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South Asia :: Bhutan
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  • Introduction :: BHUTAN

  • 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 to Bhutan the areas annexed by the British, formalized the annual subsidies the country received, and defined India's responsibilities in defense and foreign relations. In March 2005, King Jigme Singye WANGCHUCK unveiled the government's draft constitution - which introduced major democratic reforms - and pledged to hold a national referendum for its approval. In December 2006, the King abdicated the throne in favor of his son, Jigme Khesar Namgyel WANGCHUCK. In early 2007, India and Bhutan renegotiated their treaty, eliminating the clause that stated that Bhutan would be "guided by" India in conducting its foreign policy, although Thimphu continues to coordinate closely with New Delhi. Elections for seating the country's first parliament were completed in March 2008; the king ratified the country's first constitution in July 2008. Bhutan experienced a peaceful turnover of power following parliamentary elections in 2013, which routed the incumbent party. The disposition of some 23,000 Nepali Bhutanese refugees who fled or were forced out of Bhutan in the 1990s - housed in two UN refugee camps in Nepal - remains unresolved.
  • Geography :: BHUTAN

  • Southern Asia, between China and India
    27 30 N, 90 30 E
    total: 38,394 sq km
    land: 38,394 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    about one-half the size of Indiana
    total: 1,136 km
    border countries (2): China 477 km, India 659 km
    0 km (landlocked)
    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
    lowest point: Drangeme Chhu 97 m
    highest point: Gangkar Puensum 7,570 m
    timber, hydropower, gypsum, calcium carbonate
    agricultural land: 13.6%
    arable land 2.6%; permanent crops 0.3%; permanent pasture 10.7%
    forest: 85.5%
    other: 0.9% (2011 est.)
    319.1 sq km (2010)
    78 cu km (2011)
    total: 0.34 cu km/yr (5%/1%/94%)
    per capita: 458 cu m/yr (2008)
    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
    soil erosion; limited access to potable water
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection
    signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
    landlocked; strategic location between China and India; controls several key Himalayan mountain passes
  • People and Society :: BHUTAN

  • noun: Bhutanese (singular and plural)
    adjective: Bhutanese
    Ngalop (also known as Bhote) 50%, ethnic Nepalese 35% (includes Lhotsampas - one of several Nepalese ethnic groups), indigenous or migrant tribes 15%
    Sharchhopka 28%, Dzongkha (official) 24%, Lhotshamkha 22%, other 26% (includes foreign languages) (2005 est.)
    Lamaistic Buddhist 75.3%, Indian- and Nepalese-influenced Hinduism 22.1%, other 2.6% (2005 est.)
    note: the Factbook population estimate is consistent with the first modern census of Bhutan, conducted in 2005; previous Factbook population estimates for Bhutan, 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 2014 est.)
    0-14 years: 27.3% (male 102,196/female 97,923)
    15-24 years: 20.1% (male 75,327/female 72,472)
    25-54 years: 40.8% (male 159,868/female 139,236)
    55-64 years: 5.8% (male 22,769/female 19,699)
    65 years and over: 6% (male 23,153/female 21,000) (2014 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 48.1%
    youth dependency ratio: 40.8%
    elderly dependency ratio: 7.2%
    potential support ratio: 13.8% (2014 est.)
    total: 26.2 years
    male: 26.8 years
    female: 25.6 years (2014 est.)
    1.13% (2014 est.)
    18.12 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    6.78 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    urban population: 37.9% of total population (2014)
    rate of urbanization: 3.69% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    THIMPHU (capital) 152,000 (2014)
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1.15 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 1.11 male(s)/female
    total population: 1.1 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
    120 deaths/100,000 live births (2013 est.)
    total: 37.89 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 38.34 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 37.42 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
    total population: 68.98 years
    male: 68.06 years
    female: 69.95 years (2014 est.)
    2.02 children born/woman (2014 est.)
    65.6% (2010)
    3.6% of GDP (2013)
    0.26 physicians/1,000 population (2012)
    1.8 beds/1,000 population (2012)
    urban: 99.4% of population
    rural: 97.3% of population
    total: 98.1% of population
    urban: 0.6% of population
    rural: 2.7% of population
    total: 1.9% of population (2012 est.)
    urban: 74.5% of population
    rural: 31.1% of population
    total: 46.9% of population
    urban: 25.5% of population
    rural: 68.9% of population
    total: 53.1% of population (2012 est.)
    0.13% (2013 est.)
    600 (2013 est.)
    degree of risk: high
    food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
    vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria (2013)
    5.9% (2014)
    12.8% (2010)
    5.5% of GDP (2013)
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 64.9%
    male: 73.1%
    female: 55% (2015 est.)
    total: 13 years
    male: 13 years
    female: 13 years (2012)
    total number: 25,801
    percentage: 18% (2010 est.)
    total: 7.2%
    male: 7.3%
    female: 7.2% (2012 est.)
  • Government :: BHUTAN

  • conventional long form: Kingdom of Bhutan
    conventional short form: Bhutan
    local long form: Druk Gyalkhap
    local short form: Druk Yul
    constitutional monarchy
    name: Thimphu
    geographic coordinates: 27 28 N, 89 38 E
    time difference: UTC+6 (11 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    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
    1907 (became a unified kingdom under its first hereditary king)
    National Day (Ugyen WANGCHUCK became first hereditary king), 17 December (1907)
    previous (various royal decrees); first constitution drafted November 2001 - March 2005, ratified 18 July 2008 (2011)
    civil law based on Buddhist religious law
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    18 years of age; universal
    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 his father
    head of government: Prime Minister Tshering TOBGAY (since July 2013)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers (Lhengye Zhungtshog) nominated by the monarch in consultation with the prime minister and approved by the National Assembly; members serve fixed, five-year terms; the leader of the majority party is nominated as the prime minister
    elections: the monarchy is hereditary, but the 2008 constitution grants the Parliament authority to remove the monarch with two-thirds vote; election of a National Assembly last occurred in July 2013, resulting in the transfer of power to the former opposition party
    description: bicameral Parliament or Chi Tshog consists of the non-partisan National Council or Gyelyong Tshogde (25 seats; 20 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 5 members appointed by the king; members serve 4-year terms) and the National Assembly or Tshogdu (47 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 5-year terms)
    elections: National Council election last held on 23 April 2013 (next to be held in 2017); National Assembly election (first round) held on 31 May 2013; second round on 13 July 2013
    election results: National Council - independents 20; note - all candidates required to run as independents; National Assembly - first round poll held on 31 May 2013 - percent of vote by party - DPT 44.52%; PDP 32.53%; DNT 17.04%; DCT 5.9%; second round poll held on 13 July 2013 - percent of vote by party - PDP 54.88%, DPT 45.12%; seats by party - PDP 32, DPT 15
    highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 5 justices including the chief justice); note - the Supreme Court has sole jurisdiction in constitutional matters
    judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the monarch upon the advice of the National Judicial Commission, a 4-member body to include the Legislative Committee of the National Assembly, the attorney general, the Chief Justice of Bhutan and the senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court; other judges (drangpons) appointed by the monarch from among the High Court judges selected by the National Judicial Commission; chief justice serves a 5-year term or until reaching age 65 years, whichever is earlier; the four other judges serve 10-year terms or until age 65, whichever is earlier
    subordinate courts: High Court (first appellate court); District or Dzongkhag Courts; sub-district or Dungkhag Courts
    Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party or BNK [Sonam TOBGAY]
    Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party (Druk Phuensum Tshogpa) or DPT [Jigme THINLEY]
    Druck Chirwang Tshogpa or DCT
    Druk Nymrub Tshogpa or DNT
    People's Democratic Party or PDP [Tshering TOBGAY]
    United Front for Democracy (exiled); Druk National Congress (exiled)
    other: Buddhist clergy; ethnic Nepali-Bhutanese organizations (exiled); Indian merchant community
    none; note - the Permanent Mission to the UN for Bhutan has consular jurisdiction in the US; the permanent representative to the UN is Kunzang C. NAMGYEL (since February 2014); address: 343 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017; telephone [1] (212) 682-2268; FAX [1] (212) 661-0551
    consulate(s) general: New York
    the US and Bhutan have no formal diplomatic relations, although frequent informal contact is maintained via the US embasssy in New Delhi (India) and Bhutan's Permanent Mission to the UN
    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; the dragon, called the Druk (Thunder Dragon), is the emblem of the nation; its white color stands for purity and the jewels in its claws symbolize wealth; the background colors represent spiritual and secular powers within Bhutan: the orange is associated with Buddhism, while the yellow denotes the ruling dynasty
    thunder dragon known as Druk Gyalpo; national colors: orange, yellow
    name: "Druk tsendhen" (The Thunder Dragon Kingdom)
    lyrics/music: Gyaldun Dasho Thinley DORJI/Aku TONGMI
    note: adopted 1953
  • Economy :: BHUTAN

  • Bhutan's economy, small and less developed, is based largely on hydropower, agriculture, and forestry, which provide the main livelihood for more than half of the population. Because rugged mountains dominate the terrain and make the building of roads and other infrastructure difficult and expensive, industrial production is primarily of the cottage industry type. The economy is closely aligned with India's through strong trade and monetary links and is dependent on India for financial assistance and migrant laborers for development projects, especially for road construction. Multilateral development organizations administer most educational, social, and environment programs, and take 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. Complicated controls and uncertain policies in areas such as industrial licensing, trade, labor, and finance continue to hamper foreign investment. Bhutan’s largest export - hydropower to India - could spur sustainable growth in the coming years if Bhutan resolves chronic delays in construction. Bhutan currently taps only 5% of its 30,000-megawatt hydropower potential and is behind schedule in building 12 new hydropower dams with a combined capacity of 10,000 megawatts by 2020 in accordance with a deal signed in 2008 with India. The high volume of imported materials to build hydropower plants has expanded Bhutan's trade and current account deficits. However, Bhutan and India in April 2014 agreed to begin four additional hydropower projects, which would generate 2,120 megawatts in total. A declining GDP growth rate in each of the past three years in the absence of new hydropower facilities has constrained Bhutan’s ability to institute economic reforms. Bhutan inked a pact in December 2014 to expand duty-free trade with Bangladesh, the only trade partner with which Bhutan enjoys a surplus.
    $5.867 billion (2014 est.)
    $5.517 billion (2013 est.)
    $5.256 billion (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars
    $2.086 billion (2014 est.)
    6.4% (2014 est.)
    5% (2013 est.)
    6.5% (2012 est.)
    $7,700 (2014 est.)
    $7,300 (2013 est.)
    $7,100 (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2013 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 150
    26.6% of GDP (2014 est.)
    31.7% of GDP (2013 est.)
    32.2% of GDP (2012 est.)
    household consumption: 39%
    government consumption: 20.6%
    investment in fixed capital: 71.4%
    investment in inventories: 0%
    exports of goods and services: 36.4%
    imports of goods and services: -67.5%
    (2014 est.)
    agriculture: 14.4%
    industry: 41.6%
    services: 44% (2014 est.)
    rice, corn, root crops, citrus; dairy products, eggs
    cement, wood products, processed fruits, alcoholic beverages, calcium carbide, tourism
    8% (2014 est.)
    note: major shortage of skilled labor (2013 est.)
    agriculture: 56%
    industry: 22%
    services: 22% (2013 est.)
    2.9% (2013 est.)
    2.1% (2012 est.)
    12% (2012)
    lowest 10%: 2.3%
    highest 10%: 37.6% (2003)
    38.7 (2012)
    38.1 (2007)
    revenues: $407.1 million
    expenditures: $614 million
    note: the government of India finances nearly one-quarter of Bhutan's budget expenditures (2014 est.)
    19.5% of GDP (2014 est.)
    -9.9% of GDP (2014 est.)
    91.5% of GDP (2014 est.)
    97% of GDP (2013 est.)
    1 July - 30 June
    8.6% (2014 est.)
    8.8% (2013 est.)
    14% (31 December 2014 est.)
    14% (31 December 2013 est.)
    $636 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    $550.6 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    $1.099 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $1.062 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    $796.1 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    $726.2 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    $320 million (31 December 2013)
    $283.4 million (31 December 2012)
    $-328.1 million (2014 est.)
    $-553.3 million (2013 est.)
    $650.3 million (2014 est.)
    $352 million (2013 est.)
    electricity (to India), ferrosilicon, cement, calcium carbide, copper wire, manganese, vegetable oil
    India 83.8%, Hong Kong 10.8% (2013 est.)
    $980.6 million (2014 est.)
    $905.3 million (2013 est.)
    fuel and lubricants, passenger cars, machinery and parts, fabrics, rice
    India 72.3%, South Korea 6% (2013 est.)
    $1.707 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $1.578 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $173.7 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    $131.7 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    ngultrum (BTN) per US dollar -
    60.42 (2014 est.)
    58.6 (2013 est.)
    53.44 (2012 est.)
    46.67 (2011 est.)
    45.73 (2010 est.)
  • Energy :: BHUTAN

  • 7.55 billion kWh (2013 est.)
    1.841 billion kWh (2011 est.)
    5.625 billion kWh (2013 est.)
    37 million kWh (2013 est.)
    1.499 million kW (2013 est.)
    0.7% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
    0% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
    99.3% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
    0% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    0 bbl (1 January 2014 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    1,870 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    1,870 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    320,800 Mt (2012 est.)
  • Communications :: BHUTAN

  • 27,000 (2012)
    560,000 (2012)
    general assessment: urban towns and district headquarters have telecommunications services
    domestic: low teledensity; domestic service is poor especially in rural areas; mobile-cellular service, started in 2003, is now widely available
    international: country code - 975; international telephone and telegraph service via landline and microwave relay through India; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (2012)
    state-owned TV station established in 1999; cable TV service offers dozens of Indian and other international channels; first radio station, privately launched in 1973, is now state-owned; 5 private radio stations are currently broadcasting (2012)
    AM 0, FM 9, shortwave 1 (2007)
    1 (2007)
    14,590 (2012)
    50,000 (2009)
  • Transportation :: BHUTAN

  • 2 (2013)
    total: 2
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
    914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)
    total: 1
    914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2012)
    total: 10,578 km
    paved: 2,975 km (includes 2,180 km of natonal highways)
    unpaved: 7,603 km (2013)
  • Military :: BHUTAN

  • Royal Bhutan Army (includes Royal Bodyguard and Royal Bhutan Police) (2009)
    18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; militia training is compulsory for males aged 20-25, over a 3-year period (2012)
    males age 16-49: 202,407
    females age 16-49: 180,349 (2010 est.)
    males age 16-49: 157,664
    females age 16-49: 144,861 (2010 est.)
    male: 7,363
    female: 7,095 (2010 est.)
  • Transnational Issues :: BHUTAN

  • 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