India allocated Rs 200 crore as an aid to Afghanistan in the Union Budget for financial year 2022-23. Afghanistan saw a Taliban takeover in August of last year and since then India has sent humanitarian aid to the country in form of medicines. February is expected to see India sending the much-awaited aid of wheat as New Delhi and Islamabad formalize modalities of the plan as it uses Pakistani territory.
Since 2001 after the US invasion, India had emerged as Afghanistan biggest aid supporter in the region and has been involved in mega infrastructure projects in the country including the Afghan parliament and the India Afghanistan friendship dam in Herat. But at Rs 200 cr, it’s a decrease as compared to Rs 350 cr allocated in the ongoing financial year of which Rs 200 cr has been the revised allocation.
The Maldives at Rs 360 cr (versus Rs 250 cr), Myanmar at Rs 600 cr (versus Rs 400 cr), Mongolia at Rs 12 cr (versus Rs 2 cr), Bangladesh at Rs 300 cr (verus Rs 200 cr) saw an increase in aid provision in the budget document. Bhutan at Rs 2266.24 cr (versus Rs 3004.95 cr), Nepal at Rs 750 cr (verus Rs 992 cr), Seychelles at Rs 14.06 cr (versus Rs 160 cr) saw a decrease in the aid by New Delhi in the next financial year. Sri Lanka at Rs 200 cr and Mauritius at Rs 900 cr saw no change in the budget aid support.
Chabahar Port, India’s key connectivity project to the west saw no change in budget allocation with the allocation of Rs 100 cr continuing. Allocation to Africa stood at Rs 250 cr (versus 300 cr), Eurasian countries at Rs 140 cr (versus Rs 100 cr), Latin America at Rs 40 cr (no change) in the Budget announced on Monday.
The overall budget of the ministry of external affairs has been increased to Rs 17250 cr for FY 2022-2023 (vs Rs 14329 cr in FY 2020-21). The budget for the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR), an Autonomous Body under the MEA saw an increase of Rs 20 cr in next financial year at Rs 320 cr (versus Rs 300 cr in a current financial year).
When it comes to budget allocation on Maintenance cost of Aircraft of Air India for VVIP travel, no information has been given. The budget for the same stood at Rs 150 cr in the current fiscal. Total money allocated for the working of embassies and missions stood at Rs 3769.06 cr which is an increase from Rs 3240.07 in the ongoing financial year. Nalanda and south Asian university saw an allocation of Rs 200 cr and Rs 128 cr. An amount of Rs 10 crore has also been kept for the celebration of Pravasi Bhartiya Divas and Rs 2 crore on “demarcation of boundaries”.