Bhutan Peoples' Party
Bhutan has a population of approximately 7,00,000 that includes about 1,35,000 Bhutanese refugees, sheltered in exile. Bhutan Govenment had put the population figure at around 1.1 million in 1971 when it was admitted to the United Nations Organizations. However, in 1990, Bhutan Peoples’ Party published more reliable population figure. In 1991 the fourth King Jigme Singey Wanchuk declared that the actual population of the country stood around 0.6 million.*
A significant discrepancy exists between the population reported by various international agencies and those provided by the Royal Government of Bhutan. The estimates of international agencies place Bhutan’s population at 2.1 million. However, now the Government agencies project a current population of slightly 700.000.
*Indian magazine ‘SUNDAY’ volume 17 No 42- 28 Oct – 3 Nov. 1990. Page 17-18.
Interviewed by Antara Sen at Thimphu
Question : Is the representation fair?
”No. I agree with the boys in the south that the representation is not fair. When my father established the National Assembly in 1954 no one had any idea about it and nobody wanted it. So, when he forced its creation, the seat representation was done on an adhoc basis. We had no census. It definitely needs to be changed in accordance with the demographic distribution in the districts.
Also, our official population figure is 1.3 million, but actually, it is closer to 6,00.000. People think Bhutan deliberately gave a wrong figure in the Seventies, when we joined the United Nations. But in truth, someone had told my father that if he gave a figure less than one million, we would not be taken seriously by the UN”.
Question : What was “someone” Indian ?
king : (Smiling) “It was so many years ago, and I was away in school in England. Anyway, there was no scheme to project a larger northern Bhutanese figure and reduce the percentage of southern Bhutanese.”
Bhutan Before 1991
Bhutan After 1991