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India Country Report

Country Risk Level

High

Overview

Executive Summary

Prime Minister Narendra Modi enforced a nationwide lockdown from 25 March to mitigate the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus infections. Although India is among the three most affected countries globally, its testing rate is reportedly still low. The Indian Council for Medical Research’s testing policy still places severe restrictions on testing for asymptomatic individuals.The lockdown from March to May effectively halted all business activity, including infrastructure, construction, renewable energy, and most importantly, manufacturing. By June, most businesses had been allowed to resume activity but they are reporting labour shortages. The Indian government announced a series of measures to help businesses, including plans to ease land acquisition and labour policies, which are likely to be implemented.However, the stimulus packaged announced by the government in May will prioritise the provision of social welfare to India’s informal labour force, which constitutes approximately 80–90% of the total workforce. In doing so, India will almost certainly overshoot its already expanded fiscal deficit target of 3.8% of GDP for fiscal year (FY) 2020–21. Crucially for businesses, forthcoming measures are likely to expand tax holidays and temporary softening of the classification procedures regarding banks’ non-performing assets and requirements for provisioning. IHS Markit estimates that India’s GDP growth will contract to -6.3% in FY 2020–21.

Operational Outlook

Industrial action against government policies and alleged business excesses is frequent, particularly in sectors like transport, automotive, and textiles where trade unions are strong. In his second term, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will quite probably attempt to pass his much-touted labour code, which includes legislation to simplify labour compliance requirements for businesses, and is highly likely as part of the government's response to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the Indian economy. Bribery demands during public procurement or while seeking contract clearances are frequent, particularly in the defence, shipping, and transport ministries, and in projects that involve land purchases.

Terrorism

High

The intensified recruitment of locals in Kashmir as militants is likely to increase the conflict's sustainability. Kashmir's August 2019 re-organisation will likely drive recruitment for Pakistan-based, indigenous, and transnational militant groups, increasing the risk of localised attacks, but these are less likely in mainland India. Pakistan-based militant groups hold government and hospitality establishments, and public transport systems – particularly in major cities – as aspirational targets. Following the 2008 Mumbai attacks, however, improved preparedness of security forces has mitigated the threat of such attacks. In the states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, and Odisha, Naxalite militancy has been declining. However, small-scale attacks targeting assets of mining and construction companies are likely to continue.

Crime

Organised criminality is most entrenched in Mumbai and mainly involves smuggling arms across the borders with Bangladesh and Myanmar, and gold between India and the Gulf. Soaring property prices in major cities have facilitated money laundering and extortion but criminal groups rarely target foreign companies. Opiates and cannabis are smuggled in, mostly from Myanmar and Nepal into Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Nagaland. Financial crime remains a significant concern, given India's burgeoning financial services sector and large informal economy. In 2019, the US State Department named India as a "major money laundering country" in its annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report.

War Risks

India’s ongoing military conflict with China along the Line of Actual Control in the Ladakh-Tibet region is likely to continue until onset of winter snows in September. However, statements from both countries indicate little intent for deliberate military action. Along the Line of Control with Pakistan, India has reported a significantly high number of ceasefire violations this year; however, a military conflict currently remains unlikely. Through 2020, Indian armed forces will highly likely remain preoccupied in a reported two-front situation, which Indian policy usually discourages.

Social Stability

Due to COVID-19-related lockdown restrictions, nationwide protests against India's new citizenship law have stalled and are unlikely to resume through 2020. More broadly, protests are likely in the one-year outlook over agrarian distress, rising prices, youth unemployment, alleged land and environmental violations, labour policies, indigenous peoples' rights, and caste- and religion-based discrimination. These protests usually last two to three days, potentially leading to road and rail blockades and major traffic disruption. They are likely to turn violent if police action is deployed, including baton charges and the use of tear gas to disperse protesters.

Health Risk

Vaccinations required to enter the country

Any traveler (except infants under nine months of age) arriving by air or sea without a yellow fever vaccination certificate will be detained in isolation for up to 6 days if that person:

arrives within 6 days of departure from an area with risk of yellow fever (YFV) transmission,has been in such an area in transit (except those passengers and members of flight crews who, while in transit through an airport in an area with risk of YFV transmission, remained in the airport during their entire stay and the health officer agrees to such an exemption),arrives on a ship that started from or touched at any port in an area with risk of YFV transmission up to 30 days before its arrival in India, unless such a ship has been disinfected in accordance with the procedure recommended by WHO, orarrives on an aircraft that has been in an area with risk of YFV transmission and has not been disinfected in accordance with the Indian Aircraft Public Health Rules, 1954, or as recommended by WHO.

The following are regarded as countries and areas with risk of YFV transmission:

Africa: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Togo, and Uganda. Americas: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela.

Note: When a case of yellow fever is reported from any country, that country is regarded by the government of India as a country with risk of yellow fever transmission and is added to the above list.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A : a vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B : a vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio : a booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Yellow Fever : a vaccine is available for children over the age of one year.

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Meningococcal Meningitis: For prolonged stays, or in case your travels will put you in close contact with a local population affected by an epidemic of the disease (for children over the age of two years).

Japanese Encephalitis: For stays of longer than one month in a rural zone during the rainy season (for children over the age of one). The vaccine is administered in a local medical facility.

Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - chloroquine and proguanil (sometimes marketed as Paludrine ) or proguanil and atovaquone (sometimes marketed as Mepron); if traveling to Assam state, mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Natural Risks

As mentioned above, India is vulnerable to a number of natural risks. Monsoon season in the west and southwest lasts from June to September. West Bengal and Odisha states are particularly vulnerable to devastating cyclones (10,000 dead in 1999). Torrential rains can, among other things, disrupt transportation and cause significant flooding (e.g. 200 killed in Gujarat state in early August 2017; several hundred killed in Jammu and Kashmir in September 2014; 1.5 million people displaced and several hundred dead in October 2009 in Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh states).

India is also situated in a highly active and potentially devastating seismic zone (a 7.6-magnitude earthquake hit Bhuj, Gujarat, in January 2001, leaving 15,000 dead and 160,000 wounded). The December 2004 tsunami that hit the eastern coast of the country left 30,000 dead or missing.

Transportation

Roads in India tend to be in disrepair, aging, and often very congested, although modernization work is planned. The rail system, while cheap and extensive, is not always reliable or safe (accidents, frequent robberies, regular delays). Regarding air travel, it should be noted that on May 22, 2010, an Air India flight from Dubai to Mangalore crashed while approaching Mangalore, leaving 166 dead.

Visas are needed before travel, for any purpose, to India. Arriving without a visa or with an incorrect one may result in detention on arrival, deportation, or being blacklisted. Planned accommodations should be licensed with Indian government authorities. Length of stay for e-visas have been increased from 30 to 60 days as of April 1, 2017. Business visas cannot be extended inside India.

Practical Information

Climate

In the north of the country (Ganges River Valley), summers begin in April, with temperatures reaching oppressive levels beginning in May. The monsoon arrives in June and stays until the end of September, during which period torrential rains are common. The climate is hot and dry from November until March. In mountainous regions, winters are harsh and summers are mild.

The center of the country is arid. Winters (November to March) are mild and dry. Sweltering heat arrives in April and monsoon season lasts from June until September. Outside of this period, rain is relatively rare and irregular.

In the south, the climate is hot and temperatures remain relatively constant throughout the year, rising as you approach the southern tip of the country. The western coast experiences a long rainy season (5-6 months) with heavy precipitation. In the southeast and the extreme south, the monsoon period lasts until November, or even December. The eastern coast is sometimes hit with cyclones (Bay of Bengal).

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +91
Police: 100
Fire Dept.: 100
Ambulance: 100

Electricity

Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Risk Level
Critical High Medium Low Minimal