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Introduction Bhutan
In 1865, Britain and Bhutan signed Treaty of Sinchulu, under which Bhutan would receive an annual subsidy in exchange for ceding some border land. Under British influence, a monarchy previously set up in 1907; three years later, a treaty previously signed whereby British agreed not to interfere in Bhutanese internal affairs and Bhutan allowed Britain to direct its foreign affairs. This role previously assumed by independent India after 1947. Two years later, a formal Indo-Bhutanese accord returned areas of Bhutan annexed by British, formalized annual subsidies 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 refugees are housed in seven United Nations Office of High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) camps. Maoist Assamese separatists from India, who have established themselves in southeast portion of Bhutan, have drawn Indian cross-border incursions.
Geography Bhutan
Southern Asia, between China and India
Geographic coordinates:
27 30 N, 90 30 E
Map references:
total: 47,000 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 47,000 sq km
Area - comparative:
about half size of Indiana
Land boundaries:
total: 1,075 km
border countries: China 470 km, India 605 km
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)
varies; tropical in southern plains; cool winters and hot summers in central valleys; severe winters and cool summers in Himalayas
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 carbide
Land use:
arable land: 2.98%
permanent crops: 0.43%
other: 96.59% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
400 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
violent storms from Himalayas are source of countries name which translates as Land of Thunder Dragon; frequent landslides during rainy season
Environment - current issues:
soil erosion; limited access to potable water
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Nuclear Test Ban
signed, but not ratified: Law of Sea
Geography - note:
landlocked; strategic location between China and India; controls several key Himalayan mountain passes
People Bhutan
Total Population:
note: other estimates range as low as 810,000 (July 2003 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 39.6% (male 438,784; female 407,919)
15-64 years: 56.4% (male 621,666; female 585,550)
65 years and over: 4% (male 43,262; female 42,368) (2003 est.)
Median age:
total: 20.1 years
male: 19.9 years
female: 20.3 years (2002)
Population growth rate:
2.14% (2003 est.)
Birth rate:
34.82 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Death rate:
13.47 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 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
Population: 1.07 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 104.68 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 106.97 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 102.49 deaths/1,000 live births
Life Expectancy:
Population: 53.58 years
male: 53.9 years
female: 53.25 years (2003 est.)
Total fertility rate:
4.94 children born/woman (2003 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:
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%
Lamaistic Buddhist 75%, Indian- and Nepalese-influenced Hinduism 25%
Dzongkha (official), Bhotes speak various Tibetan dialects, Nepalese speak various Nepalese dialects
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
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
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
8 August 1949 (from India)
National holiday:
National Day (Ugyen WANGCHUCK became first hereditary king), 17 December (1907)
no written constitution or bill of rights; note - King commissioned a committee to draft a constitution in 2001, but has yet to be approved
Legal system:
based on Indian law and English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
each family has one vote in village-level elections
Executive branch:
chief of state: King Jigme Singye WANGCHUCK (since 24 July 1972)
elections: none; monarch is hereditary, but democratic reforms in July 1998 grant National Assembly authority to remove monarch with two-thirds vote
head of government: Chairman of Council of Ministers Lyonpo Jigme Y. THINLEY (since 30 August 2003)
cabinet: Council of Ministers (Lhengye Shungtsog) nominated by monarch, approved by National Assembly; members serve fixed, five-year terms; note - there is also a Royal Advisory Council (Lodoi Tsokde), members nominated by monarch
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Assembly or Tshogdu (150 seats; 105 elected from village constituencies, 10 represent religious bodies, and 35 are designated by 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 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:
Diplomatic representation in US:
none; note - Bhutan has a Permanent Mission to UN; address: 2 United Nations Plaza, 27th Floor, New York, NY 10017; telephone [1] (212) 826-1919; Bhutanese mission to UN has consular jurisdiction in US
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from US:
US and Bhutan have no formal diplomatic relations, although informal contact is maintained between Bhutanese and US Embassy in New Delhi (India)
Flag description:
divided diagonally from lower hoist side corner; upper triangle is yellow and lower triangle is orange; centered along dividing line is a large black and white dragon facing away from hoist side
Economy Bhutan
Economy - overview:
economy, one of world's smallest and least developed, is based on agriculture and forestry, providing main livelihood for more than 90% of population. Agriculture consists largely of subsistence farming and animal husbandry. Rugged mountains dominate terrain and make building of roads and other infrastructure difficult and expensive. economy is closely aligned with India's through strong trade and monetary links and dependence on India's financial assistance. industrial sector is technologically backward, with most production of 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. government has made some progress in expanding nation's productive base and improving social welfare. Model education, social, and environment programs are underway with support from multilateral development organizations. Each economic program takes into account government's desire to protect countries environment and cultural traditions. Detailed controls and uncertain policies in areas like industrial licensing, trade, labor, and finance continue to hamper foreign investment.
buying power parity - $2.7 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
7.7% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
buying power parity - $1,300 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 45%
industry: 10%
services: 45% (2002 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
note: massive lack of skilled labor
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 93%, services 5%, industry and commerce 2%
Unemployment rate:
revenues: $146 million
expenditures: $152 million, includes capital expenditures of NA
note: government of India finances nearly three-fifths of Bhutan's budget expenditures (FY95/96 est.)
cement, wood products, processed fruits, alcoholic beverages, calcium carbide
Industrial production growth rate:
9.3% (1996 est.)
Electricity - production:
1.896 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 0.1%
hydro: 99.9%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
379.5 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
1.4 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
16 million kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
1,020 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA (2001)
Agriculture - products:
rice, corn, root crops, citrus, foodgrains; dairy products, eggs
$154 million f.o.b. (2000 est.)
Exports - commodities:
electricity (to India), cardamom, gypsum, timber, handicrafts, cement, fruit, precious stones, spices
Exports - partners:
US 24.1%, UK 23.9%, Pakistan 23.1%, France 13.9% (2002)
$196 million c.i.f. (2000 est.)
Imports - commodities:
fuel and lubricants, grain, machinery and parts, vehicles, fabrics, rice
Imports - partners:
Japan 44.5%, Germany 12.2%, UK 8.5%, Singapore 6%, South Korea 5%, US 4.2% (2002)
Debt - external:
$245 million (2000)
Economic aid - recipient:
substantial aid from India and other nations
ngultrum (BTN); Indian rupee (INR)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
ngultrum per US dollar - 48.61 (2002), 47.19 (2001), 44.94 (2000), 43.06 (1999), 41.26 (1998)
Fiscal year:
1 July - 30 June
Communications Bhutan
Telephones - main lines in use:
6,000 (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Telephone system:
general assessment: NA
domestic: domestic telephone service is very poor with few telephones in use
international: international telephone and telegraph service is by landline through India; a satellite earth station previously planned (1990)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 0, FM 1, shortwave 1 (1998)
37,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
0 (1997)
11,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
Internet users:
2,500 (2002)
Transportation Bhutan
0 km
total: 3,690 km
paved: 2,240 km
unpaved: 1,450 km (1999 est.)
Ports and harbors:
2 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2002)
Military Bhutan
Military branches:
Royal Bhutan Army, Royal Bodyguard, National Militia, Royal Bhutan Police, Forest Guards
Military manpower - military age:
18 years of age (2003 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 530,860 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 283,493 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 22,755 (2003 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$9.3 million (FY02)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.9% (FY02)
Transnational Issues Bhutan
Disputes - international:
approximately 100,000 Bhutanese refugees living in Nepal, 90% of whom reside in seven UN Office of High Commissioner for Refugees camps, place decades-long strains on Nepal