How many zeros are in 10 lac

India: what is a lakh, what is a crore?

India is not necessarily the easiest country on earth. It counts more than 100 ethnic groups and languages, all world religions are represented, the traffic is chaotic - a complicated situation, especially for guests from outside. "Incredible India" is the world-famous, now aging slogan of the Indian tourism agency, which is wonderfully ambiguous and involuntarily funny.

India may be an “unbelievable” country in its diversity and uniqueness, but above all it is often incomprehensible. “Incomprehensible India” would actually be more appropriate, but shouldn't catch on as an advertising slogan.

Not only the colloquial languages ​​- such as Hindi and Punjabi in the north, Bengali in the northeast, Gujarati and Marathi in the west - are confusing for foreigners (and for many Indians). The numbers too. Because with millions and billions you don't get very far between Kashmir and Kerala.

Even in the English-language daily newspapers and news programs on television, “millions” and the Anglo-Saxon “billions”, ie the German billions, are rather rare terms. Instead, they speak of “lakh” (pronounced “paint”) and “crore” (“kror”).

In India, for example, nobody would say or think that they earn “one million rupees” a year, which currently equates to a good 13,000 euros and a very good salary in a country where many people bring home only 100 or 200 euros a month is. He would simply encounter incomprehension and instead give his salary as "ten lakh".

Reading the annual reports becomes a brain teaser

At its core the thing is simple: a lakh is 100,000, a crore is ten million. One crore corresponds to 100 lakh, one million ten lakh, one billion 100 crore. The zero, which was once invented in India, can, as you can see at this point, increase existing problems tenfold in no time at all.

Mathematically, India is for Germans who have learned to think in multiples of a thousand (million, billion, trillion), so a lot of fiddling and getting used to. For example, to convert ten crore rupees into a handy euro amount, take ten times ten million and divide by 74.3 - that's 1.35 million euros.