#189 Country to JOIN our LIST! 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 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 10-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
Landlocked; strategic location between China and India; controls several key Himalayan mountain passes
Location: Southern Asia, between China and India
Geographic coordinates: 27 30 N, 90 30 E
Area: total: 38,394 sq km land: 38,394 sq km water: 0 sq kmSize comparison: about one-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: Drangeme Chhu 97 m highest point: Gangkar Puensum 7,570 m
Natural resources: timber, hydropower, gypsum, calcium carbonate
Land use: arable land: 2.3% permanent crops: 0.43% other: 97.27% (2005)
Irrigated land: 400 sq km (2003)
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
Current Environment Issues: soil erosion; limited access to potable water
International Environment Agreements: 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
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 People
Population: 716,896 (July 2012 est.) 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
Age structure: 0-14 years: 28.9% (male 104,622/female 100,383) 15-64 years: 65.3% (male 245,054/female 217,864) 65 years and over: 5.7% (male 21,347/female 19,157) (2011 est.)
Median age: total: 25.3 years male: 25.9 years female: 24.7 years (2012 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.175% (2012 est.)
Birth rate: 18.75 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)
Death rate: 6.99 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.12 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 1.11 male(s)/female total population: 1.1 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 42.17 deaths/1,000 live births male: 42.82 deaths/1,000 live births female: 41.49 deaths/1,000 live births (2012 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 67.88 years male: 67.01 years female: 68.79 years (2012 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.13 children born/woman (2012 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 0.2% (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: fewer than 1,000 (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: fewer than 100 (2009 est.)
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: Sharchhopka 28%, Dzongkha (official) 24%, Lhotshamkha 22%, other 26%
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 47% male: 60% female: 34% (2003 est.)
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 Government
Country name: conventional long form: Kingdom of Bhutan conventional short form: Bhutan local long form: Druk Gyalkhap local short form: Druk Yul
Government type: constitutional monarchy
Capital: name: Thimphu geographic coordinates: 27 28 N, 89 38 E time difference: UTC+6 (11 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
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
Independence: 1907 (became a unified kingdom under its first hereditary king)
National holiday:
Constitution: ratified 18 July 2008
Legal system: civil law based on Buddhist religious law
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
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 his 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 are nominated by the monarch (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) elections: the monarchy 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 nominated as the prime minister
Legislative branch: 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: Supreme Court of Appeal (the monarch); High Court (judges appointed by the monarch); note – the draft constitution establishes a Supreme Court that will serve as chief court of appeal
Political parties and leaders: Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party (Druk Phuensum Tshogpa) or DPT [Jigme THINLEY]; People’s Democratic Party or PDP [Tshering TOBGAY]
Political pressure groups and leaders: United Front for Democracy (exiled); Druk National Congress (exiled) other: Buddhist clergy; ethnic Nepalese organizations leading militant antigovernment campaign; Indian merchant community
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, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the US: none; note – the Permanent Mission to the UN for Bhutan has consular jurisdiction in the US; the permanent representative to the UN is Lhatu WANGCHUK; address: 343 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017; telephone [1] (212) 682-2268; FAX [1] (212) 661-0551 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)
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 Economy
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 40% 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. Complicated 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 overall growth. New hydropower projects will be the driving force behind Bhutan’s ability to create employment and sustain growth in the coming years.
GDP (purchasing power parity): GDP (purchasing power parity): $4.342 billion (2011 est.) $4.101 billion (2010 est.) $3.708 billion (2009 est.) note: data are in 2011 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): GDP (official exchange rate): $1.488 billion (2011 est.)
GDP – real growth rate: 5.9% (2011 est.) 10.6% (2010 est.) 6.7% (2009 est.)
GDP – per capita (PPP): GDP – per capita (PPP): $6,200 (2011 est.) $5,900 (2010 est.) $5,300 (2009 est.) note: data are in 2011 US dollars
GDP – composition by sector: agriculture: 16.7% industry: 45.4% services: 37.9% (2011 est.)
Labor force: 299,900 note: major shortage of skilled labor (2008)
Labor force – by occupation: agriculture: 43.7% industry: 39.1% services: 17.2% (2004 est.)
Unemployment rate: 4% (2009) 2.5% (2004)
Population below poverty line: 23.2% (2008)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2.3% highest 10%: 37.6% (2003)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): Inflation rate (consumer prices): 7.7% (2011 est.) 7.1% (2010 est.)
Budget: revenues: $644.9 million expenditures: $730.7 million note: the government of India finances nearly three-fifths of Bhutan’s budget expenditures (2011 est.)
Public debt: 78.9% of GDP (FY 10/11 est.) 57.8% of GDP (2009 est.)
Agriculture – products: rice, corn, root crops, citrus; dairy products, eggs
Industries: cement, wood products, processed fruits, alcoholic beverages, calcium carbide, tourism
Industrial production growth rate: NA%
Electricity – production: 1.48 billion kWh (2009 est.)
Electricity – consumption: 184 million kWh (2009 est.)
Electricity – exports: 1.296 billion kWh (2009 est.)
Electricity – imports: 5.693 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Oil – production: 0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Oil – consumption: 1,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Oil – exports: 0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Oil – imports: 1,549 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Oil – proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
Natural gas – production: 0 cu m (2009 est.)
Natural gas – consumption: 0 cu m (2009 est.)
Natural gas – exports: 0 cu m (2009 est.)
Natural gas – imports: 0 cu m (2009 est.)
Natural gas – proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
Current account balance: -$175 million (2011 est.) -$187.8 million (2010 est.)
Exports: $544.5 million (2010 est.) $509.4 million (2009 est.)
Exports – commodities: electricity (to India), ferrosilicon, cement, calcium carbide, copper wire, manganese, vegetable oil
Imports: $843.3 million (2010 est.) $620.8 million (2009 est.)
Imports – commodities: fuel and lubricants, passenger cars, machinery and parts, fabrics, rice
Debt – external: $1.275 billion (2011) $836 million (2009)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA
Exchange rates: ngultrum (BTN) per US dollar – 52.85 (2011 est.) 45.73 (2010 est.) 41.487 (2007)
Fiscal year: 1 July – 30 June
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 Communications
Telephones in use: 26,300 (2009) country comparison to the world: 184
Cellular Phones in use: 394,300 (2009)
Telephone system: general assessment: urban towns and district headquarters have telecommunications services domestic: low teledensity; domestic service is poor especially in rural areas; mobile-cellular 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 (2009)
Radio broadcast stations:
Television broadcast stations:
Internet country code: .bt
Internet hosts: 14,714 (2010)
Internet users: 50,000 (2009)
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 Transportation
Airports: 2 (2012) country comparison to the world: 197
Airports (paved runways): total: 1 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2012)
Airports (unpaved runways): total: 1 914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2012)
Roadways: total: 8,050 km paved: 4,991 km unpaved: 3,059 km (2003)
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 Military
Military branches: Royal Bhutan Army (includes Royal Bodyguard and Royal Bhutan Police) (2009)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; militia training is compulsory for males aged 20-25, over a 3-year period (2011)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 202,407 females age 16-49: 180,349 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 157,664 females age 16-49: 144,861 (2010 est.)

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