Maharashtra is an Indian state located on its western coast, and is bordered by Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Karnataka, and Goa. The state’s western border is formed by Nagar Haveli and the Arabian Sea. The capital of Maharashtra is Mumbai, a major political, economic, and social hub for all of India. The state has 35 districts and its predominant language is Marathi.


According to the most recent census conducted in 2011, Maharashtra’s population is 112 million people. This figure makes it the second largest state population in India, after Uttar Pradesh. Maharashtra has a sex ratio of 922 per 1000 males. This ratio is lower than the national average of 940 per 1000 males. 82.34% of the population of Maharashtra is literate and 88.38% of males are literate while 75.87% of females are literate. The majority of Maharashtra (79.83%) follows Hinduism. Islam is the largest minority, with 11.54% of the population as followers. Other religions practiced in Maharashtra are Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity, and Sikhism. 45.22% of Maharashtra’s population lives in urban areas, while the remaining 54.78% lives in rural areas. The sex ratio in urban areas in much lower than in the rural regions, a difference between 903 per 1000 males and 952 per 1000 males.


Maharashtra is the largest state economy in India and has an annual gross state domestic product (GSDP) of Rs. 16.87 lakh crore. In 2014-15, the state produced 12.98% of India’s gross domestic product. Its key industries include pharmaceuticals, electronics, oil and gas, sugar, and textiles. Maharashtra’s unemployment rate is 1%, while 60% of its population is employed and the remaining 39% are not in the labor force. Mumbai, the financial center of the country, accounts for 25% industrial output, 5% of India's GDP and also 70% of the capital transactions in Indian economy.


Sharad Pawar, the youngest Chief Minister of Maharashtra, formed his own party, the Nationalist Congress Party as a spinoff of the Indian National Congress party. However, he joined the Congress in New Delhi, eliminating the leftist influence in the state. In the past 20 years, Maharashtra’s politics have featured competition between Right and Centrist parties. Historically, the centrist Shiv Sena Party (SS) has been prominent; however, in the 2014 elections, the more conservative Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged victorious. The current chief minister of Maharashtra is Devendra Fadnavis and the governor is Shri Chennamaneni Vidyasagar Rao, both of the BJP.

Further Reading

Attwood, D.W. 1992. Raising cane: the political economy of sugar in western India. Boulder: Westview Press.  

The Economist, "Maharashtra