Cabinet okays setting up of SAARC Development Fund

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New Delhi, Mar 7 (UNI) The Union Cabinet today gave the go ahead to the signing of intergovernmental agreement on setting up of the SAARC Development Fund.

While India's voluntary contribution towards setting up of the SAARC Development Fund (SDF) will be 100 million US dollars for the social window of the Fund, its assessed contribution is put at 38.47 million US dollars resulting in immediate operationalisation of the SDF during India's chairmanship of SAARC.

The move is aimed at "helping in the long-term development of the region in social, economic and infrastructure terms and activating regional cooperation within SAARC," Cabinet spokesman and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi told reporters after a Cabinet meeting.

The intergovernmental agreement regarding the establishment of the Fund is to be signed during the 15th SAARC Summit scheduled to be held on August 2-3, 2008 in Sri Lanka.

It will be instrumental in moving SAARC from declaratory to the implementation phase.

India's voluntary contribution of 100 million US dollars will be released by March-end so that the interim cell at the Secretariat may start implementing projects.

The country's assessed contribution of 38.47 million US dollars will also be released by month-end.

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