Nepal

Introduction 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, gained traction and threatened 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. Citing dissatisfaction with the government's lack of progress in addressing the Maoist insurgency and corruption, the king in February 2005 dissolved the government, declared a state of emergency, imprisoned party leaders, and assumed power. The king's government subsequently released party leaders and officially ended the state of emergency in May 2005, but the monarch retained absolute power until April 2006. After nearly three weeks of mass protests organized by the seven-party opposition and the Maoists, the king allowed parliament to reconvene in April 2006. Following a November 2006 peace accord between the government and the Maoists, an interim constitution was promulgated and the Maoists were allowed to enter parliament in January 2007. The peace accord calls for the creation of a Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution. The Constituent Assembly elections, already twice delayed, are set for April 2008.
History

Prehistory

Neolithic tools found in the Kathmandu Valley indicate that people have been living in the Himalayan region for at least 9,000 years. It appears that people who were probably of Kirant ethnicity lived in Nepal 2,500 years ago.

Ancient

Nepal is mentioned in Hindu scriptures such as the Narayana Puja[17] and the Atharva Siras (800-600 BC).[18]Around 1000 BC, small kingdoms and confederations of clans arose in the region. From one of these, the Shakya confederation, arose a prince named Siddharta Gautama (563–483 BC), who later renounced his royalty to lead an ascetic life and came to be known as the Buddha ("the enlightened one"). By 250 BCE, the region came under the influence of the Mauryan empire of northern India, and later became a vassal state under the Gupta Dynasty in the fourth century CE. From the late fifth century CE, rulers called the Licchavis governed the area. There is a good and quite detailed description of the kingdom of Nepal in the account of the renowned Chinese Buddhist pilgrim monk, Xuanzang, dating from c. 645 CE.[19][20]

The Licchavi dynasty went into decline in the late eighth century and was followed by a Newari era, from 879, although the extent of their control over the entire country is uncertain. By the late 11th century, southern Nepal came under the influence of the Chalukaya Empire of southern India. Under the Chalukayas, Nepal's religious establishment changed as the kings patronised Hinduism instead of the prevailing Buddhism.

Medieval

By the early 12th century, leaders were emerging whose names ended with the Sanskrit suffix malla ("wrestler"). Initially their reign was marked by upheaval, but the kings consolidated their power and ruled over the next 200 years; by the late 14th century, much of the country began to come under a unified rule. This unity was short-lived; in 1482 the region was carved into three kingdoms: Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhadgaon.

Hindu temples in Patan, capital of one of the three medieval Newar kingdoms

After centuries of petty rivalry between the three kingdoms, in the mid-18th century Prithvi Narayan Shah, a Gorkha King set out to unify the kingdoms. Seeking arms and aid from India, and buying the neutrality of bordering Indian kingdoms, he embarked on his mission in 1765. After several bloody battles and sieges, he managed to unify Kathmandu Valley three years later in 1768. However, an actual battle never took place to conquer the Kathmandu valley; it was taken over by Prithvi Narayan and his troops without any effort, during Indra Jatra, a festival of Newars, when all the valley's citizens were celebrating the festival. This event marked the birth of the modern nation of Nepal.

Modern

There is historical evidence that, at one time, the boundary of Greater Nepal extended from Tista River on the East to Kangara, across Sutlej River, in the west. A dispute and subsequently war with Tibet over the control of mountain passes forced the Nepalese to retreat and pay heavy reparations. Rivalry between Nepal and the British East India Company over the annexation of minor states bordering Nepal eventually led to the Anglo-Nepalese War (1815–16). The valor displayed by the Nepalese during the war astounded their enemies and earned them their image of fierce and ruthless "Gurkhas". The war ended with a treaty, the Treaty of Sugauli. This treaty ceded Sikkim and lands in Terai to the Company.

Factionalism inside the royal family had led to a period of instability. In 1846 a plot was discovered, revealing that the reigning queen had planned to overthrow Jung Bahadur Rana, a fast-rising military leader. This led to the Kot Massacre; armed clashes between military personnel and administrators loyal to the queen led to the execution of several hundred princes and chieftains around the country. Jung Bahadur Rana emerged victorious and founded the Rana lineage. The king was made a titular figure, and the post of Prime Minister was made powerful and hereditary. The Ranas were staunchly pro-British, and assisted them during the Indian Sepoy Rebellion in 1857 (and later in both World Wars). The decision to help British East India Company was taken by the Rana Regime, then led by Jang Bahadur Rana. Some parts of Terai Region were given back to Nepal by the British as a friendly gesture, because of her military help to sustain British control in India during the Sepoy Rebellion. In 1923, the United Kingdom and Nepal formally signed an agreement of friendship, in which Nepal's independence was recognized by the UK.

Slavery was abolished in Nepal in 1924.

In the late 1940s, newly emerging pro-democracy movements and political parties in Nepal were critical of the Rana autocracy. Meanwhile, with the annexation of Tibet by the Chinese in 1950, India viewed the possibility of her big Northern neighbour's further military expansion in Nepal and took preemptive steps to addressed her security concerns: India sponsored both King Tribhuvan as Nepal's new ruler in 1951, and a new government, mostly comprising the Nepali Congress Party, thus terminating Rana hegemony in the kingdom. After years of power wrangling between the king and the government, the monarch scrapped the democratic experiment in 1959, and a "partyless" panchayat system was made to govern Nepal until 1989, when the "Jan Andolan" (People's Movement) forced the monarchy to accept constitutional reforms and to establish a multiparty parliament that took seat in May 1991.

In 1996, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) started a bid to replace the royal parliamentary system with a people's socialist republic. This led to the long Nepal Civil War and more than 12,000 deaths. On June 1, 2001, there was a massacre in the royal palace; it left the King, the Queen and the Heir Apparent Crown Prince Dipendra among the dead. Prince Dipendra was accused of patricide and of committing suicide thereafter, alleged to be a violent response to his parents' refusal to accept his choice of wife. However, there are lots of speculations and doubts among Nepalese citizens about the person(s) responsible for the Royal Massacre. Following the carnage, the throne was inherited by King Birendra's brother Gyanendra. On February 1, 2005, Gyanendra dismissed the entire government and assumed full executive powers to quash the violent Maoist movement. In September 2005, the Maoists declared a three-month unilateral ceasefire to negotiate their demands.

In response to the 2006 democracy movement, the king agreed to relinquish the sovereign power back to the people and reinstated the dissolved House of Representatives on April 24, 2006. Using its newly acquired sovereign authority, on May 18, 2006, the newly resumed House of Representatives unanimously passed a motion to curtail the power of the king and declared Nepal a secular state, abolishing its time honoured official status as a Hindu Kingdom. On December 28, 2007, a bill was passed in parliament, to amend Article 159 of the constitution - replacing "Provisions regarding the King" by "Provisions of the Head of the State" - declaring Nepal a federal republic, and thereby abolishing the monarchy. The bill, however, is slated to come into force after the elections of April 2008.

Present political status

The country is presently in the middle of a major political transition. The Maoists have won the Constituent Assembly election held on 10 April 2008. This raises the prospect of the current king, Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev giving up the title and throne, making him the last ruling monarch. Nepal would then be a federal democratic state with an elected head of state. The Assembly will also decide the format of the next elected government

Geography Location: Southern Asia, between China and India
Geographic coordinates: 28 00 N, 84 00 E
Map references: Asia
Area: total: 147,181 sq km
land: 143,181 sq km
water: 4,000 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly larger than Arkansas
Land boundaries: total: 2,926 km
border countries: China 1,236 km, India 1,690 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims: none (landlocked)
Climate: varies from cool summers and severe winters in north to subtropical summers and mild winters in south
Terrain: Tarai or flat river plain of the Ganges in south, central hill region, rugged Himalayas in north
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Kanchan Kalan 70 m
highest point: Mount Everest 8,850 m
Natural resources: quartz, water, timber, hydropower, scenic beauty, small deposits of lignite, copper, cobalt, iron ore
Land use: arable land: 16.07%
permanent crops: 0.85%
other: 83.08% (2005)
Irrigated land: 11,700 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 210.2 cu km (1999)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 10.18 cu km/yr (3%/1%/96%)
per capita: 375 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: severe thunderstorms, flooding, landslides, drought, and famine depending on the timing, intensity, and duration of the summer monsoons
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, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, 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
Geography - note: landlocked; strategic location between China and India; contains eight of world's 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga - the world's tallest and third tallest - on the borders with China and India respectively
Politics

Nepal has seen rapid political changes during the last two decades. Until 1990, Nepal was an absolute monarchy running under the executive control of the king. Faced with a people's movement against the absolute monarchy, King Birendra, in 1990, agreed to large-scale political reforms by creating a parliamentary monarchy with the king as the head of state and a prime minister as the head of the government.

Nepal's legislature was bicameral, consisting of a House of Representatives called the Pratinidhi Sabha and a National Council called the Rastriya Sabha. The House of Representatives consisted of 205 members directly elected by the people. The National Council had sixty members: ten nominated by the king, thirty-five elected by the House of Representatives and the remaining fifteen elected by an electoral college made up of chairs of villages and towns. The legislature had a five-year term, but was dissolvable by the king before its term could end. All Nepali citizens 18 years and older became eligible to vote.

The executive comprised the King and the Council of Ministers (the Cabinet). The leader of the coalition or party securing the maximum seats in an election was appointed as the Prime Minister. The Cabinet was appointed by the king on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. Governments in Nepal have tended to be highly unstable, falling either through internal collapse or parliamentary dissolution by the monarch, on the recommendation of prime minister, according to the constitution; no government has survived for more than two years since 1991.

The movement in April, 2006, brought about a change in the nation's governance: an interim constitution was promulgated, with the King giving up power, and an interim House of Representatives was formed with Maoist members after the new government held peace talks with the Maoist rebels. The number of parliamentary seats was also increased to 330. In April, 2007, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) joined the interim government of Nepal.

On December 28, 2007, the interim parliament passed a bill that would make Nepal a federal republic, with the Prime Minister becoming head of state. The bill is yet to be passed by the Constituent Assembly.[4]

On April 10, 2008, there was the first election in Nepal for the constitution assembly. The Maoist party led the poll results, but failed to gain a simple majority in the parliament.

People Population: 29,519,114 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 38% (male 5,792,042/female 5,427,370)
15-64 years: 58.2% (male 8,832,488/female 8,345,724)
65 years and over: 3.8% (male 542,192/female 579,298) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 20.7 years
male: 20.5 years
female: 20.8 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.095% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 29.92 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 8.97 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: NA
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.94 male(s)/female
total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 62 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 60.18 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 63.91 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 60.94 years
male: 61.12 years
female: 60.75 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 3.91 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.5% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 61,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 3,100 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases: degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: Japanese encephalitis and malaria (2008)
Nationality: noun: Nepalese (singular and plural)
adjective: Nepalese
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)
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
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 (2001 est.)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 48.6%
male: 62.7%
female: 34.9% (2001 census)
Government Country name: conventional long and short form: Nepal
local long and short form: Nepal
Government type: constitutional monarchy
Capital: name: Kathmandu
geographic coordinates: 27 43 N, 85 19 E
time difference: UTC+5.75 (10.75 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 14 zones (anchal, singular and plural); Bagmati, Bheri, Dhawalagiri, Gandaki, Janakpur, Karnali, Kosi, Lumbini, Mahakali, Mechi, Narayani, Rapti, Sagarmatha, Seti
Independence: 1768 (unified by Prithvi Narayan SHAH)
National holiday: in 2006, Parliament abolished the birthday of King GYANENDRA (7 July) and Constitution Day (9 November) as national holidays
Constitution: 9 November 1990; note - a new interim constitution was promulgated in January 2007; the November 2006 peace agreement calls for the election of a constituent assembly to draft a new permanent constitution
Legal system: based on Hindu legal concepts and English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: Prime Minister Girija Prasad KOIRALA (since 30 April 2006); note - the prime minisiter is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: Prime Minister Girija Prasad KOIRALA (since 30 April 2006)
cabinet: Cabinet historically appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister; note - the prime minister selected the Cabinet in May 2006 in consultation with the political parties
elections: following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition historically has been appointed prime minister by the monarch
Legislative branch: a 330-seat Interim Parliament was formed on 15 January 2007 following the promulgation of an interim constitution; note - a separate body, the 601-member Constituent Assembly is expected to be formed in May or June 2008, following direct and proportional elections on 10 April 2008; the Constituent Assembly is expected to sit for two years, with an optional six-month extension, and is charged with drafting a new constitution while also functioning as the country's legislature
elections: Constituent Assembly elections held on 10 April 2008; note - the Interim Parliament includes members of the former Parliament (Pratinidhi Sabha) and members appointed by agreement with an alliance of seven political parties and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA
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)
Political parties and leaders: Chure Bhawar Rastriya Ekata Party [Keshav Prasad MAINALI]; Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) [Pushpa Kamal DAHAL, also known as PRACHANDA, chairman; Dr. Baburam BHATTARAI]; Communist Party of Nepal (ML) [C.P. MAINALI]; Communist Party of Nepal (Unified) [Raj Singh SHRIS]; Communist Party of Nepal (United) [Ganesh SHAH]; Communist Party of Nepal/United Marxist-Leninist or CPN/UML [Amrit Kumar BOHARA]; Dalit Janajati Party [Vishwendraman PASHWAN]; Janamorcha Nepal [Amik SHERCHAN]; Madhesi Jana Adhikar Forum [Upendra YADAV]; National Democratic Party or NDP [Pashupati Shumsher RANA] (also called Rastriya Prajatantra Party or RPP); Nepal Loktantrik Samajbadi Dal [Upendra GACHCHHADAR]; Nepal Pariwar Dal [Vinod DANGI]; Nepal Rastriya Party [Khushilal YADAV]; Nepal Sadbhavana Party (Anandi Devi) [Shyam Sundar GUPTA]; Nepal Workers and Peasants Party or NWPP [Narayan Man BIJUKCHHE]; Nepali Congress Party or NCP [Girija Prasad KOIRALA]; Nepali Janata Dal [Bharat Prasad MAHATO]; Rastriya Janamorcha [Chitra BAHADUR K.C.]; Rastriya Janamukti Party [Malwar Singh THAPA]; Rastriya Janashakti Party or RJP [Surya Bahadur THAPA] (split from RPP in March 2005); Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal [Kamal THAPA]; Sadbhavana Party (Mahato) [Rajendra MAHATO]; Samajbadi Prajatantrik Janata Party Nepal [Prem Bahadur SINGH]; Sanghiya Loktantrik Rastriya Manch [Kamal CHHARAHANG]; Terai Madhesi Democratic Party [Mahantha THAKUR]
Political pressure groups and leaders: several small armed Madhesi groups along the southern border with India; a variety of groups advocating regional autonomy for individual ethnic groups
International organization participation: ADB, BIMSTEC, CP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINUSTAH, MONUC, NAM, OPCW, SAARC, SACEP, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMEE, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNOCI, UNOMIG, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Suresh Chandra CHALISE
chancery: 2131 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 667-4550
FAX: [1] (202) 667-5534
consulate(s) general:
New York:
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Nancy J. POWELL
embassy: Maharajgunj, Kathmandu
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [977] (1) 400-7200
FAX: [977] (1) 400-7272
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
Culture

Nepalese culture is diverse, reflecting different ethnic origins of the people. The Newar community is particularly rich in cultural diversity; they celebrate many festivals, well known for their music and dance.

A typical Nepalese meal is dal-bhat-tarkari. Dal is a spicy lentil soup, served over bhat (boiled rice), served with tarkari (curried vegetables) together with achar (pickles) or chutni (spicy condiment made from fresh ingredients).. The Newar community, however, has its own unique cuisine. It consists of non-vegetarian as well as vegetarian items served with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Mustard oil is the cooking medium and a host of spices, such as cumin and sesame seeds, turmeric, garlic, ginger, methi (fenugreek), bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, pepper, chillies, mustard seeds, vinegar etc., are used in the cooking. The cuisine served on festivals is generally the best.

The Newari Music orchestra consists mainly of percussion instruments, though wind instruments, such as flutes and other similar instruments, are also used. String instruments are very rare. There are songs pertaining to particular seasons and festivals. Paahan chare music is probably the fastest played music whereas the Dapa the slowest. There are certain musical instruments such as Dhimay and Bhusya which are played as instrumental only and are not accompanied with songs. The dhimay music is the loudest one. In the hills, people enjoy their own kind of music, playing saarangi (a string instrument), madal and flute. They also have many popular folk songs known as lok geet and lok dohari.

The Newar dances can be broadly classified into masked dances and non-masked dances. The most representative of Newari dances is Lakhey dance. Almost all the settlements of Newaris organise Lakhey dance at least once a year, mostly in the Goonlaa month. So, they are called Goonlaa Lakhey. However, the most famous Lakhey dance is the Majipa Lakhey dance; it is performed by the Ranjitkars of Kathmandu and the celeberation continues for one whole week that contains the full moon of Yenlaa month. The Lakhey are considered as the saviors of children.

Folklore is an integral part of Nepalese society. Traditional stories are rooted in the reality of day-to-day life, tales of love, affection and battles as well as demons and ghosts and thus reflect local lifestyles, cultures and beliefs. Many Nepalese folktales are enacted through the medium of dance and music.

The Nepali year begins in mid-April and is divided into 12 months. Saturday is the official weekly holiday. Main annual holidays include the National Day, celebrated on the birthday of the king (December 28), Prithvi Jayanti, (January 11), Martyr's Day (February 18) and a mix of Hindu and Buddhist festivals such as dashain in autumn, and tihar in late autumn. During tihar, the Newar community also celebrates its New Year as per their local calendar Nepal Sambat.

Most houses in rural lowland of Nepal are made up of a tight bamboo framework and walls of a mud and cow-dung mix. These dwellings remain cool in summer and retain warmth in winter. Houses in the hills are usually made of unbaked bricks with thatch or tile roofing. At high elevations construction changes to stone masonry and slate may be used on roofs.

Economy Economy - overview: Nepal is among the poorest and least developed countries in the world with almost one-third of its population living below the poverty line. Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, providing a livelihood for three-fourths of the population and accounting for 38% of GDP. Industrial activity mainly involves the processing of agricultural produce including jute, sugarcane, tobacco, and grain. Security concerns relating to 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.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $30.66 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $9.627 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 2.5% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $1,100 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 38%
industry: 20%
services: 42% (FY05/06 est.)
Labor force: 11.11 million
note: severe lack of skilled labor (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 76%
industry: 6%
services: 18% (2004 est.)
Unemployment rate: 42% (2004 est.)
Population below poverty line: 30.9% (2004)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 40.6% (2004)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 47.2 (2004)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 8.6% (November 2006 est.)
Budget: revenues: $1.153 billion
expenditures: $1.927 billion (FY06/07)
Agriculture - products: rice, corn, wheat, sugarcane, jute, root crops; milk, water buffalo meat
Industries: tourism, carpets, textiles; small rice, jute, sugar, and oilseed mills; cigarettes, cement and brick production
Industrial production growth rate: 2.2% (FY05/06)
Electricity - production: 2.511 billion kWh (2006)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 8.5%
hydro: 91.5%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 1.96 billion kWh (2006)
Electricity - exports: 101 million kWh (2006)
Electricity - imports: 266 million kWh (2006)
Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption: 11,550 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports: 11,530 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Exports: $830 million f.o.b.; note - does not include unrecorded border trade with India (2006)
Exports - commodities: carpets, clothing, leather goods, jute goods, grain
Exports - partners: India 67.9%, US 11.7%, Germany 4.7% (2006)
Imports: $2.398 billion f.o.b. (2006)
Imports - commodities: gold, machinery and equipment, petroleum products, fertilizer
Imports - partners: India 61.8%, China 3.8%, Indonesia 3.3% (2006)
Economic aid - recipient: $427.9 million (2005)
Debt - external: $3.07 billion (March 2006)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $NA
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $NA
Market value of publicly traded shares: $963.5 million (2005)
Currency (code): Nepalese rupee (NPR)
Currency code: NPR
Exchange rates: Nepalese rupees per US dollar - NA (2007), 72.446 (2006), 72.16 (2005), 73.674 (2004), 76.141 (2003)
Fiscal year: 16 July - 15 July
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 595,800 (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 1.042 million (2006)
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)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 6, FM 5, shortwave 1 (2000)
Radios: 840,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 1 (plus 9 repeaters) (1998)
Televisions: 130,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .np
Internet hosts: 18,733 (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 6 (2000)
Internet users: 249,400 (2006)
Transportation Airports: 47 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 10
over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m: 1 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 37
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 6
under 914 m: 30 (2007)
Railways: total: 59 km
narrow gauge: 59 km 0.762-m gauge (2006)
Roadways: total: 17,380 km
paved: 9,886 km
unpaved: 7,494 km (2004)
Military Military branches: Nepalese Army, Armed Police Force (2008)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for voluntary military service; 15 years of age for military training; no conscription (2008)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 7,322,965
females age 16-49: 6,859,064 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 5,146,958
females age 16-49: 4,724,495 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually: males age 16-49: 335,747
females age 16-49: 312,297 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 1.6% (2006)
Transnational Issues Disputes - international: joint border commission continues to work on contested sections of boundary with India, including the 400 square kilometer dispute over the source of the Kalapani River; India has instituted a stricter border regime to restrict transit of Maoist insurgents and illegal cross-border activities; approximately 106,000 Bhutanese Lhotshampas (Hindus) have been confined in refugee camps in southeastern Nepal since 1990
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin): 107,803 (Bhutan); 20,153 (Tibet/China)
IDPs: 50,000-70,000 (remaining from ten-year Maoist insurgency that officially ended in 2006; displacement spread across the country) (2007)
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