Factsheet on Switzerland
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Name of Ambassador: Ms. Smita Purushottam

GENERAL

Official Name

Swiss Confederation

Capital

Berne

Area

41, 285 Sq. Kms.

Current Weather

 

Maximum temperature: 33°C (in Summer)

Minimum  temperature: -11°C (in Winter)

Population

8.25 million at end 2014 (including 24.4% foreigners)

Languages

Multicultural: 4 national languages-German 63.7%, French 20.4%, Italian 6.4%, Romansch 0.5% and others 9%. English is generally understood in most of the big cities, hotels, banks, etc.

Religions

Roman Catholics (38.2%), Protestants (26.9%), Muslims 4.9%, others 8.6% and no religion 21.4%.

Currency

Exchange rate with INR                         

Swiss Francs (CHF) – Freely convertible. Rate of Exchange: CHF 1 =  Approx. Rs.67 (Prevailing market rate of exchange in December, 2015)

Political Structure

 

Federal Republic composed of 26 cantons. One year rotational presidency from among the 7 member Federal Council (Executive Body) which is elected by the joint session of the bicameral parliament for a 4 year term.

200-member National Council directly elected canton-wise through proportional representation.

The 46 member Council of States represent the cantons (20 cantons + 6 half cantons) and is directly elected according to first past the post system.

2015 Parliamentary Election:

The Swiss People’s Party made large gains in the Swiss Parliamentary Elections held on 18 Oct. 2015. It received 29.4% of the valid votes, an increase of 2.8% over its 2011 figures and getting 65 seats in the lower house. The vote share of other major parties are Social Democrats (SP) 18.8%; Free Radicals (FDP) 16.4%; Christian Democrats (CVP) 11.6%; Green Party (Grune) 7.1%; Liberal Green Party (GLP) 4.6%; and Conservative Democratic Party (BDP) 4.1%.

2015 Federal Council Elections:

In the Federal Council elections in December, 2015, the Council’s composition was restored to the earlier consensus formula of 2 Federal Councillor for each of the 3 bigger parties and one from the 4th biggest party.

Head of State (President)

Mr. Johann N. Schneider-Ammann

(Also Minister for Economic Affairs, Education & Research)

Head of Government (Prime Minister)

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Minister for Foreign Affairs

Mr. Didier Burkhalter

 

 

ECONOMIC INDICATORS

Economy

 

 

Switzerland is an open, high-tech, and competitive modern market economy and one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Its per capita GDP is higher than those of its larger Western European partners, US and Japan. The Swiss economy is the most competitive in the world, and Switzerland ranks number 1 in the Global Innovation Index. Switzerland also ranks no. 1 in the Global Environment Protection Index.

About 4% of the workforce is engaged in agriculture (including cattle raising and dairy products) which is highly mechanized and meets 55% of the national requirement; 24% of the population is engaged in industry, crafts and construction and 72% work in the tertiary sector - business, banks, insurance and the hotel & tourism sectors, etc. With limited natural resources, banking, tourism, manufacture of precision equipment for various industries, watch-making, pharmaceutical & chemicals, are the most important industries in Switzerland. The backbone of the Swiss economy is the highly specialized small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Switzerland has 297,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which constitute 99.6% of the Swiss business community and account for one out of every two jobs in Switzerland. The financial sector employs around 6% of the working population and contributes over 10% to Switzerland's GDP.  It has a current account surplus since 1981, which results in large positive net international investment. The Government had a budget surplus since 2006 except last year. 

GDP at market price

CHF 680 billion (provisional 2015)

GDP per capita

CHF 80,315 (provisional 2014)

GDP Growth Rate

1% (2015) (estimated)

Total Trade

Imports

Exports

CHF 339.2 billion (Jan-Nov, 2015)

CHF 152.5 billion (Jan-Nov, 2015)

CHF 186.7 billion (Jan-Nov, 2015)

Bilateral Trade

Imports from India

Exports to India

CHF 3.357 billion (2014), 2.779 billion (Jan-Nov, 15)

CHF 1.615 billion (2014), 1.171 billion (Jan-Nov, 15)

CHF 1.742 billion (2014), 1.608 billion (Jan-Nov, 15)

These figures do not include Swiss exports of bullion amounting to CHF 17.55 billion in 2014, Swiss weapons exports and Indian IT services exports. Total bilateral trade would therefore be higher than above merchandise trade figures.

 

 

INDIA SPECIFIC INFORMATION

Date of establishment of diplomatic relations

14 August, 1948

 

Year of opening of Indian Mission

1948

 

Year of opening of Swiss Mission in India

1950

 

Indian Origin/ NRIs

 

Total: 6515 (PIOs) and 11485 (NRIs)

 

Indian Expatriates (composition and any pertinent information that may be of interest)

The Indian community in Switzerland consists of approximately 18,000 Indians including over 6500 Persons of Indian Origin, most of whom are professionals. The Indian community is concentrated in Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Baden, Bern and Lausanne in that order.

An Honorary Consul General of India was based in Zurich, but there has not been renewal of his term or appointment of a new Hony. CG.

 

Swiss-Indian Chamber of Commerce (SICC):

A Swiss-Indian Chamber of Commerce was set up in 1985 in Zurich. It has a membership of 550 firms.  They have established Chapters in Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore and Pune.

 

Indian Associations:

A number of Indian associations are functional in Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Baden, Berne and Lausanne and actively organise cultural activities and celebrate Indian national days/festivals, etc.

 

3 February, 2016