Bhutan grabs dragon’s share of aid in Budget
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s engagement with Bhutan has helped the Kingdom nation with the grants and loans allocated to the latter going up by nearly 50% — from Rs 4,100 crore last year to Rs 6,000 crore this year. Bhutan has always been getting significant financial aid from India by way of grants, both under plan and non-plan expenditure heads. This year, particularly after PM Narendra Modi visited the neighbouring country soon after his swearing-in, the NDA government has significantly increased the financial package. Bhutan was Modi’s first foreign visit. Comparatively, other countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) have got marginal hikes in grants from the Indian government this year. Even Afghanistan, where India’s engagement has increased in recent years, has been allocated Rs 676 crore, not a big hike against last year’s Rs 525 crore.