Upland plain (Deccan Plateau) in south, flat to rolling plain along the Ganges, deserts in west, Himalayas in north
Varies from tropical monsoon in south to temperate in north
Nationality: Indian (s)
Population: 1,236,344,631 (July 2014 est.)
Languages: Hindi 41% (Note: English enjoys the status of subsidiary official language but is the most important language for national, political and commercial communication. There are 14 other official languages.)
Hindu 80.5%, Muslim 13.4%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.9%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.1% (2001 census)
India is developing into an open-market economy, yet traces of its past autarkic policies remain. Economic liberalization measures, including industrial deregulation, privatization of state-owned enterprises, and reduced controls on foreign trade and investment, began in the early 1990s and have served to accelerate the country's growth, which averaged under 7% per year since 1997. India's diverse economy encompasses traditional village farming, modern agriculture, and handicrafts.
GROWTH IN ENERGY DEMANDS (:36)
Medical advances, immunization, and public health programs have raised the average life expectancy in India to just over sixty years. Inadequate sewage disposal, contaminated drinking water, and poor nutrition still pose health problems. India has a high rate of population increase—almost 2 percent a year, which presents one of the country's greatest challenges. For many poor people, however, children provide valuable agricultural help and improve a family's income.
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