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Bhutan[Country flag of Bhutan]
[Country map of Bhutan]

Introduction Bhutan
Background:
In 1865, Britain and Bhutan signed the Treaty of Sinchulu, under which Bhutan would receive an annual subsidy in exchange for ceding some border land. Under British influence, a monarchy was set up in 1907; three years later, a treaty was signed whereby the British agreed not to interfere in Bhutanese internal affairs and Bhutan allowed Britain to direct its foreign affairs. This role was assumed by independent India after 1947. Two years later, a formal Indo-Bhutanese accord returned the areas of Bhutan annexed by the British, formalized the annual subsidies the country received, and defined India's responsibilities in defense and foreign relations. A refugee issue of some 100,000 Bhutanese in Nepal remains unresolved; 90% of the refugees are housed in seven United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) camps.
Geography Bhutan
Location:
Southern Asia, between China and India
Geographic coordinates:
27 30 N, 90 30 E
Map references:
Asia
Area:
total: 47,000 sq km
land: 47,000 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
about half the size of Indiana
Land boundaries:
total: 1,075 km
border countries: China 470 km, India 605 km
Coastline:
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)
Climate:
varies; tropical in southern plains; cool winters and hot summers in central valleys; severe winters and cool summers in Himalayas
Terrain:
mostly mountainous with some fertile valleys and savanna
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Drangme Chhu 97 m
highest point: Kula Kangri 7,553 m
Natural resources:
timber, hydropower, gypsum, calcium carbonate
Land use:
arable land: 3.09%
permanent crops: 0.43%
other: 96.48% (2001)
Irrigated land:
400 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
violent storms from the Himalayas are the source of the country's name which translates as Land of the Thunder Dragon; frequent landslides during the rainy season
Environment - current issues:
soil erosion; limited access to potable water
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography - note:
landlocked; strategic location between China and India; controls several key Himalayan mountain passes
People Bhutan
Population:
2,232,291
note: other estimates range as low as 810,000 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 39.1% (male 452,213/female 420,675)
15-64 years: 56.9% (male 654,109/female 615,431)
65 years and over: 4% (male 45,281/female 44,582) (2005 est.)
Median age:
total: 20.27 years
male: 20.11 years
female: 20.44 years (2005 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.11% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:
34.03 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:
12.94 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.02 male(s)/female
total population: 1.07 male(s)/female (2005 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 100.44 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 98.19 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 102.81 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 54.39 years
male: 54.65 years
female: 54.11 years (2005 est.)
Total fertility rate:
4.81 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
less than 100 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA
Nationality:
noun: Bhutanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Bhutanese
Ethnic groups:
Bhote 50%, ethnic Nepalese 35% (includes Lhotsampas - one of several Nepalese ethnic groups), indigenous or migrant tribes 15%
Religions:
Lamaistic Buddhist 75%, Indian- and Nepalese-influenced Hinduism 25%
Languages:
Dzongkha (official), Bhotes speak various Tibetan dialects, Nepalese speak various Nepalese dialects
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 42.2%
male: 56.2%
female: 28.1% (1995 est.)
Government Bhutan
Country name:
conventional long form: Kingdom of Bhutan
conventional short form: Bhutan
Government type:
monarchy; special treaty relationship with India
Capital:
Thimphu
Administrative divisions:
18 districts (dzongkhag, singular and plural); Bumthang, Chhukha, Chirang, Dagana, Geylegphug, Ha, Lhuntshi, Mongar, Paro, Pemagatsel, Punakha, Samchi, Samdrup Jongkhar, Shemgang, Tashigang, Thimphu, Tongsa, Wangdi Phodrang
note: there may be two new districts named Gasa and Yangtse
Independence:
8 August 1949 (from India)
National holiday:
National Day (Ugyen WANGCHUCK became first hereditary king), 17 December (1907)
Constitution:
no written constitution or bill of rights; note - in 2001 the King commissioned the drafting of a constitution, and in November 2004 presented a draft to the Council of Ministers; now awaiting referendum
Legal system:
based on Indian law and English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:
each family has one vote in village-level elections; note - in late 2003 Bhutan's legislature passed a new election law
Executive branch:
chief of state: King Jigme Singye WANGCHUCK (since 24 July 1972)
head of government: Chairman of the Council of Ministers Lyonpo Sangay NGEDUP (since 5 September 2005)
cabinet: Council of Ministers (Lhengye Shungtsog) nominated by the monarch, approved by the National Assembly; members serve fixed, five-year terms; note - there is also a Royal Advisory Council (Lodoi Tsokde), members nominated by the monarch
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary, but democratic reforms in July 1998 grant the National Assembly authority to remove the monarch with two-thirds vote
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Assembly or Tshogdu (150 seats; 105 elected from village constituencies, 10 represent religious bodies, and 35 are designated by the monarch to represent government and other secular interests; members serve three-year terms)
elections: local elections last held November 2002 (next to be held NA 2005)
election results: NA
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court of Appeal (the monarch); High Court (judges appointed by the monarch)
Political parties and leaders:
no legal parties
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Buddhist clergy; ethnic Nepalese organizations leading militant antigovernment campaign; Indian merchant community; United Front for Democracy (exiled)
International organization participation:
AsDB, CP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IMF, IOC, IOM (observer), ITU, NAM, OPCW (signatory), SAARC, SACEP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the US:
none; note - Bhutan has a Permanent Mission to the UN; address: 2 United Nations Plaza, 27th Floor, New York, NY 10017; telephone [1] (212) 826-1919; FAX [1] (212) 826-2998; the Bhutanese mission to the UN has consular jurisdiction in the US
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:
the US and Bhutan have no formal diplomatic relations, although informal contact is maintained between the Bhutanese and US Embassy in New Delhi (India)
Flag description:
divided diagonally from the lower hoist side corner; the upper triangle is yellow and the lower triangle is orange; centered along the dividing line is a large black and white dragon facing away from the hoist side
Economy Bhutan
Economy - overview:
The economy, one of the world's smallest and least developed, is based on agriculture and forestry, which provide the main livelihood for more than 90% of the population. Agriculture consists largely of subsistence farming and animal husbandry. Rugged mountains dominate the terrain and make the building of roads and other infrastructure difficult and expensive. The economy is closely aligned with India's through strong trade and monetary links and dependence on India's financial assistance. The industrial sector is technologically backward, with most production of the cottage industry type. Most development projects, such as road construction, rely on Indian migrant labor. Bhutan's hydropower potential and its attraction for tourists are key resources. Model education, social, and environment programs are underway with support from multilateral development organizations. Each economic program takes into account the government's desire to protect the country's environment and cultural traditions. For example, the government, in its cautious expansion of the tourist sector, encourages visits by upscale, environmentally conscientious tourists. Detailed controls and uncertain policies in areas like industrial licensing, trade, labor, and finance continue to hamper foreign investment.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$2.9 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
5.3% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $1,400 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 45%
industry: 10%
services: 45% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
NA
note: massive lack of skilled labor
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 93%, industry and commerce 2%, services 5%
Unemployment rate:
NA
Population below poverty line:
NA
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3% (2002 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $146 million
expenditures: $152 million, including capital expenditures of NA
note: the government of India finances nearly three-fifths of Bhutan's budget expenditures (FY95/96 est.)
Agriculture - products:
rice, corn, root crops, citrus, foodgrains; dairy products, eggs
Industries:
cement, wood products, processed fruits, alcoholic beverages, calcium carbide
Industrial production growth rate:
9.3% (1996 est.)
Electricity - production:
2.001 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 0.1%
hydro: 99.9%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
312.9 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:
1.56 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:
12 million kWh (2002)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
1,020 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA
Oil - imports:
NA
Exports:
$154 million f.o.b. (2000 est.)
Exports - commodities:
electricity (to India), cardamom, gypsum, timber, handicrafts, cement, fruit, precious stones, spices
Exports - partners:
Bangladesh 47.4%, Japan 30.2%, France 3.4% (2004)
Imports:
$196 million c.i.f. (2000 est.)
Imports - commodities:
fuel and lubricants, grain, machinery and parts, vehicles, fabrics, rice
Imports - partners:
Germany 65.4%, Japan 14.3%, Austria 6.8%, UK 4.5% (2004)
Debt - external:
$245 million (2000)
Economic aid - recipient:
substantial aid from India and other nations
Currency (code):
ngultrum (BTN); Indian rupee (INR)
Currency code:
BTN; INR
Exchange rates:
ngultrum per US dollar - 45.317 (2004), 46.583 (2003), 48.61 (2002), 47.186 (2001), 44.942 (2000)
Fiscal year:
1 July - 30 June
Communications Bhutan
Telephones - main lines in use:
25,200 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
22,000 (2005)
Telephone system:
general assessment: telecommunications facilities are poor
domestic: very low tele-density; domestic service is very poor especially in rural areas; wireless service available since 2003
international: country code - 975; international telephone and telegraph service via landline and microwave relay through India; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2005)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 0, FM 1, shortwave 1 (2004)
Radios:
37,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
1 (2005)
Televisions:
11,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
.bt
Internet hosts:
985 (2003)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
NA
Internet users:
15,000 (2003)
Transportation Bhutan
Highways:
total: 4,007 km
paved: 24 km
unpaved: 3,983 km (2002)
Airports:
2 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2004 est.)
Military Bhutan
Military branches:
Royal Bhutan Army (includes Royal Bodyguard and Royal Bhutan Police) (2005)
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2001)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 483,860 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 314,975 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males: 23,939 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$13.7 million (2004)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.8% (2004)
Transnational Issues Bhutan
Disputes - international:
approximately 104,000 Bhutanese refugees live in Nepal, 90% of whom reside in seven UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees camps; Bhutan cooperates with India to expel Indian separatists

This page was last updated on 1 November, 2005


 

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