India is the world's most populous democracy. A parliamentary republic with a multi-party system, it has six recognised national parties, including the Indian National Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and more than 40regional parties. The Congress is considered centre-left or "liberal" in Indian political culture, and the BJP centre-right or "conservative". For most of the period between 1950—when India first became a republic—and the late 1980s, the Congress held a majority in the parliament. Since then, however, it has increasingly shared the political stage with the BJP
as well as with powerful regional parties which have often forced the creation of multi-party coalitions at the Centre.


India is a federation with a parliamentary system governed under the Constitution of India, which serves as the country's supreme legal document. It is a constitutional republic and representative democracy, in which "majority rule is tempered by minority rights protected by law". Federalism in India defines the power distribution between the federal government and the states. The government abides by constitutional checks and balances. The Constitution of India, which came into effect on 26 January 1950, states in its preamble that India is a sovereignsocialistseculardemocratic republic. India's form of government, traditionally described as "quasi-federal" with a strong centre and weak states, has grown increasingly federal since the late 1990s as a result of political, economic, and social changes.


 7 union territories. All states, as well as the union territories of Pondicherry and the National Capital Territory of Delhi, have elected legislatures and governments, both patterned on the Westminster model. The remaining five union territories are directly ruled by the Centre through appointed administrators. In 1956, under the States Reorganisation Act, states were reorganised on a linguistic basis. Since then, their structure has remained largely unchanged. Each state or union territory is further divided into administrative districts. The districts in turn are further divided into tehsils and ultimately into villages.

  1. Andhra Pradesh
  2. Arunachal Pradesh
  3. Assam
  4. Bihar
  5. Chhattisgarh
  6. Goa
  7. Gujarat
  1. Haryana
  2. Himachal Pradesh
  3. Jammu and Kashmir
  4. Jharkhand
  5. Karnataka
  6. Kerala
  7. Madhya Pradesh
  1. Maharashtra
  2. Manipur
  3. Meghalaya
  4. Mizoram
  5. Nagaland
  6. Orissa
  7. Punjab
  1. Rajasthan
  2. Sikkim
  3. Tamil Nadu
  4. Tripura
  5. Uttar Pradesh
  6. Uttarakhand
  7. West Bengal
Union territories:
  1. Andaman and Nicobar Islands
  2. Chandigarh
  3. Dadra and Nagar Haveli
  4. Daman and Diu
  5. Lakshadweep
  6. National Capital Territory of Delhi
  7. Pondicherry


According to the International Monetary Fund, as of 2011, the Indian economy is worth US$1.631 trillion; it is the ninth-largest economy by market exchange rates, and is, at US$4.057 trillion, the fourth-largest by purchasing power parity, or PPP. With its average annual GDP growth rate of 5.8% over the past two decades, and reaching 10.4% during 2010, India is one of the world's fastest-growing economies
Despite impressive economic growth during recent decades, India continues to face socio-economic challenges. India contains thelargest concentration of people living below the World Bank's international poverty line of US$1.25 per day, the proportion having decreased from 60% in 1981 to 42% in 2005. Half of the children in India are underweight, and 46% of children under the age of three suffer from malnutrition. The Mid-Day Meal Scheme attempts to lower these rates. Since 1991, economic inequalitybetween India's states has consistently grown: the per-capita net state domestic product of the richest states in 2007 was 3.2 times that of the poorest. Corruption in India is perceived to have increased significantly, with one report estimating the illegal capital flows since independence to be US$462 billion. Driven by growth, India's nominal GDP per capita has steadily increased from US$329 in 1991, when economic liberalisation began, to US$1,265 in 2010, and is estimated to increase to US$2,110 by 2016; however, it has always remained lower than those of other Asian developing countries such as Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, and is expected to remain so in the near future. 
According to a 2011 PwC report, India's GDP at purchasing power parity will overtake that of the United States by 2045. During the next four decades, Indian GDP is expected to grow at an annualised average of 8%, making it potentially the world's fastest-growing major economy until 2050. The report highlights key growth factors: a young and rapidly growing working-age population; growth in the manufacturing sector due to rising education and engineering skill levels; and sustained growth of the consumer market driven by a rapidly growing middle class. The World Bank cautions that, for India to achieve its economic potential, it must continue to focus on public sector reform, transport infrastructure, agricultural and rural development, removal of labour regulations, education, energy security, and public health and nutrition.


India comprises the bulk of the Indian subcontinent and lies atop the minor Indian tectonic plate, which in turn belongs to theIndo-Australian Plate. India's defining geological processes commenced 75 million years ago when the Indian subcontinent, then part of the southern supercontinent Gondwana, began a north-eastward drift across the then-unformed Indian Ocean that lasted fifty million years. The subcontinent's subsequent collision with, and subduction under, the Eurasian Plate bore aloft the planet's highest mountains, the Himalayas. They abut India in the north and the north-east. In the former seabed immediately south of the emerging Himalayas, plate movement created a vast trough that has gradually filled with river-borne sediment; it now forms the Indo-Gangetic Plain.  To the west lies the Thar Desert, which is cut off by the Aravalli Range.
Major Himalayan-origin rivers that substantially flow through India include the Ganges (Ganga) and the Brahmaputra, both of which drain into the Bay of Bengal. Important tributaries of the Ganges include the Yamuna and the Kosi; the latter's extremely low gradient causes disastrous floods every year. Major peninsular rivers, whose steeper gradients prevent their waters from flooding, include theGodavari, the Mahanadi, the Kaveri, and the Krishna, which also drain into the Bay of Bengal; and the Narmada and the Tapti, which drain into the Arabian Sea. Among notable coastal features of India are the marshy Rann of Kutch in western India, and the alluvial Sundarbans delta, which India shares with Bangladesh. India has two archipelagos: the Lakshadweep, coral atolls off India's south-western coast; and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a volcanic chain in the Andaman Sea.India's coast is 7,517 kilometres (4,700 mi) long; of this distance, 5,423 kilometres (3,400 mi) belong to peninsular India and 2,094 kilometres (1,300 mi) to the Andaman, Nicobar, and Lakshadweep Islands. According to the Indian naval hydrographic charts, the mainland coast consists of the following: 43% sandy beaches, 11% rocky coast including cliffs, and 46% mudflats or marshy coast. 


India is home to two major language families: Indo-Aryan (spoken by about 74% of the population) and Dravidian (24%). Other languages spoken in India come from the Austro-Asiatic and Tibeto-Burman language families. India has no national language.  Hindi, with the largest number of speakers, is the official language of the government. English is used extensively in business and administration and has the status of a "subsidiary official language"; it is important in education, especially as a medium of higher education. Each state and union territory has one or more official languages, and the constitution recognises in particular 21 "scheduled languages". The Indian Constitution recognises 212 scheduled tribal groups which together constitute about 7.5% of the country's population. The 2001 census reported that Hinduism, with over 800 million adherents (80.5% of the population), was the largest religion in India; they are followed by Muslims (13.4%), Christians (2.3%), Sikhs (1.9%),Buddhists (0.8%), Jains (0.4%), Jews, Zoroastrians, and Bahá'ís. India has the world's largest Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Zoroastrian, and Bahá'í populations, and has the third-largest Muslim population and the largest Muslim population for a non-Muslim majority country.