Budget: India's overseas developmental projects to suffer
Officials maintain the hike will not be sufficient to meet India's commitment for various projects abroad.
New Delhi: Notwithstanding the hike of nearly 16.5 per cent in the budget allocation for Ministry of External Affairs for 2013-14, India's overseas developmental projects are expected to take a hit with the budgetary assistance falling short of actual demand. The budget presented by Finance Minister P Chidambaram allocated Rs 11,719 crore to the Ministry as against Rs 10,062 in the revised budget 2012.
The total amount allocated for projects including development and direct aid to foreign countries is Rs 6967 crore as against Rs 5471.93 crore in the revised budget of 2012-13. However, officials maintain that the hike will not be sufficient to meet India's commitment for various projects abroad in the coming financial year.
"This crunch is going to hit India's developmental projects," an official said, adding the ministry faced a shortfall of Rs 1600 crore last year in developmental projects segment. There was an increase in the aid component for all countries, except for Maldives, for which the assistance amount of Rs 30 crore remained unchanged.
While revised budget 2012 for aid to Bangladesh was Rs 280 crore, the figure in this budget is Rs 580 crore. Rs 3614 crore has been earmarked for Bhutan as compared to Rs 3409.06 crore in the revised budget for 2012-13.
Nepal has been allotted Rs 380 crore as against Rs 270 crore last time while Rs 500 has been budgeted for Sri Lanka as against only Rs 290 crore in revised budget last time. Budgetary aid to Myanmar has also been increased from revised budget of last year's Rs 125 crore to Rs 450 crore.
India budgetary allocation to Afghanistan has been increased to Rs 648.24 crore from Rs 491.16 crore last time. Aid to African countries has also been expanded from Rs 237.50 crore last time to Rs 300 crore in the current budget. Budget allocations for Haj expenditure has also been increased to Rs 3.13 crore from Rs 0.60 crore 2012.