Expert View: Soft diplomacy will take a hit due to budgetary crunch
Nepal has been alloted Rs 380 crore as against Rs 270 crore last time while Rs 500 has been budgeted for Sri Lanka as against only Rs 290 crore in revised budget last time; aid to Myanmar has also been increased from revised budget of last year's Rs 125 crore to Rs 450 crore.
Also, India budgetary allocation to Afghanistan has been increased significantly to Rs 648.24 crore from Rs 491.16 crore last time, as also in the aid to African countries from Rs 237.50 crore last time to Rs 300 crore in the current budget.
The foreign ministry had sought Rs.5,600 crore for development partnership programmes in 2012-13 but had received only Rs.4,000 crore, an official said. Besides grant assistance, India extends lines of credit and undertakes manpower training under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme. Officials in the ministry of external affairs note that in recent years, India’s development partnership projects abroad have expanded considerably.
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