Mumbai is the capital of Maharashtra since the day it was formed.The major rivers of the state are Godavari, and Krishna. The Narmada and Tapti Rivers flow near the border between Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. Maharashtra is the third most urbanised state among major states in India. Ancient and medieval Maharashtra was ruled by the Satavahana dynasty, Rashtrakuta dynasty, Western Chalukyas, Deccan sultanates, Mughals and Marathas respectively. Ruins, monuments, tombs, forts and places of worship left by these rulers are dotted around the state. They include the world heritage sites of Ajanta caves and Ellora caves. There are also numerous forts associated with the life of Shivaji Maharaj.
The modern Marathi language developed from the Maharashtri Prakrit, and the word Mahratta (later used for the Marathas) is found in the Jain Maharashtri literature. The terms Maharashtra, Maharashtri, Marathi and Maratha may have derived from the same root. However, their exact etymology is uncertain. The Nashik Gazetteer states that in 246 BC Maharatta is mentioned as one of the places to which Mauryan emperor Ashoka sent an embassy, and Maharashtraka is recorded in a Chalukyan inscription of 580 CE as including three provinces and 99,000 villages. But the Marathas as a people do not seem to be mentioned before the thirteenth or fourteenth century.
The most widely accepted theory among the linguistic scholars is that the words Maratha and Maharashtra ultimately derived from a combination of Maha (Marathi: महा) and rashtrika (Marathi: राष्ट्रिका). The word rashtrika is a Sanskritized form of Ratta, the name of a tribe or dynasty of petty chiefs ruling in the Deccan region. Another theory is that the term is derived from Maha ("great") and ratha / rathi (chariot / charioteer), which refers to a skilful northern fighting force that migrated southward into the area.
An alternative theory states that the term derives from the word Maha ("great") and Rashtra ("nation/dominion"). However, this theory is somewhat controversial among modern scholars who believe it to be the Sanskritised interpretation of later writers.
Maharashtra was ruled by the Maurya Empire in the 4th and 3rd centuries BCE. Around 230 BCE Maharashtra came under the rule of the Satavahana dynasty for 400 years. The greatest ruler of the Satavahana Dynasty was Gautamiputra Satakarni. In 90 CE Vedishri, son of the Satavahana king Satakarni, the "Lord of Dakshinapatha, wielder of the unchecked wheel of Sovereignty", made Junnar, thirty miles north of Pune, the capital of his kingdom. The state was also ruled by Western Satraps, Gupta Empire, Gurjara-Pratihara, Vakataka, Kadambas, Chalukya Empire, Rashtrakuta Dynasty, and Western Chalukya before finally, the Yadava rule. The Buddhist Ajanta Caves in present-day Aurangabad display influences from the Satavahana and Vakataka style. The caves were possibly excavated during this period. The Chalukya dynasty ruled from the 6th century to the 8th century CE and the two prominent rulers were Pulakeshin II, who defeated the north Indian Emperor Harsha, and Vikramaditya II, who defeated the Arab invaders in the 8th century. The Rashtrakuta dynasty ruled Maharashtra from the 8th to the 10th century. The Arab traveller Sulaiman described the ruler of the Rashtrakuta Dynasty (Amoghavarsha) as "one of the 4 great kings of the world". From the early 11th century to the 12th century the Deccan Plateau, which includes a significant part of Maharashtra, was dominated by the Western Chalukya Empire and the Chola dynasty. Several battles were fought between the Western Chalukya Empire and the Chola dynasty in the Deccan Plateau during the reigns of Raja Raja Chola I, Rajendra Chola I, Jayasimha II, Someshvara I and Vikramaditya VI.
In the early 14th century, the Yadava dynasty, which ruled most of present-day Maharashtra, was overthrown by the Delhi Sultanate ruler Ala-ud-din Khalji. Later, Muhammad bin Tughluq conquered parts of the Deccan, and temporarily shifted his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad in Maharashtra. After the collapse of the Tughluqs in 1347, the local Bahmani Sultanate of Gulbarga took over, governing the region for the next 150 years. After the break-up of the Bahamani sultanate in 1518, Maharashtra split into five Deccan Sultanates: Nizamshah of Ahmednagar, Adilshah of Bijapur, Qutubshah of Golkonda, Bidarshah of Bidar and Imadshah of Elichpur. These kingdoms often fought with each other. United, they decisively defeated the Vijayanagara Empire of the south in 1565. The present area of Mumbai was ruled by the Sultanate of Gujarat before its capture by Portugal in 1535 and the Faruqi dynasty ruled the Khandesh region between 1382 and 1601 before finally getting annexed by the Mughal Empire. Malik Ambar, the regent of the Nizamshahi dynasty of Ahmednagar from 1607 to 1626. increased the strength and power of Murtaza Nizam Shah and raised a large army. Malik Ambar is said to have been a proponent of guerilla warfare in the Deccan region. Malik Ambar assisted Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in Delhi against his stepmother, Nur Jahan, who had ambitions of seating her son-in-law on the throne.
By the early 17th century, Shahaji Bhosale, an ambitious local general who had served Ahmadnagar Nizamshahi, the Mughals and Adil Shah of Bijapur at different periods during his career, attempted to establish his independent rule. His son Shivaji succeeded in establishing the Maratha Empire which was further expanded during the 18th century by the Bhat family Peshwas based in Pune, Bhonsle of Nagpur, Gaekwad of Baroda, Holkar of Indore, Scindia of Gwalior. At its peak, the empire covered much of the subcontinent, encompassing a territory of over 2.8 million km². The Marathas are credited to a large extent for ending the Mughal rule in India. The Marathas defeated the Mughals, and conquered large territories in northern and central parts of the Indian subcontinent. After their defeat at the hand of Ahmad Shah Abdali's Afghan forces in the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761, the Maratha suffered a setback. However, the Marathas soon regained lost influence and ruled central and north India including New Delhi until the end of the eighteenth century. The Third Anglo-Maratha War (1817–1818) led to the end of the Maratha Empire and East India Company ruled the country in 1819. The Marathas also developed a potent Navy circa 1660s, which at its peak, dominated the territorial waters of the western coast of India from Mumbai to Savantwadi. It would engage in attacking the British, Portuguese, Dutch, and Siddi Naval ships and kept a check on their naval ambitions. The Maratha Navy dominated till around the 1730s, was in a state of decline by 1770s, and ceased to exist by 1818.
India contains no more than two great powers, British and Mahratta, and every other state acknowledges the influence of one or the other. Every inch that we recede will be occupied by them.
The British governed western Maharashtra as part of the Bombay Presidency, which spanned an area from Karachi in Pakistan to northern Deccan. A number of the Maratha states persisted as princely states, retaining autonomy in return for acknowledging British suzerainty. The largest princely states in the territory were Nagpur, Satara and Kolhapur; Satara was annexed to the Bombay Presidency in 1848, and Nagpur was annexed in 1853 to become Nagpur Province, later part of the Central Provinces. Berar, which had been part of the Nizam of Hyderabad's kingdom, was occupied by the British in 1853 and annexed to the Central Provinces in 1903. However, a large part called Marathwada remained part of the Nizam's Hyderabad State throughout the British period.
The period of British rule was marked by social reforms and an improvement in infrastructure as well as revolts due to their discriminatory policies. At the turn of the 20th century, the struggle for independence took shape, led by radical nationalist Bal Gangadhar Tilak and the moderates like Justice Mahadev Govind Ranade, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Pherozeshah Mehta and Dadabhai Naoroji, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Jyotirao Phule - social reformers who were all born in this region. Tilak was an inspiration to many Nationalists from the following generation like Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. After the partial autonomy given to the states by the Government of India Act of 1935, B. G. Kher became the first Chief Minister of the Congress party led Government of tri-lingual Bombay Presidency. The ultimatum to the British during the Quit India Movement was given in Mumbai, and culminated in the transfer of power and independence in 1947.
After India's independence, the Deccan States, including Kolhapur were integrated into Bombay State, which was created from the former Bombay Presidency in 1950. In 1956, the States Reorganisation Act reorganised the Indian states along linguistic lines, and Bombay Presidency State was enlarged by the addition of the predominantly Marathi-speaking regions of Marathwada (Aurangabad Division) from erstwhile Hyderabad state and Vidarbha region from the Central Provinces and Berar. The southernmost part of Bombay State was ceded to Mysore. From 1954 to 1955 the people of Maharashtra strongly protested against bilingual Bombay state and Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti, was formed. The Mahagujarat Movement was started, seeking a separate Gujarat state. Keshavrao Jedhe, S.M. Joshi, Shripad Amrit Dange, Pralhad Keshav Atre and Gopalrao Khedkar fought for a separate state of Maharashtra with Mumbai as its capital under the banner of Samyukta Maharashtra Movement. On 1 May 1960, following mass protests and 105 deaths, the separate Marathi-speaking state was formed by dividing earlier Bombay State into the new states of Maharashtra and Gujarat. The state continues to have a dispute with Karnataka regarding the region of Belgaum and Karwar.
Maharashtra occupies the western and central part of the country and has a long coastline stretching 720 kilometres along the Arabian Sea. One of the more prominent physical features of Maharashtra is the Deccan plateau, which is separated from the Konkan coastline by 'Ghats'. The Ghats are a succession of steep hills, periodically bisected by narrow roads. Most of the famous hill stations of the state are at the Ghats. The Western Ghats (or the Sahyadri Mountain range) provide a physical backbone to the state on the west, while the Satpura Hills along the north and Bhamragad-Chiroli-Gaikhuri ranges on the east serve as its natural borders. The state is surrounded by Gujarat to the north west, Madhya Pradesh to the north, Chhattisgarh to the east, Telangana to the south east, Karnataka to the south and Goa to the south west.
Maharashtra is the third largest state by area in India. Its coastline is 840 km long along the Arabian Sea. The Western Ghats better known as Sahyadri, are a hilly range running parallel to the coast, at an average elevation of 1,200 metres (4,000 ft). Kalsubai, a peak in the Sahyadris, near Nashik city is the highest elevated point in Maharashtra. To the west of these hills lie the Konkan coastal plains, 50–80 kilometres in width. To the east of the Ghats lies the flat Deccan Plateau. Forests comprise 17% of the total area of the state. A majority of the forests are in the eastern and Sahyadri regions of the state. The main rivers of the state are Krishna, Bhima, Godavari, Tapi-Purna and Wardha-Wainganga. Since the central parts of the state receives low rainfall, most of the rivers in the region have multiple dams. Maharashtra has around 1821 notable large dams.
Maharashtra is divided into five geographic regions. Konkan is the western coastal region, between the Western Ghats and the sea. Kandesh is the north-western region lying in the valley of the Tapti River. Jalgaon, Dhule and Bhusawal are the major cities of this region. Desh is in the centre of the state. Marathwada, which was a part of the princely state of Hyderabad until 1956, is located in the southeastern part of the state. Aurangabad and Nanded are the main cities of the region. Vidarbha is the easternmost region of the state, formerly part of Central Provinces and Berar. Nagpur, where the winter session of the state assembly is held, Akola and Amravati are the main cities in the region. Sahyadri range, with an elevation of 1000 meters, is known for its crowning plateaus. Lying between the Arabian Sea and the Sahyadri Range, Konkan is narrow coastal lowland, just 50 km wide and with an elevation below 200 meters. The third important region is the Satpura hills along the northern border, and the Bhamragad-Chiroli-Gaikhuri ranges on the eastern border, which form physical barriers preventing easy movement. These ranges also serve as natural limits to the state.
Maharashtra has typical monsoon climate, with hot, rainy and cold weather seasons. However, dew, frost and hail also occur sometimes, depending upon the seasonal weather. The winter in January and February is followed by summer between March and May and the monsoon season between June and September. Summers are extreme with March, April and May as the hottest months. During April and May thunderstorms are common all over the state. Temperature varies between 22 °C and 39 °C during this season. Rainfall starts normally in the first week of June. July is the wettest month in Maharashtra, while August also gets substantial rain. Monsoon starts its retreat with the coming of September to the state. Winter season is a cool, dry spell, with clear skies gentle breeze; pleasant weather prevails from November to February. But the eastern part of Maharashtra sometimes receives some rainfall. Temperature varies between 12 °C and 34 °C during this season. Rainfall in Maharashtra differs from region to region. Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts, receive heavy rains of an average of 200 centimetres annually. But the districts of Nasik, Pune, Ahmednagar, Dhule, Jalgaon, Satara, Sangli, Solapur and parts of Kolhapur get rainfall less than 50 centimetres. Rainfall particularly concentrates at the Konkan and Sahyadrian Maharashtra. Central Maharashtra receives less rainfall. However, under the influence of the Bay of Bengal, eastern Vidarbha receives good rainfall in July, August and September.
Flora of Maharashtra is heterogeneous in composition. In 2012 the recorded thick forest area in the state was 61,939 km2 (23,915 sq mi) which was about 20.13% of the state's geographical area. There are three main Public Forestry Institutions (PFIs) in the Maharashtra state: the Maharashtra Forest Department (MFD), the Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra (FDCM) and the Directorate of Social Forestry (SFD).
The flora of regions such as Nag region formed by Nagpur, Bhandara, Chandrapur and Gadchiroli and the plateau of Vidarbha composed by Wardha, Amravati, Yavatmal, Akola and Buldhana districts. Most of the forests are found in the Sahyadri region and are very dense. These forests are confined to areas which have low annual rainfall (50–70 cm), a mean annual temperature of 25–27 °C and low humidity. Some of the forest areas are converted into wildlife reserves, thus preserving their biodiversity.
Maharashtra is known for its extensive avifauna. The state has three game reserves, as well as several national parks and bird sanctuaries. The six tiger reserves located in the state cover a total area of 9133 sqkm. Wildlife sanctuaries in the state include Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary, Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary, Bor Wildlife Sanctuary, Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary, Chandoli National Park, Sanjay Gandhi National Park and Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary. The most common animals are found in the state are tigers, black panthers, leopards, gaur, sloth bears, sambar, four-horned antelope, blue bull, chital, barking deer, mouse deer, civet cats, jackals, jungle cats, striped hyena, and hare. Other animals in the state include reptiles such as lizards, cobras and kraits. The national parks of Maharashtra possess a variety of plant species that include jamun, palas, shisam, neem, teak, dhawada, kalam, ain, bija, shirish, mango, acacia, awala, kadamba, moha, terminalia, hedu and ficus.
Maharashtra consists of six administrative divisions:
The state's six divisions are further divided into 36 districts, 109 sub-divisions and 357 talukas. Maharashtra's top five districts by population, as ranked by the 2011 Census, are listed in the following table.
Each district is governed by a district collector or district magistrate, appointed either by the Indian Administrative Service or the Maharashtra Civil Service. Districts are subdivided into sub-divisions,(Taluka) governed by sub-divisional magistrates, and again into blocks. A block consists of panchayats (village councils) and town municipalities. Talukas are intermediate level panchayat between the Zilla Parishad (district councils) at the district level and gram panchayat (village councils) at the lower level.
According to the provisional results of the 2011 national census, Maharashtra is the second most populous state in India with a population of 112,374,333 (9.28% of India's population) of which male and female are 58,243,056 and 54,131,277 respectively. The total population growth in 2011 was 15.99 percent while in the previous decade it was 22.57 percent. Since independence, the decadal growth rate of population has remained higher (except in the year 1971) than the national average. For the first time, in the year 2011, it was found to be lower than the national average. The 2011 census for the state found 55% of the population to be rural with 45% being urban based. The state has a large number of Uttar Pradesh diaspora. Marathis comprise the majority of the population. Bihari, Gujarati, Sindhis, Punjabis, Parsis, Marwari, Kannada and Tamil minorities are scattered throughout the state. The 2011 census found scheduled castes and scheduled tribes to account for 11.8 and 8.9% of the population respectively. The scheduled tribes include adivasis such as Thakar, Warli, Konkana and Halba.
According to the 2011 census, Hinduism was the principal religion in the state at 79.8% of the total population, while Muslims constituted 11.5% of the total population. Buddhism accounted for 5.8% in Maharashtra's total population, with 6,531,200 followers, which is 77.36% of all Buddhists in India. Sikhs, Christians and Jains constituted 0.2%, 1.0%, 1.2% of the population respectively. The state contributed 9.28% to India's population. The sex ratio in Maharashtra was 925 females per 1000 males, which was below the national average of 940. The density of Maharashtra was 365 inhabitants per km2 which was lower than national average 382 per km2. Since 1921, the populations of Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg shrank by −4.96% and −2.30% respectively, while the population of Thane grew by 35.9%, followed by Pune at 30.3%. The literacy rate rose to 83.2%. Of this, male literacy stood at 89.82% and female literacy 75.48%.
The official language is Marathi although different regions have their own dialects. English is applicable in urban areas. Spoken Marathi language varies by district, area or locality in its tone and a few words. Konkani and Gujarati are also spoken in some areas. Other major dialects include Varhadii spoken in the Vidarbha region and Dangii spoken near the Maharashtra-Gujarat border. The sound /l/ is abundantly used in many verbs and nouns in Marathi. It is replaced by the sound in the Varhadii dialect, which makes it quite distinct. According to the economic survey of Maharashtra (2008–09), the percentage of the state's population that names Marathi as its mother tongue has declined to 68.8% from 76.5% over the past three decades, while there has been a sharp rise in the Hindi-speaking population (11% from 5%) in the same period.
Maharashtra has a parliamentary system of government with two democratically elected houses, the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council. The Maharashtra Legislative Assembly consists of 288 members who are elected for five-year terms. The Maharashtra Legislative Council is a permanent body of 78 members. The government of Maharashtra is headed by the Chief Minister, who is chosen by the ruling party members of the Legislative Assembly. The Chief Minister, along with the council of ministers, drives the legislative agenda and exercises most of the executive powers. However, the constitutional and formal head of the state is the Governor, who is appointed for a five-year term by the President of India on the advice of the Union government.
The politics of the state since its formation in 1960 has been dominated by the Indian National Congress party. Maharashtra became a bastion of the Congress party producing stalwarts such as Yashwantrao Chavan, Vasantdada Patil, Vasantrao Naik and Shankarrao Chavan. Sharad Pawar has been a towering personality in the state and National politics for over thirty years. During his career, he has split the Congress twice with significant consequences for the state politics. The Congress party enjoyed a near unchallenged dominance of the political landscape until 1995 when the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) secured an overwhelming majority in the state to form a coalition government. After his second parting from the Congress party in 1999, Sharad Pawar formed the NCP but formed a coalition with the Congress to keep out the BJP-Shivsena combine out of the government for the last fifteen years. Prithviraj Chavan of the Congress party was the last Chief Minister of Maharashtra under the Congress / NCP alliance until September 2014. For the 2014 assembly polls, the two alliances between NCP and Congress and that between BJP and Shivsena respectively broke down over seat allocations. In the election, the largest number of seats went to the Bharatiya Janata Party, with 122 seats. The BJP initially formed a minority government under Devendra Fadnavis but the Shivsena has, as of December 2014, entered the Government and therefore the Government now enjoys a comfortable majority in the Maharashtra Vidhansabha.
The people of Maharashtra also elect 48 members to the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament. In the 2014 general elections, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), consisting of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Shiv Sena, and Swabhimani Paksha, won 23, 18, and 1 seats, respectively. The members of the state Legislative Assembly elect 19 members to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament.
The state has a long tradition of highly powerful planning bodies at district and local levels. Local self governance institutions in rural areas include 34 zilla parishads, 355 Taluka Panchayat samitis and 27,993 Gram panchayats. Urban areas in the state are governed by 27 Municipal Corporations, 222 Municipal Councils, four Nagar Panchayats and seven Cantonment Boards. The administration in each district is headed by a Deputy Commissioner, who belongs to the Indian Administrative Service and is assisted by a number of officers belonging to Maharashtra state services. The Deputy Commissioner of Police, an officer belonging to the Indian Police Service and assisted by the officers of the Maharashtra Police Service, maintains law and order in addition to other related issues in each district. The Deputy Conservator of Forests, an officer belonging to the Indian Forest Service, manages the forests, environment and wildlife of the district, assisted by the officers of Maharashtra Forest Service and Maharashtra Forest Subordinate Service. Sectoral development in the districts is looked after by the district head of each development department, such as Public Works, Health, Education, Agriculture and Animal Husbandry.
The judiciary in the state consists of the Maharashtra High Court (The High Court of Bombay), district and session courts in each district and lower courts and judges at the taluka level. The High Court has regional branches at Nagpur and Aurangabad in Maharashtra and Panaji which is the capital of Goa. The state cabinet on 13 May 2015 passed a resolution favouring the setting up of one more bench of the Bombay high court in Kolhapur, covering the region. The President of India appoints the chief justice of the High Court of the Maharashtra judiciary on the advice of the chief justice of the Supreme Court of India as well as the Governor of Maharashtra. Other judges are appointed by the chief justice of the high court of the judiciary on the advice of the Chief Justice. Subordinate Judicial Service is another vital part of the judiciary of Maharashtra. The subordinate judiciary or the district courts are categorised into two divisions: the Maharashtra civil judicial services and higher judicial service. While the Maharashtra civil judicial services comprises the Civil Judges (Junior Division)/Judicial Magistrates and civil judges (Senior Division)/Chief Judicial Magistrate, the higher judicial service comprises civil and sessions judges. The Subordinate judicial service of the judiciary is controlled by the District Judge.
The economy of Maharashtra is driven by manufacturing, international trade, Mass Media (television, motion pictures, video games, recorded music), aerospace, technology, petroleum, fashion, apparel, and tourism. Maharashtra is the most industrialised state and has maintained the leading position in the industrial sector in India. The State is pioneer in small scale industries. Mumbai, the capital of state and the financial capital of India, houses the headquarters of most of the major corporate and financial institutions. India's main stock exchanges and capital market and commodity exchanges are located in Mumbai. The State continues to attract industrial investments from domestic as well as foreign institutions. Maharashtra has the largest proportion of taxpayers in India and its share markets transact almost 70 per cent of the country's stocks.
The Service sector dominates the economy of Maharashtra, accounting for 61.4% of the value addition and 69.3% of the value of output in the country. The state's per-capita income is 40% higher than the all-India average. The gross state domestic product (GSDP) at current prices for 2011–12 is estimated at 11,995.48 billion and contributes about 14.4% of the GDP. The agriculture and allied activities sector contributes 12.9% to the state's income. Net State Domestic Product (State Income), as per the first revised estimates was 10,827.51 billion and Per Capita State Income was 95,339 during 2011–12. The percentage of fiscal deficit to GSDP was 1.7 per cent and debt stock to GSDP was 18.4 per cent during 2012–13, well within Consolidated Fiscal Reform Path stipulated by the Thirteenth Finance Commission. In 2012, Maharashtra reported a revenue surplus of ₹1524.9 million (US$24 million), with a total revenue of ₹1,367,117 million (US$22 billion) and a spending of ₹1,365,592.1 million (US$22 billion). Maharashtra ranks first in FDI equity and percentage share of total FDI inflows is 32.28%. Total FDI inflows into Maharashtra are US$53.48 billion. Top countries that invested FDI equity in Maharashtra (from January 2000 to December 2011) were Mauritius (39%), Singapore (10%), United Kingdom (10%), United States (7%) and Netherlands (5%).
Maharashtra contributes 25% of the country's industrial output and is the most indebted state in the country. Industrial activity in state is concentrated in four districts: Mumbai city, Mumbai suburban district, Thane and Pune districts. Mumbai has the largest share in GSDP (21.5 per cent), both Thane and Pune districts contribute about same in the Industry sector, Pune district contributes more in the agriculture and allied activities sector, whereas Thane district contributes more in the Services sector. Nashik district shares highest in the agricultural and allied activities sector, but is far behind in the Industry and Services sectors as compared to Thane and Pune districts. Industries in Maharashtra include chemical and chemical products (17.6%), food and food products (16.1%), refined petroleum products (12.9%), machinery and equipment (8%), textiles (6.9%), basic metals (5.8%), motor vehicles (4.7%) and furniture (4.3%). Maharashtra is the manufacturing hub for some of the largest public sector industries in India, including Hindustan Petroleum Corporation, Tata Petrodyne and Oil India Ltd.
Maharashtra has an above average knowledge industry in India with the Pune Metropolitan area being the leading IT hub in the state.. Approximately 25% of the top 500 companies in the IT sector are situated in Maharashtra. The state accounts for 28% of the software exports of India. The state houses important financial institutions such as the Reserve Bank of India, the Bombay Stock Exchange, the National Stock Exchange of India, the SEBI and the corporate headquarters of numerous Indian companies and multinational corporations. It is also home to some of India's premier scientific and nuclear institutes like BARC, NPCL, IREL, TIFR, AERB, AECI, and the Department of Atomic Energy.
The banking sector comprises scheduled and non-scheduled banks. Scheduled banks are of two types, commercial and co-operative. Scheduled Commercial Banks (SCBs) in India are classified into five types: State Bank of India and its associates, nationalised banks, private sector banks, Regional Rural Banks and others (foreign banks). In 2012, there were 9,053 banking offices in the state, of which about 26 per cent were in rural and 54 per cent were in urban areas. Maharashtra has a microfinance system, which refers to small scale financial services extended to the poor in both rural and urban areas. It covers a variety of financial instruments, such as lending, savings, life insurance, and crop insurance.
With more than half the population being rural, agriculture and allied industries play an important role in the states's economy. The agriculture and allied activities sector contributes 12.9% to the state's income. Staples such as rice and millet are the main monsoon crops. Important cash crops include sugarcane, cotton, oilseeds, tobacco, fruit, vegetables and spices such as turmeric. Animal husbandry is an important agriculture related activity. The State's share in the livestock and poultry population in India is about 7% and 10% respectively. Maharashtra was a pioneer in the development of Agricultural Cooperative Societies after independence. In fact, it was an integral part of the then Governing Congress party's vision of ‘rural development with local initiative’. A ‘special’ status was accorded to the sugar cooperatives and the government assumed the role of a mentor by acting as a stakeholder, guarantor and regulator, Apart from sugar, Cooperatives play a crucial role in dairy, cotton, and fertiliser industries.
The state has a large, multi-modal transportation system with the largest road network in India. In 2011, the total length of surface road in Maharashtra was 267,452 km; national highways comprised 4,176 km and state highways 3,700 km. The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) provides economical and reliable passenger road transport service in the public sector. These buses, popularly called ST (State Transport), are the preferred mode of transport for much of the populace. Hired forms of transport include metered taxis and auto rickshaws, which often ply specific routes in cities. Other district roads and village roads provide villages accessibility to meet their social needs as well as the means to transport agricultural produce from villages to nearby markets. Major district roads provide a secondary function of linking between main roads and rural roads. Almost 98% of villages are connected via the highways and modern roads in Maharashtra. Average speed on state highways varies between 50–60 km/h (31–37 mi/h) due to heavy presence of vehicles; in villages and towns, speeds are as low as 25–30 km/h (15–18 mi/h).
The first passenger train in India ran from Mumbai to Thane on 16 April 1853. Rail transportation consists of the Central Railway and the Western Railway zones of the Indian Railways that are headquartered in Mumbai, at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) and Churchgate respectively. The Mumbai Rajdhani Express, the fastest rajdhani train, connects the Indian capital of New Delhi to Mumbai. Thane and CST are the busiest railway stations in India, the latter serving as a terminal for both long-distance trains and commuter trains of the Mumbai Suburban Railway. Nanded division of South central railway comprises Marathwada region.
The two principal sea ports, Mumbai Port and Jawaharlal Nehru Port, which is also in the Mumbai region, are under the control and supervision of the government of India. There are around 48 minor ports in Maharashtra. Most of these handle passenger traffic and have a limited capacity. None of the major rivers in Maharashtra are navigable and so river transport does not exist in the state.
Almost all the major cities of Maharashtra have airports. CSIA (formerly Bombay International Airport) and Juhu Airport are the two airports in Mumbai. The two other international airports are Pune International Airport and Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport (Nagpur). Flights are operated by both private and government airline companies.Aurangabad Airport is also major airport. Most of the State's airfields are operated by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) while Reliance Airport Developers (RADPL), currently operate five non-metro airports at Latur, Nanded, Baramati, Osmanabad and Yavatmal on a 95-year lease. The Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC) was set up in 2002 to take up development of airports in the state that are not under the AAI or the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC). MADC is playing the lead role in the planning and implementation of the Multi-modal International Cargo Hub and Airport at Nagpur (MIHAN) project. Additional smaller airports include Akola, Amravati, Chandrapur, Dhule, Gondia, Jalgaon, Karad, Kolhapur, Nashik, Ratnagiri, and Solapur.
Maharashtra schools are run by the state government or by private organisations, including religious institutions. Instruction is mainly in Marathi, English or Hindi, though Urdu is also used. The secondary schools are affiliated with the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE), the National Institute of Open School (NIOS) or the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education. Under the 10+2+3 plan, after completing secondary school, students typically enroll for two years in a junior college, also known as pre-university, or in schools with a higher secondary facility affiliated with the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education or any central board. Students choose from one of three streams, namely liberal arts, commerce or science. Upon completing the required coursework, students may enroll in general or professional degree programs.
Maharashtra has 24 universities with a turnout of 160,000 Graduates every year. Maharashtra has played a pioneering role in the development of the modern education system in India. The University of Mumbai, is the largest university in the world in terms of the number of graduates and has 141 affiliated colleges. Scottish missionary John Wilson, Indian Nationalists such as Vasudev Balwant Phadke and Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Social reformers such as Jyotirao Phule, Dhondo Keshav Karve and Bhaurao Patil all played a leading role in the setting up of modern schools and colleges in the state. The forerunner of Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute was established in 1821. The Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey Women's University, the oldest women's liberal arts college in South Asia, started its journey in 1916. College of Engineering Pune, established in 1854, is the third oldest college in Asia. Government Polytechnic Nagpur, established in 1914, is one of the oldest polytechnic in India.
According to prominent national rankings, 5 to 7 Maharashtra colleges and universities are ranked among the top 20 in India. Maharashtra is also home to such notable autonomous institutes as Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Technological University, Institute of Chemical Technology, Homi Bhabha National Institute, Walchand College of Engineering, Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology Nagpur (VNIT) and Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI). Most of these autonomous institutes are ranked the highest in India and have very competitive entry requirements. The University of Pune (now Savitribai Phule Pune University), the National Defence Academy, Film and Television Institute of India, Armed Forces Medical College and National Chemical Laboratory were established in Pune soon after the Indian independence in 1947.
Maharashtra has hundreds of other private colleges and universities, including many religious and special-purpose institutions. Most of the private colleges were set up in the last thirty years after the State Government of Vasantdada Patil liberalised the Education Sector in 1982. Politicians and leaders involved in the huge cooperative movement in Maharashtra were instrumental in setting up the private institutes There are also local community colleges with generally more open admission policies, shorter academic programs, and lower tuition.
The state also has four agricultural universities namely Vasantrao Naik Marathwada Agricultural University, Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth, Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth and Dr. Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth, besides these, there are other regional universities like Sant Gadge Baba Amravati University, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, North Maharashtra University, Shivaji University, Swami Ramanand Teerth Marathwada University and Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, all well established and nationally renowned, to cover the educational needs at the district levels of the state. Apart from this, there are a number of deemed universities in Maharashtra: the Symbiosis International University, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Tilak Maharashtra University and Tata Institute of Social Sciences. A.I.C.C.S.( ALL INDIA CENTRE OF CORRESPONDENCE STUDIES) in Pune is a Prestigious Institute for School or College Dropouts & working Professionals or Housewives of any age who want to complete their Educationn from any place throughout India.
In 2011, the health care system in Maharashtra consisted of 363 rural government hospitals, 23 district hospitals (with 7,561 beds), 4 general hospitals (with 714 beds) mostly under the Maharashtra Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and 380 private medical establishments; these establishments provide the state with more than 30,000 hospital beds. It is the first state in India to have nine women's hospitals serving 1,365 beds. The state also has significant number of medical practitioners who hold the Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery qualifications. These practitioners primarily use the traditional Indian therapy of Ayurveda but can use modern western medicine as well.
Maharashtra has a life expectancy at birth of 67.2 years in 2011, ranking it third among 29 Indian states. The total fertility rate of the state is 1.9. The Infant mortality rate is 28 and the maternal mortality ratio is 104 (2012–2013), which are lower than the national averages. Public health services are governed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), through various departments. The Ministry is divided into two departments: the Public Health Department, which includes family welfare and medical relief, and the Department of Medical Education and Drugs.
In Maharashtra, health insurance includes any program that helps pay for medical expenses, whether through privately purchased insurance, social insurance or a social welfare program funded by the government. In a more technical sense, the term is used to describe any form of insurance that provides protection against the costs of medical services. This usage includes private insurance and social insurance programs such as National Health Mission, which pools resources and spreads the financial risk associated with major medical expenses across the entire population to protect everyone, as well as social welfare programs such as National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and the Health Insurance Program, which provide assistance to people who cannot afford health coverage.
Although its population makes Maharashtra one of the country's largest energy users, conservation mandates, mild weather in the largest population centres and strong environmental movements have kept its per capita energy use to one of the smallest of any Indian state. The high electricity demand of the state constitutes 13% of the total installed electricity generation capacity in India, which is mainly from fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. Mahavitaran is responsible for distribution of electricity throughout the state by buying power from Mahanirmiti, captive power plants, other state electricity boards and private sector power generation companies.
As of 2012, Maharashtra was the largest power generating state in India, with installed electricity generation capacity of 26,838 MW. The state forms a major constituent of the western grid of India, which now comes under the North, East, West and North Eastern (NEWNE) grids of India. Maharashtra Power Generation Company (MAHAGENCO) operates thermal power plants. In addition to the state government-owned power generation plants, there are privately owned power generation plants that transmit power through the Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Company, which is responsible for transmission of electricity in the state.
Maharashtra cuisine covers a range from mild to very spicy dishes. Wheat, rice, jowar, bajri, vegetables, lentils and fruit form staple food of the Maharashtrian diet. Some of the popular traditional dishes include puran poli, ukdiche modak, and batata wada. Pav Bhaji and Vada pav are dishes that became very popular in the last fifty years. Meals (mainly lunch and dinner) are served on a plate called thali. Each food item served on the thali has a specific place. In some households, meals begin with a thanksgiving offering of food (Naivedya) to the household Gods. Maharashtrian cuisine has many regional varieties including Malvani (Konkani) and Varadhi. Though quite different, both use a lot of seafood and coconut. The staple foods of the Konkani people are rice and fish
The bhaajis are vegetable dishes made with a particular vegetable or a combination. They require the use of goda (sweet) masala, essentially consisting of some combination of onion, garlic, ginger, red chilli powder, green chillies and mustard. Depending on the caste or specific religious tradition of a family, onion and garlic may not be used in cooking. A particular variant of bhaaji is the rassa or curry. Vegetarians prepare rassa or curry of potatoes and or cauliflower with tomatoes or fresh coconut kernel and plenty of water to produce a soup-like preparation rather than bhaaji. Varan is nothing but plain dal, a common Indian lentil stew. Aamti is variant of the curry, typically consisting of a lentil (tur) stock, flavoured with goda masala, tamarind or amshul, and jaggery (gul).
Among seafood, the most popular fish is bombil or the Bombay duck. All non-vegetarian and vegetarian dishes are eaten with boiled rice, chapatis or with bhakris, made of jowar, bajra or rice flours. Special rice puris called vada and amboli, which is a pancake made of fermented rice, urad dal, and semolina, are also eaten as a part of the main meal.
Traditionally, Marathi women commonly wore the sari, often distinctly designed according to local cultural customs. Most middle aged and young women in urban Maharashtra dress in western outfits such as skirts and trousers or shalwar kameez with the traditionally nauvari or nine-yard lugade, disappearing from the markets due to a lack of demand. Older women wear the five-yard sari. In urban areas, the five-yard sari, especially the Paithani, is worn by younger women for special occasions such as marriages and religious ceremonies. Among men, western dressing has greater acceptance. Men also wear traditional costumes such as the dhoti and pheta on cultural occasions. The Gandhi cap is the popular headgear among older men in rural Maharashtra. Women wear traditional jewelleries derived from Marathas and Peshwas dynasties. Kolhapuri saaj, a special type of necklace, is also worn by Marathi women. In urban areas, many women and men wear western attire.
Maharashtrian artists have made major contributions to Indian Classical music. Its vibrant folk form includes Powada, Bharuds and Gondhals. Cities like Kolhapur and Pune have been playing a major role in preservation of music like Bhavageet and Natya Sangeet, which are inherited from Indian classical music. The songs from Hindi films and Marathi films are popular in urban areas.
Marathi dance forms draw from folk traditions. Lavani is popular form of dance in the state. The Bhajan, Kirtan and Abhangas of the Varkari sect (Vaishanav Devotees) have a long history and are part of their daily rituals. Koli dance is among the most popular dances of Maharashtra. As the name suggests, it is related to the fisher folk of Maharashtra, who are called Kolis. Popular for their unique identity and liveliness, their dances represent their occupation. This type of dance is represented by both men and women. While dancing, they are divided into groups of two. These fishermen display the movements of waves and casting of the nets during their koli dance performances.,
Maharashtra’s regional literature is about lives and circumstances of Marathi people in specific parts of the state. The Marathi language, which boasts a rich literary heritage, is written in the Devanagari script. The earliest instances of Marathi literature is by Sant Dnyaneshwar with his Bhawarthadeepika (popularly known as Dnyaneshwari). The compositions, written in the 13th century, are spiritually inclined. Other compositions are by Bhakti saints such as Tukaram, Eknath, Namdev, Sant Sena Maharaj Ramdas, and Gora Kumbhar. Their compositions are mostly in poetic form, which are called Abhang. Maharashtra has a long tradition in spiritual literature, evidenced by the Amrutanubhav, Bhavarth Deepika, Bhagavata Purana, Eknathi Bhagwat and Bhavarth Ramayan.
19th century Marathi literature includes the works of authors such as Balshastri Jambhekar, Gopal Ganesh Agarkar, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Gopal Hari Deshmukh, Mahadev Govind Ranade, Jyotirao Phule, B.R. Ambedkar, Vinayak Damodar Sawarkar, Ram Ganesh Gadkari, Tryambak Bapuji Thombre, Hari Narayan Apte, Vishnushastri Chiplunkar and Keshavsuta. 20th century notable writers include Mahadevshastri Joshi, Kusumagraj, Pu La Deshpande, Va Pu Kale, Vyankatesh Digambar Madgulkar, Vishnu Sakharam Khandekar, Prahlad Keshav Atre, B. S. Mardhekar, Sane Guruji, Vinoba Bhave, Chintamani Tryambak Khanolkar, Bahinabai Chaudhari and Laxmanshastri Joshi. Vishwas Patil, Ranjit Desai, Shivaji Sawant, Narayan Surve, Vinda Karandikar, Shanta Shelke, Durga Bhagwat, Suresh Bhat, Ratnakar Matkari, Varjesh Solanki, Manya Joshi, Hemant Divate, Mangesh Narayanrao Kale, Avinash Dharmadhikari and Saleel Wagh are some of the more recent authors.
Maharashtra is a prominent location for the Indian entertainment industry, with many films, television series, books, and other media being set there. Mainstream Hindi films are popular in Maharashtra, especially in urban areas. Mumbai is the largest centre for film and television production and a third of all Indian films are produced in the state. Multimillion-dollar Bollywood productions, with the most expensive costing up to ₹1.5 billion (US$23 million), are filmed there. The Marathi film industry, previously located in Kolhapur, has spread throughout Mumbai. Well known for its art films, the early Marathi film industry included acclaimed directors such as Dadasaheb Phalke, and V. Shantaram. Dada Kondke is the most prominent name in Marathi film. The Dadasaheb Phalke Award is India's highest award in cinema, given annually by the Government of India for lifetime contribution to Indian cinema.
Theatre in Maharashtra can trace its origins to the British colonial era in the middle of the 19th century. It is modelled mainly after the western tradition but also includes forms like Sangeet Natak (Musical drama). In recent decades, Marathi Tamasha has been also been incorporated in some experimental plays. Today, theatre continues to have a marked presence in Mumbai and Pune with an educated loyal audience base, when most theatre in other parts of India have had tough time facing the onslaught of cinema and television. Its repertoire ranges from humorous social plays, farces, historical plays, musical, to experimental plays and serious drama. Marathi Playwrights such as Vijay Tendulkar, P. L. Deshpande, Mahesh Elkunchwar and Satish Alekar have influenced theatre throughout India. Besides Marathi theatre, Maharashtra and particularly, Mumbai, has had a long tradition of theatre in other languages such as Gujarati, Hindi and English.
More than 200 newspapers and 350 consumer magazines have an office in this state and the book-publishing industry employs about 250,000 people. Sakal published from Pune and other major Maharashtrian cities, has the largest circulation for Marathi Newspaper in Maharastra as on Dec, 2016 . Other major Marathi newspapers are Maharashtra Times, Loksatta, Nava Kaal, Pudhari, and Lokmat. Tarun Bharat and Kesari, two newspapers that once were quite influential during the colonial and the post-independence era have stopped the print edition and are now published only digitally. Popular Marathi language magazines are Saptahik Sakaal, Grihashobhika, Lokrajya, Lokprabha and Chitralekha. Major English language newspapers which are published and sold in large numbers are Daily News & Analysis, The Times of India, Hindustan Times, The Indian Express, Mumbai Mirror, Asian Age, MiD-DAY and The Free Press Journal. Some prominent financial dailies like The Economic Times, Mint, Business Standard and The Financial Express are widely circulated. Vernacular newspapers such as those in Hindi, Kannada, Gujarati and Urdu are also read by a select readership.
The television industry developed in Maharashtra and is a significant employer in the state's economy. Numerous Indian and international television channels can be watched in Maharashtra through one of the Pay TV companies or the local cable television provider. The four major India broadcast networks are all headquartered in Maharashtra: The Times, STAR India, CNN-IBN and ZEEL. Doordarshan is the state-owned television broadcaster and provides two free terrestrial channels. Multi system operators provide a mix of Marathi, Bengali, Nepali, Hindi, English and international channels via cable. The wide range of cable channels available includes sports channels like ESPN, Star Sports, National entertainment channels like Colors, Sony, Zee TV and Star Plus, business news channels like CNBC Awaaz, Zee Business, ET Now and Bloomberg UTV. Marathi 24-hour television news channels include ABP Majha, IBN-Lokmat, Zee 24 Taas, TV9 Maharashtra, ETV Marathi, TV9 Maharashtra and Jai Maharashtra.
All India Radio is a public radio station. Private FM stations are available in all major cities. Vodafone, Airtel, BSNL, Reliance Communications, Aircel, MTS India, Tata Indicom, Idea Cellular and Tata DoCoMo are available cellular phone operators. Maharashtra has the highest share of the internet market at 18.8% of total households internet users in India. Broadband internet is available in all towns, villages and cities, provided by the state-run MTNL and BSNL and by other private companies. Dial-up access is provided throughout the state by BSNL and other providers.
The most popular sports in Maharashtra are Kabaddi and Cricket. As in the rest of India, cricket is popular in Maharashtra and is played on grounds and in streets throughout the state. Maharashtra has various domestic level franchise-based leagues for hockey, chess, tennis and badminton. The state is home to top national football clubs such as Mumbai Tigers F.C., Kenkre F.C., Bengal Mumbai FC and Air India FC. Adventure sports such as paragliding, water sports, rock climbing, backpacking, mountaineering and scuba diving are also popular in the state. Other notable sports played in the state include Kho kho, fencing, archery and shooting.
Maharashtra has an Indian Premier League franchise known as the Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants; the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA), regulates cricket in state. Maharashtra has three domestic cricket teams: the Mumbai cricket team, Maharashtra cricket team and Vidarbha cricket team. Wankhede Stadium, which has a capacity of 45,000, hosted the final match of the 2011 Cricket World Cup. It is home to the Mumbai Indians and Mumbai cricket team.
Maharashtra football team represents the state in competition for the Santosh Trophy. Mumbai District Football Association (MDFA) is the organisation responsible for Association football in and around Mumbai. The state has two club franchises playing in Elite Football League of India. Mumbai Gladiators and Pune Marathas are teams based in Mumbai and Pune respectively.
Mumbai and Pune hold derby races at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse and Pune Race Course respectively. The wrestling championship Hind Kesari is widely popular in the rural regions and is affiliated with the All India Amateur Wrestling Federation (AIAWF). Maharashtra Chess Association is the apex body for the game of chess in Maharashtra. Maharashtra Tennis League is India's first league format in tennis.
Notable athletes from Maharashtra include retired Cricket legends Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar who were part of the Indian national cricket team;, Indian national cricket team player Rohit Sharma, Asian Games silver medalist Hiranna M. Nimal, India's first individual Olympic Medalist- wrestler Khashaba Jadhav, chess player Rohini Khadilkar, tennis player Gaurav Natekar, former hockey players Dhanraj Pillay, Viren Rasquinha and badminton players Nikhil Kanetkar and Aparna Popat.
Mumbai, the biggest and most cosmopolitan city in India attracts tourists from all over the world for its many attractions including colonial architecture and movie industry. The area around Aurangabad has many ancient and medieval sites including the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Ajanta and Ellora caves, the ancient fort at Devgiri/Daulatabad, and the Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad. Places of worship that attract pilgrims from other parts of India and beyond include Hazur Sahib Gurudwara at Nanded and the shrine of Saibaba at Shirdi.