New Delhi, July 17 : India has agreed to revitalise its standby credit facility for Bhutan, enhancing the amount to Rs.400 crores.
This was agreed to after one-to-one and delegation-level meetings between Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and his visiting Bhutanese counterpart, Lyonchen Jigmi Y. Thinley.
A spokesman of the Indian Government said in a statement that the credit would be drawn on favorable terms by the Royal Government of Bhutan, as and when necessary, to ensure stability of its currency reserves and to meet its obligations. He said that an agreement to this effect would be finalized shortly.
During the talks, which took place on Wednesday evening, India reiterated its commitment to assist Bhutan in its socio-economic development programmes and reaffirmed its full support to Bhutan's 10th Five Year Plan.
The Government of India, the spokesman said, has committed to double its 10th FYP assistance over the revised outlay assistance in the 9th Plan period.
Project-tied assistance of the Gol would be implemented as per the existing implementation mechanism.
Small development projects in rural areas will be implemented according to mutually agreed modalities.
Actual assistance would be determined by implementation of agreed programmes and priorities.
India, he said, is also committed to enhancing its development assistance and cooperation, and added that governments of both countries would undertake mid-term reviews on a rolling basis, of the plan to enhance the allocation of resources as required.
Experts from both sides would examine and identify sectors of cooperation based on Bhutan's priorities. These would include the establishment of a medical college in Bhutan and capacity building in health sector, education, rural development and agriculture.
India, he said, is committed to developing 10000 MW of hydropower in Bhutan for export to India by the year 2020. This, he added, would be done through direct assistance and in collaboration with Indian public sector undertakings.
In the course of developing hydropower projects, the Government of India would also undertake capacity building and skill enhancement by establishing specialised industrial training institutes in Bhutan, to generate employment opportunities for the local population, he added.
India is also committed to developing human resource within Bhutan, including through various scholarship schemes such as the Nehru-Wangchuck scholarship, the spokesman said.
Infrastructure within Bhutan, including roads and a rail line from Hashimara to Phuentsholing, would also be developed, he added.
He concluded by saying that Bhutan has been excluded from the ban on export of essential commodities, and that India has also agreed to positively consider Bhutan's request for removal of export duty on the supply of industrial raw material including coal and steel billets. Prime Minister Thinley is on a State visit to India from July 14-17. Mrs. Thinley and a high-level delegation that includes Economic Affairs Minister Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuck, Foreign Minister Lyonpo Ugyen Tshering, Finance Minister Lyonpo Wangdi Norbu, and other senior Bhutanese officials are accompanying him.
Thinley is on his first visit outside Bhutan after being elected Prime Minister of the first democratically elected Government in Bhutan.
During his visit, he called on President Pratibha Devisingh Patil and Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari.
He met UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Leader of Opposition L.K.Advani, Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Health Minister A. Ramadoss, Minister for Tourism and Culture Ambika Soni and Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission Montek Singh Alhuwalia.
Prime Minister Thinley also met National Security Adviser M.K.Narayanan and Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon, the spokesman said.