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NEPALEdit

 
(See reference map VIII)

LANDEdit

141,400 km2; 16% agricultural area, 14% permanent meadows and pastures, 38% alpine land (unarable), waste, or urban; 32% forested

Land boundaries: 2,800 km

PEOPLEEdit

Population: 15,715,000 (July 1982), average annual growth rate 2.4%

Nationality: noun—Nepalese (sing. and pl.); adjective—Nepalese

Ethnic divisions: two main categories, Indo-Nepalese (about 80%) and Tibeto-Nepalese (about 20%), representing considerable intermixture of Indo-Aryan and Mongolian racial strains; country divided among many quasi-tribal communities

Religion: only official Hindu kingdom in world, although no sharp distinction between many Hindu (about 88%) and Buddhist groups; small groups of Muslims and Christians

Language: 20 mutually unintelligible languages divided into numerous dialects; Nepali official language and lingua franca for much of the country; same script as Hindi Literacy: about 12%

Labor force: 4.1 million; 95% agriculture, 5% industry; great lack of skilled labor

GOVERNMENTEdit

Official name: Kingdom of Nepal

Type: nominally a constitutional monarchy; King Birendra exercises autocratic control over multitiered panchayat system of government

Capital: Kathmandu

Political subdivisions: 75 districts, 14 zones

Legal system: based on Hindu legal concepts and English common law; legal education at Nepal Law College in Kathmandu; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

National holiday: Birthday of the King, 28 December

Branches: Council of Ministers appointed by the King; directly elected National Panchayat (Assembly)

Government leaders: King BIRENDRA Bir Bikram Shah Dev; Prime Minister Surya Bahadur THAPA

Suffrage: universal over age 21

Elections: village and town councils (panchayats) elected by universal suffrage; district panchayat members are indirectly elected; a constitutional amendment in 1980 provided for direct elections to the National Panchayat, which consists of 140 members (including 28 members appointed by the King), who serve five-year terms; Nepal's first general election in 22 years was held in May 1981

Political parties and leaders: all political parties outlawed

Communists: the two wings of the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN)—pro-Soviet and pro-Chinese—are split into several lesser factions; the combined membership is about 6,500, with the majority (perhaps 5,000) in the pro-Chinese wing; the CPN continues to operate more or less openly; internal dissension, however, greatly hinders its effectiveness

Other political or pressure groups: proscribed Nepali Congress Party led by B. P. Koirala

Member of: ADB, Colombo Plan, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IFAD, IFC, ILO, IMCO, IMF, IPU, ITU, NAM, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WMO, WTO

ECONOMYEdit

GDP: $2.4 billion (FY81 current prices), $115 per capita; 5.5% real growth in FY81

Agriculture: over 90% of population engaged in agriculture; main crops—rice, corn, wheat, sugarcane, oilseeds

Major industries: small rice, jute, sugar, and oilseed mills; match, cigarette, and brick factories

Electric power: 86,600 kW capacity (1980); 210 million kWh produced (1980), 14 kWh per capita

Exports: $116 million est. (FY8I est.); rice and other food products, jute, timber

Imports: $373 million est. (FY81 est.); manufactured consumer goods, fuel, construction materials, food products

Major trade partner: over 80% India

Budget: (FY81 revised est.) domestic revenue $147 million, expenditure $253 million

Monetary conversion rate: 12 Nepalese rupees=US$1

Fiscal year: 15 July-14 July

COMMUNICATIONSEdit

Railroads: 63 km (1977), all narrow gauge (0.762 m); all in Terai close to Indian border; 10 km from Raxaul to Biranj is government owned

Highways: 4,136 km total; 1,751 km paved, 556 km gravel or crushed stone, 1,829 km improved and unimproved earth; additionally 322 km of seasonally motorable tracks

Civil air: 5 major transport aircraft

Airfields: 47 total, 46 usable; 5 with permanent-surface runways; 1 with runways 2,440-3,659 m, 7 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: poor telephone and telegraph service; fair radiocommunication and broadcast service; international radiocommunication service is poor; 10,000 telephones (less than 0.1 per 100 popl.); 3 AM, no FM, and no TV stations

DEFENSE FORCESEdit

Military manpower: males 15-49, 3,704,000; 1,919,000 fit for military service; 176,000 reach military age (17) annually

Military budget: for fiscal year ending 14 July 1981, $22.1 million; 5.4% of central government budget