Economy overview: The economy of Bhutan, one of the weakest and most backward in the world, is based on agriculture and forestry, which are the main source of income for 90% of the population. Agriculture consists predominantly of subsistence farming and animal husbandry. The predominance of rocky mountains makes it difficult and expensive to build roads and other infrastructure. The economy of Bhutan is closely connected with the Indian one by close trade and currency relations. The industrial sector is technologically backward, most goods are home-made products. Most important projects, such as road construction, are carried out by Indian workers. The main resources of the economy are the hydropower potential and the attractiveness of the country for tourists. The Bhutanese government has made some progress in expanding the country’s manufacturing base and improving the welfare system. Pilot educational, social and environmental programs in Bhutan are supported by international development organizations. Each economic program takes into account the desire of the government to protect the environment and the cultural characteristics of the country. Fine-grained control and uncertainty about government strategy in areas such as business licensing, trade, labor and finance continue to hamper foreign investment. See businesscarriers.com to know more about Bhutan Economics and Business.
GDP: Purchasing Power Parity $2.3 billion (2000 est.)
Real GDP growth rate: 6% (1999 est.).
GDP per capita: Purchasing Power Parity $1,100 (2000 est.).
The composition of GDP by sectors of the economy: agriculture: 38%; industry: 37%; services: 25% (1998).
Proportion of the population below the poverty line: no data available.
Percentage distribution of household income or consumption: for the poorest 10% of households: n/a; by top 10% of households: no data.
Inflation rate at consumer prices: 7% (2000).
Labor force: no data; note: massive shortage of qualified ? bathroom workers.
Employment structure: agriculture 93%, services 5%, industry and trade 2%.
Unemployment rate: no data.
Budget: income; $146 million; expenditures: $152 million including capital expenditures – NA (FY95-96 est.); note: Government of India pays almost 60% of Bhutan’s budget expenditures.
Spheres of economy: production of cement, wood products, fruit processing, production of alcoholic beverages, calcium carbide (carborundum).
Growth in industrial production: 9.3% (1996 est.).
Electricity generation: 1.856 billion kWh (1999)
Sources of electricity generation: fossil fuels: 0.05%; hydropower: 99.95%; nuclear fuel: 0%; others: 0% (1999).
Electricity consumption: 191.1 million kWh (1999)
Export of electricity: 1.55 billion kWh; note: electricity is exported to India (1999).
Electricity import: 15 million kWh (1999).
Agricultural products: rice, corn, root crops, citrus fruits, food breads; dairy products, eggs.
Export: $154 million (free on board, 2000)
Exports: cardamom, gypsum, wood, handicrafts, cement, fruits, electricity (to India), gems, spices.
Export partners: India 94%, Bangladesh.
Import: $269 million (S.I.F., 2000).
Import articles: fuels and lubricants, grain, machinery and parts, vehicles, fabrics, rice.
Import partners: India 77%, Japan, UK, Germany, USA.
External debt: $120 million (1998) Economic aid recipient: $73.8 million (1995)
Economic aid donor:
Currency: ngultrum, Indian rupee.
Currency code: BTN; INR.
Exchange rate: BTN/USD – 46.540 (January 2001), 44.942 (2000), 43.055 (1999), 41.259 (1998), 36.313 (1997), 35.433 (1996); note – the Bhutanese ngultrum is equal to the Indian rupee, which is also legal tender.
Fiscal year: July 1-June 30.
Telecommunications Telephone lines: 6,000 (1997).
Mobile cellular phones: no data available.
Telephone system: internal: telephone connection is very poor, there are few telephones; international: telephone and telegraph communication is carried out using a land line passing through India; it was planned to create a ground satellite station (1990).
Broadcast stations: AM – 0, FM – 1, shortwave – 1 (1998).
Radio receivers: 37,000 (1997).
Television broadcast stations: 0 (1997).
TVs: 11,000 (1997).
Internet country code: bt
Internet service providers: not available.
Number of users: 500 (2000).
Transport Railways: 0 km.
Roads: total: 3,285 km; coated: 1,994 km; unpaved: 1,291 km (1996 est.)
Ports and harbours: none.
Airports: 2 (2000 est.).
Airports with paved runways: total: 1; from 1524 to 2437 m: 1 (2000 est.).
Airports with unpaved runways: total: 1; from 914 to 1523 m: 1 (2000 est.).
Branches of the Armed Forces: Royal Bhutan Army, National Militia, Royal Guard, Forest Guard (military).
Enlistment age: 18 years old.
Total Military Manpower: Male 15 to 49: 504,342 (2001 est.).
Eligible for military service: men aged 15 to 49: 269,251 (2001 est.).
Number of persons reaching military age each year: men: 21,167 (2001 est.).
Military spending in dollar terms: no data available.
Military spending as part of GDP: no data available.
International Issues International Disputes: There is the issue of approximately 96,500 Bhutanese refugees in Nepal, 90% of whom are in camps organized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.