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The World Factbook 2002

         
  Bhutan  
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  Introduction
  Geography
  People
  Government
  Economy
  Communications
  Transportation
  Military
  Transnational Issues

In general, information available as of 1 January 2002
was used in the preparation of The World Factbook 2002.


This page was last updated on 1 January 2002


Map of Bhutan

Legend: Definition Definition Field Listing Field Listing
   Introduction    Bhutan
Background:
Definition Field Listing
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. Maoist Assamese separatists from India, who have established themselves in the southeast portion of Bhutan, have drawn Indian cross-border incursions.
   Geography    Bhutan
Location:
Definition Field Listing
Southern Asia, between China and India
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
27 30 N, 90 30 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Asia
Area:
Definition Field Listing
total: 47,000 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 47,000 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
about half the size of Indiana
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 1,075 km
border countries: China 470 km, India 605 km
Coastline:
Definition Field Listing
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
none (landlocked)
Climate:
Definition Field Listing
varies; tropical in southern plains; cool winters and hot summers in central valleys; severe winters and cool summers in Himalayas
Terrain:
Definition Field Listing
mostly mountainous with some fertile valleys and savanna
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Drangme Chhu 97 m
highest point: Kula Kangri 7,553 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
timber, hydropower, gypsum, calcium carbide
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 3%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 97% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
400 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
soil erosion; limited access to potable water
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Nuclear Test Ban
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
landlocked; strategic location between China and India; controls several key Himalayan mountain passes
   People    Bhutan
Population:
Definition Field Listing
2,094,176
note: other estimates range as low as 810,000 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 39.8% (male 431,883; female 401,386)
15-64 years: 56.2% (male 606,184; female 571,310)
65 years and over: 4% (male 42,193; female 41,220) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.15% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing
35.26 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing
13.74 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
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 (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing
106.79 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing
total population: 53.19 years
female: 52.83 years (2002 est.)
male: 53.53 years
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing
5 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing
less than 0.01% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing
less than 100 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing
NA
Nationality:
Definition Field Listing
noun: Bhutanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Bhutanese
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Bhote 50%, ethnic Nepalese 35% (includes Lhotsampas--one of several Nepalese ethnic groups), indigenous or migrant tribes 15%
Religions:
Definition Field Listing
Lamaistic Buddhist 75%, Indian- and Nepalese-influenced Hinduism 25%
Languages:
Definition Field Listing
Dzongkha (official), Bhotes speak various Tibetan dialects, Nepalese speak various Nepalese dialects
Literacy:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Kingdom of Bhutan
conventional short form: Bhutan
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
monarchy; special treaty relationship with India
Capital:
Definition Field Listing
Thimphu
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
8 August 1949 (from India)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
National Day (Ugyen WANGCHUCK became first hereditary king), 17 December (1907)
Constitution:
Definition Field Listing
no written constitution or bill of rights; note - Bhutan uses 1953 Royal decree for the Constitution of the National Assembly; on 7 July 1998, a Royal edict was ratified giving the National Assembly additional powers
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
based on Indian law and English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:
Definition Field Listing
each family has one vote in village-level elections
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: King Jigme Singye WANGCHUCK (since 24 July 1972)
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
head of government: Chairman of the Council of Ministers Lyonpo Khandu WANGCHUK (since 8 August 2001)
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
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
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: last held NA (next to be held NA)
election results: NA
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Court of Appeal (the monarch); High Court (judges appointed by the monarch)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
no legal parties
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Buddhist clergy; ethnic Nepalese organizations leading militant antigovernment campaign; Indian merchant community; United Front for Democracy (exiled)
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
AsDB, CP, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IFAD, IMF, IOC, IOM (observer), ITU, NAM, OPCW (signatory), SAARC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WTrO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
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; the Bhutanese mission to the UN has consular jurisdiction in the US
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
The economy, one of the world's smallest and least developed, is based on agriculture and forestry, providing 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. 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. The Bhutanese Government has made some progress in expanding the nation's productive base and improving social welfare. Model education, social, and environment programs in Bhutan 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. Detailed controls and uncertain policies in areas like industrial licensing, trade, labor, and finance continue to hamper foreign investment. Major hydroelectric projects will lead expansion of GDP in 2002 by an estimated 6%.
GDP:
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $2.5 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
6% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $1,200 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 45%
industry: 20%
services: 35% (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing
7% (2000 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing
NA
note: massive lack of skilled labor
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture 93%, services 5%, industry and commerce 2%
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing
NA%
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $146 million
expenditures: $152 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY95/96 est.)
note: the government of India finances nearly three-fifths of Bhutan's budget expenditures
Industries:
Definition Field Listing
cement, wood products, processed fruits, alcoholic beverages, calcium carbide
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
9.3% (1996 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing
1.876 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
Definition Field Listing
fossil fuel: 0.05%
hydro: 99.95%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing
380.68 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
1.385 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
21 million kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
rice, corn, root crops, citrus, foodgrains; dairy products, eggs
Exports:
Definition Field Listing
$154 million (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
electricity (to India), cardamom, gypsum, timber, handicrafts, cement, fruit, precious stones, spices
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
India 94%, Bangladesh
Imports:
Definition Field Listing
$196 million (c.i.f., 2000 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
fuel and lubricants, grain, machinery and parts, vehicles, fabrics, rice
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
India 77%, Japan, UK, Germany, US
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing
$245 million (1998)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
substantial aid from India and other nations
Currency:
Definition Field Listing
ngultrum (BTN); Indian rupee (INR)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
BTN; INR
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
ngultrum per US dollar - 48.336 (January 2002), 47.186 (2001), 44.942 (2000), 43.055 (1999), 41.259 (1998), 36.313 (1997); note - the Bhutanese ngultrum is at par with the Indian rupee which is also legal tender
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
1 July - 30 June
   Communications    Bhutan
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing
6,000 (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing
NA
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
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 was planned (1990)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 0, FM 1, shortwave 1 (1998)
Radios:
Definition Field Listing
37,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
0 (1997)
Televisions:
Definition Field Listing
11,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
.bt
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
Definition Field Listing
NA
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing
500 (2000)
   Transportation    Bhutan
Railways:
Definition Field Listing
0 km
Highways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 3,285 km
paved: 1,994 km
unpaved: 1,291 km (1996)
Waterways:
Definition Field Listing
none
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
none
Airports:
Definition Field Listing
2 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2001)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2001)
   Military    Bhutan
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Royal Bhutan Army, Royal Bodyguard, National Militia, Royal Bhutan Police, Forest Guards
Military manpower - military age:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 517,470 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 276,303 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 21,167 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing
$9.3 million (FY01)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing
1.9% (FY01)
   Transnational Issues    Bhutan
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
approximately 100,000 Bhutanese refugees living in Nepal, 90% of whom reside in seven UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees camps, place decades-long strains on Nepal

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002


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