Concern over insufficient fund allocation to MEA

The parliamentary panel committee also expressed dismay over delay in implementation of rehabilitation and resettlement projects in Sri Lanka.

New Delhi: A parliamentary panel on Tuesday expressed serious concern over "insufficient" fund allocation to External Affairs Ministry, saying it needs adequate financial support in view of India`s increasing international engagement and endeavour to emerge as a major donor to a number of countries including in Latin America and Africa.

Strongly favouring increased budgetary support to the Ministry, the Standing Committee on External Affairs in its 14th report said the Finance Ministry and Planning Commission should be sensitised about the problem and if required the matter should be taken up with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"The Committee takes a serious note of insufficient budgetary allocation almost every year especially in the light of India`s increased international engagement and Indian endeavour to emerge as one of the major non-traditional donors in terms of providing aid and loan to developing countries," said the report tabled in Parliament today.

Noting that staff and budget of the ministry were not commensurate with the scale and range of India`s external challenges, the committee particularly expressed unhappiness over slow implementation of a number of developmental projects in various countries including in Bhutan due to paucity of funds.
It said the Ministry was allocated Rs 9,661 crore for the year 2012-13 against the projection of Rs 14,426 crore. The committee also expressed dismay over delay in implementation of rehabilitation and resettlement projects in Sri Lanka.

The Committee also expressed unhappiness over lack of progress in the Nalanda University project in Bihar and said it was concerned about the contents of the curriculum and the standards of the academic courses to be introduced in the varsity.

The report criticised the delay in implementation of the e-passport project by the Ministry and expressed concern over "doubtful" background of the French company selected to supply chips for e-passports.

The panel also expressed displeasure over long pendency of opening up of Indian cultural centre in Washington.

The committee also made a recommendation for setting up of an effective monitoring mechanism to ensure due diligence in expenditure so that adverse observations from the CAG can be avoided.