Pemagatshel, meaning “Blissful Land of the Lotus”, is located in southeastern Bhutan. It covers an area of 1023 sq. km, with elevations from 1000 to 3500 meters, and an average annual rainfall of 1500mm to 3000mm. The Dzongkhag borders Trashigang in the north and northeast, Mongar in the north and northwest, Zhemgang in the west, Samdrup Jongkhar in the east, and Assam in the south. 87.65% of the area is forested, mainly with coniferous and broadleaf species. The climate is hot and humid during the wet season, and moderately cold in the dry season. Kamzhing dominates land holdings, with a negligible wetland.
Divide the Dzongkhag into 11 gewogs with a population of 25,000 from 4486 households. Road-connect all gewog centers. 772 civil servants provide services in health, education, census, and land. Corporate bodies like BPC, BTL, and Bhutan Post provide services too. 12 BHUs, five sub-posts, and 35 ORCs meet the health needs and refer patients to the Pema Gatshel district hospital if necessary. 122 lhakhangs offer spiritual and religious blessings, including the historical and sacred Yongla Gonpa, Kheri Gonpa, and Dungkar Lhakhang.
Eight ECRs, 18 primary schools, six lower secondary schools, one MSS, and two higher secondary schools educate Bhutan’s future leaders. 36 NFE centers teach adult literacy to 6180 students and 402 NFE learners with a literacy rate of 56.1%. The 10th FYP saw significant progress in communications and sanitation. All gewog centers and major villages are road-connected, improving transport and communication. Mobile network coverage is 98%, rural electrification is 99%, and health and RWSS coverage at 99.8% and 96% respectively.
The service sector includes 173 retail, 19 wholesale, 443 micro-business, and 1055 industrial licenses (379 services, 359 construction, 79 productions, 239 bar). The poverty rate is 29.9% (BLSS 2012) with avg. annual household income of Nu.118,325 and monthly household expenditure of Nu.12,901. The unemployment rate is 1%.
The high poverty rate is due to limited income opportunities, land fragmentation, shortage of labor, wildlife damage, water shortage, and steep terrain. The National Rehabilitation Programme (Kidu) intervened to help the landless, rehabilitating 44 households in Khenadang and 51 households in Borangma in Nganglam.