Infrastructure

Energy

The bulk of the energy need is dominated by fuel wood (68%), agricultural waste (15%), animal dung (8%) and imported fossil fuel (8%). Except for some lignite deposits, Nepal has no known oil, gas or coal deposits. All commercial fossil fuels (mainly oil and coal) are either imported from India or from international markets routed through India. Fuel imports absorb over one-fourth of Nepal\'s foreign exchange earnings.

Only about 1% energy need is fulfilled by electricity. Paradoxically, the perennial nature of Nepali rivers and the steep gradient of the country\'s topography provide ideal conditions for the development of some of the world\'s largest hydroelectric projects in Nepal. Current estimates put Nepal\'s economically feasible hydropower potential to be approximately 44,000 MW from 66 hydropower project sites. However, currently Nepal has been able to exploit only about 600 MW from 20 major hydropower plants and a number of small and micro hydropower plants. There are 9 major hydropower plants under construction, and additional 27 sites considered for potential development.

Only about 40% of Nepal\'s population has access to electricity. Even in this scenario there is a great disparity between urban and rural areas. Electrification rate in urban area is 90 percent where as that in rural area is 5 percent only. The position of power sector remains unsatisfactory because of high tariff, high system losses, high generation costs, high overheads, over staffing and lower domestic demand.

Transport

Nepal remains isolated from the world\'s major land, air and sea transport routes although, within the country, aviation is in a better state, with 47 airports, 11 of them with paved runways; flights are frequent and support a sizable traffic. The hilly and mountainous terrain in the northern two-thirds of the country has made the building of roads and other infrastructure difficult and expensive. In 2007 there were just over 10,142 km (6,302 mi) of paved roads, and 7,140 km (4,437 mi) of unpaved road, and one 59 km (37 mi) railway line in the south. There is a single reliable road route from India to the Kathmandu Valley.

The only practical seaport of entry for goods bound for Kathmandu is Calcutta in India. Internally, the poor state of development of the road system (22 of 75 administrative districts lack road links) makes volume distribution unrealistic.

Communication

While the first telephones lines were introduced in Kathmandu in 1913, it was not until 1955 that telephone lines were distributed to the public. Likewise, both the telegram service and high frequency radio system (AM) were introduced in 1950. The first public telephone exchange was set up in Kathmandu (300 lines CB) in 1962, whereas the first automatic exchange was established in 1965 (1000 lines in Kathmandu). By 1995, Nepal had installed optical fiber network as well; whereas the GSM services were launched in 1999.

According to the Nepal Telecommunication Authority MIS May 2012 report, there are 7 operators and the total voice telephony subscribers including PSTN and mobile are 16,350,946 which give the penetration rate of 61.42%. The fixed telephone service account for 3.20%, mobile for 54.46%, and other services (LM, GMPCS) for 3.76% of the total penetration rate. Twelve months earlier the mobile penetration was 38.31%, so this represents a growth rate of 42.15% for the mobile sector. However, the growth of fixed line telephony has been very low. Similarly, the numbers of subscribers to data/internet services are 4,667,536 which represents 17.53% penetration rate. Most of the data service is accounted by GPRS users. Twelve months earlier the data/internet penetration was 10.05%, thus this represents a growth rate of 74.77%.

Not only has there been strong subscriber growth, especially in the mobile sector, but there was evidence of a clear vision in the sector, including putting a reform process in place and planning for the building of necessary telecommunications infrastructure. Most importantly, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) and the telecom regulator, the National Telecommunications Authority (NTA), have both been very active in the performance of their respective roles. Despite all the effort, there remained a significant disparity between the high coverage levels in the cities and the coverage available in the underdeveloped rural regions. Progress on providing some minimum access had been good, however. Of a total of 3,914 Village Development Committees across the country, only 306 were unserved by December 2009. In order to meet future demand, it was estimated that Nepal needed to invest around US$135 million annually in its telecom sector. In 2009, the telecommunication sector alone contributed to 1% of the nation\'s GDP.

In the broadcast media, as of 2007, the state operates 2 television stations as well as national and regional radio stations. There are roughly 30 independent TV channels registered, with only about half in regular operation. Nearly 400 FM radio stations are licensed with roughly 300 operational.

Education

About two thirds of female adults and one third of male adults are illiterate. Net primary enrollment rate was 74% in 2005. It is currently at about 90%. In 2009 the World Bank has decided to contribute a further $130 million towards meeting Nepal\'s Education for All goals. Nepal has several universities.

Health

Health care services in Nepal are provided by both the public and private sector and fares poorly by international standards. Based on World Health Organization (WHO) data, Nepal ranked 139 in life expectancy in 2010 with the average Nepalese living to 65.8 years. Disease prevalence is higher in Nepal than it is in other South Asian countries, especially in rural areas. Leading diseases and illnesses include diarrhea, gastrointestinal disorders, goiter, intestinal parasites, leprosy, visceral leishmaniasis and tuberculosis. According to WHO data for 2010, about 4 out of 1,000 adults aged 15 to 49 had human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and the HIV prevalence rate was 0.5%. In spite of these figures, some improvements in health care have been made, most notably its significant progress in maternal-child health. For example, Nepal’s HDI for health was 0.77 in 2011, ranking Nepal 126 out of 194 countries, up from 0.444 in 1980.