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  Bhutan   
Introduction
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Transnational
Issues
  Introduction Back To Top

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 over 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. 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. In early 2007, India and Bhutan renegotiated their treaty to allow Bhutan greater autonomy in conducting its foreign policy, although Thimphu continues to coordinate policy decisions in this area with New Delhi. In July 2007, seven ministers of Bhutan's ten-member cabinet resigned to join the political process, and the cabinet acted as a caretaker regime until democratic elections for seats to the country's first parliament were completed in March 2008. The king ratified the country's first constitution in July 2008.

  Geography Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.43 cu km/yr (5%/1%/94%)
per capita: 199 cu m/yr (2000)

Total renewable water resources:
95 cu km (1987)

Land boundaries:
total: 1,075 km
border countries: China 470 km, India 605 km

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

Climate:
varies; tropical in southern plains; cool winters and hot summers in central valleys; severe winters and cool summers in Himalayas

Map references:
Asia

Geographic coordinates:
27 30 N, 90 30 E

Natural resources:
timber, hydropower, gypsum, calcium carbonate

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Drangme Chhu 97 m
highest point: Kula Kangri 7,553 m

Terrain:
mostly mountainous with some fertile valleys and savanna

Geography - note:
landlocked; strategic location between China and India; controls several key Himalayan mountain passes

Area:
total: 47,000 sq km
land: 47,000 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Location:
Southern Asia, between China and India

Coastline:
0 km (landlocked)

Area - comparative:
about one-half the size of Indiana

Irrigated land:
400 sq km (2003)

Environment - current issues:
soil erosion; limited access to potable water

Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)

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

Land use:
arable land: 2.3%
permanent crops: 0.43%
other: 97.27% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
2.48 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.14 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.13 male(s)/female
total population: 1.1 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
less than 0.1% (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
fewer than 100 (1999 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 65.53 years
male: 64.75 years
female: 66.35 years (2008 est.)

Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria
water contact disease: leptospirosis (2008)

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 47%
male: 60%
female: 34% (2003 est.)

Net migration rate:
NA (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
Bhote 50%, ethnic Nepalese 35% (includes Lhotsampas - one of several Nepalese ethnic groups), indigenous or migrant tribes 15%

Median age:
total: 23.5 years
male: 24.1 years
female: 22.8 years (2008 est.)

Population:
682,321
note: the Factbook population estimate is consistent with the first modern census of Bhutan, conducted in 2005; previous Factbook population estimates for this country, which were on the order of three times the total population reported here, were based on Bhutanese government publications that did not include the census (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
7% of GDP (2005)

Population growth rate:
1.301% (2008 est.)

Languages:
Dzongkha (official), Bhotes speak various Tibetan dialects, Nepalese speak various Nepalese dialects

Death rate:
7.54 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 51.92 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 53.1 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 50.69 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 10 years
male: 11 years
female: 10 years (2006)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 30.8% (male 107,360/female 103,093)
15-64 years: 63.7% (male 231,323/female 203,649)
65 years and over: 5.4% (male 19,561/female 17,335) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
20.56 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Religions:
Lamaistic Buddhist 75%, Indian- and Nepalese-influenced Hinduism 25%

Nationality:
noun: Bhutanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Bhutanese

  Government Back To Top

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)

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

Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal

Government type:
in transition to constitutional monarchy; special treaty relationship with India

Political pressure groups and leaders:
United Front for Democracy (exiled)
other: Buddhist clergy; ethnic Nepalese organizations leading militant antigovernment campaign; Indian merchant community

Diplomatic representation in the US:
none; note - the Permanent Mission to the UN for Bhutan has consular jurisdiction in the US; address: 763 First Avenue, New York, NY 10017; telephone [1] (212) 682-2268; FAX [1] (212) 661-0551
consulate(s) general: New York

International organization participation:
ADB, 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, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)

Legislative branch:
new bicameral Parliament consists of the non-partisan National Council (25 seats; 20 members elected by each of the 20 electoral districts (dzongkhags) for four-year terms and 5 members nominated by the King); and the National Assembly (47 seats; members elected by direct, popular vote for five-year terms)
elections: National Council elections last held on 31 December 2007 and 29 January 2008 (next to be held by December 2012); National Assembly elections last held on 24 March 2008 (next to be held by March 2013)
election results: National Council - NA; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - DPT 67%, PDP 33%; seats by party - DPT 45, PDP 2

Legal system:
based on Indian law and English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

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

Independence:
1907 (became a unified kingdom under its first hereditary king)

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: Kingdom of Bhutan
conventional short form: Bhutan
local long form: Druk Gyalkhap
local short form: Druk Yul

Political parties and leaders:
Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party (Druk Phuensum Tshogpa) or DPT [Jigme THINLEY]; People's Democratic Party or PDP [Sangay NGEDUP]

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

Constitution:
ratified 23 July 2008

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; the nearly two-year delay between the former King's abdication and his son's coronation on 6 November 2008 was to ensure an astrologically auspicious coronation date and to give the new King-who had limited experience-deeper administrative expertise under the guidance of this father
head of government: Prime Minister Jigme THINLEY (since 9 April 2008)
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: 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 occurred in March 2008; the leader of the majority party is nominated as the prime minister

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

Judicial branch:
Supreme Court of Appeal (the monarch); High Court (judges appointed by the monarch); note - the draft constitution establishes a Supreme Court, which will serve as chief court of appeal

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
India 58.6%, Hong Kong 30.1%, Bangladesh 7.3% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
528.8 million kWh (2007 est.)

Electricity - imports:
11 million kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
$116 million (2007 est.)

Debt - external:
$713.3 million (2006)

Unemployment rate:
2.5% (2004)

Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$4,800 (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$169.9 million (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$3.294 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$1.368 billion (2008 est.)

Exchange rates:
ngultrum (BTN) per US dollar - 41.487 (2007), 45.279 (2006), 44.101 (2005), 45.317 (2004), 46.583 (2003)
note: the ngultrum is pegged to the Indian rupee

GDP - real growth rate:
7.8% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$381.1 million (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
NA
note: major shortage of skilled labor

Imports - partners:
India 74.5%, Japan 7.4%, Sweden 3.2% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
4.9% (2007 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 22.3%
industry: 37.9%
services: 39.8% (2006)

Oil - imports:
1,152 bbl/day (2005)

Exports:
$350 million f.o.b. (2006)

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
ngultrum (BTN); Indian rupee (INR)

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. 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. Hydropower exports to India have boosted Bhutan's GDP growth. New hydropower projects will be the driving force behind Bhutan's ability to create employment and sustain growth in the coming years.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

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

Industries:
cement, wood products, processed fruits, alcoholic beverages, calcium carbide, tourism

Electricity - exports:
3.644 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:
31.7% (2003)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
14% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$220.3 million (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
4.475 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Imports:
$320 million c.i.f. (2006)

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 63%
industry: 6%
services: 31% (2004 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Oil - consumption:
1,250 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Public debt:
81.4% of GDP (2004)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$NA

Currency code:
BTN; INR

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

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

Economic aid - recipient:
$941.2 million; note - substantial aid from India (2006)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 0.1%
hydro: 99.9%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $272 million
expenditures: $350 million
note: the government of India finances nearly three-fifths of Bhutan's budget expenditures (2005)

Fiscal year:
1 July - 30 June

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
40,000 (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
29,900 (2007)

Televisions:
11,000 (1997)

Internet country code:
.bt

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 0, FM 9, shortwave 1 (2007)

Radios:
37,000 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
149,400 (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
1 (2007)

Telephone system:
general assessment: urban towns and district headquarters have telecommunications services
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 Intelsat (2007)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
NA

Internet hosts:
9,046 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

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

Roadways:
total: 8,050 km
paved: 4,991 km
unpaved: 3,059 km (2003)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2007)

Airports:
2 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 190,104
females age 16-49: 167,289 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 146,063
females age 16-49: 131,193 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
Royal Bhutan Army (includes Royal Bodyguard and Royal Bhutan Police) (2008)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 7,847
female: 7,530 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
1% of GDP (2005 est.)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:
Bhutan cooperates with India to expel Indian Nagaland separatists; lacking any treaty describing the boundary, Bhutan and China continue negotiations to establish a common boundary alignment to resolve territorial disputes arising from substantial cartographic discrepancies, the largest of which lie in Bhutan's northwest and along the Chumbi salient

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