The UN owes India $55 million for its participation in peacekeeping operations, which is more than the annual mandatory dues paid by New Delhi in 2016 to the world body. India paid a total of $34.28 million to UN in 2016, as its contributions towards the world body’s regular budget, the peacekeeping operations and the tribunals as mandated by the General Assembly. So far in 2017, it has contributed $20.76 million although the amount will go up as it pays more of the instalments for the peacekeeping dues as they become due. Yukio Takasu, the Under-Secretary-General for Management, who briefed reporters on the UN’s finances on Wednesday, said that paying India and the other troop contributing nations was one of the “highest priorities”. He added, “We are making every effort to expedite payments.”
The UN reimburses troop-contributing countries for costs they incur for sending personnel and equipment to the operations. The current rate of reimbursement for troops is about $1,330 per soldier per month. While Takasu disclosed only the amount currently owed to India for its participation in the peacekeeping operations, the total payments New Delhi received is not publicly known. Responding to a query by IANS about the total reimbursements to India for providing troops to peacekeeping operations, an official in the Peacekeeping Financing Division said the data was “potentially sensitive” while the assessments “are mostly public information”. “Details of payments to a specific member state are based on memoranda of understanding between the UN and the member states concerned, which are not public,” Jasminka Haznadar McCauley, who heads a section in the division, wrote.
India now has 7,768 personnel serving in UN peacekeeping operations. India was one of 39 countries Takasu listed as having fully paid their regular and peacekeeping contributions for 2017. Dues India paid to the regular UN budget was $18.589 million in 2017, and $18.449 million in 2016, Contributions Service Chief Lionel Berridge told IANS. This is an increase of $140,000. In addition India paid $469,000 in 2017 for UN tribunals. India’s total contributions to peacekeeping was $15.55 million in 2016 and $8.44 million in 2015, Berridge said. The total peacekeeping contribution for 2017 will be higher than the $1.69 million paid so far because of differences in the accounting period, he added. Explaining the difference of $7.11 million between India’s 2015 and 2016 contributions, he said that the annual contributions by countries are fixed for three year periods as a per cent of the total UN budgets and, therefore, the actual contributions vary according to the sizes of the budgets set by the General Assembly for each year.
India’s contributions for 2016 to 2018 are fixed at 0.737 per cent for the regular budget and 0.474 per cent for peacekeeping. The UN’s peacekeeping budget was $6.377 billion in 2015 and rose to $10.631 billion in 2016. The regular budget rose marginally from $2.549 billion in 2016 to $2.578 billion in 2017. The percentage of contributions mandated for member nations are based on a complex formula that takes into account the capacity to pay. If India’s economy keeps on track to grow in comparison to others, its percentage share will go up when the next round of assessments are made in 2018.
In addition to the mandated dues, India also makes voluntary contributions to various UN programmes. Contributions during the past year included $250,000 to the election assistance programme, $500,000 to the Central Emergency Response Fund, $100,000 to Haiti cholera relief and $250,000 for the General Assembly President’s office.