Budget 2024: MEA gets allocation of Rs 22,154 cr

Synopsis

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has been allocated Rs 22,154 crore for fiscal 2024-25. India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy is reflected in the largest share of aid portfolio granted to Bhutan with an allocation of Rs 2,068 crore. The allocation for Chabahar Port remains at Rs 100 crore, highlighting India’s focus on connectivity projects with Iran.

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The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) was on Thursday allocated a total of Rs 22,154 crore for the fiscal 2024-25 in the Union Budget as against last year’s outlay of Rs 18,050 crore. In line with India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, the largest share of aid portfolio has been granted to Bhutan with an allocation of Rs 2,068 crore.

The development outlay for the Himalayan nation in 2023-24 was Rs 2,400 crore.

The allocation for Chabahar Port has also been maintained at Rs 100 crore, underlining India’s focus on connectivity projects with Iran.

The development assistance to the Maldives has been kept at Rs 600 crore as against last year’s Rs 770 crore, according to budget papers.

In continuation with India’s special relationship with the people of Afghanistan, a budgetary aid of Rs 200 crore has been set aside for that country.

An amount of Rs 120 crore will be provided to Bangladesh under development aid while Nepal would be provided Rs 700 crore.

According to the budget documents, Sri Lanka will get development aid worth Rs 75 crore, Mauritius to receive Rs 370 crore while the amount for Myanmar has been pegged at Rs 250 crore.

A separate amount of Rs 200 crore has been set aside for African countries.

The total development assistance to various countries and regions such as Latin America and Eurasia has been pegged at Rs 4,883 crore.

Presenting the interim budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the recently announced India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) is a strategic and economic game changer for India and others.

The IMEC is seen as an initiative by like-minded nations to gain strategic influence in the face of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that has faced increasing criticism over lack of transparency and disregard for sovereignty of the nations.

“In the words of the prime minister, the corridor ‘will become the basis of world trade for hundreds of years to come, and history will remember that this corridor was initiated on Indian soil,'” Sitharaman said.

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Roy Walsh

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