Country profile: India’s info in one place
Saffron (subdued orange), which represents courage, sacrifice and the spirit of renunciation, is the color of the top horizontal band. White signifies purity and truth; green stands for faith and fertility. The blue chakra (24-spoked wheel) symbolizes the wheel of life in movement and death in stagnation.
Location: In Southern Asia, India is between Burma and Pakistan, and borders the Arabian Sea.
Language: 15 official languages. Hindi is the national language and the most widely spoken (41%). English is the most important language for national, political and commercial communication.
Total Population: 1.3 billion
Capital: New Delhi
Government: Republic of India, a multiparty federal republic where the head of the government is the prime minister and the president is chief of state.
Economy: Following economic liberalization measures that began in the early 1990s, India is developing into an open-market economy with a positive outlook for long-term growth due to its young population, healthy savings and investment rates, and increasing integration into the global economy.
Challenges remain, however, given India’s discrimination against women and girls, inefficient power generation and distribution, inadequate availability of quality education and other factors.
Power of franchising: The India franchise economy has the potential to grow to $51 billion in 2017 from the present $13.4 billion, according to a recent KPMG and Franchise Association of India report.
Culture: With a less hurried attitude toward time than North Americans, the concept “time is money” is foreign to most Indians. The Indian government moves at its own pace, so expect delays and make realistic assessments of the time involved in finalizing agreements.
Etiquette: Business lunches are preferred to dinners, and remember Hindus don’t eat beef and Muslims don’t eat pork (these are the two main religions in India). Refrain from touching communal dishes with your hands, and never offer another person food from your plate—it’s considered “polluted” as soon as it’s on your plate.
Franchise association: Franchise Association of India, which reports the franchise industry is expected to contribute almost 4% of India’s GDP in 2017.
GDP (official exchange rate): $2.09 trillion
Currency: Indian rupee (conversion rate at press time: 1 INR equals .015 USD).
News note: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in November 2016 the demonetization of 500 and 1,000 rupee notes to clean out the black market’s cash supply and counterfeit notes. The abrupt move still has some economic sectors reeling.
Sources: U.S. Commercial Service, CIA World Factbook, World Bank, “Kiss, Bow, and Shake Hands.”