This article provides an overview of India for those keen on exploring the possibility of living and working there. The information presented is gathered from open sources and is not exhaustive or meant to supplement or substitute legal and professional advice.
- Official name: Republic of India;
- Land area: 3,287,263 sq km²
- Population (2019 estimate): 1.366 billion
- Head of State: President Ram Nath Kovind
- Head of Government: Prime Minister Narendra Modi
- Languages: India’s constitution recognizes 22 different languages. Hindi is the official language and English is used for official purposes and for business.
- Currency: Rupee (INR)
- Capital: New Delhi
- Nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP): US$2.661 trillion (2020)
- GDP Per Capita – US$ at purchasing power parity: US$6,504 (2020)
India is made up of 28 states and eight Union Territories. The country’s boundaries extend from the Himalayan mountain ranges to the tropical rainforests in the south. It is bounded by the Bay of Bengal to the east, the Arabian Sea to the west, and the Indian Ocean to the south. It shares a border with Pakistan and Afghanistan at the northwest. China, Bhutan and Nepal at the north; Myanmar at the east; and Bangladesh at the east of the state of West Bengal. Sri Lanka is separated from India by the Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar.
India’s population is relatively young, with those aged 49 and below accounting for more than 70 percent of the population. In 2011, India’s population sex ratio was 940 females for every 1000 males.
India’s economy is one of the fastest growing major economy and the fifth largest in the world. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s economy experienced a “historic contraction” of 7.4 percent in 2020-2021. However, India’s economy is expected to grow by 8.2 percent in 2021-2022.
The government of India has rolled out several initiatives to attract foreign investors to India. Make in India initiative was introduced in September 2014 to attract foreign investments and strengthen the country’s manufacturing sector. The initiative seeks to enhance skill development, create employment opportunities, and build best in class manufacturing infrastructure. Digital India is another initiative with a vision to transform the country into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. It focuses on three core components: creation of digital infrastructure, delivering services digitally and to increase the digital literacy.
India has a large consumer market that offers abundant opportunities. It is set to become the world’s third largest consumer market, after the United States and China, valued at around US$4 trillion by 2025. This growth is largely driven by rising affluence and as more Indians move from rural villages to cities.
Of the 1.3 billion people in India, one-third of them are in the 15 to 34 age group. It means there are more than 400 million young people, and they have been the “main driving force behind the country’s swift e-commerce growth, which shot up by 30 percent in the last two years alone”.
India’s e-commerce is expected to surpass the United States to become the second largest e-commerce market in the world by 2034. It is forecasted to grow at a 27 percent CAGR, from US$30 billion in 2019, to US$99 billion by 2024. This presents huge opportunities in the realm of technology and e-commerce. The two sectors that are likely to be the key drivers of the incremental growth are grocery and apparel. The Indian government hopes to grow India’s digital economy to US$1 trillion by 2025.
India’s Smart Cities Mission
India’s Smart Cities Mission was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 25 June 2015. It seeks to modernise 99 existing Indian cities and their satellite towns. Some of the first 20 announced include Pune (Maharashtra), Jaipur (Rajasthan), Surat (Gujarat), Ahmedabad (Gujarat), Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh), Solapur (Maharashtra), New Delhi Municipal Corporation, Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu), Kakinada (Andhra Pradesh), Udaipur (Rajasthan) and Chennai (Tamil Nadu).
India is open to help from international partners to achieve this mission. There are projects worth S$40.4 billion planned in 99 Indian cities thus far, with opportunities open to Singapore companies.
India-Singapore economic relations
In 2005, the India-Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) was signed. This agreement covers tariff reduction/elimination for 81 percent of Singapore’s domestic exports.
Bilateral trade between Singapore and India has been growing. Exports to India grew from S$4.2 billion in 2015 to S$6.0 billion in 2019, while imports rose from S$4.0 billion in 2015 to S$7.6 billion in 2019. Singapore is India’s top investment partner in 2020-2021, accounting for 29 percent of the total foreign direct investment (FDI) received by India.