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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 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. 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. A referendum date has yet to be named.
Location: Southern Asia, between China and India
Geographic coordinates: 27 30 N, 90 30 E
Area: total: 47,000 sq km
land: 47,000 sq km
water: 0 sq km
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 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
Environment - current issues: soil erosion; limited access to potable water
Geography - note: landlocked; strategic location between China and India; controls several key Himalayan mountain passes
Population: 2,279,723
note: other estimates range as low as 810,000 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 38.9% (male 458,801/female 426,947)
15-64 years: 57.1% (male 671,057/female 631,078)
65 years and over: 4% (male 46,217/female 45,623) (2006 est.)
Median age: total: 20.4 years
male: 20.2 years
female: 20.6 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.1% (2006 est.)
Birth rate: 33.65 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate: 12.7 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.01 male(s)/female
total population: 1.07 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 98.41 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 96.14 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 100.79 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 54.78 years
male: 55.02 years
female: 54.53 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate: 4.74 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people 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: 47%
male: 60%
female: 34% (2003 est.)
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 - in 2001, the king commissioned the drafting of a constitution, and in March 2005 publicly unveiled it; is awaiting national referendum
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; note - in late 2003 Bhutan's legislature passed a new election law
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: local elections last held August 2005 (next to be held in 2008)
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
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 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 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. Bhutan's hydropower potential and its attraction for tourists are key resources. 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 like industrial licensing, trade, labor, and finance continue to hamper foreign investment.

GDP (purchasing power parity): $2.9 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 5.3% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $1,400 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 45%
industry: 10%
services: 45% (2002 est.)
Labour force: NA
note: major shortage of skilled labour
Labour force - by occupation: agriculture: 93%
industry: 2%
services: 5%
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3% (2002 est.)
Budget: revenues: $146 million
expenditures: $152 million; including capital expenditures of $NA
note: the government of India fi$NAnces nearly three-fifths of Bhutan's budget expenditures (FY95/96 est.)
Agriculture - products: rice, corn, root crops, citrus, foodgrains; dairy products, eggs
Industries: cement, wood products, processed fruits, alcoholic beverages, calcium carbide
Industrial production growth rate: 9.3% (1996 est.)
Electricity - production: 1.882 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - consumption: 250.3 million kWh (2003)
Electricity - exports: 1.51 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - imports: 10 million kWh (2003)
Oil - consumption: 1,100 bbl/day (2003 est.)
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 85.6%, Bangladesh 6.7%, Japan 4.3% (2004)
Imports: $196 million c.i.f. (2000 est.)
Imports - commodities: fuel and lubricants, grain, machinery and parts, vehicles, fabrics, rice
Imports - partners: Germany 41.8%, India 35.5%, Japan 9.2%, Austria 4.3% (2004)
Debt - external: $245 million (2000)
Economic aid - recipient: substantial aid from India and other nations
Currency (code): ngultrum (BTN); Indian rupee (INR)
Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June
Telephones - main lines in use: 30,300 (2004)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 22,000 (2005)
Telephone system: general assessment: telecommunications facilities are poor
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 (2005)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 0, FM 9, shortwave 1 (2006)
Television broadcast stations: 1 (2006)
Internet country code: .bt
Internet hosts: 3 (2005)
Internet users: 20,000 (2005)
Airports: 2 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2005)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2005)
Roadways: total: 8,050 km
paved: 4,991 km
unpaved: 3,059 km (2003)
Military branches: Royal Bhutan Army (includes Royal Bodyguard and Royal Bhutan Police) (2005)
Disputes - international: approximately 105,000 Bhutanese have lived decades as refugees in Nepal, 90% of whom reside in seven UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees camps; Bhutan cooperates with India to expel Indian separatists