India’s History

BACKGROUND

INDIA is one of the oldest civilisations in the world with a kaleidoscopic variety and rich cultural heritage. It has achieved multifaceted socio-economic progress during the last 59 years of its Independence. India has become self-sufficient in agricultural production, and is now the tenth industrialised country in the world and the sixth nation to have gone into outer space to conquer nature for the benefit of the people. It covers an area of 32,87,263 sq km, extending from the snow-covered Himalayan heights to the tropical rain forests of the south. As the seventh largest country in the world, India stands apart from the rest of Asia, marked off as it is by mountains and the sea, which give the country a distinct geographical entity. Bounded by the Great Himalayas in the north, it stretches southwards and at the Tropic of Cancer, tapers off into the Indian Ocean between the Bay of Bengal on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west.

Lying entirely in the northern hemisphere, the mainland extends between latitudes 8°4′ and 37°6′ north, longitudes 68°7′ and 97°25′ east, and measures about 3,214 km from north to south between the extreme latitudes and about 2,933 km from east to west between the extreme longitudes. It has a land frontier of about 15,200 km. The total length of the coastline of the mainland, Lakshadweep Islands, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is 7,516.6 km.

GEOGRAPHY
Location: The Indian peninsula is separated from mainland Asia by the Himalayas. The Country is surrounded by the Bay of Bengal in the east, the Arabian Sea in the west, and the Indian Ocean to the south.
Geographic Coordinates: Lying entirely in the Northern Hemisphere, the Country extends between 8° 4′ and 37° 6′ latitudes north of the Equator, and 68°7′ and 97°25′ longitudes east of it.
Indian Standard Time: GMT + 05:30
Area: 3.3 Million sq km
Telephone Country Code: +91
Border Countries: Afghanistan and Pakistan to the north-west; China, Bhutan and Nepal to the north; Myanmar to the east; and Bangladesh to the east of West Bengal. Sri Lanka is separated from India by a narrow channel of sea, formed by Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar.
Coastline: 7,516.6 km encompassing the mainland, Lakshadweep Islands, and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
Climate: The climate of India can broadly be classified as a tropical monsoon one. But, in spite of much of the northern part of India lying beyond the tropical zone, the entire country has a tropical climate marked by relatively high temperatures and dry winters. There are four seasons – winter (December-February), (ii) summer (March-June), (iii) south-west monsoon season (June-September), and (iv) post monsoon season (October- November).
Terrain: The mainland comprises of four regions, namely the great mountain zone, plains of the Ganga and the Indus, the desert region, and the southern peninsula.
Natural Resources: Coal, iron ore, manganese ore, mica, bauxite, petroleum, titanium ore, chromite, natural gas, magnesite, limestone, arable land, dolomite, barytes, kaolin, gypsum, apatite, phosphorite, steatite, fluorite, etc.
Natural Hazards: Monsoon floods, flash floods, earthquakes, droughts, and landslides.
Environment – Current Issues: Air pollution control, energy conservation, solid waste management, oil and gas conservation, forest conservation, etc.
Environment – International Agreements: Rio Declaration on environment and development, Cartagena Protocol on biosafety, Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on climatic change, World Trade Agreement, Helsinki Protocol to LRTAP on the reduction of sulphur emissions of nitrogen oxides or their transboundary fluxes (Nox Protocol), and Geneva Protocol to LRTAP concerning the control of emissions of volatile organic compounds or their transboundary fluxes (VOCs Protocol).
Geography – Note: India occupies a major portion of the south Asian subcontinent.
PEOPLE
Population: India’s population, as on 1 March 2001 stood at 1,028 million (532.1 million males and 496.4 million females).
Population Growth Rate: The average annual exponential growth rate stands at 1.93 per cent during 1991-2001.
Birth Rate: The Crude Birth rate according to the 2001 census is 24.8
Death Rate: The Crude Death rate according to the 2001 census is 8.9
Life Expectancy Rate: 63.9 years (Males); 66.9 years (Females) (As of Sep 2005)
Sex Ratio: 933 according to the 2001 census
Nationality: Indian
Ethnic Groups: All the five major racial types – Australoid, Mongoloid, Europoid, Caucasian, and Negroid find representation among the people of India.
Religions: According to the 2001 census, out of the total population of 1.028 million in the Country, Hindus constituted the majority with 80.5 %, Muslims came second at 13.4%, followed by Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, and others.
Languages: There are 22 National Languages have been recognized by the Constitution of India, of which Hindi is the Official Union Language. Besides these, there are 844 different dialects that are practiced in various parts of the Country.
Literacy: According to the provisional results of the 2001 census, the literacy rate in the Country stands at 64.84 per cent, 75.26% for males and 53.67% for females.
GOVERNMENT
Country Name: Republic of India; Bharat Ganrajya
Government Type: Sovereign Socialist Democratic Republic with a Parliamentary system of Government.
Capital: New Delhi
Administrative Divisions: 28 States and 7 Union Territories.
Independence: 15th August 1947 (From the British Colonial Rule)
Constitution: The Constitution of India came into force on 26th January 1950.
Legal System: The Constitution of India is the fountain source of the legal system in the Country.
Executive Branch: The President of India is the Head of the State, while the Prime Minister is the Head of the Government, and runs office with the support of the Council of Ministers who form the Cabinet Ministry.
Legislative Branch: The Indian Legislature comprises of the Lok Sabha (House of the People) and the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) forming both the Houses of the Parliament.
Judicial Branch: The Supreme Court of India is the apex body of the Indian legal system, followed by other High Courts and subordinate Courts.
Flag Description: The National Flag is a horizontal tricolour of deep saffron (kesaria) at the top, white in the middle, and dark green at the bottom in equal proportion. At the centre of the white band is a navy blue wheel, which is a representation of the Ashoka Chakra at Sarnath.
National Days: 26th January (Republic Day)
15th August (Independence Day)
2nd October (Gandhi Jayanti; Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday)