India - An Overview

India the world's largest democracy, is the seventh largest country in the world with a land mass of 3.29 million square kilometers extending from the snow covered Himalayan heights to the Tropical rain forests of the South and population of over 1 billion. India possesses a richness and diversity of culture, geographic and climatic conditions and natural and mineral resources that are matched by few other countries in the world. India stands apart from the rest of Asia, marked off as it is 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 Arabian Sea on the west. It has a land frontier of about 15,200 kms and a composite coastline of 7516 kms. India is a growing economy with average annual rates of increase in GDP of 6% over the last ten years.

India is a federal polity, with a central government in New Delhi, the capital and 29 state Governments and 6 centrally administered Union territories. It has a parliamentary form of government. The constitution provides for a separate executive, legislature and judiciary. The Executive comprises the President, the Vice President and the Council of Ministers, headed by the Prime Minister. The President is the head of state. The electoral process is well developed with free and fair elections held every 5 years. India offers the advantage of reasonably well dispersed, industrial and social development in all regions.


Principal industrial towns and some state capitals of India have an average population of 1 to 3 million and offer a fairly high standard of living. The presence of developed towns and cities and the fact that English is the primary language of business and administration is a big advantage to overseas businessman during their business trips to India. The metropolitan cities and large towns of India, have number of 5 star hotels, clubs, restaurants, cinemas, discotheques etc. which cater to the professional and recreational needs of tourists, business travellers and residents.

The existence of a free and vibrant press, an independent judiciary coupled with a strong legal and accounting system are some of the attractive feature of the business environment. A series of ambitious economic reforms since the 1990s have deregulated the economy and stimulated domestic and foreign investment, moving India firmly into the front ranks of the rapidly growing Asia Pacific economic giants. The liberalisation programme has unleashed the vast potential of the Indian economy. India's process of economic reforms is firmly rooted in a consensus spanning all political parties. Industry is in the process of upgrading technology and business process to take on competition in the domestic and global market. The economy is witnessing restructuring activity, with many corporations selling non-core businesses and entering into strategic alliances with foreign companies. The process of globalization of the Indian economy is progressing apace. Simplifications in policies and regulatory aspects, both at the Central and state level, are helping make the environment business friendly.

Global Power:

India became independent from British rule in 1947. Self-sufficiency in production of grains, expanding trade and rapid technological and industrial advances have made the totality of India's accomplishments unique. The industrial profile has undergone a phenomenal metamorphosis when India embarked on an extensive programme of industrialisation in the 1950's it also assigned an active role to small scale sector alongside the large and core industry. Today Indian industry has a highly diversified structure, considerable entrepreneurship backed up by a vibrant capital market. The country's technological prowess has been amply reflected in a wide range of products such as computers, telecommunications, software & information technology (IT), power generation and transmission equipment, transport equipment, machinery for heavy, medium and small scale industries and consumer and industrial electronics besides textile, garments, houseware, plastics, engineering products, processed food, leather goods, sports goods, marine products etc.

The small scale industries have been principally instrumental in achieving socio-economic objectives viz. generating increased employment opportunities, removal of regional imbalances and accelerated economic growth in a developing country like India. Today the small scale sector in India is in a position to produce a wide spectrum of not only conventional but also sophisticated and high technology selected items in the consumer and industrial goods categories. The sector has more than eight thousand products in its basket of goods of international quality at competitive prices. A number of small scale units employ accredited ISO-9000 Quality Systems. The sector has a wide manufacturing base and offers large opportunities in areas of mutual trade, technological collaborations and joint ventures.

India has emerged as a significant supplier of intermediate technology in the form of industrial joint ventures, turn-key projects, sub-contracting and consultancy services. It comes as revelation to many that India is now the world's ninth largest Industrial Power. It has also developed the third largest body of trained technical manpower, after the USA and the USSR. It has the largest base of small scale industries. All these advances have been made possible through forward planning, effective policies and emphasis on self-reliance.

General Information

Currency: The Indian rupee is divided into 100 paise. The denomination of currency notes used are Rs. 1000, Rs. 500, Rs. 100, Rs 50, Rs. 20, Rs. 10, Rs. 5, Rs. 2 and Re 1.

Credit Cards: Visa, Master and American Express credit cards are widely accepted in cities.

Working Hours: Most commercial establishments including banks work five and one half days a week, Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. - 5.30 p.m. Some banks function on Sunday. A number of offices, including those of the central govenment, work five days a week.

Clothing: Clothing is as appropriate for tropical climates; suits and jackets are common in the business/corporate world.

Weights and Measures: A decimal metric system of measurement is used in India, with the basic units for weight and length being the kilogram and metre respectively.

Driving Convention: Right Hand Drive Vehicles (driven on the left-side of the road).

Medical facilities: Widespread and well developed network of hospitals, private clinics and laboratories at reasonable cost; many possess the world's latest state-of-the-art technology.

Time: India is 5 hours ahead of GMT in summer and 4 hours in winter.

Transportation: Public transportation is available all days of the week.

Electric Current: Voltage for domestic application is 220V AC 50 cycles.

Communication: Telephone (fixed and mobile), telex, fax, e-mail and internet.

Language: Business language is English.

Fiscal Year: April-March. International Airports: New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Cochin, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Goa, Amritsar, Guwahati.