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  Facts and Figures-India
• Religion  • Holidays


Political Features

Capital

New Delhi

Government Type

Federal republic

Administrative divisions

28 states and 7 union territories

Language

English enjoys associate status but is the most important language for national, political, and commercial communication; Hindi is the national language and primary tongue of 30% 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.

Religion

As the land of spirituality and philosophy, India considers religion as an integral part of its entire tradition. The worship of various religions and its rituals play a significant role in every aspect of human life in the country. According to the 2001 census India has Hindu 80.5%, Muslim 13.4%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.9%, other 1.8%, and unspecified 0.1% of religious sections.

Time

Indian Standard Time (IST) is the time zone of India. It is +5:30 hours different from the Standard time zone UTC (Coordinated Universal Time)/GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). IST is +9:30 hours different from the time zone at Washington D.C and New York.

Physical Features

Location

In Southern Asia, bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the west, and the Bay of Bengal on the east. India shares its borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal and Bhutan to the north-east; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east.

Total Area

3,287,590 sq km

Population

1,095,351,995 (July 2006 est.)

Climate

The climate of India varies from tropical monsoon in south to temperate in north. The withdrawal of the monsoon is a far more gradual process than its onset. It usually withdraws from northwest India by the beginning of October and from the remaining parts of the country by the end of November. During this period, the northeast winds contribute to the formation of the northeast monsoon over the southern half of the Peninsula in October. It is also known as the retreating monsoon because it follows the wake of the southwest monsoon.

Economic Features

Major Industries

Tourism, textiles, chemicals, food processing, steel, transportation equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery, software

Currency (code)

Indian rupee (INR)

Exchange rate

Indian Rupees per US Dollar - 44
Indian Rupees per Euro- 57
Indian Rupees per GB Pounds- 86

Communication

Telephones/Mobile Phones

About 67.285 million people in India use telephone landline according to the estimate of 2005 and more than 6 million access cell phone. India has cell phone access of major private service providers like Hutchison Essar, Airtel, Tata Indicom, Idea, Spice, and Reliance apart from the Government telephone provider BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited).

Internet country code

.in

Internet users

50.6 million

Money transfer

Post offices that run under the central and state government now offer facilities to transfer money internationally. Post offices as well as private groups have tied up with global money transfer agents like Western Union Financial Services, Money Gram of Thomas Cook, and UAE Exchange Center to facilitate instant money transfer services.

Postal Services

Central postal services by INDIAPOST are available throughout the country. Private companies also offer excellent parcel, courier and speed post services. Blue Dart and DHL are the most popular ones.

Transportation

Major Airports

There are 334 airports in India according to the estimate of 2005 with major international airports in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkatta, and Chennai. Besides, all state headquarters have international airports. All international airports have flights operating to all the major cities across the globe.

Other transportation

Indian Railway is one of the biggest and strongest transportation network in the world with more than 60, 000 kilometers of railway line. In addition, India has a strong road network of about 3,851,440 kilometers connecting major cities with villages. Waterways are also firm in the Indian transportation network with 14,500 kilometers.


Politics

India has a multiparty political system with more than 50 recognized political parties operating from the soil. The Indian National Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party, and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) top the list. As a federal democratic republic, the people of India exercise their franchise every 5 years for electing their representatives for the Indian Parliament and to the State Legislative Assemblies. The Indian National Congress led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) is currently ruling the country.

Additional information for foreign tourists

Best time to visit India

India has three major seasons; summer, winter and monsoon. The winter season (November to February) is pleasant throughout the country. Regions of North India remain extremely cold during winters. So it is the best time for tourists to visit India. The summer season (April to June) is hot in most parts of the country. Tourists can visit principal Hill Stations of India during this season. The popular Hill Stations are Shimla, Mussoorie, Nainital, Kullu and the Kashmir Valley (North India), Darjeeling and Shillong (North East), Ooty, Yercaud and Kodaikanal (South India), Panchmari, Mount Abu and Khandala (central and western India) provide cool respite.

Shop opening timings

In India, shops open from 9:00 a.m. in the morning till late evening. Some of the shops are open till late night. Some of the medical shops are open throughout the night.

Restaurant Opening Timings

R Restaurants are open from early morning, serving breakfast. Most of them remain open till 9.00 PM at night.

Bank Opening timings

Almost all banks and financial institutions in the state are open from 10:00 a.m. IST to 5.00 p.m. Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI) branches throughout India are open from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Banks work during morning hours on Saturday and is closed on Sundays.

Availability of Alcohol

Alcohol is available in government outlets and in licensed bars. Alcohol is not served at restaurants except at bigger hotels.


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