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Nepal, See : Flags, Maps

Nepal (South Asia)

Introduction ::Nepal


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. An insurgency led by Maoist extremists broke out in 1996. The ensuing ten-year civil war between insurgents and government forces witnessed the dissolution of the cabinet and parliament and assumption of absolute power by the king. Several weeks of mass protests in April 2006 were followed by several months of peace negotiations between the Maoists and government officials, and culminated in a November 2006 peace accord and the promulgation of an interim constitution. Following a nation-wide election in April 2008, the newly formed Constituent Assembly declared Nepal a federal democratic republic and abolished the monarchy at its first meeting the following month. The Constituent Assembly elected the country's first president in July. The Maoists, who received a plurality of votes in the Constituent Assembly election, formed a coalition government in August 2008, but resigned in May 2009 after the president overruled a decision to fire the chief of the army staff. The Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist-Leninist and the Nepali Congress party then formed a new coalition government with several smaller parties. In June 2010, the prime minister resigned but, as of December 2010, continued to lead a caretaker government while the parties debate who should lead the next government. Disagreements among the political parties over issues such as the future of former Maoist combatants has hindered the drafting of a new constitution — due in May 2011 — and the formal conclusion of the peace process.

Geography ::Nepal


Southern Asia, between China and India

Geographic coordinates:
28 00 N, 84 00 E

Map references:



total: 147,181 sq km country comparison to the world: 93 land: 143,351 sq km

water: 3,830 sq km

Area - comparative:

slightly larger than Arkansas

Land boundaries:

total: 2,926 km

border countries: China 1,236 km, India 1,690 km


0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims:

none (landlocked)


varies from cool summers and severe winters in north to subtropical summers and mild winters in south


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

People ::Nepal


28,951,852 (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 42

Age structure:

0-14 years: 36.6% (male 5,327,484/female 5,127,178)

15-64 years: 59.2% (male 8,094,494/female 8,812,675)

65 years and over: 4.2% (male 566,666/female 634,880) (2010 est.)

Median age:

total: 21.2 years

male: 20.2 years

female: 22.1 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:

1.419% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 87

Birth rate:

22.43 births/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 79

Death rate:

6.89 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 141

Net migration rate:

-1.35 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 167


urban population: 17% of total population (2008)

rate of urbanization: 4.9% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female

total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 46 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 56 male: 45.97 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 46.04 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 65.81 years country comparison to the world: 163 male: 64.62 years

female: 67.05 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:

2.53 children born/woman (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 87

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.5% (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 79

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

70,000 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 56

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

5,000 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 45

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: high

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne disease: Japanese encephalitis, malaria, and dengue fever (2009)


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)


Hindu 80.6%, Buddhist 10.7%, Muslim 4.2%, Kirant 3.6%, other 0.9% (2001 census)


Nepali (official) 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.)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 48.6%

male: 62.7%

female: 34.9% (2001 census)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 9 years

male: 10 years

female: 8 years (2003)

Education expenditures:

3.8% of GDP (2008) country comparison to the world: 116

Government ::Nepal

Country name:

conventional long form: Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal

conventional short form: Nepal

local long form: Sanghiya Loktantrik Ganatantra Nepal

local short form: Nepal

Government type:

federal democratic republic


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


1768 (unified by Prithvi Narayan SHAH)

National holiday:

Republic Day, 29 May; Democracy Day, 24 April


15 January 2007 (interim Constitution); note - in April 2008, a Constituent Assembly was elected to draft and promulgate a new constitution by May 2010, but the deadline has been extended to May 2011

Legal system:

based on Hindu legal concepts and English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: President Ram Baran YADAV (since 23 July 2008); Vice President Paramananda JHA (since 23 July 2008)

head of government: vacant; Prime Minister Madhav Kumar NEPAL resigned on 30 June 2010 but leads a caretaker government

cabinet: cabinet was formed in May 2009 by a majority coalition made up of the Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist-Leninist, Nepali Congress, Madhesi People's Rights Forum, Nepal-Democratic, and several smaller parties (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) elections: president elected by Parliament; term extends until the new constitution is promulgated; election last held on 21 July 2008; date of next election NA

election results: Ram Baran YADAV elected president by the Constituent Assembly in a second round of voting on 21 July 2008; Ram Baran YADAV 308, Ram Jaja Prasad SINGH 282

Legislative branch:

unicameral Constituent Assembly (601 seats; 240 members elected by direct popular vote, 335 by proportional representation, and 26 appointed by the Cabinet (Council of Ministers))

elections: last held on 10 April 2008 (next to be held NA)

election results: percent of vote by party - CPN-M 38%, NC 19%, CPN-UML 19%,Madhesi People's Right Forum 9%, Terai Madhes Democratic Party and Sadbhawana Party 5%, other 15%; seats by party - CPN-M 220, NC 110, CPN-UML 103, Madhesi People's Rights Forum 52, Terai Madhes Democratic Party 20, Sadbhawana Party 9, other smaller parties 56; note - 26 seats filled by the new Cabinet and are included in the seat totals above

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court or Sarbochha Adalat (the president appoints the chief justice on recommendation of the Constitutional Council; the chief justice appoints other judges on the recommendation of the Judicial Council)

Political parties and leaders:

Chure Bhawar Rastriya Ekata Party [Keshav Prasad MAINALI]; Communist
Party of Nepal-Maoist (inactive); Communist Party of Nepal-Marxist
Leninist or CPN-ML [C.P. MAINALI]; Communist Party of Nepal-Unified
[Raj Singh SHRIS]; Communist Party of Nepal-United [Chandra Dev
JOSHI]; Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist-Leninist or CPN-UML
[Jhalanath KHANAL]; Dalit Janajati Party [Vishwendraman PASHWAN];
Federal Democratic National Forum; Madhesi People's Rights
Forum-Democratic [Bijay Kumar GACHHADAR]; Madhesi People's Rights
Forum-Nepal [Upendra YADAV]; Nepal Loktantrik Samajbadi Dal [Upendra
GACHCHHADAR]; Nepal Pariwar Dal [Eknath DHAKAL]; Nepal Sadbhavana
Party-Anandi Devi [Sarita GIRI]; Nepal Workers and Peasants Party or
[Narayan Man BIJUKCHHE]; Nepali Congress or NC [Sushil KOIRALA];
Nepali Janata Dal [Harish Chandra SHA]; Newa Rastriya Party [Keshav
Man SHAKYA]; Rastriya Janamorcha [Chitra Bahadur K.C.]; Rastriya
Janamukti Party [Malwar Singh THAPA]; Rastriya Janashakti Party or
RJP [Surya Bahadur THAPA]; Rastriya Prajantantra Party [Pashupati
Shumsher RANA]; Rastriya Prajantantra Party Nepal [Kamal THAPA];
Sadbhavana Party [Rajendra MAHATO]; Samajbadi Prajatantrik Janata
Party Nepal [Prem Bahadur SINGH]; Terai Madhes Democratic Party
[Mahantha THAKUR]; Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) [Pushpa
Kamal DAHAL, also known as PRACHANDA]

Political pressure groups and leaders:

other: 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:


Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Shankar Prasad SHARMA

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 Scott H. DELISI

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 displays a white 12-pointed sun; the color red represents the rhododendron (Nepal's national flower) and is a sign of victory and bravery, the blue border signifies peace and harmony; the two right triangles are a combination of two single pennons (pennants) that originally symbolized the Himalaya Mountains while their charges represented the families of the king (upper) and the prime minister, but today they are understood to denote Hinduism and Buddhism, the country's two main religions; the moon represents the serenity of the Nepalese people and the shade and cool weather in the Himalayas, while the sun depicts the heat and higher temperatures of the lower parts of Nepal; the moon and the sun are also said to express the hope that the nation will endure as long as these heavenly bodies

note: Nepal is the only country in the world whose flag is not rectangular or square

National anthem:

name: "Sayaun Thunga Phool Ka" (Hundreds of Flowers)

lyrics/music: Pradeep Kumar RAI/Ambar GURUNG

note: adopted 2007; after the abolition of the monarchy in 2006, a new anthem was required because of the previous anthem's praise for the king

Economy ::Nepal

Economy - overview:

Nepal is among the poorest and least developed countries in the world, with almost one-quarter 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 about one-third of GDP. Industrial activity mainly involves the processing of agricultural products, including pulses, jute, sugarcane, tobacco, and grain. Nepal has considerable scope for exploiting its potential in hydropower, with an estimated 42,000 MW of feasible capacity, but political instability hampers foreign investment. Additional challenges to Nepal's growth include its landlocked geographic location, civil strife and labor unrest, and its susceptibility to natural disaster.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$35.31 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 102 $34.11 billion (2009 est.)

$32.58 billion (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$15.11 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

3.5% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 102 4.7% (2009 est.)

5.3% (2008 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$1,200 (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 208 $1,200 (2009 est.)

$1,200 (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 33%

industry: 15%

services: 52% (FY09 est.)

Labor force:

18 million country comparison to the world: 32 note: severe lack of skilled labor (2009 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 75%

industry: 7%

services: 18% (2004 est.)

Unemployment rate:

46% (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 190 42% (2004 est.)

Population below poverty line:

24.7% (2008)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 6%

highest 10%: 40.6% (2008)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

47.2 (2008) country comparison to the world: 34 36.7 (1996)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

8.6% (September 2010) country comparison to the world: 193 13.2% (2009 est.)

Central bank discount rate:

6.5% (31 December 2010) country comparison to the world: 66 6.5% (31 December 2009)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

8% (31 December 2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 118 8% (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of narrow money:

$3.03 billion (July 2010) country comparison to the world: 110 $2.72 billion (July 2009)

Stock of broad money:

$10.01 billion (July 2010) country comparison to the world: 99 $10.67 billion (July 2009)

Stock of domestic credit:

$9 billion (July 2010) country comparison to the world: 96 $7.7 billion (July 2009)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

$5.2 billion (31 December 2010) country comparison to the world: 78 $5.485 billion (31 December 2009)

$4.894 billion (31 December 2008)

Agriculture - products:

pulses, rice, corn, wheat, sugarcane, jute, root crops; milk, water buffalo meat


tourism, carpets, textiles; small rice, jute, sugar, and oilseed mills; cigarettes, cement and brick production

Industrial production growth rate:

1.8% (FY08) country comparison to the world: 135

Electricity - production:

2.6 billion kWh (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 128

Electricity - consumption:

2.243 billion kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 132

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - imports:

213 million kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:

0 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 142

Oil - consumption:

18,000 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 131

Oil - exports:

0 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 159

Oil - imports:

16,920 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 118

Oil - proved reserves:

0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 151

Natural gas - production:

0 cu m (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 157

Natural gas - consumption:

0 cu m (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 131

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 88

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 148

Natural gas - proved reserves:

0 cu m (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 152

Current account balance:

-$449 million (2010) country comparison to the world: 114 $537 million (2009)


$849 million (2009) country comparison to the world: 156 $907 million (2008)

Exports - commodities:

clothing, pulses, carpets, textiles, juice, pashima, jute goods

Exports - partners:

India 65.6%, US 8%, Bangladesh 6.04%, Germany 5% (2009)


$5.26 billion (2009) country comparison to the world: 110 $4.1 billion (2008)

Imports - commodities:

petroleum products, machinery and equipment, gold, electrical goods, medicine

Imports - partners:

India 57%, China 13% (2009)

Debt - external:

$4.5 billion (2009) country comparison to the world: 108 $3.285 billion (2008)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

Exchange rates:

Nepalese rupees (NPR) per US dollar - 72.56 (2010), 77.44 (2009), 65.21 (2008), 70.35 (2007), 72.446 (2006)

Communications ::Nepal

Telephones - main lines in use:

820,500 (2009) country comparison to the world: 85

Telephones - mobile cellular:

7.618 million (2009) country comparison to the world: 77

Telephone system:

general assessment: poor telephone and telegraph service; fair radiotelephone communication service and mobile-cellular telephone network

domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular telephone service subscribership base only about 30 per 100 persons

international: country code - 977; radiotelephone communications; microwave landline to India; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) (2008)

Broadcast media:

state operates 2 television stations as well as national and regional radio stations; more than 60 independent radio stations and a small number of independent television stations (2007)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

43,928 (2010) country comparison to the world: 91

Internet users:

577,800 (2009) country comparison to the world: 116

Transportation ::Nepal


47 (2010) country comparison to the world: 93

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 11

over 3,047 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 9

under 914 m: 1 (2010)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 36

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 4

under 914 m: 31 (2010)


total: 59 km country comparison to the world: 130 narrow gauge: 59 km 0.762-m gauge (2008)


total: 17,282 km country comparison to the world: 119 paved: 10,142 km

unpaved: 7,140 km (2007)

Military ::Nepal

Military branches:

Nepal Army (2010)

Military service age and obligation:

18 years of age for voluntary military service; 15 years of age for military training; no conscription (2010)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 6,699,614

females age 16-49: 7,388,240 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 5,053,600

females age 16-49: 5,730,116 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 374,882

female: 361,848 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:

1.6% of GDP (2006) country comparison to the world: 93

Transnational Issues ::Nepal

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


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