India Population and Customs

India Population and Customs

POPULATION.

1991 – 865 million people, density – 263 people per 1 sq. km. For 10 years (1981-1991) the population grew by 24%. The average life expectancy for men is 58 years, for women – 59 years. For every thousand men, there are 929 women; this ratio has been observed since the beginning of this century.

ETHNIC COMPOSITION.

Hindus (80%), Muslims (11%), Christians (2%), Sikhs (2%), Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, etc.

CUSTOMS.

Before entering temples, mosques or gurdwaras (Sikh temples), you must take off your shoes.

In many cases, photography inside the temples is prohibited, so ask permission before using your camera. Tourists are usually treated kindly, sometimes they are allowed to attend religious rituals. When visiting sacred places, watch your clothes: dress modestly (do not wear short skirts, tops or shorts). Head coverings are required in Sikh temples, women are required to cover their heads and shoulders in mosques, and they are also required to wear long skirts. Traditionally, put some money in the donation box.

Namaste – folded palms in greeting – is a traditional form of Indian greeting, and if you use it, Indians will appreciate it. However, men, especially in cities, will not hesitate to shake your hand if you are a man. A handshake will even be appreciated as a gesture of exceptional friendliness. For most Indian women, free morals in communication between men and women, adopted in the West, are unacceptable, so physical contact with women should be avoided. Do not shake hands with a woman (unless she is the first to extend it) and do not put your hand on her shoulder.

In private houses, tourists are treated as honored guests, and your ignorance of Indian customs will be treated with understanding and condescension. If you want to try eating with your hands, then remember to use the fingers of your right hand only.

Try not to have the soles of your shoes facing anyone, as this may be seen as a sign of disrespect. Do not point with your index finger, use either outstretched hand or chin gestures.

When talking with Indians, try never to shout or lose your temper, otherwise they will not communicate with you.

ECONOMICS

As a country with a democratic political system and a developed administrative structure, with a fairly large skilled workforce and an extensive network of communications, India has made significant progress since independence.

However, in the early 1990s India’s national debt reached $70 billion, and the average annual inflation was 10%, which was due to political instability and in part to the negative consequences of the Gulf War.

According to All City Codes, 70% of the able-bodied population is employed in agriculture, 13% – in industry, 17% – in the service sector. Rural residents make up about 75% of the total population of the country. 12 cities have more than 1 million inhabitants. The largest city of Bombay (12 million inhabitants)

Despite the agrarian basis of the economy, industry has grown significantly in India, and now the country is among the top 15 industrialized countries in the world. The relatively low volume of exports is partly due to high domestic consumption. India has been particularly successful in grain production; once in the country there was a chronic shortage of it, and now it is exported. However, 37% of the population lives below the poverty line.

More than half (64%) of the villages are electrified, the literacy rate of the population has increased: the number of people with seven years of education and above is 52% (64% for men and 39% for women). By comparison, the literacy rate in 1951, shortly after independence, was only 18%.

POLITICAL SYSTEM

India (Republic of India, Indian Union) is a federation consisting of 25 states and 7 union territories. Each state and some union territories have their own legislature and government headed by a chief minister. The head of state is the president. The central (federal) government, headed by the prime minister, is accountable to a bicameral parliament consisting of the Lok Sabha (House of the People) and the Rajya Sabha (Council of States). The House of the People has 543 directly elected members (530 seats reserved for states, 13 for union territories), plus two appointed members.

The Council of States has 232 members who are indirectly elected; it is renewed every two years and functions in much the same way as the British House of Lords. The president is elected for a term of 5 years by an electoral college composed of members of parliament and members of state legislatures. Since 1992, Shankar Dayal Sharma has been the President of India. Each state has its own legislature, which also performs a number of administrative functions in the areas of health, education and land transportation (with the exception of rail).

Usually elections are held every five years, but in exceptional cases early elections may be called. Since India’s independence in 1947, the country has held a dozen general elections. There are 6 national parties in the republic, 37 state parties, and a total of 301 parties are registered. The most influential national parties are: Bharatiya Janata, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Indian National Congress, Janata Party, Janata Dal.

THE LOCAL TIME

In India, time is five and a half hours ahead of GMT (two and a half hours ahead of Moscow).

India Population and Customs

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