Budget 2019: Indian diplomacy needed a shot in the arm but budget flatters to deceive
Amb Anil Wadhwa, Distinguished Fellow, VIF

Union Budget 2019 India: Analysis reveals some notable facts: the MEA budget, from being close to 0.1% of India’s GDP in 2012-13, declined to 0.08% in 2018-19.

Union Budget 2019 India: As the stature of India rises internationally, its diplomacy, implemented through the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), needs a higher budget outlay for the projection of its geo-strategic objectives, win friends for much needed technology and investments at home, create a peaceful environment for uninterrupted growth, promote its exports and create favorable conditions for its businesses abroad. Despite limited resources at its disposal, the MEA has done a commendable job in fulfilling its objectives. In the recent budget, Rs 17,884.78 Crores has been earmarked for the MEA for 2019-20, an increase of Rs 2873.78 crore over the previous fiscal year when the allocation was Rs 15,011 crore against which the Ministry spent Rs 15, 582 crores. This is also an increase over the interim budget for the Ministry which was 16, 061 Crores. The budget head of “Aid to countries” has seen an increase of Rs 2037.79 crores – from Rs 5,545 Crores in 2018-19 to Rs 7,582.79 Crores in 2019-20. Notably, this increase of nearly 15% for the MEA has come after several years of a stagnant or shrinking budget.

Published in Financial Express on 9 July 2019. Click here to read more....

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