Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: India has nearly doubled its development aid to Myanmar from Rs. 44.57 crore in 2006-07 to Rs. 80.41 crore in 2007-08 budget papers presented by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram say

There has also been a substantive jump in India's aid to Bhutan: the figure has risen from Rs. 599.51 crorein 2006-07 to Rs. 770.91 crore in the new financial year.

India's assistance to "other developing countries" stands at Rs. 651.23 crore in 2007-08; a marginal increase from Rs. 591.63 crore in 2006-07.

Interestingly, the assistance to Bhutan is about Rs. 220 crore less than what the Ministry of External Affairs will spend (Rs. 990.01 crore) on all its 166 embassies and missions abroad in the new financial year.

"Special diplomatic expenditure," whose exact nature does not figure in the demand for grants, sees a marginal decline in allocation from Rs. 923.01 crore in 2006-07 to Rs. 850.01 crore in 2007-08.

Overall, the budgetary allocation for the External Affairs Ministry in 2007-08 is Rs. 4,433.60 crore. It was Rs. 4,095.05 crore in 2006-07.