Official name: the Republic of India.
Government: federal parliamentary republic.
President: Ram Nath Kovind (2021).
Official languages: Hindi, English.
Capital: New Delhi.
Until 1947, modern India was part of the British dominions, consisting of 16 provinces and more than 500 Indian principalities. The country gained independence on 15 August 1947. The Constitution of the country came into force on 26 January 1950. According to the Constitution, India is a federal parliamentary republic. In 1954, the territory of the former French possessions was added to the country, Portuguese possessions in India were added in 1961.
The presidents of the country:
Rajendra Prasad (26 January 1950 – 13 May 1962) – was the first president of India; fought for independence of the country; supported the independence of the president from party affiliation, which became a tradition that continues at present; was a member of the Indian National Congress, a party that adheres to the views of progressivism, social liberalism, democracy and socialism.
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (13 May 1962 – 13 May 1967) – philosopher, a member of the Indian National Congress.
Zakir Husain (13 May 1967 – 3 May 1969) – the first Muslim to hold the post of the President of India; promoted a policy of secularism.
Varahagiri Venkata Giri (3 May 1969 – 20 July 1969) – was regarded as the president who was subordinate to the Prime Minister; a member of the Indian National Congress; took up the President's post again on 24 August 1969, resigned on 24 August 1974.
Mohammad Hidayatullah (20 July 1969 – 24 August 1969) – the second Muslim to hold the post of President of India; adhered to democratic views.
Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed (24 August 1974 – 11 February 1977) – was responsible for some radical tax measures; a member of the Indian National Congress.
Basappa Danappa Jatti (11 February 1977 – 25 July 1977), a member of the Indian national congress.
Neelam Sanjiva Reddy (25 July 1977 – 25 July 1982) – during the presidential election was represented as a member of the Indian National Congress; joined the Socialist Janata Party.
Giani Zail Singh (25 July 1982 – 25 July 1987) – adhered to liberal views; supported secularism; a member of the Indian National Congress.
Ramaswamy Venkataraman (25 July 1987 – 25 July 1992) – was a member of the Constituent Assembly that compiled the Constitution of independent India; a member of the Indian National Congress.
Shankar Dayal Sharma (25 July 1992 – 25 July 1997) – actively performed representative functions; appointed and dismissed governors; administered an oath to three prime ministers during the last year of his government; a member of the Indian National Congress.
Kocheril Raman Narayanan (25 July 1997 – 25 July 2002) – repeatedly addressed the nation and the parliament and critically assessed the socio-economic development of the country, expressing dissatisfaction with the increase in violence in society; a member of the Indian National Congress; the first President of India from the lower castes of Indian society.
Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam (25 July 2002 – 25 July 2007) – one of the creators of the joint Russian-Indian enterprise "BrahMos" that produces cruise missiles; known for his strategic vision of India's development and its place in the world; a member of the Indian National Congress.
Pratibha Devisingh Patil (25 July 2007 – 25 July 2012) – India's first female president; a member of the Indian National Congress.
Pranab Kumar Mukherjee (25 July 2012 – 25 July 2017) – was focused on the development of education, technology and healthcare, repeatedly addressed these issues; a member of the Indian National Congress.
Ram Nath Kovind (25 July 2017 – present) – representative of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which adheres to the ideology of Hindu nationalism; the second president from the lower castes of Indian society.
According to the Constitution, India is a union of states. It currently comprises 28 states and 7 Union Territories (Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Delhi, Lakshadweep, Puduchchery/Pondicherry, and Chandigarh). Each state has power over maintenance of public order, police measures, judicial proceedings, local government, development of education, health care, social services and agriculture. Other activities are executed jointly by the states and the central government. Executive power in the states is exercised by the Governor and the Government.
When the President in conjunction with the Indian Parliament declares a state of emergency in a State, the Head of State issues legislative acts for that State. The country's parliament must approve the decision of the head within two months and then confirm the decision every six months. A state of emergency may be imposed for a period of no longer than three years.
The union territories are not formal subjects of the Republic of India. A number of union territories have established legislative and executive bodies, which essentially means granting them autonomy.