New Delhi, Feb 29: An amount of Rs 5062 crore has been allocated for the External Affairs Ministry in the 2008-2009 budget, up by Rs 270 crore in the last budget. This includes a non-plan outlay of 4483 crore and plan outlay of 579 crore, according to the Budget proposals presented to Pariament by Finance Minister P Chidambaram today.
Rs 139.60 crore have been set aside for 'International Cooperation' which provides for obligatory contributions to the UN, other international organisations of which India is a member country and regional organisations like SAARC etc. This includes Rs 2017 crore for various foreign governments with Bhutan topping the list with Rs 956 crore. The provision caters to India's multi-lateral and bilateral aid and assistance programme. ''The allocation reflects India's abiding interest in providing assistance to developmental projects in friendly countries,'' officials said.
The assistance is not only provided to immediate neighbours but also to Africa, Central Asia and SouthEast Asia and includes a plan component of aid to Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal and Afghanistan and humanitarian assistance to Palestine.
A total of Rs 167 crore has been earmarked for maintenance of 167 Missions and Posts abroad whle 123.25 crore wll be used as expenditure on 'Other Expenses' including demarcation of boundaries, repatriation of Indian nationals from areas of strife and war and other conditions and high-level visits abroad.