The Union Budget has made a major reduction in the annual allocation for financial assistance to Nepal. Apart from Nepal, aid to African countries has also been reduced.
The 2019-20 Budget had allocated ₹1,200 crore to projects in Nepal but Saturday’s numbers show that India has allocated only ₹800 crore to the projects under way in Nepal for 2020-21. The development is likely to cast a shadow on the work that India partners in the crucial Himalayan neighbour which has in recent months showed warmth towards China.
The Budget also showed substantial reduction for “other developing countries” that will now receive ₹120 crore compared to last year’s allocation of ₹150 crore.
Similar reduction was also noticed in the African department where ₹350 crore has been allocated for next year in comparison to last year’s ₹450 crore. Allocation for Latin American countries has increased and currently ₹20 crore will be spent on diplomacy with the region which is a favoured area of new Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla.
The figure for Sri Lanka has also been trimmed from previous year’s ₹205 crore to ₹200 crore.
Disaster relief, a chosen area of the Modi government, has also received a jolt with only ₹20 crore being allocated compared to last year’s ₹30 crore.
Bhutan tops chart
Bhutan, the usual recipient of the largest share of Indian aid, continues in the top rung with ₹2,884.65 crore. Financial support for Afghanistan continues to remain the same at ₹400 crore.