Special Correspondent

Immediate grant of 100 crore to Nepal Government 500 crore soft credit for infrastructure development projects `Aid to Nepal' budget to be enhanced from 65 crore to 150 crore

NEW DELHI: India on Friday announced a Rs 1,000 crore package to help Nepal tide over its immediate economic difficulties.

At the end of the three-day visit by Nepalese Prime Minister G. P. Koirala, India also assured Nepal that it would expedite work on all infrastructure projects in the areas of roads, railway linkages, border infrastructure, water resources and construction of an oil pipeline, special economic zone and upgrading of airports. The two governments would also identify other areas for further cooperation.

In a joint statement at the end of Mr. Koirala's first foreign visit after taking over as Prime Minister, it was decided to immediately extend a one-time grant of Rs. 100 crore to the budget of the Government of Nepal.

India would offer a soft credit line of $100 million (about Rs.500 crore) for the execution of infrastructure development projects as prioritised by the Government of Nepal.

The `Aid to Nepal' budget for the current financial year would be enhanced from Rs. 65 crore to Rs. 150 crore annually. India also agreed to waive the dues outstanding by Nepal to India on account of defence purchases. India would arrange immediate supply of 25,000 metric tons of fertilizers to Nepal at subsidised prices, grant exemption to all exports of goods manufactured in Nepal to India from the four per cent additional customs duty and accelerate the release of all funds to Nepal under the Duty Refund Procedure Scheme.

India would double the number of scholarships provided by the Government for Nepalese students, including girls.