Bhutan will hold local-level elections toward the end of 2021. An estimated 1% of GDP is used for military expenditure. However, this situation does constrain the fiscal space in which the government operates. This situation is reflected in the World Banks trading across borders ranking of Bhutan at 26 out of 190 countries. Since the 1980s, Bhutans One Nation, One People policy has sought to promote a uniform religious and cultural identity. By 2018, the number of PBOs had grown to 35. The National Council elections are non-partisan and political parties are also banned from participating in local-level elections. The state continues to play a dominant role in modernizing Bhutan. In addition, some of the outputs, most notably the growing number of educated but out-of-work young people, are creating new policy problems. Bhutans U.N. Education Index was 0.496 for 2019. The DPT, which formed Bhutans first democratic government after the 2008 elections, won 17 seats (36%) in the new parliament. The ACC also looked into an allegation that the former prime minister, Dasho Tshering Tobgay, misused government funds amounting to BTN 3 million to installing security infrastructure at his private residence in Taba. To offset the current account deficit, the government borrowed from multilateral banks and the domestic market. This has been particularly evident in the capital Thimphu, which has grown from 30,000 inhabitants in 1993 to about 138,736 in 2017, 19.1% of the countrys total population. Loan rates were cut in 2016 following recommendations of the World Banks Financial Development Action Plan. These were locally based, often around Buddhist monasteries and focused on community functions such as mutual support, water management and religious festivals. This resulted in up to 100,000 members from this group being expelled or fleeing to refugee camps in Nepal. Protests or demonstrations are permitted but must be approved by the government. The increase in exports was driven mainly by an increase in the export of electricity to India, due to the commissioning of the Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Project in June 2019. The Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) is Bhutans central bank. In 2017/18, Bhutan received 48% of Indias foreign aid budget; this was a decline from 63% in 2015/16. The ADB has lowered the GDP growth estimate for 2020 to 0.9%, projecting a contraction of the economy for 2021 of -3.4%. Bhutans tourism sector, employing around 50,000 people, was the worst affected by COVID-19. Bhutan is signatory to a large number of international treaties that WIPO identifies as governing intellectual property rights. With the absence of a significant private sector, the state has founded a number of enterprises. Access to water is also a serious issue. The latter has posts nationwide. The World Bank ranked Bhutan 51 out of 144 economies in registering property in 2016 and 2017, well above its overall doing business ranking of 73 in 2017 and 82 in 2019. Currently, there are 41 public benefit organizations and 11 mutual benefit organizations. In 2018, Bhutan held its third parliamentary elections. Approximately 80% of Bhutans imports and exports are from and to India. There are no relevant contentious groups. Citizens accept and expect the guidance of a strong state. Stateless persons are denied access to many state services including health care, education and employment opportunities. Most recently, the Foreign Direct Investment Policy was revised to allow small-scale production and manufacturing partnerships with foreign investors and to fast-track the approval process. In December 2018, India committed INR 45 billion for Bhutans 12th five-year plan (2018 2023). This punishment, however, was removed by an amendment in December 2020, which clarified that homosexuality between adults does not constitute unnatural sex. Yet, the steady improvement in welfare indicators can be largely ascribed to the civil service, which assumes most responsibilities for education, health, infrastructure, agriculture and most other services. As Bhutans democracy becomes increasingly institutionalized, the system will likely generate apparent differences between the major stakeholders, especially on issues that relate to popular expectations. There is a small number of practicing Christians in Bhutan estimated to be between 2,000 and 25,000 who meet discretely. However, the assets of banks have increased by a greater amount. The Supreme Court has acquired credibility both domestically and internationally as the guardian and interpreter of the constitution. Bhutans economy is still dominated by SOEs. India has a security treaty with Bhutan under which the Indian military is obligated to defend Bhutans territorial integrity. This is quite a feat compared to the countrys HDI value of 0.510 in 2005. Bhutans parliament moved to the digital realm in 2020 when the Finance Committee of the National Assembly held its first public legislative hearing on the Mines and Minerals bill online. There is no reference to traditional organizations. Due to the loss of revenue due to COVID-19 and unexpected COVID-19-related expenditures, the government had to readjust some of the 12th plans schedule. It is separate from the government and is empowered to regulate the availability of money and its international exchange, to promote monetary stability, to supervise and regulate banks and other financial institutions, and to promote credit and exchange conditions and a financial structure conducive to the balanced growth of the economy. The estimated GDP loss in the first six months of the COVID-19 crisis in 2020 was almost BTN 5 billion. According to June 2020 data, the countrys public debt stood at $8.5 billion, which is slightly over 100% of its GDP. The 12th five-year plan seeks, for the first time, to allocate 50% of the planned budget to local bodies. With the passage of the Mines and Mineral Act 2020, the government has reaffirmed the principal role of SOEs, as the act gives the government-appointed Mining Regulatory Authority sole control over the sector. However, with the center-left DNT taking power, political parties have begun highlighting popular agendas and voters are seen to be expecting more from them. It has also joined the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), which includes India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Thailand. In February 2019, Bhutan also launched the Bridge Bhutan Project with the goal of achieving 80% adult literacy by 2024 by reaching out to illiterate adults. In 2018, Bhutan completed the 11th five-year plan (2013-2018) and began its 12th (2018-2023). Since the departure of an estimated 100,000 people from the south of the country in the early 1990s, a variety of organizations, often based in refugee camps in Nepal, have strongly criticized the Bhutan government. The newly established DNT, which has formed the new government, reported over 11,000 members. Some $189.66 billion of public debt is external. Gender-based violence was reported to have increased by 36% in in 2020 compared to the previous year. According to the RAA, most of these financial irregularities occurred in major hydroelectricity projects. There have been considerable improvements in the availability of education. Universal primary education has been achieved and secondary education has grown considerably in recent years with the gross enrollment ratio reaching 78%. India has provided financial assistance for Bhutans hydropower construction. Following recommendations by the National Law Review Task Force from 2018 to strengthen the separation of powers, the ACC and the Election Commission of Bhutan have become independent of the Royal Civil Service Commission, the central agency for recruiting, training and transferring civil servants. The countrys excessive dependence on hydroelectricity has dampened the growth of other sectors and this leaves the economy vulnerable to fluctuations in the electricity market. In 2019, the country recorded a slight decline in the number of FDI projects. Traditional rural Bhutanese society had a variety of civil society organizations. According to the U.S. State Department, there were no incidents of disappearances, arbitrary killings or torture in 2018. Citizens can join political parties that have been approved by the Election Commission. Consensus is also the cornerstone of National Happiness Index (NHI) policies. Also, the government seeks to keep the amount of FDI flow below the GDP of Bhutan. Soon thereafter, the Indian government removed the subsidies on kerosene and cooking gas exported to Bhutan leading to a doubling of their prices in Bhutan. In 2019 2020, Bhutans democracy continued its consolidation. International air services have begun to react to the increase in tourist numbers and to the number of Bhutanese traveling abroad. Many still exist today but struggle under rural-urban migration and the consequent depopulation of remote areas. Quantitative indicators show Bhutans economy to be performing reasonably well. Government efforts to boost innovation in the private sector have met with low levels of success. Over 50% of the country is designated as protected as national parks, nature reserves or biological corridors. Other aid suppliers include the major international financial institutions, the World Bank and the ADB as well as some U.N. agencies including UNDP and UNICEF. The two houses also had a standoff over the Minister and Equivalent Post Holders Entitlement Bill 2019, also passed by the National Council in summer 2019. However, many rural households subsist near the poverty line. There is some influence from business organizations such as the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry and especially the Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators. There is administrative decentralization to the countrys 20 districts (dzongkhags). Compared to 29.6% female representation in Nepals parliament, women comprise only 8.3% of members of parliament in Bhutan. The RAA report, the Review of Judiciary System and Practices, 2019, states that court judgments still remain entirely inaccessible to the public. CSOs are few but their numbers have risen from ten public benefit organizations in 2010 to 35 in 2018. Basic services are provided throughout the country and the coverage and quality of these services has been steadily improving. In 2019, Bhutan announced a pay raise of between 14% and 29% for public servants. The banking sector has been advancing steadily according to the ADB. Traditional civil society in Bhutan was community-based and dealt with local matters such as water rights, human security and festivities. In May 2020, the government had to make major changes to the 2020/21 budget to limit the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. A private airline, Tashi Air, began international operations in 2013. Since then, there have been some attacks on Bhutanese vehicles in Assam (including in Bodoland) and there have been occasional kidnappings by Indian criminals in Bhutans southern border regions. However, landslides are a hazard in the rainy season, while roads can be blocked by snow in winter. There have been reports of the government favoring Buddhist over Hindu religious buildings. The end of the Doklam standoff between India and China in 2017 did not conclude Bhutans border issues with the latter. The ILO model estimates this rate to have reached 67% in 2018. Two Christian pastors were fined and sentenced to prison for evangelism in 2016. In the 2018 Competitiveness Index, Bhutan ranked 82 out of 140 countries. As pointed out by the Royal Audit Authority (RAA), there appeared to be numerous problems within the judiciary, related to recruitment of judicial officials affecting its ability to deliver fair, and equitable justice. The constitution declares that it is a fundamental duty of every citizen to contribute to protection of the natural environment, conservation of the rich biodiversity of Bhutan and prevention of all forms of economic degradation. Bhutan ratified the 1992 U.N. The police have sometimes been accused of human rights violations, especially by external ethnic-Nepali organizations, as well as of discrimination and human rights abuses against the Nepali Lhotshampa population. The ACC and the OAG have clashed over their respective roles and responsibilities. Fundamental civil rights are set out in Article 7 of the constitution but refer in most cases to citizens only, like the freedoms of speech, opinion, expression, movement and religion, the right to vote, and equality of access to the law and public services. Yet, Bhutan does offer some competitive advantages for private sector development, including political stability, good governance, low levels of corruption, access to electricity, an abundance of natural resources and preferential access to the huge Indian market. The Land Act of 2007 provides comprehensive coverage of the regulation and administration of land and is administered by the National Land Commission. The decision was taken after a careful evaluation of enforcement capacity under the active assistance of UNCTAD. Bhutan maintains diplomatic relations with more than 50 countries. Commitment to the philosophy of GNH also limits how far governments are willing to go in promoting a market economy. In 2018, the trade deficit increased by 13.03%. Only 6% of women in Bhutan have attained at least a secondary-level education as compared to 13.7% of men. Yet, in 2018, agriculture accounted for only 16% of GDP. Local businesses report difficulties in gaining access to finance. However, according to provisional figures from the Ministry of Finance, Bhutans trade deficit declined by 32% in the first half of 2020 compared to figures for the same period of from the previous year, when the trade deficit decreased to BTN 12.84 from BTN 19 billion. In 2019, a large new Hindu temple was established in the capital, Thimphu. It enjoys observer status in the WTO. The ACC has not shied away from prosecuting cases against leading officials. Although only 6% of the population pays any direct tax in Bhutan, this is still the highest percentage among the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries. Higher voter turnouts in elections for both houses of parliament in 2018 than in 2013 showed increased support for the electoral process. Infrastructural facilities and public services are explicitly excluded from the rules of the NPC. In 2017, the adult literacy was 66%, up from 63% in 2012. As competition between Bhutans political parties for popular support grows, their appeal will inextricably be tied to their success at addressing peoples expectations for improved living conditions and economic opportunities. This agreement seeks zero customs duties between members by 2016, although an extra three years was originally allowed for Bhutan. India also underwrites Bhutans five-year plans. The state continues to provide some financial support for monasteries and religious activities. Traditionally, the Royal Civil Service provided employment for school and college graduates. Of these, 92% are micro-businesses; 76% employ less than five persons. People whose parents are both Bhutanese qualify for citizenship as do those domiciled before December 31, 1958. The World Bank judged Bhutans risk of external debt distress as moderate due to unique and mitigating circumstances that include the majority of loans for hydropower construction owed to India and the Indian government covering all financial and construction risks. Out of that number, 1,318 were forwarded by the Royal Bhutan Police, 23 by the ACC, and seven by the Royal University of Bhutan, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Ministry of Works and Human Settlement. They are not formally recognized by the government and have no religious buildings. Bhutan scores low on the Logistics Performance Index, ranked 135 out of 160 countries in 2016. All political parties are supportive of the democratic system, and the ruling parties in both the 2013 and 2018 elections smoothly handed over power to the new majority parties. The ACC has worked well since commencing operations in 2006. The government acknowledged the seriousness of the issue by passing the Domestic Violence Prevention Act in 2014. The constitution establishes a parliamentary system with the right to form political parties. The 24th round of border talks took place in August 2016. It was ranked 97th out of 138 economies in 2016 2017. The rise of competitive political parties and elections have increased personal contacts between political leaders and the public. There were nine mutual benefit organizations in 2017. By May 2020, more than 6,500 Bhutanese had returned home from other countries due to COVID-19. A Hindu temple was rebuilt in the southern region in 2015 by order of the king as a gift in commemoration of the royal wedding. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) plays an important role in the system of checks and balances on the exercise of power. The monarchs solid support for democratic rule and high levels of deference to the monarchy among political parties and the public ensures stability. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, and the 2015 Paris Agreement. There are few large private companies and a small, unregulated commercial informal sector. Together with the other SAARC members, it signed the South Asian Preferential Trade Arrangement (SAPTA) in 1993. In June 2019, Bhutans National Assembly passed the Penal Code Amendment Bill of Bhutan 2019 to remove discriminatory sections on unnatural sex from the Penal Code. Exceptions to this liberal policy include media and broadcasting, the distribution of services in wholesale, retail and micro trade, as well as mining and the sale of minerals in primary or raw form. Civil service officials are posted by central government agencies to work in dzongkhag administrations with locally elected officials to produce plans at the dzongkhag and local (gewog) levels, which feed into the overall national plans of action. In 2017, in response to complaints of possible bias resulting from a plaintiffs relationship to more than one judge, the Supreme Court of Bhutan drafted the Judicial Accountability Guidelines 2017. The gap in education is starker at secondary and higher education as the enrollment of girls in primary education is on a par with that of boys. MBOs are mainly industry-related associations operating in handicrafts or tourism. Bhutan also improved its ranking from 134th in 2018 to 129th out of 189 countries. In April 2018, 54.3% of registered voters cast their ballots in the National Council elections, an increase of nine percentage points from 2013. Bhutan received foreign assistance from South Asian and other countries to meet its COVID-19-related needs. The concept of Bhutan as a nation-state is widely accepted. The lagging growth of the private sector, made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, limits the availability of jobs for Bhutans young people. Bhutans policy regarding thousands of Lhotshampas who remain in the country after the expulsion remains discriminatory. However, there are two potential veto players, one domestic and one external. On March 27, 2020, the Ministry of Education launched Bhutan e-Learning to provide lessons on TV for students from pre-primary through 12th grades. Political parties, though respectful of each other, face growing opposition from their rivals. The government has implemented a program to attract FDI in order to build up the private sector. Inflation is projected to rise to 6.4% in 2021. The policy received a special boost in 2019 2020 as Bhutans was forced to offer online delivery of classes as a result of COVID-19. There appears to be low awareness of the act and there are reports of goods being sold above the maximum retail price. Bhutans democratic institutions have progressively consolidated since the first national democratic elections in 2007 and 2008. Compared to 2013, voter turnout was higher in both the National Council and National Assembly elections in 2018. Freedom of association has the proviso that it is only for groups not harmful to the peace and unity of the country. Thus, civil society organizations (CSOs) that might work on refugee, human rights or other sensitive issues are not allowed to operate. Access to financing has been consistently identified as the biggest problem for small and medium enterprises in surveys by the World Bank and the World Economic Forum. In 2008, the opposition had won only two seats, and 15 seats in 2013. In 2018, Bhutan had received a record BTN 3 billion in remittances. This sector also attracts the bulk of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Bhutan. Obligations to look after ones kin are strong but may be weakening with urbanization. Bhutan therefore needs to place higher priority on the development of agriculture, small and cottage industries, and strengthen its tourism sector. In 2017 2018, Bhutan maintained an impressive economic growth rate of over 7.5%, making it the fastest growing economy in the developing Asia region. As a young democracy, Bhutans democratic institutions function well. Bhutan underwent a major and generally peaceful transformation from direct royal rule to a constitutional monarchy over the course of 10 years. Inefficiencies and corruption have lately raised concerns. In 2020, Bhutan fell to the 131st position in the World Economic Forums Global Gender Gap report, a decline from its rank at 122 in the 2018 report. Government officials travel overseas to boost their own knowledge and understanding of particular issues and practices. Since 2013, the time it takes to start a business has been cut by two-thirds. The government continually engages in a search for innovative policies. The shortage of Indian rupees resulted in temporary bans on certain imports such as cars and the scarcity of some goods such as building materials. Journalistic expression has been hampered by Bhutans Defamation Act that can be used to harass journalists. However, the ACC has expressed concern about possible corruption relating to land matters. In 2020, the Public Accounts Committee found BTN 4.3 billion worth of spending pending audit issues. The framework is expected to help to provide equitable, inclusive and quality education and lifelong learning opportunities. However, further growth of air travel is hampered by the limited capacity of the main airport in Paro. Bhutans HDI value for 2019 is 0.654, which ranks it 10th among 37 countries in the medium human development category. Traditionally, decision-making focuses on building consensus using mediation. He may return bills with recommendations for amendments but must abide by parliaments final decision, if supported by both houses. The Electoral Commission has run elections strictly and impartially. While the changes in power with each election from the current ruling party to another party could be seen as a sign of mistrust of the incumbents, rotation of power is a positive sign in terms of accountability and inter-party competition. There is a long-standing utilization of five-year plans to give strategic direction to national development in the context of GNH. The guidelines allow individual citizens to file complaints of bias against High Court and Supreme Court decisions. Bhutans transition from a least-developed to a middle-income country has been postponed from 2021 to 2023 at the request of Bhutans government in view of the challenges posed by the less favorable terms and conditions for international financial assistance that come with this status. Six factors explain this. Potential conflict within society is largely mediated through consensus-building mechanisms. There is a low incidence of corruption in Bhutan but there is considerable official and public concern about potential adverse effects from it. In the countrys first past-the-post elections, held in 2008, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) received 33% of the votes but won only two out of 47 seats, while the Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party (Druk Phuensum Tshogpa, DPT) took the other 45. The government plans to implement a water flagship program supported by the EU to ease the shortage by 2021. In 2019, the State Mining Corporation Ltd earned BTN 1.43 billion, realizing a 108% dividend from its coal and gypsum mines. The expenses occurred mainly for the purchase of COVID-19 test kits, personal protective equipment, quarantine facilities and other essential items of relief. There are few interest groups in Bhutan and they are of marginal importance in a country where the state has such a commanding presence. For example, the ACC appealed a High Court judgment in a tax evasion case directly to the Supreme Court after the OAG refused the appeal. The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) received 1,348 applications for cases to prosecute in 2017, the highest number to date. In the 2013 to 2018 parliament, only four of the 47 members of the National Assembly were women and there were only two women in the 25-member National Council, with both women in the National Council appointed by the king. npwh lifespan 01s 01h theirs