission of private and private-public investors, but demand for communication services is also growing rapidly
Domestic: local service is provided mostly by open wire and obsolete electromechanical and manual switchboard systems; within the last 10 years a substantial amount of digital switch gear has been introduced for local service; long-distance traffic is carried mostly by open wire, coaxial cable, and low-capacity microwave radio relay; since 1985, however, significant trunk capacity has been added in the form of fiber-optic cable and a domestic satellite system with over 100 earth stations
International: satellite earth stations - 8 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) and 1 Inmarsat (Indian Ocean Region); submarine cables to Malaysia and UAE

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

India - Military 1997
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $8 billion (FY95/96)
Percent of gdp: 2.7% (FY95/96)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

India - Transportation 1997
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 290 (1996 est.)
With paved runways total: 249
With paved runways over 3047 m: 12
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 48
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 59
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 68
With paved runways under 914 m: 62 (1996 est.)
With unpaved runways total: 41
With unpaved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 2
With unpaved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 2
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 37 (1996 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 249
Over 3047 m: 12
2438 to 3047 m: 48
15-24 to 2437 m: 59
914 to 1523 m: 68
Under 914 m: 62 (1996 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 41
2438 to 3047 m: 2
15-24 to 2437 m: 2
914 to 1523 m: 37 (1996 est.)

Heliports: 15 (1996 est.)

Pipelines: crude oil 3,005 km; petroleum products 2,687 km; natural gas 1,700 km (1995)

Total: 62,462 km (11,793 km electrified; 12,617 km double track)
Broad gauge: 37,824 km 1.676-m gauge
Narrow gauge: 20,653 km 1.000-m gauge; 3,985 km 0.762-m and 0.610-m gauge (1995 est.)


Waterways: 16,180 km; 3,631 km navigable by large vessels

Merchant marine
Total: 306 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 6,832,647 GRT/11,376,028 DWT
Ships by type: bulk 132, cargo 59, chemical tanker 8, combination bulk 3, combination ore/oil 3, container 11, liquefied gas tanker 8, oil tanker 75, passenger-cargo 5, roll-on/roll-off cargo 1, short-sea passenger 1 (1996 est.)

Ports and terminals

India - Transnational issues 1997
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Disputes international: boundaries with Bangladesh and China in dispute; status of Kashmir with Pakistan; water-sharing problems with downstream riparian Pakistan over the Indus (Wular Barrage; Bangladesh and India signed a treaty 12 December 1996 to share water from the Ganges

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: world's largest licit producer of opium for the pharmaceutical trade, but an undetermined quantity of opium is diverted to illicit international drug markets; major transit country for illicit narcotics produced in neighboring countries; illicit producer of hashish and methaqualone; produced 47 metric tons of illicit opium in 1996

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