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Why India?

In today’s global economy more and more companies are looking beyond their country borders for fruitful investment opportunities. These opportunities can be mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures or Greenfield investments. India is gaining more and more respect as a country to invest in, while it has some major advantages.

The Indian economy has witnessed a paradigm shift since the last decade and is on a robust growth trajectory. Today, the Indian economy boasts a stable annual growth rate, booming capital markets, and rising foreign exchange reserves.

According to the Asian Development Bank's (ADB) report titled “Asia Capital Markets Monitor”, the equity market in India, with a market capitalization of approximately US$ 600 billion, has emerged as the third-largest equity market, behind China and Hong Kong, in the emerging Asian region.

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India country profile

INDIA - The world's largest democracy and second most populous country emerged as a major power in the 1990s. It is militarily strong, has major cultural influence and a fast-growing and powerful economy.

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Introduction ::India
Background:
The Indus Valley civilization, one of the world's oldest, flourished during the 3rd and 2nd millennia B.C. and extended into northwestern India. Aryan tribes from the northwest infiltrated onto the Indian subcontinent about 1500 B.C.; their merger with the earlier Dravidian inhabitants created the classical Indian culture. The Maurya Empire of the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C. - which reached its zenith under ASHOKA - united much of South Asia. The Golden Age ushered in by the Gupta dynasty (4th to 6th centuries A.D.) saw a flowering of Indian science, art, and culture. Islam spread across the subcontinent over a period of 700 years. In the 10th and 11th centuries, Turks and Afghans invaded India and established the Delhi Sultanate. In the early 16th century, the Emperor BABUR established the Mughal Dynasty which ruled India for more than three centuries. European explorers began establishing footholds in India during the 16th century. By the 19th century, Great Britain had become the dominant political power on the subcontinent. The British Indian Army played a vital role in both World Wars. Nonviolent resistance to British rule, led by Mohandas GANDHI and Jawaharlal NEHRU, eventually brought about independence in 1947. Communal violence led to the subcontinent's bloody partition, which resulted in the creation of two separate states, India and Pakistan. The two countries have fought three wars since independence, the last of which in 1971 resulted in East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh. India's nuclear weapons tests in 1998 caused Pakistan to conduct its own tests that same year. In November 2008, terrorists allegedly originating from Pakistan conducted a series of coordinated attacks in Mumbai, India's financial capital. Despite pressing problems such as significant overpopulation, environmental degradation, extensive poverty, and widespread corruption, rapid economic development is fueling India's rise on the world stage. In January 2011, India assumed a nonpermanent seat in the UN Security Council for the 2011-12 term.
Geography ::India
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 references:
Asia
Area:
total: 3,287,263 sq km
country comparison to the world: 7
land: 2,973,193 sq km
water: 314,070 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly more than one-third the size of the US
Land boundaries:
total: 14,103 km
border countries: 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:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
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
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Kanchenjunga 8,598 m
Natural resources:
coal (fourth-largest reserves in the world), iron ore, manganese, mica, bauxite, rare earth elements, titanium ore, chromite, natural gas, diamonds, petroleum, limestone, arable land
Land use:
arable land: 48.83%
permanent crops: 2.8%
other: 48.37% (2005)
Irrigated land:
558,080 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
1,907.8 cu km (1999)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 645.84 cu km/yr (8%/5%/86%)
per capita: 585 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards:
droughts; flash floods, as well as widespread and destructive flooding from monsoonal rains; severe thunderstorms; earthquakes
volcanism: Barren Island (elev. 354 m) in the Andaman Sea has been active in recent years
Environment - 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 growing population is overstraining natural resources
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
dominates South Asian subcontinent; near important Indian Ocean trade routes; Kanchenjunga, third tallest mountain in the world, lies on the border with Nepal
People ::India
Population:
 
1,189,172,906 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 2
Age structure:
0-14 years: 29.7% (male 187,450,635/female 165,415,758)
15-64 years: 64.9% (male 398,757,331/female 372,719,379)
65 years and over: 5.5% (male 30,831,190/female 33,998,613) (2011 est.)
Median age:
total: 26.2 years
male: 25.6 years
female: 26.9 years (2011 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.344% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 86
Birth rate:
20.97 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 84
Death rate:
7.48 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 117
Net migration rate:
-0.05 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 118
Urbanization:
urban population: 30% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 2.4% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major cities - population:
DELHI (capital) 21.72 million; Mumbai 19.695 million; Kolkata 15.294 million; Chennai 7.416 million; Bangalore 7.079 million (2009)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.12 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.13 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.91 male(s)/female
total population: 1.08 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 47.57 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 51
male: 46.18 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 49.14 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 66.8 years
country comparison to the world: 161
male: 65.77 years
female: 67.95 years (2011 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.62 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.3% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 82
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
2.4 million (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
170,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 3
Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: chikungunya, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, and malaria
animal contact disease: rabies
water contact disease: leptospirosis
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2009)
Nationality:
noun: Indian(s)
adjective: Indian
Ethnic groups:
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 census)
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)
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 61%
male: 73.4%
female: 47.8% (2001 census)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 10 years
male: 11 years
female: 10 years (2007)
Education expenditures:
3.2% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 139
Government ::India
Country name:
 
conventional long form: Republic of India
conventional short form: India
local long form: Republic of India/Bharatiya Ganarajya
local short form: India/Bharat
Government type:
federal republic
Capital:
name: New Delhi
geographic coordinates: 28 36 N, 77 12 E
time difference: UTC+5.5 (10.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
28 states and 7 union territories*; Andaman and Nicobar Islands*, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh*, Chhattisgarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli*, Daman and Diu*, Delhi*, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Lakshadweep*, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Puducherry*, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal
Independence:
15 August 1947 (from the UK)
National holiday:
Republic Day, 26 January (1950)
Constitution:
26 January 1950; amended many times
Legal system:
based on English common law; judicial review of legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; separate personal law codes apply to Christians, Hindus, and Muslims
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Pratibha Devisingh PATIL (since 25 July 2007); Vice President Mohammad Hamid ANSARI (since 11 August 2007)
head of government: Prime Minister Manmohan SINGH (since 22 May 2004)
cabinet: Cabinet 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 (no term limits); election last held in July 2007 (next to be held in July 2012); vice president elected by both houses of Parliament for a five-year term; election last held in August 2007 (next to be held August 2012); prime minister chosen by parliamentary members of the majority party following legislative elections; election last held April - May 2009 (next to be held no later than May 2014)
election results: Pratibha PATIL elected president; percent of vote - Pratibha PATIL 65.8%, Bhairon Singh SHEKHAWAT - 34.2%
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 whom 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 members elected by popular vote, 2 appointed by the president; members serve five-year terms)
elections: People's Assembly - last held in five phases on 16, 22-23, 30 April and 7, 13 May 2009 (next must be held by May 2014)
election results: People's Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - INC 206, BJP 116, SP 23, BSP 21, JD (U) 20, AITC 19, DMK 18, CPI-M 16, BJD 14, SS 11, AIADMK 9, NCP 9, other 61, vacant 2; note - seats by party as November 2009 - INC 207, BJP 116, SP 22, BSP 21, JD (U) 20, AITC 19, DMK 18, CPI-M 16, BJD 14, SS 11, AIADMK 9, NCP 9, other 61, vacant 2
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (one chief justice and 25 associate justices are appointed by the president and remain in office until they reach the age of 65 or are removed for "proved misbehavior")
Political parties and leaders:
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam or AIADMK [J. JAYALALITHAA]; All India Trinamool Congress or AITC [Mamata BANERJEE]; Bahujan Samaj Party or BSP [MAYAWATI]; Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP [Nitin GADKARI]; Biju Janata Dal or BJD [Naveen PATNAIK]; Communist Party of India or CPI [B. BARDHAN]; Communist Party of India-Marxist or CPI-M [Prakash KARAT]; Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam or DMK [Kalaignar M.KARUNANIDHI]; Indian National Congress or INC [Sonia GANDHI]; Janata Dal (United) or JD(U) [Sharad YADAV]; Left Front (an alliance of Indian leftist parties); Nationalist Congress Party or NCP [Sharad PAWAR]; Rashtriya Lok Dal or RLD [Ajit SINGH]; Samajwadi Party or SP [Mulayam Singh YADAV]; Shiromani Akali Dal or SAD [Parkash Singh BADAL]; Shiv Sena or SS [Bal THACKERAY]; Telugu Desam Party or TDP [Chandrababu NAIDU]; note - India has dozens of national and regional political parties; only parties or coalitions with four or more seats in the People's Assembly are listed
Political pressure groups and leaders:
All Parties Hurriyat Conference in the Kashmir Valley (separatist group); Bajrang Dal (religious organization); National Socialist Council of Nagaland in the northeast (separatist group); Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh [Mohan BHAGWAT] (religious organization); Vishwa Hindu Parishad [Ashok SINGHAL] (religious organization)
other: numerous religious or militant/chauvinistic organizations; various separatist groups seeking greater communal and/or regional autonomy
International organization participation:
ADB, AfDB (nonregional member), ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), BIMSTEC, BIS, C, CD, CERN (observer), CICA, CP, EAS, FAO, FATF, G-15, G-20, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAS (observer), MIGA, MONUSCO, NAM, OAS (observer), OPCW, PCA, PIF (partner), SAARC, SACEP, SCO (observer), UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNITAR, UNMIS, UNMIT, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Flag description:
three equal horizontal bands of saffron (subdued orange) (top), white, and green, with a blue chakra (24-spoked wheel) centered in the white band; saffron represents courage, sacrifice, and the spirit of renunciation; white signifies purity and truth; green stands for faith and fertility; the blue chakra symbolizes the wheel of life in movement and death in stagnation
note: similar to the flag of Niger, which has a small orange disk centered in the white band
National Anthem:
name: "Jana-Gana-Mana" (Thou Art the Ruler of the Minds of All People)
lyrics/music: Rabindranath TAGORE
note: adopted 1950; Rabindranath TAGORE, a Nobel laureate, also wrote Bangladesh's national anthem
Economy ::India
Economy - overview:
 
India is developing into an open-market economy, yet traces of its past autarkic policies remain. Economic liberalization, including industrial deregulation, privatization of state-owned enterprises, and reduced controls on foreign trade and investment, began in the early 1990s and has served to accelerate the country's growth, which has averaged more than 7% per year since 1997. India's diverse economy encompasses traditional village farming, modern agriculture, handicrafts, a wide range of modern industries, and a multitude of services. Slightly more than half of the work force is in agriculture, but services are the major source of economic growth, accounting for more than half of India's output, with only one-third of its labor force. India has capitalized on its large educated English-speaking population to become a major exporter of information technology services and software workers. In 2010, the Indian economy rebounded robustly from the global financial crisis - in large part because of strong domestic demand - and growth exceeded 8% year-on-year in real terms. Merchandise exports, which account for about 15% of GDP, returned to pre-financial crisis levels. An industrial expansion and high food prices, resulting from the combined effects of the weak 2009 monsoon and inefficiencies in the government's food distribution system, fueled inflation which peaked at about 11% in the first half of 2010, but has gradually decreased to single digits following a series of central bank interest rate hikes. In 2010 New Delhi reduced subsidies for fuel and fertilizers, sold a small percentage of its shares in some state-owned enterprises and auctioned off rights to radio bandwidth for 3G telecommunications in part to lower the government's deficit. The Indian Government seeks to reduce its deficit to 5.5% of GDP in FY 2010-11, down from 6.8% in the previous fiscal year. India's long term challenges include widespread poverty, inadequate physical and social infrastructure, limited non-agricultural employment opportunities, insufficient access to quality basic and higher education, and accommodating rural-to-urban migration.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$4.046 trillion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 5
$3.736 trillion (2009 est.)
$3.478 trillion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate):
$1.43 trillion (2010 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
8.3% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
7.4% (2009 est.)
7.4% (2008 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$3,400 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 163
$3,200 (2009 est.)
$3,000 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 16.1%
industry: 28.6%
services: 55.3% (2010 est.)
Labor force:
478.3 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 2
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 52%
industry: 14%
services: 34% (2009 est.)
Unemployment rate:
10.8% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 118
10.7% (2009 est.)
Population below poverty line:
25% (2007 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 3.6%
highest 10%: 31.1% (2005)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
36.8 (2004)
country comparison to the world: 79
37.8 (1997)
Investment (gross fixed):
32% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 15
Budget:
revenues: $170.7 billion
expenditures: $257.4 billion (2010 est.)
Public debt:
55.9% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 45
57.3% of GDP (2009 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
11.7% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 201
10.9% (2009 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
6% (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 73
6% (31 December 2008)
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
12.19% (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 57
13.31% (31 December 2008 est.)
Stock of narrow money:
$328.4 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 15
$268.4 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Stock of broad money:
$1.29 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 14
$1.04 trillion (31 December 2009 est.)
Stock of domestic credit:
$1.164 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 14
$938.8 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$1.179 trillion (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 15
$645.5 billion (31 December 2008)
$1.819 trillion (31 December 2007)
Agriculture - products:
rice, wheat, oilseed, cotton, jute, tea, sugarcane, lentils, onions, potatoes; dairy products, sheep, goats, poultry; fish
Industries:
textiles, chemicals, food processing, steel, transportation equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery, software, pharmaceuticals
Industrial production growth rate:
9.7% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 21
Electricity - production:
723.8 billion kWh (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 6
Electricity - consumption:
568 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 6
Electricity - exports:
810 million kWh (2009 est.)
Electricity - imports:
5.27 billion kWh (2009 est.)
Oil - production:
878,700 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 24
Oil - consumption:
2.98 million bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 5
Oil - exports:
738,600 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 23
Oil - imports:
2.9 million bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 6
Oil - proved reserves:
5.8 billion bbl (1 January 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 23
Natural gas - production:
38.65 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 22
Natural gas - consumption:
51.27 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 113
Natural gas - imports:
12.62 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 17
Natural gas - proved reserves:
1.075 trillion cu m (1 January 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26
Current account balance:
-$26.91 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 182
-$26.63 billion (2009 est.)
Exports:
$201 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 23
$168.2 billion (2009 est.)
Exports - commodities:
petroleum products, precious stones, machinery, iron and steel, chemicals, vehicles, apparel
Exports - partners:
UAE 12.87%, US 12.59%, China 5.59% (2009)
Imports:
$327 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 13
$274.3 billion (2009 est.)
Imports - commodities:
crude oil, precious stones, machinery, fertilizer, iron and steel, chemicals
Imports - partners:
China 10.94%, US 7.16%, Saudi Arabia 5.36%, UAE 5.18%, Australia 5.02%, Germany 4.86%, Singapore 4.02% (2009)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$284.1 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
$274.7 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Debt - external:
$237.1 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29
$221.3 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$191.1 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 23
$157.9 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$89.04 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26
$76.62 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Exchange rates:
Indian rupees (INR) per US dollar -
46.163 (2010)
48.405 (2009)
43.319 (2008)
41.487 (2007)
45.3 (2006)
Communications ::India
Telephones - main lines in use:
 
35.77 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 8
Telephones - mobile cellular:
670 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 2
Telephone system:
general assessment: supported by recent deregulation and liberalization of telecommunications laws and policies, India has emerged as one of the fastest growing telecom markets in the world; total telephone subscribership base reached 700 million, an overall teledensity of 60%, and subscribership is currently growing more than 15 million per month; urban teledensity has reached 100% and rural teledensity is about 20% and steadily growing
domestic: mobile cellular service introduced in 1994 and organized nationwide into four metropolitan areas and 19 telecom circles each with multiple private service providers and one or more state-owned service providers; in recent years significant trunk capacity added in the form of fiber-optic cable and one of the world's largest domestic satellite systems, the Indian National Satellite system (INSAT), with 6 satellites supporting 33,000 very small aperture terminals (VSAT)
international: country code - 91; a number of major international submarine cable systems, including Sea-Me-We-3 with landing sites at Cochin and Mumbai (Bombay), Sea-Me-We-4 with a landing site at Chennai, Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) with a landing site at Mumbai (Bombay), South Africa - Far East (SAFE) with a landing site at Cochin, the i2i cable network linking to Singapore with landing sites at Mumbai (Bombay) and Chennai (Madras), and Tata Indicom linking Singapore and Chennai (Madras), provide a significant increase in the bandwidth available for both voice and data traffic; satellite earth stations - 8 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) and 1 Inmarsat (Indian Ocean region); 9 gateway exchanges operating from Mumbai (Bombay), New Delhi, Kolkata (Calcutta), Chennai (Madras), Jalandhar, Kanpur, Gandhinagar, Hyderabad, and Ernakulam (2010)
Broadcast media:
Doordarshan, India's public TV network, operates about 20 national, regional, and local services; large number of privately-owned TV stations are distributed by cable and satellite service providers; government controls AM radio with All India Radio operating domestic and external networks; news broadcasts via radio are limited to the All India Radio Network; since 2000, privately-owned FM stations are permitted but limited to broadcasting entertainment and educational content (2007)
Internet country code:
.in
Internet hosts:
4.536 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 18
Internet users:
61.338 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 6
Transportation ::India
Airports:
 
352 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 23
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 249
over 3,047 m: 21
2,438 to 3,047 m: 57
1,524 to 2,437 m: 75
914 to 1,523 m: 81
under 914 m: 15 (2010)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 103
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 8
914 to 1,523 m: 43
under 914 m: 48 (2010)
Heliports:
40 (2010)
Pipelines:
condensate/gas 2 km; gas 7,542 km; liquid petroleum gas 2,163 km; oil 7,659 km; refined products 7,201 km (2009)
Railways:
total: 64,015 km
country comparison to the world: 4
broad gauge: 52,808 km 1.676-m gauge (18,172 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 8,473 km 1.000-m gauge; 2,734 km 0.762-m gauge and 0.610-m gauge (2009)
Roadways:
total: 3,320,410 km (includes 200 km of expressways) (2009)
country comparison to the world: 3
Waterways:
14,500 km
country comparison to the world: 9
note: 5,200 km on major rivers and 485 km on canals suitable for mechanized vessels (2008)
Merchant marine:
total: 324
country comparison to the world: 29
by type: bulk carrier 94, cargo 78, chemical tanker 23, container 15, liquefied gas 11, passenger 4, passenger/cargo 12, petroleum tanker 87
foreign-owned: 8 (China 1, Hong Kong 1, Jersey 1, Malaysia 1, UAE 4)
registered in other countries: 56 (Cyprus 2, Dominica 2, Liberia 1, Malta 4, Marshall Islands 8, Nigeria 1, Panama 17, Singapore 19, unknown 2) (2010)
Ports and terminals:
Chennai, Jawaharal Nehru, Kandla, Kolkata (Calcutta), Mumbai (Bombay), Sikka, Vishakhapatnam
Military ::India
Military branches:
 
Army, Navy (includes naval air arm), Air Force, Coast Guard (2011)
Military service age and obligation:
17 years 6 months of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; women may join as officers, but for noncombat roles only (2010)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 319,129,420
females age 16-49: 296,071,637 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 249,531,562
females age 16-49: 240,039,958 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 12,151,065
female: 10,745,891 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures:
2.5% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 62
Transnational Issues ::India
Disputes - international:
 
since China and India launched a security and foreign policy dialogue in 2005, consolidated discussions related to the dispute over most of their rugged, militarized boundary, regional nuclear proliferation, Indian claims that China transferred missiles to Pakistan, and other matters continue; various talks and confidence-building measures have cautiously begun to defuse tensions over Kashmir, particularly since the October 2005 earthquake in the region; Kashmir nevertheless remains the site of the world's largest and most militarized territorial dispute with portions under the de facto administration of China (Aksai Chin), India (Jammu and Kashmir), and Pakistan (Azad Kashmir and Northern Areas); India and Pakistan have maintained the 2004 cease fire in Kashmir and initiated discussions on defusing the armed stand-off in the Siachen glacier region; Pakistan protests India's fencing the highly militarized Line of Control and construction of the Baglihar Dam on the Chenab River in Jammu and Kashmir, which is part of the larger dispute on water sharing of the Indus River and its tributaries; UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) has maintained a small group of peacekeepers since 1949; India does not recognize Pakistan's ceding historic Kashmir lands to China in 1964; to defuse tensions and prepare for discussions on a maritime boundary, India and Pakistan seek technical resolution of the disputed boundary in Sir Creek estuary at the mouth of the Rann of Kutch in the Arabian Sea; Pakistani maps continue to show its Junagadh claim in Indian Gujarat State; discussions with Bangladesh remain stalled to delimit a small section of river boundary, to exchange territory for 51 Bangladeshi exclaves in India and 111 Indian exclaves in Bangladesh, to allocate divided villages, and to stop illegal cross-border trade, migration, violence, and transit of terrorists through the porous border; Bangladesh protests India's fencing and walling-off high-traffic sections of the porous boundary; a joint Bangladesh-India boundary commission agreed to fully demarcate the Bangladesh-India boundary in the Dhubri-Kruigram sector; Bangladesh referred its maritime boundary claims with Burma and India to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea; fencing along the India-Burma international border at Manipur's Moreh town is in progress to check illegal drug trafficking and movement of militants; Bhutan cooperates with India to expel Indian Nagaland separatists; Joint Border Committee with Nepal continues to examine contested boundary sections, including the 400 square kilometer dispute over the source of the Kalapani River; India maintains a strict border regime to keep out Maoist insurgents and control illegal cross-border activities from Nepal
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin): 77,200 (Tibet/China); 69,609 (Sri Lanka); 9,472 (Afghanistan)
IDPs: at least 600,000 (about half are Kashmiri Pandits from Jammu and Kashmir) (2007)
Trafficking in persons:
current situation: India is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation; internal forced labor may constitute India's largest trafficking problem; men, women, and children are held in debt bondage and face forced labor working in brick kilns, rice mills, agriculture, and embroidery factories; women and girls are trafficked within the country for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced marriage; children are subjected to forced labor as factory workers, domestic servants, beggars, and agriculture workers, and have been used as armed combatants by some terrorist and insurgent groups; India is also a destination for women and girls from Nepal and Bangladesh trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation; Indian women are trafficked to the Middle East for commercial sexual exploitation; men and women from Bangladesh and Nepal are trafficked through India for forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation in the Middle East
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - India is on the Tier 2 Watch List for a fifth consecutive year for its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat human trafficking in 2007; despite the reported extent of the trafficking crisis in India, government authorities made uneven efforts to prosecute traffickers and protect trafficking victims; government authorities continued to rescue victims of commercial sexual exploitation and forced child labor and child armed combatants, and began to show progress in law enforcement against these forms of trafficking; a critical challenge overall is the lack of punishment for traffickers, effectively resulting in impunity for acts of human trafficking; India has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol (2008)
Illicit drugs:
world's largest producer of licit opium for the pharmaceutical trade, but an undetermined quantity of opium is diverted to illicit international drug markets; transit point for illicit narcotics produced in neighboring countries and throughout Southwest Asia; illicit producer of methaqualone; vulnerable to narcotics money laundering through the hawala system; licit ketamine and precursor production
Credits: CIA - The World Factbook
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Top Reasons to Invest in India Now

In recent times the Indian economy is going through rough patch, but this will not be the scenario in the long run. "We no longer discuss the future of India. We say the future is India". Following are the the key reasons why India is a great place to invest, how India has liberalized norms for foreign investors, and what is on offer for foreign investors.

India Shining

  • India is the 4th largest economy, in terms of purchasing power parity. Tenth most industrialized economy.
  • Strong macro-economic performance.
  • Political stability and broad consensus on reforms. Liberal and transparent foreign investment regime.
  • Well-developed banking system, Vibrant capital market, National Stock Exchange third largest, Bombay Stock Exchange fifth largest in terms of number of trades.
  • Strong and independent judicial system.
  • Among the highest rates of returns on investment. Profitability of US investments in India: 19.33% in 2000 (according to US Department of Commerce).

Incredible skills on offer

  • Strong pool of scientific and technical manpower. Prowess of IIT’s, IIM’s well known.
  • 255 Fortune 500 companies getting services.
  • 2nd largest English-speaking population.
  • Abundant, high-quality, cost-effective, competitive manpower. Over 100,000 IT professionals added each year.
  • India rated as the most attractive destination for offshore business processing by global consultancy A T Kearney.
  • IT Industry $14 billion; growing at 50% p.a.
  • Exports $12 billion; 2008 exports target: $60 billion, to be 35% of India's total exports.
  • Job creation: a million direct & 2-3 million indirect.

Highly Competitive Entrepreneurship

  • Prevalence of foreign technology licensing - Rank 1 in the world.
  • Availability of scientist and engineers - Rank 2.
  • Quality of management schools - Rank 9.
  • Firm level innovation - Rank 12.
  • Firm level technology absorption - Rank 16.
  • Company spending on R&D - Rank 32. (Source: Global Competitiveness Report, 2003)
  • India amongst the leading entrepreneurial hotbeds globally. (Red Herring clubs India with Israel)

Great Macro-economic Show

  • India among world's fastest growing economies.
  • The economy has posted an average growth rate of more than 7% in the decade since 1997, reducing poverty by about 10 percentage points.
  • As per the provisional figures of trade performance for the financial year 2010-11, the exports for the year ending March 2011 touched US$ 245.9 billion registered a growth of 37.5%.
  • India’s foreign exchange reserves have grown significantly since 1991. The reserves stood at US$ 5.8 billion at end-March 1991. The reserves stood at US$ 304.8 billion as on March 31, 2011 compared to US $ 292.9 billion as on September, 2010
  • Increase in forex during the fiscal year in 2002-03: $20 billion.
  • India's economic growth is sustained.
  • The nation's GDP is expected to grow by over 7.7 % this year.

Easy Industrial Licensing Policy

Industries retained under compulsory licensing under the Industrial (D&R) Act, 1951:

  • Distillation and brewing of alcoholic drinks.
  • Cigars and cigarettes of tobacco and manufactured tobacco substitutes.
  • Electronic aerospace and defense equipment.
  • Industrial explosives; Hazardous chemicals.

Major Financial Sector Reforms

  • Setting up of the Competition Commission; Amendments to Companies Act, Fiscal Responsibilities, and Securitization Act for creditors' security.
  • Board for Industrial & Financial Reconstruction to be repealed. Computerization of Customs interface.
  • Stable tax regime. Only 3 rates of indirect tax. Trade facilitation measures introduced.
  • Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 provides a liberal regime; forex procedures eased.
  • Stocks can be sold on the without prior approval.
  • Profits, dividends and capital investment can be repatriated.
  • Royalties can be paid by wholly owned arms to parent companies.

Trade Policy Rationalisation

  • Trade policy liberalised. Most items on Open General License.
  • Policies fully compatible with WTO.
  • Functioning of the Director General Foreign Trade (DGFT) fully computerized. All 33 locations are Web-enabled.
  • 70% of the total transactions of exporters/importers are Web-enabled.
  • Transaction time has reduced to just 6 hours.
  • On-line banking fully integrated.

A Proactive FDI Policy

FDI under ‘Automatic Route,’ except in areas:

  • Attracting compulsory licensing; or for acquisition of shares in an existing company.
  • Sectors not open to FDI. (Gambling, lottery, et cetera.)
  • Investor can bring automatic route cases for Foreign Investment Promotion Board approval.
  • Foreign technology collaborations freely allowed under automatic and government approval routes.

India FDI Outlook

  • India rated best destination for outsourcing and 6th most attractive destination for FDI, according to AT Kearney.
  • Global competitive report ranks India at first place in terms of prevalence of foreign technology licensing.
  • Among top 10 tourist destinations. Major destination for foreign venture capital funds. Pie chart, left bottom, shows country-wise FDI inflows.

Great Infrastructures and a Helping Hand

  • $12 billion Highways Development Programme. Over 13,000 Kms of Highways being developed.
  • The Electricity Act, 2003 in place to facilitate reforms in power sector. Permits trading in electricity, captive generation freed from prior approval.
  • Upgradation of airports at New Delhi and Mumbai.
  • ‘Sagar Mala,’ a major programme aimed at developing ports and shipping sector at an estimated investment of more than Rs 22,000 crore. Currently there are 12 major and 176 minor ports across the country.
  • Major advances in telecommunications sector. Bandwidths of terabit available. Sharp decline in telecommunications costs.
  • Foreign Investment Implementation Authority helps solve foreign investors' problems. It meets periodically with investors to sort out operational difficulties and facilitates implementation.
  • An Empowered Sub-Committee of the National Development Council set up on creating an investor friendly climate and removing regulatory barriers to investments.
  • Modernisation of legislations on intellectual property. All IPR Laws are TRIPS compliant. Intellectual Property Appellate Tribunal functional.
  • Simplification and re-engineering of work procedures.

Booming Sectors & Opportunities Galore

In a fast growing economy like of India's, everyone wants to invest in India. And why not? After all there are sectors related to the Indian growing Economy which provides tremendous investment and money-making opportunities.

As per our research following are top and best sectors to Invest in 2011-2012 which compliments the growing Indian Economy. Year 2009-2010 has been a stunning year, but its time we look forward to the coming years.

Automobile Industry - Most Well Placed

Indian Automobile Industry has seen a phenomenal growth in the past 20 years and is one of the core industry of the growing Indian Economy. This has happened due to a lot of positive factors like -

  • Friendly and favorable government economical policies
  • Rise in Agriculture and Industrial Output
  • Rise in per capita income (individual)
  • Better Roads and Infrastructure leads to higher Auto demand
  • Rising Middle Class and Working Class ( higher buying power)
  • Availability of Easy Finance Schemes for purchasing Automotives

By 2016 the size of the Indian automobile industry is expected to grow by 13%, to reach a mark of USD $ 120-159 billion. Presently, India is the 2nd largest two-wheeler market in the world and fourth largest commercial vehicle market worldwide. India is the 11th largest market in the passenger car segment globally which is expected to become the 7th largest market by 2016.

Indian Economy is growing at a rate of little over 8.5% GDP and is expected to do even better in the time to come. Along a rising economy, rising middle class income, rising purchasing power, easy finance options at low-interest rates, all together is going to provide substantial growth to this sector by boosting demand for both two wheelers as well as four wheelers.

This makes the Indian Automotive sector one of the most promising sector to invest from the Indian Economy and Stock Market. Be with this sector for few years to come and you will make money.

Agriculture - The backbone of Indian Majority

Agriculture Sector in Indian Economy is one of the most significant part of India. The success story of Agriculture in India has been stated as example by the world leaders like U.S President Barack Obama.

Agriculture is the only way to make a living for almost 2/3rd of Indian population and our rural population which is a majority of total population completely depends on Agriculture. Indian Agriculture is the largest contributor to the Indian Economy and it also play an important role in the growth of socio-economic sectors of India.

History Of Agriculture In India - The Green Revolution

There was a time in history when India was largely dependent on food import, but since the food crisis in 1960, India has come a long way and has put a lot of efforts to be self-sufficient in the food and grains productions. The desire to be self-sufficient when it comes to food grains in India, it has led to a Green Revolution which is aimed to improve the agriculture activity and produce in India.

The services enhanced by the Green Revolution in the agriculture sector of Indian economy are as follows:

  • Acquiring more area for cultivation purposes
  • Expanding irrigation facilities
  • Use of improved and advanced high-yielding variety of seeds
  • Implementing better techniques that emerged from agriculture research
  • Water management
  • Plan protection activities through prudent use of fertilizers, pesticides, and cropping applications

Indian Agriculture still depends heavily on monsoon as good rain during that season improves the agriculture output. But the entire year agriculture produce cannot possibly just depend on one season which opens up opportunity for setting up a second Green Revolution to overcome such restrictions and hurdles.

An increase in the growth rate and irrigation area, improved water management, improving the soil quality, and diversifying into high value outputs, fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, medicinal plants, and bio-diesel are also on the list of the services to be taken by the Green Revolution to improve the agriculture in India.

This eventually means growth and business prospects to the agriculture focused companies providing the much-needed solutions to improve what we call the back bone of the Indian Economy- i;e Agriculture in India.

Power Sector - major contributors to the economic development

Being one of the fastest growing economies and the second largest populated country, India represents an attractive destination for the power industry.

The government has targeted electricity for all by 2012 by the end of 11th Five Year Plan. As a result, state governments in co-operation with central and private players is devising strategies to ensure that the power deficits can be reduced and large number of villages can be electrified.

At present, coal based thermal power plants accounts for almost two-thirds of the energy needs of the country. However, the government is increasingly becoming aware about the benefits of generating power through cleaner nuclear power plants.

More recently, during the Budget 2010 announcement, the government has also laid emphasis on the development of non-conventional energy resources such as Solar and Wind Energy. Rural electrification is also a significant initiative by the government to allow access to electricity in remote regions in India.

In order to properly address the demand-supply gap, one effective solution lies in the efficient use of renewable energy sources. Renewable energy is the buzz word in Indian power sector and most of the public and private players are coming up with plans to tap the potential market.

After effectively analyzing the Indian power sector market the core focus is on key aspects, such as generation, distribution, and transmission. The states are focusing on those aspects of energy, in which they have an edge, such as solar power, wind power, or hydro power. To tap the underlying potential, the states are making targets for capacity additions and funds availability. In other words, the states are complementing the efforts made by the government at the central level with respect to the power sector. The demand of electricity is growing exponentially. And, herein lays the opportunities for investors to plough their money in public and private sector companies both.

Growing concern about pollution and global warming has led many individuals and nations to consider the nuclear industry as an excellent alternative for future power generation. Technological advancements and increased public awareness concerning nuclear power are critical to the success of the nuclear industry. Investments made by the nuclear industry in both technology and education will likely be seen in the near future. The future power reforms will be in the field of nuclear energy.

Food Processing - Boost to the farmers

As the growth of the economy chugs forward and consequently generates more employment and raises the standard of living of the middle class population; the demand for dynamic and processed food products will witness a manifold rise.

The processed food comes with enhanced food life and value added services to the raw form of food products. It also provides boost to the farmers as increasingly modern techniques goes into production of food and other activities involved thereafter. As per an estimate, Indian food industry is expected to grow to $280 billion by 2015.

The food processing treatment can be spread across various food products like products with low shelf life such as fruits and vegetables, dairy products & grain processing and storage among various other fields related to food products.

The upcoming years are likely to witness a fast growth in ready-to-consume food products like health drinks, frozen food products for low-shelf life food articles, readymade Aata (flour), fruit juices, ready-to-cook meals, quicker snack products like noodles and pastas, etc. with increase in percentage of working couples and busy life style.

The total plan allocation to the food processing industry has gone up sharply from Rs.650 crore during the 10th Five year plan to Rs.4030 crore during the 11th Five year plan.

Banking & Finance - A mirror of an economy’s health

Banking industry is said to be a mirror of an economy’s health. A Sound banking system serves as a significant trade enabler to the country. During the recent global crisis, Indian banking industry came out with flying colors on the back of stringent stipulations laid down the Central bank.

With the opening up of the sector in early Nineties by the government, the industry has received a significant boost by the emergence of the private sector banks which increased competitiveness and enhanced the level of banking facilities to a top notch level.

However, during the recent global recession, even the lagging public sector banks have made a big come back on the back of large up gradations to suit the hi-tech services provided by the private sector and foreign banks.

For a sustained economic growth for the country, unmatched banking and financial services is a must in order to facilitate the increasing need of swift and hassle-free transactions. Banking sector is an enabler to the economic growth.

Infrastructure - A enabler to higher growth

The economic development of a country is directly linked with the infrastructural status of the country. Infrastructure not only acts as a enabler to higher growth but also generates employment and serves the social needs of the people of the country.

If the economy is an emerging one like India which is a laggard on the infrastructural front, the growth in the infrastructure industry gains all the more importance. High transaction costs arising from inadequate and inefficient enabling infrastructure can go a long way in stunting the growth rate of the economy.

The broad term of infrastructure can cover a wide range of infrastructural facilities from ports and road, rail, transport, aviation, water needs, mining and construction among other fields of operations. Better infrastructure can lead to faster enabling services.

Oil & Gas

One sector that has disappointed until now is Oil and Gas sector. The prospects of the sector have witnessed a lagging demand as the global economy is still to witness a complete recovery. The recent crisis has stolen a huge chunk of the demand of oil and gas which is needed to stoke the growth engines of every major economy.

Most of the large companies were building new capacities before the breakout of the recession. This new capacities led to excess supply and falling demand at a time when the demand was hit on account of slowdown and crisis. This led to plunge in the operating margins of the refiners who were stuck with excess supplies of crude products.

However, with the recent advent of a recovery on the horizon, there is a gradual pick-up in the global demand for oil and gas, as economies are back to pump money for higher capacity utilization of their resources in order to meet increasing demand of goods and products. Demand for petro products is expected to improve over next one year.

Note: With so much of buzz going around in the Education sector, I was inclined to include this fast growing industry in the above article. However, the above article is created taking in to consideration the prospects of equity market returns for investments in FY 2010-11. Whereas, education and healthcare industry holds great prospects in India but from longer time span of more than just one year.

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