The World Factbook (1982)/Bhutan


World Factbook (1982) Bhutan.jpg
(See reference map VIII)


46,600 km2; 15% agricultural, 15% desert, waste, urban, 70% forested

Land boundaries: about 870 km


Population: 1,364,000 (July 1982), average annual growth rate 2.3%

Nationality: noun—Bhutanese (sing., pl.); adjective—Bhutanese

Ethnic divisions: 60% Bhotias, 25% ethnic Nepalese, 15% indigenous or migrant tribes

Religion: 75% Lamaistic Buddhism, 25% Buddhist-influenced Hinduism

Language: Bhotias speak various Tibetan dialects—most widely spoken dialect is Dzongkha, the official language; Nepalese speak various Nepalese dialects

Literacy: insignificant

Labor force: 300,000; 99% agriculture, 1% industry; massive lack of skilled labor


Official name: Kingdom of Bhutan

Type: monarchy; special treaty relationship with India

Capital: Thimphu

Political subdivisions: 4 regions (east, central, west, south), further divided into 15-18 subdivisions

Legal system: based on Indian law and English common law; in 1964 the monarch assumed full power—no constitution existed beforehand; a Supreme Court hears appeals from district administrators; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

National holiday: 17 December

Branches: appointed Ministers and indirectly elected Assembly consisting of village elders, monastic representatives, and all district and senior government administrators

Government leader: King Jigme Singye WANGCHUCK

Suffrage: each family has one vote

Elections: popular elections on village level held every three years

Political parties: all parties illegal

Communists: no overt Communist presence

Other political or pressure groups: Buddhist clergy

Member of: Colombo Plan, G-77, IBRD, IFAD, IMF, NAM, UPU, UN


GNP: $116 million (FY81), $97 per capita; 3.6% growth in FY81

Agriculture: rice, barley, wheat, potatoes, fruit

Major industries: handicrafts (particularly textiles)

Electric power: 3,000 kW capacity (1981); 8 million kWh produced (1981), 6 kWh per capita

Exports: $12 million (FY81); fruit and vegetables, timber, coal, and cardamom

Imports: about $19 million (FY81); textiles, cereals, vehicles

Major trade partner: India

Aid: economic—India (FY61-72), $180 million

Budget: domestic revenue $12.9 million, expenditures $39.3 million (FY81 est.)

Monetary conversion rate: both ngultrums and Indian rupees are legal tender; 9.16 ngultrums=9.16 Indian rupees=US$1 as of October 1981

Fiscal year: 1 April-31 March


Highways: 1,304 km total; 418 km surfaced, 515 km improved, 371 km unimproved earth

Freight carried: not available, very light traffic

Civil air: no major transport aircraft

Airfields: 2 total; 2 usable; 1 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: facilities inadequate; 1,300 telephones (0.1 per 100 popl.); 6,000 est. radio sets; no TV sets; 1 AM station and no TV stations


Military manpower: males 15-49, 332,000; 178,000 fit for military service; about 16,000 reach military age (18) annually

Supply: dependent on India