MEA remains among least funded Central Ministries, notes Parl panel

New Delhi, March 21 : A Parliamentary Committee has noted that despite its challenging mandate in making India into a leading power and influential entity among the nations of the world, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) remains one amongst the least funded Central Ministries and its revised budget hovers around just 0.4 per cent of the total budgetary allocation of the Government since 2020-21. In BE 2019-20, MEA had a share of 0.64 per cent of GoI's total budget. The Committee further noted that despite them recommending that the allocation for the Ministry should be at least 1 per cent of the overall Budget of the GoI and India holding the G20 presidency, the budgetary allocation in BE 2023-24 has rather dropped by 0.04 per cent from 0.44 per cent in BE 2022-23 and not increased. "Keeping in view the magnitude and extent of India's diplomatic outreach and foreign policy objectives, the Committee continue to feel that an allocation of at least 1 per cent out of the overall Budget of the GoI to the Ministry is reasonable and achievable," said the Committee on External Affairs in its Demand for Grants (2023-24) report. It desired that the Ministry should strive to enhance its financial resources in line with its diplomatic responsibilities globally. However, the increased allocation per se without the capacity to utilise the amount would be meaningless. "The Committee, therefore urge the Ministry to work out a roadmap for enhancing its capacities and capabilities, whether it is in the form of structural change in the Ministry or a complete revamp of its organisational structure. Based on the roadmap prepared, a detailed proposal may be placed before the Ministry of Finance. Steps taken in this regard may be communicated to the Committee," said the report. The Committee is of the view that with the profound changes taking place in the foreign policy from Indian perspective, it is imperative that the cadre strength of the Ministry is commensurate with India's expanding international stakes. It noted that to work towards global leadership as envisaged and for executing foreign policy strategy effectively across countries, the missions must be staffed with highly skilled or trained diplomats. "With the felt need of having Missions in all the UN member countries, there is an increased requirement of manpower in the diplomatic cadre," said the report. /IANS


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