The External Affairs Ministry has been given Rs 14,798 crore in the Union Budget, an increase of mere Rs 135 crore compared to last year with a major decline in allocation for projects in Afghanistan from Rs 520 crore to Rs 350 crore.
However, the allocation for Nepal has been increased from Rs 300 crore to Rs 375 crore in the Budget, presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Parliament today.
An amount of Rs 150 crore has also been allocated for Chabahar Port, a strategic oceanic port situated in Iran. While no allocation was made for the project in 2016-17 budget, an amount of Rs 100 crore was given under revised budget.
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As per revised estimate, Rs 13,426 crore was given to the Ministry in 2016-17, a decline of Rs 1236.66 crore from the budgetary allocation given that fiscal.
In total, Rs 6479.13 crore has been earmarked under “total-aid to countries” which included Bhutan (Rs 3714 crore), African countries (Rs 330 crore) and Bangladesh (Rs 125 crore), Sri Lanka (Rs 125 crore).
Separately, Rs 14798.55 crore has been earmarked for other expenditures like those relating to pilgrimages abroad (Rs 3.50 crore), Nalanda university (Rs 253.88), maintenance cost of Aircraft of Air India for VVIP travel (Rs 215 crore) and ‘Special Diplomatic Expenditure’ (Rs 2200.01 crore).