The World Factbook (1990)/India

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The World Factbook (1990)
United States Central Intelligence Agency

pages 142–144


World Factbook (1990) India.jpg

 See regional map VIII


Total area: 3,287,590 km²; land area: 2,973,190 km²

Comparative area: slightly more than one-third the size of the US

Land boundaries: 14,103 km total; Bangladesh 4,053 km, Bhutan 605 km, Burma 1,463 km, China 3,380, Nepal 1,690 km, Pakistan 2,912 km

Coastline: 7,000 km

Maritime claims:

Contiguous zone: 24 nm
Continental shelf: edge of continental margin or 200 nm
Extended economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Disputes: boundaries with Bangladesh, China, and Pakistan; water sharing problems with downstream riparians, Bangladesh over the Ganges and Pakistan over the Indus

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

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

Land use: 55% arable land; 1% permanent crops; 4% meadows and pastures; 23% forest and woodland; 17% other; includes 13% irrigated

Environment: droughts, flash floods, severe thunderstorms common; deforestation; soil erosion; overgrazing; air and water pollution; desertification

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


Population: 849,746,001 (July 1990), growth rate 2.0% (1990)

Birth rate: 30 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 10 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 89 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 57 years male, 59 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 3.8 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Indian(s); adjective—Indian

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

Religion: 82.6% Hindu, 11.4% Muslim, 2.4% Christian, 2.0% Sikh, 0.7% Buddhist, 0.5% Jains, 0.4% other

Language: Hindi, English, and 14 other official languages—Bengali, Telgu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, Kashmiri, Sindhi, and Sanskrit; 24 languages spoken by a million or more persons each; numerous other languages and dialects, for the most part mutually unintelligible; Hindi is the national language and primary tongue of 30% of the people; English enjoys associate status but is the most important language for national, political, and commercial communication; Hindustani, a popular variant of Hindi/Urdu, is spoken widely throughout northern India

Literacy: 36%

Labor force: 284,400,000; 67% agriculture (FY85)

Organized labor: less than 5% of the labor force


Long-form name: Republic of India

Type: federal republic

Capital: New Delhi

Administrative divisions: 24 states and 7 union territories*; Andaman and Nicobar Islands*, Andhra Pradesh, Arunāchal Pradesh, Assam, Bihār, Chandīgarh*, Dādra and Nagar Haveli*, Delhi*, Goa and Damān and Diu*. Gujarāt, Haryāna, Himāchal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmīr, Karnātaka, Kerala, Lakshadweep*, Madhya Pradesh, Mahārāshtra, Manipur, Meghālaya, Mizoram, Nāgāland, Orissa, Pondicherry*, Punjab, Rājasthān, Sikkim, Tamil Nādu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal; note—Goa may have become a state with Damān and Diu remaining a union territory

Independence: 15 August 1947 (from UK)

Constitution: 26 January 1950

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

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

Executive branch: president, vice president, prime minister, Council of Ministers

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament (Sansad) consists of an upper house or Government Assembly (Rajya Sabha) and a lower house or People's Assembly (Lok Sabha)

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Leaders: Chief of State—President Ramaswamy Iyer VENKATARAMAN (since 25 July 1987); Vice President Dr. Shankar Dayal SHARMA (since 3 September 1987);

Head of Government—Prime Minister Vishwanath Pratap SINGH (since 2 December 1989)

Political parties and leaders: Janata Dal Party, Prime Minister V. P. Singh; Congress (I) Party, Rajiv Gandhi; Bharatiya Janata Party, L. K. Advani; Communist Party of India (CPI), C. Rajeswara Rao; Communist Party of India/Marxist (CPI/M), E. M. S. Namboodiripad; Communist Party of India/Marxist-Leninist (CPI/ML), Satyanarayan Singh; All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (AIADMK), a regional party in Tamil Nadu, Jayalalitha; Dravida Munnetra Kazagham, M. Karunanidhi; Akali Dal factions representing Sikh religious community in the Punjab; Telugu Desam, a regional party in Andhra Pradesh, N. T. Rama Rao; National Conference (NC), a regional party in Jammu and Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah; Asom Gana Parishad, a regional party in Assam, Prafulla Mahanta

Suffrage: universal at age 18

Elections: People's Assembly—last held 22, 24, 26 November 1989 (next to be held by November 1994, subject to postponement); results—percent of vote by party NA; seats—(544 total), 525 elected—Congress (I) Party 193, Janata Dal Party 141, Bharatiya Janata Party 86, Communist Party of India (Marxist) 32, independents 18, Communist Party of India 12, AIADMK 11, Akali Dal 6, Shiv Sena 4, RSP 4, Forward Bloc 3, BSP 3, Telugu Desam 2, Congress (S) Party 1, others 9

Communists: 466,000 members claimed by CPI, 361,000 members claimed by CPI/M; Communist extremist groups, about 15,000 members

Other political or pressure groups: various separatist groups seeking greater communal autonomy; numerous senas or militant/chauvinistic organizations, including Shiv Sena (in Bombay), Anand Marg, and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh


Diplomatic representation: Ambassador-designate Abid HUSSEIN; Chancery at 2107 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone (202) 939-7000; there are Indian Consulates General in Chicago, New York, and San Francisco; US—Ambassador William CLARK; Embassy at Shanti Path, Chanakyapuri 110021, New Delhi; telephone [91](11) 600651; there are US Consulates General in Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras

Flag: 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


Overview: India's Malthusian economy is a mixture of traditional village farming and handicrafts, modern agriculture, old and new branches of industry, and a multitude of support services. It presents both the entrepreneurial skills and drives of the capitalist system and widespread government intervention of the socialist mold. Growth of 4% to 5% annually in the 1980s has softened the impact of population growth on unemployment, social tranquility, and the environment. Agricultural output has continued to expand, reflecting the greater use of modern farming techniques and improved seed that have helped to make India self-sufficient in food grains and a net agricultural exporter. However, tens of millions of villagers, particularly in the south, have not benefited from the green revolution and live in abject poverty. Industry has benefited from a liberalization of controls. The growth rate of the service sector has also been strong.

GNP: $333 billion, per capita $400; real growth rate 5.0% (1989 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 9.5% (1989 est.)

Unemployment rate: 20% (1989 est.)

Budget: revenues $48 billion; expenditures $53 billion, including capital expenditures of $13.6 billion (1989)

Exports: $17.2 billion (f.o.b., 1989); commodities—tea, coffee, iron ore, fish products, manufactures; partners—EC 25%, USSR and Eastern Europe 17%, US 19%, Japan 10%

Imports: $24.7 billion (c.i.f., 1989); commodities—petroleum, edible oils, textiles, clothing, capital goods; partners—EC 33%, Middle East 19%, Japan 10%, US 9%, USSR and Eastern Europe 8%

External debt: $48.7 billion (1989)

Industrial production: growth rate 8.8% (1989)

Electricity: 59,000,000 kW capacity; 215,000 million kWh produced, 260 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: textiles, food processing, steel, machinery, transportation equipment, cement, jute manufactures, mining, petroleum, power, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, electronics

Agriculture: accounts for about 33% of GNP and employs 67% of labor force; self-sufficient in food grains; principal crops—rice, wheat, oilseeds, cotton, jute, tea, sugarcane, potatoes; livestock—cattle, buffaloes, sheep, goats and poultry; fish catch of about 3 million metric tons ranks India in the world's top 10 fishing nations

Illicit drugs: licit producer of opium poppy for the pharmaceutical trade, but some opium is diverted to international drug markets; major transit country for illicit narcotics produced in neighboring countries

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-88), $4.2 billion; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1980-87), $18.6 billion; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $315 million; USSR (1970-88), $10.0 billion; Eastern Europe (1970-88), $105 million

Currency: Indian rupee (plural—rupees); 1 Indian rupee (Re) = 100 paise

Exchange rates: Indian rupees (Rs) per US$1—16.965 (January 1990), 16.226 (1989), 13.917 (1988), 12.962 (1987), 12.611 (1986), 12.369 (1985)

Fiscal year: 1 April-31 March


Railroads: 61,850 km total (1986); 33,553 km 1.676-meter broad gauge, 24,051 km 1.000-meter gauge, 4,246 km narrow gauge (0.762 meter and 0.610 meter); 12,617 km is double track; 6,500 km is electrified

Highways: 1,633,300 km total (1986); 515,300 km secondary and 1,118,000 km gravel, crushed stone, or earth

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

Pipelines: crude oil, 3,497 km; refined products, 1,703 km; natural gas, 902 km (1989)

Ports: Bombay, Calcutta, Cochin, Kandla, Madras, New Mangalore, Port Blair (Andaman Islands)

Merchant marine: 296 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 5,855,842 GRT/9,790,260 DWT; includes 1 short-sea passenger, 8 passenger-cargo, 95 cargo, 1 roll-on/roll-off cargo, 8 container, 53 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 10 chemical tanker, 9 combination ore/oil, 109 bulk, 2 combination bulk

Civil air: 93 major transport aircraft

Airports: 345 total, 292 usable; 202 with permanent-surface runways; 2 with runways over 3,659 m; 57 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 91 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: poor domestic telephone service, international radio communications adequate; 3,200,000 telephones; stations—170 AM, no FM, 14 TV (government controlled); domestic satellite system for communications and TV; 3 Indian Ocean INTELSAT earth stations; submarine cables to Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Pakistan

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Border Security Forces, Coast Guard, Paramilitary Forces

Military manpower: males 15-49, 227,436,282; 134,169,114 fit for military service; about 9,403,063 reach military age (17) annually

Defense expenditures: 2.6% of GNP, or $8.7 billion (FY90 est.)