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Flag of Bhutan

Country Profile

Capital City: Thimphu (pop. approx. 55 000)

Other Cities: Paro, Phoentsholing, Punakha, Bumthong.

Local Time: UTC +6h

The Kingdom of Bhutan is a small, land-locked mountainous nation in Asia, located in the eastern Himalaya Mountains north of India and south of China.
Location: Southern Asia, between China and India.
Area: about 40 000 sq. km., roughly the size of Switzerland.
Terrain: Mountainous, from the Himalayas to lower-lying foothills to plains with semi-tropical forest, savannah grassland and bamboo jungles.
Border countries: China (Xizang - Tibet Autonomous Region), India

Climate: Alpine to temperate to subtropical with monsoon season from June to September.

Type: Constitutional Monarchy.
Previously, various laws and Buddhist values guided the relationship between the state and the people, but currently a 39-member Drafting Committee composed of representatives of the people, judiciary, the Monastic Order, and the Royal Government are writing a Constitution which is expected to be presented to the National Assembly for ratification in 2005.
National Day: 17 December

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Bhutanese.
Note: The Bhutanese refer to themselves as Drukpa people.
Population. 1 000 000 note: the Bhutanese government agencies project a current population of slightly less than 700 000.
GNI per capita PPP: $ 3 330 (year) Ethnic
groups: Bhutan has three main ethnic groups, Sharchops, Ngalongs (50%) and Lhotsampas, one of several Nepalese ethnic groups (35%), indigenous or migrant tribes 15%.
Religions: The tantric form of Mahayana Bhuddhism (Drukpa Kagyupa) is state religion, Indian- and Nepalese-influenced Hinduism 25%. Languages: Dzongka (official language), English (medium of instruction), Tshanglakha, Lhotsamkha ( Nepali) and Khenkha, Sharchop. Literacy: 54% (est.). Women's literacy (est.)--20%.


Natural resources:
Hydroelectric power, timber, gypsum, calcium carbide.

Agriculture products: Rice, corn, root crops, citrus, foodgrains; dairy products, eggs.

Industries: Cement, wood products, processed fruits, alcoholic beverages, calcium carbide.

Exports partners: Bangladesh 60.5%, USA 11.7%, Malaysia 5.7% (2003)

Imports partners: Japan 36.6%, Austria 14.2%, Sweden 8.3%, China 7.5%, Thailand 6%, Bangladesh 6%, Germany 5.5%, Italy 4% (2003)

Internet Links

Official Sites of Bhutan

Bhutan Government

Ministry of Trade and Industry

Department of Tourism, Bhutan

Map of 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. Maoist
Assamese separatists from India, who have established themselves in the
southeast portion of Bhutan, have drawn Indian cross-border incursions.

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 water: 0 sq km land: 47,000 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 carbide

Land use:  arable land: 3% permanent crops: 0% other: 97% (1998 est.)

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

Environment - international agreements:  party to: Biodiversity, Climate
Change, Nuclear Test Ban 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:  2,094,176 note: other estimates range as low as 810,000
(July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  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:  2.15% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  35.26 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  13.74 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 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 (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  106.79 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   52.83 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  5 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  less than 0.01% (1999 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 - 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:  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 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:  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:  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, ESCAP, FAO,

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; 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, 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:  purchasing power parity - $2.5 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  6% (2000 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $1,200 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 45% industry: 20% services:
35% (2001 est.)

Population below poverty line:  NA%

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

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  7% (2000 est.)

Labor force:  NA note: massive lack of skilled labor

Labor force - by occupation:  agriculture 93%, services 5%, industry
and commerce 2%

Unemployment rate:  NA%

Budget:  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:  cement, wood products, processed fruits, alcoholic beverages,
calcium carbide

Industrial production growth rate:  9.3% (1996 est.)

Electricity - production:  1.876 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 0.05% hydro: 99.95%
other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  380.68 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  1.385 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  21 million kWh (2000)

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

Exports:  $154 million (f.o.b., 2000 est.)

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

Exports - partners:  India 94%, Bangladesh

Imports:  $196 million (c.i.f., 2000 est.)

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

Imports - partners:  India 77%, Japan, UK, Germany, US

Debt - external:  $245 million (1998)

Economic aid - recipient:  substantial aid from India and other nations

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

Currency code:  BTN; INR

Exchange rates:  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:  1 July - 30 June

Communications Bhutan

Telephones - main lines in use:  6,000 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  NA

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 was planned (1990)

Radio broadcast stations:  AM 0, FM 1, shortwave 1 (1998)

Radios:  37,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  0 (1997)

Televisions:  11,000 (1997)

Internet country code:  .bt

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  NA

Internet users:  500 (2000)

Transportation Bhutan

Railways:  0 km

Highways:  total: 3,285 km paved: 1,994 km unpaved: 1,291 km (1996)

Waterways:  none

Ports and harbors:  none

Airports:  2 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 1 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 1 914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2001)

Military Bhutan

Military branches:  Royal Bhutan Army, Royal Bodyguard, National Militia,
Royal Bhutan Police, Forest Guards

Military manpower - military age:  18 years of age (2002 est.)

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 517,470 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 276,303
(2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:  males: 21,167
(2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $9.3 million (FY01)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  1.9% (FY01)

Transnational Issues Bhutan

Disputes - international:  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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Comprehensive site about archery, the national sport of Bhutan.
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