It is located in eastern India on the east bank of the River Hooghly and has a subtropical climate. The city has many names: "Cultural Capital of India", "The city of Processions, "City of Joy" and so on. It has also been a home to many luminaries such as Rabindranath Tagore, Subhash Chandra Bose, Mother Teresa and Satyajit Ray.
Kolkata city, one of the four metropolitan cities in India has a history of no more than 300 years. The city, formerly known by the name of Calcutta has undergone a sea change in a very short span of time. Kolkata as it stands today is the largest metropolitan city of India. The city has the distinction of being the procurer of many important movements encompassing politics, arts, literature, theatre, cinema, science and technology, in India.
There are more than one accounts of how the city got its name. According to some the name of the city has been derived from the Bengali word Kalikshetra, meaning the ground of goddess Kali. Yet others are of the opinion that the name has been derived from the term Kilkila, meaning flat surface in Bengali. The city was named Calcutta by the British Power and the place continued to be called so till 2001 A.D. when the city was officially renamed as Kolkata.
Kalikata or Kolkata city used to be a small village ruled by the emperors of different dynasties before the coming of the East India Company of British Power. From 8th century to 12th century there was a frequent change of the power ruling the village. The power shifted amongst the Pala, Sena and Deva dynasties. From 13th century to the concluding 17th century the place was dominated by a series of rulers including the Mamluk rulers, the Balbans, Shahs, Abyssinians and finally Afghans. With the opening of a factory at Cassim Bazar the East India Company established its colonial rule in the year 1690. The land revenue rights were bought by the East India Company and the region gained its own presidency. A fort was established and named after King Willam I. At that time Kolkata was not the capital of Bengal and the capital used to be Murshidabad, located some 60 miles north of Kolkata. The nawab of Bengal attacked the city in 1756 and captured the fort. The city however, was recaptured by the British in 1757 . After being victorious in the battle of Plassey in 1772 against Siraj Ud Daulah the East India Company established their base and the city became the capital of British India. The important offices were moved from Murshidabad to Kolkata. Till 1912 the city was the capital of India, when the British moved the capital to Delhi. In 1947 when India got its independence the city was included and made the capital of the West Bengal.
GDP/PPP (2007 est.): $2.989 trillion; per capita $2,700. Real growth rate: 9.2%. Inflation: 6.4%. Unemployment: 7.2%. Arable land: 49%. Agriculture: rice, wheat, oilseed, cotton, jute, tea, sugarcane, potatoes; cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats, poultry; fish. Labor force: 516.4 million; agriculture 60%, services 12%, industry 28% (2003). Industries: textiles, chemicals, food processing, steel, transportation equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery, software. Natural resources: coal (fourth-largest reserves in the world), iron ore, manganese, mica, bauxite, titanium ore, chromite, natural gas, diamonds, petroleum, limestone, arable land. Exports: $140.8 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.): textile goods, gems and jewelry, engineering goods, chemicals, leather manufactures. Imports: $224.1 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.): crude oil, machinery, gems, fertilizer, chemicals. Major trading partners: U.S., UAE, China, Germany, UK, Singapore (2006).
Telephones: main lines in use: 49.75 million (2005); mobile cellular: 166.1 million (2006). Radio broadcast stations: AM 153, FM 91, shortwave 68 (1998). Television broadcast stations: 562 (of which 82 stations have 1 kW or greater power and 480 stations have less than 1 kW of power) (1997). Internet hosts: 2.306 million (2007). Internet users: 60 million (2005).
The total road length is about 1870 km in Kolkata municipal area, of which 1585 km is surfaced and the remaining 285 km is non-surfaced. Circular railway of 13.42 km and Metro railway of 16.45 km form the railway network of 29.87 km. There are 17 Metro railway stations and 10 Circular railway stations.
Kolkata city is served by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose (NSC Bose) International Airport which is approximately 20 km from the city center. The city boasts of a port with 70 container lines. 55 ferry services ply regularly from the different ghats of Kolkata.
China and India launched a security and foreign policy dialogue in 2005, consolidating discussions related to the dispute over most of their rugged, militarized boundary, regional nuclear proliferation, Indian claims that China transferred missiles to Pakistan, and other matters; recent talks and confidence-building measures have begun to defuse tensions over Kashmir, site of the world's largest and most militarized territorial dispute with portions under the de facto administration of China (Aksai Chin), India (Jammu and Kashmir), and Pakistan (Azad Kashmir and Northern Areas); in 2004, India and Pakistan instituted a cease fire in the Kashmir and in 2005, restored bus service across the highly militarized Line of Control; Pakistan has taken its dispute on the impact and benefits of India's building the Baglihar dam on the Chenab River in Jammu and Kashmir to the World Bank for arbitration; UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) has maintained a small group of peacekeepers since 1949; India does not recognize Pakistan's ceding historic Kashmir lands to China in 1964; disputes persist with Pakistan over Indus River water sharing; to defuse tensions and prepare for discussions on a maritime boundary, in 2004, India and Pakistan resurveyed a portion of the disputed boundary in Sir Creek estuary at the mouth of the Rann of Kutch; Pakistani maps continue to show Junagadh claim in Indian Gujarat State; discussions with Bangladesh remain stalled to delimit a small section of river boundary, to exchange 162 miniscule enclaves in both countries, to allocate divided villages, and to stop illegal cross-border trade, migration, violence, and transit of terrorists through the porous border; Bangladesh protests India's attempts to fence off high-traffic sections; dispute with Bangladesh over New Moore/South Talpatty/Purbasha Island in the Bay of Bengal deters maritime boundary delimitation; India seeks cooperation from Bhutan and Burma to keep Indian Nagaland and Assam separatists from hiding in remote areas along the borders; Joint Border Committee with Nepal continues to demarcate minor disputed boundary sections; India has instituted a stricter border regime to keep out Maoist insurgents and control illegal cross-border activities from Nepal.