source : World Fact Book 2008 (October 2008)


   Introduction    Bhutan
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 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. Nepal's constitution was ratified in July 2008.
   Geography    Bhutan
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
Definition Field Listing Rank Order total: 47,000 sq km
land: 47,000 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing about one-half the size of Indiana
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing total: 1,075 km
border countries: China 470 km, India 605 km
Definition Field Listing 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing none (landlocked)
Definition Field Listing varies; tropical in southern plains; cool winters and hot summers in central valleys; severe winters and cool summers in Himalayas
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 carbonate
Land use:
Definition Field Listing arable land: 2.3%
permanent crops: 0.43%
other: 97.27% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing 400 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
Definition Field Listing 95 cu km (1987)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
Definition Field Listing total: 0.43 cu km/yr (5%/1%/94%)
per capita: 199 cu m/yr (2000)
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, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes
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
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 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.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing 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.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing total: 23.5 years
male: 24.1 years
female: 22.8 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing 1.301% (2008 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 20.56 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 7.54 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order NA (2008 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing 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.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 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.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order total population: 65.53 years
male: 64.75 years
female: 66.35 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 2.48 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order fewer than 100 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order NA
Major infectious diseases:
Definition Field Listing 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)
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%
Definition Field Listing Lamaistic Buddhist 75%, Indian- and Nepalese-influenced Hinduism 25%
Definition Field Listing Dzongkha (official), Bhotes speak various Tibetan dialects, Nepalese speak various Nepalese dialects
Definition Field Listing definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 47%
male: 60%
female: 34% (2003 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
Definition Field Listing total: 10 years
male: 11 years
female: 10 years (2006)
Education expenditures:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 7% of GDP (2005)
   Government    Bhutan
Country name:
Definition Field Listing conventional long form: Kingdom of Bhutan
conventional short form: Bhutan
local long form: Druk Gyalkhap
local short form: Druk Yul
Government type:
Definition Field Listing in transition to constitutional monarchy; special treaty relationship with India
Definition Field Listing 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:
Definition Field Listing 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
Definition Field Listing 1907 (became a unified kingdom under its first hereditary king)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing National Day (Ugyen WANGCHUCK became first hereditary king), 17 December (1907)
Definition Field Listing ratified 23 July 2008
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing based on Indian law and English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Definition Field Listing 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing 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 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 occured in March 2008; the leader of the majority party is nominated as the prime minister
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing 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
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing 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
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party (Druk Phuensum Tshogpa) or DPT [Jigme THINLEY]; People's Democratic Party or PDP [Sangay NGEDUP]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing United Front for Democracy (exiled)
other: Buddhist clergy; ethnic Nepalese organizations leading militant antigovernment campaign; Indian merchant community
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing 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, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing 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
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, 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 had a major impact on growth in 2007.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $3.359 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing $1.308 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 22.4% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $5,200 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing agriculture: 22.3%
industry: 37.9%
services: 39.8% (2006)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order NA
note: major shortage of skilled labor
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing agriculture: 63%
industry: 6%
services: 31% (2004 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 2.5% (2004)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing 31.7% (2003)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 4.9% (2007 est.)
Definition Field Listing revenues: $272 million
expenditures: $350 million
note: the government of India finances nearly three-fifths of Bhutan's budget expenditures (2005)
Public debt:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 81.4% of GDP (2004)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing rice, corn, root crops, citrus, foodgrains; dairy products, eggs
Definition Field Listing cement, wood products, processed fruits, alcoholic beverages, calcium carbide, tourism
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 9.3% (1996 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 2 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 380 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing 1.5 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing 20 million kWh (2005)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 0 bbl/day (2005)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 1,200 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 0 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 1,138 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $116 million (2007 est.)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $350 million f.o.b. (2006)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing electricity (to India), cardamom, gypsum, timber, handicrafts, cement, fruit, precious stones, spices
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing India 58.6%, Hong Kong 30.1%, Bangladesh 7.3% (2007)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $320 million c.i.f. (2006)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing fuel and lubricants, grain, aircraft, machinery and parts, vehicles, fabrics, rice
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing India 74.5%, Japan 7.4%, Sweden 3.2% (2007)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing $941.2 million; note - substantial aid from India (2006)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $713.3 million (2006)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $NA
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing ngultrum (BTN); Indian rupee (INR)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing ngultrum 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
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing 1 July - 30 June
   Communications    Bhutan
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 29,900 (2007)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 149,400 (2007)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing 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)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing AM 0, FM 9, shortwave 1 (2007)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing 1 (2007)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing .bt
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 9,180 (2007)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 40,000 (2007)
   Transportation    Bhutan
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 2 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2007)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order total: 8,050 km
paved: 4,991 km
unpaved: 3,059 km (2003)
   Military    Bhutan
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing Royal Bhutan Army (includes Royal Bodyguard and Royal Bhutan Police) (2008)
Military service age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing males age 16-49: 190,104
females age 16-49: 167,289 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing males age 16-49: 146,063
females age 16-49: 131,193 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
Definition Field Listing male: 7,847
female: 7,530 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 1% of GDP (2005 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Bhutan
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing 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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Countries of the World - Detailed information about Bhutan -
Source : CIA's World Fact Book 2008

Since 2003, January 19