Monsoon clouds over Nalban, a part of East Kolkata Wetlands
Kolkata is subject to a tropical wet-and-dry climate that is designated Aw under the Köppen climate classification. The annual mean temperature is 26.8 °C (80.2 °F); monthly mean temperatures are 19–30 °C (66–86 °F). Summers (March–June) are hot and humid, with temperatures in the low 30s Celsius; during dry spells, maximum temperatures often exceed 40 °C (104 °F) in May and June. Winter lasts for only about two-and-a-half months, with seasonal lows dipping to 9–11 °C (48–52 °F) in December and January. May is the hottest month, with daily temperatures ranging from 27–37 °C (81–99 °F); January, the coldest month, has temperatures varying from 12–23 °C (54–73 °F). The highest recorded temperature is 43.9 °C (111.0 °F), and the lowest is 5 °C (41 °F). Often, in April–June, the city is struck by heavy rains or dusty squalls followed by thunderstorms or hailstorms, bringing cooling relief from the prevailing humidity. These thunderstorms are convective in nature, and are known locally as kal bôishakhi(কালবৈশাখী), or “Nor’westers” in English.
Rains brought by the Bay of Bengal branch of the south-west summer monsoon lash Kolkata between June and September, supplying it with most of its annual rainfall of 1,582 mm (62 in). The highest monthly rainfall total, 306 mm (12 in), occurs in August. The city receives 2,528 hours of sunshine per year, with maximum sunlight exposure occurring in March. Kolkata has been hit by several cyclones; these include systems occurring in 1737 and 1864 that killed thousands.
Pollution is a major concern in Kolkata. As of 2008, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide annual concentration were within the national ambient air quality standards of India, but respirablesuspended particulate matter levels were high, and on an increasing trend for five consecutive years, causing smog and haze. Severe air pollution in the city has caused a rise in pollution-related respiratory ailments, such as lung cancer.
More information: Climate data for Kolkata (Alipore) 1971–1990, Month …
Sector V, located in the Salt Lake area—a hub for IT and ITES companies
Kolkata is the main commercial and financial hub of East and North-East India and home to the Calcutta Stock Exchange. It is a major commercial and military port, and is the only city in eastern India to have an international airport. Once India’s leading city, Kolkata experienced a steady economic decline in the decades following India’s independence due to steep population increases and a rise in militant trade-unionism, which included frequent strikes that were backed by left-wing parties. From the 1960s to the late 1990s, several factories were closed and businesses relocated. The lack of capital and resources added to the depressed state of the city’s economy and gave rise to an unwelcome sobriquet: the “dying city”. The city’s fortunes improved after the Indian economy was liberalised in the 1990s and changes in economic policy were enacted by the West Bengal state government.
Flexible production has been the norm in Kolkata, which has an informal sectorthat employs more than 40% of the labour force. One unorganised group,roadside hawkers, generated business worth ₹ 8,772 crore (US$ 2 billion) in 2005. As of 2001, around 0.81% of the city’s workforce was employed in theprimary sector (agriculture, forestry, mining, etc.); 15.49% worked in thesecondary sector (industrial and manufacturing); and 83.69% worked in the tertiary sector (service industries).:19 As of 2003, the majority of households in slums were engaged in occupations belonging to the informal sector; 36.5% were involved in servicing the urban middle class (as maids, drivers, etc.), and 22.2% werecasual labourers.:11 About 34% of the available labour force in Kolkata slums were unemployed.:11 According to one estimate, almost a quarter of the population live on less than 27 rupees (equivalent to 45 U.S. cents) per day.As in many other Indian cities, information technology became a high-growth sector in Kolkata starting in the late 1990s; the city’s IT sector grew at 70% per annum—a rate that was twice the national average. The 2000s saw a surge of investments in the real estate, infrastructure, retail, and hospitality sectors; several large shopping mallsand hotels were launched.As of 2010, Kolkata, with an estimated gross domestic product (GDP) bypurchasing power parity of 150 billion dollars, ranked third among South Asian cities, after Mumbai and Delhi.
Kolkata is home to many industrial units operated by large public- and private-sector corporations; major sectors include steel, heavy engineering, mining, minerals, cement, pharmaceuticals, food processing, agriculture, electronics, textiles, and jute. ITC Limited, Coal India Limited, National Insurance Company,Exide Industries and Britannia Industriesrank among the companies headquartered in the city. The Tea Board of India and the Ordnance Factories Board of the Ministry of Defence are also headquartered in the city. Kolkata hosts the headquarters of three major public-sector banks: Allahabad Bank,UCO Bank, and the United Bank of India. Adoption of the “Look East” policy by the Indian government; opening of Sikkim‘sNathu La mountain pass, which is located on the border between India and China, to bi-directional international trade; and the interest shown by South-East Asian countries in expanding into Indian markets are factors that could benefit Kolkata.
Skyline of Ballygunge
, a South Kolkata locality consisting of low-rise and mid-rise buildings
Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata
A resident of Kolkata is referred to via the demonym Calcuttan orKolkatan. According to provisional results of the 2011 national census, Kolkata district, which occupies an area of 185 km2 (71 sq mi), had a population of 4,486,679; its population density was 24,252/km2 (62,810/sq mi). This represents a decline of 1.88% during the decade 2001–11. The sex ratio is 899 females per 1000 males—lower than the national average. The ratio is depressed by the influx of working males from surrounding rural areas, from the rest of West Bengal, and from neighbouring states, mainly Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Orissa; these men commonly leave their families behind. Kolkata’s literacy rate of 87.14% exceeds the all-India average of 74%. The urban agglomeration had a population of 14,112,536 in 2011.
Bengali people form the majority of Kolkata’s population; Marwaris andBiharis compose large minorities.Among Kolkata’s smaller communitiesare Chinese, Tamils, Nepalis, Oriyas,Telugus, Assamese, Gujaratis, Anglo-Indians, Armenians, Greeks, Tibetans,Maharashtrians, Konkanis, Malayalees,Punjabis, and Parsis.:3 The number of Armenians, Greeks, Jews, and other foreign-origin groups declined during the 20th century. The Jewish population of Kolkata was 5,000 during World War II, but declined after Indian independence and the establishment ofIsrael; by 2013, there were 25 Jews in the city. India’s sole Chinatown is in eastern Kolkata; once home to 20,000 ethnic Chinese, its population dropped to around 2,000 as of 2009as a result of multiple factors including repatriation and denial of Indian citizenship following the 1962 Sino-Indian War, and immigration to foreign countries for better economic opportunities. The Chinese community traditionally worked in the local tanning industry and ran Chinese restaurants.
Others include Sikhs, Buddhists & Other religions (0.19%)
More information: Religion in Kolkata …
Bengali, the official state language, is the dominant language in Kolkata.English is also used, particularly by the white-collar workforce. Hindi and Urdu are spoken by a sizeable minority. According to the 2001 census, 77.68% of the population isHindu, 20.27% Muslim, 0.88% Christian, and 0.46% Jain. The remainder of the population includes Sikhs,Buddhists, and other religions; 0.19% did not state a religion in the census.Kolkata reported 67.6% of Special and Local Laws crimes registered in 35 large Indian cities during 2004. The Kolkata police district registered 15,510 Indian Penal Code cases in 2010, the 8th-highest total in the country.In 2010, the crime rate was 117.3 per 100,000, below the national rate of 187.6; it was the lowest rate among India’s largest cities.
As of 2003, about one-third of the population, or 1.5 million people, lived in 3,500 unregistered squatter-occupiedand 2,011 registered slums.:4:92The authorised slums (with access to basic services like water, latrines, trash removal by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation) can be broadly divided into two groups—bustees, in which slum dwellers have some long term tenancy agreement with the landowners; andudbastu colonies, settlements which had been leased to refugees from present-day Bangladesh by the Government.:5 The unauthorised slums (devoid of basic services provided by the municipality) are occupied by squatters who started living on encroached lands—mainly along canals, railway lines and roads.:92:5According to the 2005 National Family Health Survey, around 14% of the households in Kolkata were poor, while 33% lived in slums, indicating a substantial proportion of households in slum areas were better off economically than the bottom quarter of urban households in terms of wealth status.:23 Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for founding and working with theMissionaries of Charity in Kolkata—an organisation “whose primary task was to love and care for those persons nobody was prepared to look after”.