Nepal 1998Nepal

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Nepal - Introduction 1998
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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.

Nepal - Geography 1998
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Location: Southern Asia, between China and India

Geographic coordinates: 28 00 N, 84 00 E

Map referenceAsia

Total: 140,800 km²
Land: 136,800 km²
Water: 4,000 km²
Comparative: slightly larger than Arkansas

Land boundaries
Total: 2,926 km
Border countries: (2) 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: Terai or flat river plain of the Ganges in south, central hill region, rugged Himalayas in north

Extremes lowest point: Kanchan Kalan 70 m
Extremes highest point: Mount Everest 8,848 m

Natural resources: quartz, water, timber, hydropower potential, scenic beauty, small deposits of lignite, copper, cobalt, iron ore
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 17%
Permanent crops: 0%
Permanent pastures: 15%
Forests and woodland: 42%
Other: 26% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 8,500 km² (1993 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: severe thunderstorms, flooding, landslides, drought, and famine depending on the timing, intensity, and duration of the summer monsoons

Note: landlocked; strategic location between China and India; contains eight of world's 10 highest peaks

Nepal - People 1998
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Population: 23,698,421 (July 1998 est.)
Growth rate: 2.52% (1998 est.)

Noun: Nepalese (singular and plural)
Adjective: Nepalese

Ethnic groups: Newars, Indians, Tibetans, Gurungs, Magars, Tamangs, Bhotias, Rais, Limbus, Sherpas

Languages: Nepali (official), 20 other languages divided into numerous dialects

Religions: Hindu 90%, Buddhist 5%, Muslim 3%, other 2% (1981)
Note: only official Hindu state in the world, although no sharp distinction between many Hindu and Buddhist groups

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 42% (male 5,087,855; female 4,779,941)
15-64 years: 55% (male 6,655,865; female 6,387,255)
65 years and over: 3% (male 392,141; female 395,364) (July 1998 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 2.52% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 35.66 births/1000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 10.44 deaths/1000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1000 population (1998 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: the almost total dependence on wood for fuel and cutting down trees to expand agricultural land without replanting has resulted in widespread deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution (use of contaminated water presents human health risks)
International agreements party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
International agreements signed but not ratified: Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.99 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 75.98 deaths/1000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 57.89 years
Male: 58.04 years
Female: 57.74 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 4.87 children born/woman (1998 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 27.5%
Male: 40.9%
Female: 14% (1995 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Nepal - Government 1998
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Country name
Conventional long form: Kingdom of Nepal
Conventional short form: Nepal

Government type: parliamentary democracy as of 12 May 1991

Capital: Kathmandu

Administrative divisions: 14 zones (anchal, singular and plural; Bagmati, Bheri, Dhawalagiri, Gandaki, Janakpur, Karnali, Kosi, Lumbini, Mahakali, Mechi, Narayani, Rapti, Sagarmatha, Seti

Dependent areas

Independence: 1768 (unified by Prithvi Narayan Shah)

National holiday: Birthday of His Majesty the King, 28 December (1945)

Constitution: 9 November 1990

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

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state: King BIRENDRA Bir Bikram Shah Dev (succeeded to the throne 31 January 1972 following the death of his father King MAHENDRA Bir Bikram Shah Dev, crowned king 24 February 1975); Heir Apparent Crown Prince DIPENDRA Bir Bikram: ead of
Government: Prime Minister Girija Prasad KOIRALA (since 15 April 1998); note_Prime Minister KOIRALA_the country's seventh prime minister since 1991_replaces Prime Minister Surya Bahadur THAPA, who served from October 1997 until April 1998, when he resigned as part of a power-sharing agreement with his coalition partners
Cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the king on the recommendation of the prime minister
Elections: none; the king is a constitutional monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the king

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 15 November 1994 (next to be held by 15 November 1999)
Election results: House of Representatives_percent of vote by party_NCP 33%, CPN/UML 31%, NDP 18%, Nepal Sadbhavana (Goodwill) Party 3%, NWPP 1%; seats by party - CPN/UML 88, NCP 83, NDP 20, NWPP 4, Nepal Sadbhavana (Goodwill) Party 3, independents 7

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Sarbochha Adalat), chief justice is appointed by the king on recommendation of the Constitutional Council, the other judges are appointed by the king on the recommendation of the Judicial Council

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: AsDB, CCC, CP, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFCTU, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, SAARC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMIBH, UNMOP, UNPREDEP, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (applicant)

Diplomatic representation
In the us chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant)
In the us chancery: 2,131 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20,008
In the us telephone: [1] (202) 667-4,550
In the us fax: [1] (202) 667-5,534
In the us consulates general: New York
From the us chief of mission: Ambassador Ralph FRANK
From the us embassy: Pani Pokhari, Kathmandu
From the us mailing address: use embassy street address
From the us telephone: [977] (1) 411,179
From the us fax: [977] (1) 419,963

Flag descriptionflag of Nepal: 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

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Nepal - Economy 1998
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Economy overview: Nepal is among the poorest and least developed countries in the world with more than half 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. Production of textiles and carpets has expanded recently and accounted for about 80% of foreign exchange earnings in the past two years. Apart from agricultural land and forests, exploitable natural resources are mica, hydropower, and tourism. Agricultural production is growing by about 5% on average as compared with annual population growth of 2.5%. Since May 1991, the government has been moving forward with economic reforms particularly those that encourage trade and foreign investment, e.g., by eliminating business licenses and registration requirements in order to simplify investment procedures. The government has also been cutting expenditures by reducing subsidies, privatizing state industries, and laying off civil servants. More recently, however, political instability - five different governments over the past few years_has hampered Kathmandu's ability to forge consensus to implement key economic reforms. Nepal has considerable scope for accelerating economic growth by exploiting its potential in hydropower and tourism, areas where there has recently been foreign investment interest. Prospects for foreign trade or investment in other areas will remain poor, however, because of the small size of the economy, its technological backwardness, its remoteness, its landlocked geographic location, and its susceptibility to natural disaster. The international community's role of funding more than 60% of Nepal's development budget and more than 28% of total budgetary expenditures will likely continue as a major ingredient of growth.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 4.2% (1997 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin
Agriculture: 40%
Industry: 21%
Services: 39% (1997 est.)

Agriculture products: rice, corn, wheat, sugarcane, root crops; milk, water buffalo meat

Industries: tourism, carpet, textile; small rice, jute, sugar, and oilseed mills; cigarette; cement and brick production

Industrial production growth rate: 14.7% (FY94/95 est.)

Labor force
Total: 10 million (1996 est.)
By occupation agriculture: 81%
By occupation services: 16%
By occupation industry: 3%
Note: severe lack of skilled labor
Labor force

Unemployment rate: NA%; substantial underemployment (1996)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $536 million
Expenditures: $818 million, including capital expenditures of $N/A (FY96/97 est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: 16 July_15 July

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Exports: total value:$419 million (f.o.b., 1997 est.) but does not include unrecorded border trade with India
Commodoties: carpets, clothing, leather goods, jute goods, grain
Partners: India, US, Germany, UK

Imports: total value:$1.6 billion (c.i.f., 1997 est.)
Commodoties: petroleum products 20%, fertilizer 11%, machinery 10%
Partners: India, Singapore, Japan, Germany

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $2.6 billion (1997 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: Nepalese rupees (NRs) per US$1_63.265 (January 1998), 58.010 (1997), 56.692 (1996), 51.890 (1995), 49.398 (1994), 48.607 (1993)

Nepal - Energy 1998
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 980 million kWh (1996)

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 48 kWh (1996 est.)

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Nepal - Communication 1998
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system: poor telephone and telegraph service; fair radiotelephone communication service
Domestic: NA
International: radiotelephone communications; satellite earth station_1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean)

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Nepal - Military 1998
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $36 million (FY92/93)
Percent of gdp: 1.2% (FY92/93)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Nepal - Transportation 1998
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 45 (1997 est.)
With paved runways total: 5
With paved runways over 3047 m: 1
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 3
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 1 (1997 est.)
With unpaved runways total: 40
With unpaved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 2
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 9
With unpaved runways under 914 m: 29 (1997 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 5
Over 3047 m: 1
15-24 to 2437 m: 3
914 to 1523 m: 1 (1997 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 40
15-24 to 2437 m: 2
914 to 1523 m: 9
Under 914 m: 29 (1997 est.)



Total: 101 km; note_all in Kosi close to Indian border
Narrow gauge: 101 km 0.762-m gauge



Merchant marine

Ports and terminals

Nepal - Transnational issues 1998
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Disputes international: with Bhutan over 91,000 Bhutanese refugees in Nepal

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: illicit producer of cannabis for the domestic and international drug markets; transit point for opiates from Southeast Asia to the West

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