Country name: Republic of India
Capital: New Delhi
Independence from the United Kingdom: 15 August 1947
Location: Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and Pakistan.
Geographic co-ordinates: 20 00 N, 77 00 E
Time zone: UTC/GMT +5:30 hours
Area: 32.8 lakh (3.2 million) sq km
Population: 122 crore (1.22 billion)
GDP (PPP): 4.06 lakh crore ($79.6 billion approximately) (2010 est.)
Country dialling code: +91
Internet code: .in
Terrain: Coastline of 7000 km. Deccan Plateau in the south, flat to rolling plains along the Ganges, deserts in the west, Himalayas in the north.
Ethnic groups: Indo-Aryan, Dravidian, Mongoloid and other
Religions (values in percentage): Hindu 80.5, Muslim 13.4, Christian 2.3, Sikh 1.9, other 1.8, unspecified 0.1 (2001 census)
Languages (values in percentage): 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. English enjoys the status of subsidiary official language and is the most important language for national, political and commercial communication.
Government: Federal Republic
Major political groups: Indian National Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party, Communist Party of India, Nationalist Congress Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Bahujan Samaj Party
Environmental 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, and the huge and growing population is overstraining natural resources.
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
Natural hazards: Droughts, flash floods, flooding from monsoonal rains, thunderstorms and earthquakes. Barren Island is a volcano in the Andaman Sea that has been active in recent years.
Climate: Four major climatic zones: Alpine, Sub Tropical, Tropical and Arid. Major seasons: Winter (Dec-Feb), Summer (Mar-Jun), Advancing monsoon (Jun-Sep), Retreating monsoon (Oct-Nov).
Business days: Monday to Saturday
January - Makara Sankranti (harvest festival), Republic Day
March - Ugadi/ Gudi Padwa/ Baisakhi (Hindu New Year), Holi
August - Independence Day, Ramzan
September - Ganesh Chaturthi, Id-ul-Fitr
October - Gandhi Jayanti
November - Navratri and Diwali
December - Christmas