Funds allocation to MEA inadequate: Parl panel
New Delhi: The budgetary allocation to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is inadequate, considering the extent and magnitude of India's diplomatic outreach and foreign policy objectives, a parliamentary committee said in a report on Wednesday.
It said the budgetary resources will play a "determining role" in the country's pursuit of a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as it requires adequate global presence and expansion of diplomatic outreach.
The report of the committee on external affairs was tabled in the Lok Sabha.
The panel noted that against the MEA's demand for Rs 22,888 crore for 2021-22, it has been given a budgetary allocation of Rs 18,154 crore, which is merely 0.52 per cent of the government's overall budget.
"Keeping in view the extent and magnitude of India's diplomatic outreach and foreign policy objectives, the committee strongly feel that the allocation is incommensurate and inadequate," it said.
The 30-member committee, headed by BJP MP P P Chaudhary, includes Meenakshi Lekhi, P Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Preneet Kaur, Abhishek Banerjee and Poonam Mahajan.
The panel said the provisioning of adequate finances is critical to ensure that India's global footprint and diplomatic outreach is "not circumscribed".
"The committee, therefore, strongly recommend that the allocation to the Ministry of External Affairs, mandated with managing India's external relations, should further be suitably and appropriately enhanced from what is being provisioned now," it added.
The committee said the MEA should also make a strong case for the same.
Referring to the outlay to the MEA for 2021-22, the panel, however, mentioned that the allocation is the highest ever to it and is 4.66 per cent more than the budgetary estimate in 2020-21 and 21 per cent more than the revised estimate of allocation in the year.
"Notwithstanding these figures, the percentage of MEA's budget during 2021-22 as a percentage of the government's budget is merely 0.52," it said.
"While the increased allocation to MEA in absolute terms is a fine development, however, it is continuously slipping down as a percentage of the government's total expenditure," the panel observed.