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  Bhutan  
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 Introduction
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This page was last updated on 15 November, 2007


Map of Bhutan



Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Bhutan Top of Page
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 to British India. 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. In March 2005, King Jigme Singye WANGCHUCK unveiled the government's draft constitution - which would introduce major democratic reforms - and pledged to hold a national referendum for its approval. A referendum date has yet to be named, but should occur in 2008. In December 2006, the King abdicated the throne to his son, Jigme Khesar Namgyel WANGCHUCK, in order to give him experience as head of state before the democratic transition.

 

  
   Geography    Bhutan Top of Page
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: 2.3%
permanent crops: 0.43%
other: 97.27% (2005)
Irrigated land:

400 sq km (2003)
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, Desertification, 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 Top of Page
Population:

2,327,849
note: the Factbook population estimate is inconsistent with the 2005 Bhutan census results; both data are being reviewed and when completed, the results will be posted on The World Factbook Web site (https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook) later this year (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:

0-14 years: 38.6% (male 465,340/female 433,184)
15-64 years: 57.4% (male 688,428/female 647,134)
65 years and over: 4% (male 47,123/female 46,640) (2007 est.)
Median age:

total: 20.5 years
male: 20.4 years
female: 20.7 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:

2.082% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:

33.28 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:

12.46 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.074 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.064 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.01 male(s)/female
total population: 1.066 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:

total: 96.37 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 94.09 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 98.77 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 55.17 years
male: 55.38 years
female: 54.96 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:

4.67 children born/woman (2007 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: 47%
male: 60%
female: 34% (2003 est.)
   Government    Bhutan Top of Page
Country name:

conventional long form: Kingdom of Bhutan
conventional short form: Bhutan
local long form: Druk Gyalkhap
local short form: Druk Yul
Government type:

absolute monarchy; special treaty relationship with India; note - transition to a constitutional monarchy is expected in 2008
Capital:

name: Thimphu
geographic coordinates: 27 29 N, 89 36 E
time difference: UTC+6 (11 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:

20 districts (dzongkhag, singular and plural); Bumthang, Chhukha, Chirang, Daga, Gasa, Geylegphug, Ha, Lhuntshi, Mongar, Paro, Pemagatsel, Punakha, Samchi, Samdrup Jongkhar, Shemgang, Tashigang, Tashi Yangtse, Thimphu, Tongsa, Wangdi Phodrang
Independence:

8 August 1949 (from India)
National holiday:

National Day (Ugyen WANGCHUCK became first hereditary king), 17 December (1907)
Constitution:

none; note - a draft constitution was unveiled in March 2005 and is expected to be adopted following the election of a new National Assembly in 2008
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
Executive branch:

chief of state: King Jigme Khesar Namgyel WANGCHUCK (since 14 December 2006); note - King Jigme Singye WANGCHUCK abdicated the throne on 14 December 2006 and his son immediately succeeded him
head of government: Prime Minister Kinzang DORJI (since August 2007)
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; election of a new National Assembly is expected in 2008
Legislative branch:

unicameral National Assembly or Tshogdu (150 seats; 105 members elected from village constituencies, 10 represent religious bodies, and 35 are designated by the monarch to represent government and other secular interests; to serve three-year terms)
elections: first election to be held in 2008; note - local elections last held August 2005 (next to be held in 2008)
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, BIMSTEC, CP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, NAM, OPCW, SAARC, SACEP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the US:

none; note - the Permanent Mission to the UN for Bhutan has consular jurisdiction in the US; address: 2 United Nations Plaza, 27th Floor, New York, NY 10017; telephone [1] (212) 826-1919; FAX [1] (212) 826-2998
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 Top of Page
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 60% 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 such as industrial licensing, trade, labor, and finance continue to hamper foreign investment.
GDP (purchasing power parity):

$3.503 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):

$840.5 million (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:

8.8% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):

$1,400 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 24.7%
industry: 37.2%
services: 38.1% (2005)
Labor force:

NA
note: major shortage of skilled labor
Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 63%
industry: 6%
services: 31% (2004 est.)
Unemployment rate:

2.5% (2004)
Population below poverty line:

31.7% (2003)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):

5.5% (2005 est.)
Budget:

revenues: $272 million
expenditures: $350 million; including capital expenditures of $NA
note: the government of India finances nearly three-fifths of Bhutan's budget expenditures (2005)
Public debt:

81.4% of GDP (2004)
Agriculture - products:

rice, corn, root crops, citrus, foodgrains; dairy products, eggs
Industries:

cement, wood products, processed fruits, alcoholic beverages, calcium carbide, tourism
Industrial production growth rate:

9.3% (1996 est.)
Electricity - production:

2 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - consumption:

380 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports:

1.5 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports:

20 million kWh (2005)
Oil - production:

0 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - consumption:

1,160 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:

NA bbl/day
Oil - imports:

NA bbl/day
Oil - proved reserves:

0 bbl
Natural gas - production:

0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:

0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:

0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Exports:

$186 million f.o.b. (2005)
Exports - commodities:

electricity (to India), cardamom, gypsum, timber, handicrafts, cement, fruit, precious stones, spices
Exports - partners:

India 54.5%, Hong Kong 34.6%, Bangladesh 6.9% (2006)
Imports:

$410 million c.i.f. (2005)
Imports - commodities:

fuel and lubricants, grain, aircraft, machinery and parts, vehicles, fabrics, rice
Imports - partners:

India 76%, Japan 5.5%, Germany 3.2% (2006)
Economic aid - recipient:

$90.02 million; note - substantial aid from India (2005)
Debt - external:

$593 million (2004)
Market value of publicly traded shares:

$NA
Currency (code):

ngultrum (BTN); Indian rupee (INR)
Exchange rates:

ngultrum per US dollar - 45.279 (2006), 44.101 (2005), 45.317 (2004), 46.583 (2003), 48.61 (2002)
note: the ngultrum is pegged to the Indian rupee
Fiscal year:

1 July - 30 June
   Communications    Bhutan Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:

31,500 (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular:

82,100 (2006)
Telephone system:

general assessment: telecommunications facilities are poor
domestic: very low teledensity; 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 (2005)
Radio broadcast stations:

AM 0, FM 9, shortwave 1 (2006)
Television broadcast stations:

1 (2006)
Internet country code:

.bt
Internet hosts:

9,180 (2007)
Internet users:

30,000 (2006)
   Transportation    Bhutan Top of Page
Airports:

2 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:

total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2007)
Roadways:

total: 8,050 km
paved: 4,991 km
unpaved: 3,059 km (2003)
   Military    Bhutan Top of Page
Military branches:

Royal Bhutan Army: Royal Bodyguard, 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
females age 18-49: 453,683 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:

males age 18-49: 314,975
females age 18-49: 296,833 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:

males age 18-49: 23,939
females age 18-49: 21,979 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:

1% (2005 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Bhutan Top of Page
Disputes - international:

over 100,000 Bhutanese Lhotshampas (Hindus) have been confined in seven UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees camps since 1990; Bhutan cooperates with India to expel Indian Nagaland separatists; lacking any treaty describing the boundary, Bhutan and China continue negotiations to establish a boundary alignment to resolve substantial cartographic discrepancies, the largest of which lies in Bhutan's northwest

This page was last updated on 15 November, 2007


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