Bhutan in 2006 was a country of nearly 700,000 people, located in the eastern Himalayas between India and China. It was a Buddhist kingdom known for its unique culture, breathtaking landscapes, and commitment to Gross National Happiness. According to constructmaterials, the country was ruled by King Jigme Singye Wangchuck and the government focused on preserving its cultural heritage while slowly modernizing. In 2006, Bhutan was still largely agrarian with subsistence farming as the primary source of income. The country had limited infrastructure and communication networks compared to other countries in the region. Despite this, Bhutan had made strides in improving health care and education for its citizens, including free healthcare for all citizens and free education through college level. Primary school attendance rate had increased from approximately 40% in 2000 to over 80% by 2006. Additionally, economic growth had been steady since 2000 due to increased foreign investment from India and other countries around the world. Tourism was also increasing as more people became aware of Bhutan’s unique culture and landscapes.
Bhutan. King Jigme Singye Wangchuck passed away surprisingly in December 2006 and handed over power to his son, Crown Prince Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck. According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in Bhutan include Independence Day (August 8) and New Year (January 1). The king, who has ruled for 34 years, had previously said he would leave the throne in 2008, when the country’s first free elections will be held. He himself gave no explanation, but one co-worker said that the early departure was because the Crown Prince needed time to get used to the government.
In September, the authorities had presented the details of the 2008 election, which will mean a transition from absolute monarchy to parliamentary democracy. The election is part of the proposal for the country’s first constitution that King Wangchuck presented in 2005. According to the authorities, an unlimited number of parties and parliamentary candidates should be able to stand in the first round of elections, but in the second and decisive only the two parties with the most votes can participate.. Parliament should have two chambers; an upper house with 20 seats and a lower house with 75 seats. Bhutan will be assisted by India in preparing and conducting the historic elections. The two countries also signed an agreement on cooperation on free trade and hydropower during the year.
The question of the more than 100,000 Bhutanese refugees who have been living in eastern Nepal since the early 1990s remains unresolved. In November, the UN Refugee Agency again appealed to Bhutan to take back all or part of the refugees, claiming that they were deprived of their citizenship in Bhutan or expelled for conducting campaigns for democracy. New talks between Bhutan and Nepal are expected to be held in 2007. So far, despite several negotiations and even promises, Bhutan has not returned a single refugee. The refugees live in camps, are dependent on food shipments from the UN and are not allowed to work. The United States and other Western countries have offered to accept the refugees, but some of them believe it would legitimize ethnic cleansing. Other refugees believe that a move to the West is their only opportunity to get away from misery.
Bhutan is a small kingdom located in the Himalayan mountains, between India and China, much larger than itself. The local name for the land is “Druk Yul”, which means land of dragons. The country had long been closed to foreign travelers, but gradually opened its borders from the mid-1970s onwards. Due to its previous closure, the country has managed to preserve its own identity from Western influences.
- According to abbreviationfinder, BT is the abbreviation code for Bhutan.
Area: 47,000 km²
Population: 782,318 (estimate 7/2020)
Population: 50% Bhutia tribes, 35% Nepalese tribes, 15% other tribes
Religion: The official religion of Bhutan is Vajrayana Buddhism. About three-quarters of the population are Buddhists and a quarter are Hindus. Christians and non-religious minorities make up less than one percent.
Language: Dzonkha (official), nhotia, Nepali
Main products: Wood products, fruits, rice, corn, dairy products, eggs
Form of government: Kingdom