Over Rs 17,300 crore has been allocated for the Ministry of External Affairs in the Budget, with Rs 100 crore earmarked for the strategic Chabahar Port project in southeastern Iran that gives India connectivity to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan.
The total aid to countries has decreased by about Rs 56 crore – from Rs 6,963 revised estimates of 2019-20 to Rs 6,907crore in Budget 2020-21.
While Nepal saw a cut of Rs 400 crore in aid by India from Rs 1,200 crore in 2019-20 to Rs 800 crore in 2020-21, Myanmar saw a hike in allocation from Rs 170 crore in 2019-20 to Rs 300 crore for the next fiscal.
The aid for the strategically-important Chabahar Port which was zero in the revised estimates of 2019-20 has gone up to Rs 100 crore for the next fiscal.
The Port complex, backed by India, on Iran’s coast along the Gulf of Oman is being developed to provide an alternative trade route between India and Afghanistan.
In May 2016, India and Iran signed a bilateral agreement under which India would refurbish one of the berths at Shahid Beheshti Port, and reconstruct a a 600-metre-long container handling facility at the port.
The aid allocation for Bhutan has gone up from Rs 2,674.51 crore in 2019-20 to Rs 2,884.65 crore in the next fiscal.
Aid allocation to Maldives has been reduced by Rs 75 crore to Rs 1,025 crore in the next fiscal.
In the budget 2020-21, aid allocation for African countries is Rs 350 crore, Rs 200 crore for Bangaldesh and Sri Lanka, Rs 140 crore for Seychelles, Rs 20 crore to Latin American countries and Rs 2 crore to Mongolia.
The revised budget for 2019-20 showed that Rs 188 crore was spent for maintenance of aircraft of Air India for VVIP travel, and for the next fiscal year, Rs 150 crore has been allocated for it.
The total allocation to the ministry in 2020-21 stands at Rs 17,346.71 as compared with the revised budget FY 2019-20 of Rs 17,372.27 crore.