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Nepal (2005)

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Administrative divisions 14 zones (anchal, singular and plural); Bagmati, Bheri, Dhawalagiri, Gandaki, Janakpur, Karnali, Kosi, Lumbini, Mahakali, Mechi, Narayani, Rapti, Sagarmatha, Seti
Age structure 0-14 years: 39% (male 5,575,157/female 5,221,794)

15-64 years: 57.3% (male 8,137,410/female 7,720,691)

65 years and over: 3.7% (male 499,039/female 522,456) (2005 est.)
Agriculture - products rice, corn, wheat, sugarcane, root crops; milk, water buffalo meat
Airports 46 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways total: 9

over 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 7 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways total: 37

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 7

under 914 m: 29 (2004 est.)
Area total: 140,800 sq km

land: 136,800 sq km

water: 4,000 sq km
Area - comparative slightly larger than Arkansas
Background In 1951, the Nepalese monarch ended the century-old system of rule by hereditary premiers and instituted a cabinet system of government. Reforms in 1990 established a multiparty democracy within the framework of a constitutional monarchy. A Maoist insurgency, launched in 1996, has gained traction and is threatening to bring down the regime, especially after a negotiated cease-fire between the Maoists and government forces broke down in August 2003. In 2001, the crown prince massacred ten members of the royal family, including the king and queen, and then took his own life. In October 2002, the new king dismissed the prime minister and his cabinet for "incompetence" after they dissolved the parliament and were subsequently unable to hold elections because of the ongoing insurgency. While stopping short of reestablishing parliament, the king in June 2004 reinstated the most recently elected prime minister who formed a four-party coalition government, which the king subsequently tasked with paving the way for elections to be held in spring of 2005. Citing dissatisfaction with the government's lack of progress in addressing the Maoist insurgency, the king in February 2005 dissolved the government and assumed power.
Birth rate 31.45 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Budget revenues: $665 million

expenditures: $1.1 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (FY99/00 est.)
Capital Kathmandu
Climate varies from cool summers and severe winters in north to subtropical summers and mild winters in south
Coastline 0 km (landlocked)
Constitution 9 November 1990
Country name conventional long form: Kingdom of Nepal

conventional short form: Nepal
Death rate 9.47 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Debt - external $2.7 billion (2001)
Diplomatic representation from the US chief of mission: Ambassador James F. MORIARTY

embassy: Panipokhari, Kathmandu

mailing address: use embassy street address

telephone: [977] (1) 411179

FAX: [977] (1) 419963
Diplomatic representation in the US chief of mission: Ambassador Kedar Bhakta SHRESTHA

chancery: 2131 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 667-4550

FAX: [1] (202) 667-5534

consulate(s) general: New York
Disputes - international joint border commission continues to work on small disputed sections of boundary with India; India has instituted a stricter border regime to restrict transit of Maoist insurgents and illegal cross-border activities
Economic aid - recipient $424 million (FY00/01)
Economy - overview Nepal is among the poorest and least developed countries in the world with 40% of its population living below the poverty line. Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, providing a livelihood for over 80% of the population and accounting for 40% of GDP. Industrial activity mainly involves the processing of agricultural produce including jute, sugarcane, tobacco, and grain. Security concerns in the wake of the Maoist conflict have led to a decrease in tourism, a key source of foreign exchange. Nepal has considerable scope for exploiting its potential in hydropower and tourism, areas of recent foreign investment interest. Prospects for foreign trade or investment in other sectors will remain poor, however, because of the small size of the economy, its technological backwardness, its remoteness, its landlocked geographic location, its civil strife, and its susceptibility to natural disaster.
Electricity - consumption 2.005 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports 142 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports 237 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - production 2.054 billion kWh (2002)
Elevation extremes lowest point: Kanchan Kalan 70 m

highest point: Mount Everest 8,850 m
Environment - current issues deforestation (overuse of wood for fuel and lack of alternatives); contaminated water (with human and animal wastes, agricultural runoff, and industrial effluents); wildlife conservation; vehicular emissions
Environment - international agreements party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
Ethnic groups Chhettri 15.5%, Brahman-Hill 12.5%, Magar 7%, Tharu 6.6%, Tamang 5.5%, Newar 5.4%, Muslim 4.2%, Kami 3.9%, Yadav 3.9%, other 32.7%, unspecified 2.8% (2001 census)
Exchange rates Nepalese rupees per US dollar - 73.674 (2004), 76.141 (2003), 77.877 (2002), 74.949 (2001), 71.094 (2000)
Executive branch chief of state: King GYANENDRA Bir Bikram Shah (succeeded to the throne 4 June 2001 following the death of his nephew, King DIPENDRA Bir Bikram Shah)

head of government: Prime Minister Sher Bahadur DEUBA; note - the Prime Minister resigned in Februrary 2005

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister; note - the King dissolved the Cabinet in February 2005

elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the monarch

note: King BIRENDRA Bir Bikram Shah Dev died in a bloody shooting at the royal palace on 1 June 2001 that also claimed the lives of most of the royal family; King BIRENDRA's son, Crown Price DIPENDRA, is believed to have been responsible for the shootings before fatally wounding himself; immediately following the shootings and while still clinging to life, DIPENDRA was crowned king; he died three days later and was succeeded by his uncle
Exports 142 million kWh (2002)
Exports $568 million f.o.b., but does not include unrecorded border trade with India (2002 est.)
Exports NA
Exports - commodities carpets, clothing, leather goods, jute goods, grain
Exports - partners India 47.4%, US 22.7%, Germany 8.4% (2004)
Fiscal year 16 July - 15 July
Flag description red with a blue border around the unique shape of two overlapping right triangles; the smaller, upper triangle bears a white stylized moon and the larger, lower triangle bears a white 12-pointed sun
GDP - composition by sector agriculture: 40%

industry: 20%

services: 40% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $1,500 (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 3% (2004 est.)
Geographic coordinates 28 00 N, 84 00 E
Geography - note landlocked; strategic location between China and India; contains eight of world's 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest - the world's tallest - on the border with China
Highways total: 13,223 km

paved: 4,073 km

unpaved: 9,150 km (1999 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%: 3.2%

highest 10%: 29.8% (1995-96)
Illicit drugs illicit producer of cannabis and hashish for the domestic and international drug markets; transit point for opiates from Southeast Asia to the West
Imports 237 million kWh (2002)
Imports $1.419 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Imports NA
Imports - commodities gold, machinery and equipment, petroleum products, fertilizer
Imports - partners India 46.3%, China 10.8%, UAE 9.3%, Saudi Arabia 4.1% (2004)
Independence 1768 (unified by Prithvi Narayan Shah)
Industrial production growth rate 8.7% (FY99/00)
Industries tourism, carpet, textile; small rice, jute, sugar, and oilseed mills; cigarette; cement and brick production
Infant mortality rate total: 66.98 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 65.25 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 68.79 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 2.9% (2002 est.)
Irrigated land 11,350 sq km (1998 est.)
Judicial branch Supreme Court or Sarbochha Adalat (chief justice is appointed by the monarch on recommendation of the Constitutional Council; the other judges are appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the Judicial Council)
Labor force 10 million

note: severe lack of skilled labor (1996 est.)
Labor force - by occupation agriculture 81%, industry 3%, services 16%
Land boundaries total: 2,926 km

border countries: China 1,236 km, India 1,690 km
Land use arable land: 21.68%

permanent crops: 0.64%

other: 77.68% (2001)
Languages Nepali 47.8%, Maithali 12.1%, Bhojpuri 7.4%, Tharu (Dagaura/Rana) 5.8%, Tamang 5.1%, Newar 3.6%, Magar 3.3%, Awadhi 2.4%, other 10%, unspecified 2.5% (2001 census)

note: many in government and business also speak English
Legal system based on Hindu legal concepts and English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Legislative branch bicameral Parliament consists of the National Council (60 seats; 35 appointed by the House of Representatives, 10 by the king, and 15 elected by an electoral college; one-third of the members elected every two years to serve six-year terms) and the House of Representatives (205 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)

elections: House of Representatives - last held 3 and 17 May 1999 (next election NA); note - Nepal's Parliament was dissolved on 22 May 2002

election results: House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NC 37.3%, CPN/UML 31.6%, NDP 10.4%, NSP 3.2%, Rastriya Jana Morcha 1.4%, Samyukta Janmorcha Nepal 0.8%, NWPP 0.5%, others 14.8%; seats by party - NC 113, CPN/UML 69, NDP 11, NSP 5, Rastriya Jana Morcha 5, Samyukta Janmorcha Nepal 1, NWPP 1
Life expectancy at birth total population: 59.8 years

male: 60.09 years

female: 59.5 years (2005 est.)
Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 45.2%

male: 62.7%

female: 27.6% (2003 est.)
Location Southern Asia, between China and India
Map references Asia
Maritime claims none (landlocked)
Military branches Royal Nepalese Army (includes Royal Nepalese Army Air Service), Nepalese Police Force
Military expenditures - dollar figure $99.2 million (2004)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 1.5% (2004)
National holiday Birthday of King GYANENDRA, 7 July (1946)
Nationality noun: Nepalese (singular and plural)

adjective: Nepalese
Natural hazards severe thunderstorms, flooding, landslides, drought, and famine depending on the timing, intensity, and duration of the summer monsoons
Natural resources quartz, water, timber, hydropower, scenic beauty, small deposits of lignite, copper, cobalt, iron ore
Net migration rate 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Political parties and leaders Communist Party of Nepal/United Marxist-Leninist or CPN/UML [Madhav Kumar NEPAL, general secretary]; National Democratic Party or NDP (also called Rastriya Prajantra Party or RPP) [Surya Bahadur THAPA, chairman]; People's Front Nepal (Rastriya Jana Morcha) [Chitra BAHADUR, chairman]; Nepali Congress-Democratic [Sher Bahadur DEUBA, president]; Nepali Congress or NC [Girija Prasad KOIRALA, party president; Sushil KOIRALA, general secretary]; Nepal Sadbhavana (Goodwill) Party or NSP [Bhadri Prasad MANDAL, acting party president]; Nepal Workers and Peasants Party or NWPP [Narayan Man BIJUKCHHE, party chairman]; Samyukta Janmorcha Nepal [leader NA]
Political pressure groups and leaders Maoist guerrilla-based insurgency [Pushpa Kamal DAHAL, also known as PRAHANDA, chairman; Dr. Baburam BHATTARAI, from Communist Party of Nepal/Maoist, chief negotiator]; numerous small, left-leaning student groups in the capital; several small, radical Nepalese antimonarchist groups
Population 27,676,547 (July 2005 est.)
Population below poverty line 42% (1995-96)
Population growth rate 2.2% (2005 est.)
Radio broadcast stations AM 6, FM 5, shortwave 1 (January 2000)
Railways total: 59 km

narrow gauge: 59 km 0.762-m gauge (2004)
Religions Hindu 80.6%, Buddhist 10.7%, Muslim 4.2%, Kirant 3.6%, other 0.9% (2001 census)

note: only official Hindu state in the world
Sex ratio at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.96 male(s)/female

total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2005 est.)
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal
Telephone system general assessment: poor telephone and telegraph service; fair radiotelephone communication service and mobile cellular telephone network

domestic: NA

international: country code - 977; radiotelephone communications; microwave landline to India; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean)
Telephones - main lines in use 371,800 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular 50,400 (2003)
Television broadcast stations 1 (plus 9 repeaters) (1998)
Terrain Tarai or flat river plain of the Ganges in south, central hill region, rugged Himalayas in north
Total fertility rate 4.19 children born/woman (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate 47% (2001 est.)
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