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MEA Will Be Allocated 1% Of Overall Union Budget: Parliamentary Panel
According to the panel, the MEA remains one of the least funded central departments, with its revised budget hovering around 0.4 per cent of the government's total budgetary allotment for 2020-21
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The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) should boost manpower in its embassies abroad and establish missions in all UN member states to reflect India's growing global stakes and the profound changes in the foreign policy domain, according to a parliamentary panel report released on Tuesday.
The committee on external affairs also suggested allocating at least one per cent of the government's overall annual budget to the ministry in light of its challenging mandate to make India a global power.
According to the panel, the MEA remains one of the least funded central departments, with its revised budget hovering around 0.4 per cent of the government's total budgetary allotment for 2020-21. On Tuesday, the committee's report, chaired by PP Chaudhary, was presented in Lok Sabha.
“Considering the magnitude and scope of India's diplomatic outreach and foreign policy objectives, the committee continues to believe that an allocation of at least one per cent of the government of India's overall budget to the ministry is reasonable and achievable,” it said.
The committee wished for the ministry to endeavour to improve its financial resources in order to meet its global diplomatic obligations.
At the same time, it stated that a rise in allocation would be meaningless if the amount could not be used.
The committee encouraged the MEA to develop a strategy for increasing its capacities and capabilities, whether through structural changes or a full overhaul of its organizational structure.
The panel stated in the report that it is critical that the MEA's cadre size be commensurate with India's growing foreign stakes.
“The committee believes that, given the profound changes in foreign policy, it is critical that the cadre strength of the Ministry be commensurate with India's expanding international stakes,” said in a press release.
It stated that in order to work toward global leadership as envisioned and to successfully execute foreign policy strategy across countries, our missions must be staffed with highly skilled and trained diplomats.
According to the report, there is an increased demand for diplomatic personnel due to the perceived need to have missions in all UN member nations.
The committee said that the MEA should get its cadre review done at the earliest to develop capabilities for shouldering the expanded mission while enriching the capacity of its current personnel.
“The committee also desired that this review be primarily based on a comparative analysis of our country's diplomatic corps with major developing countries, countries in our neighbourhood and China,” it said.
The committee also observed that the MEA has a high-level mechanism in place to monitor the implementation of development partnership programs and that officials at various levels conduct weekly reviews.
According to the panel, the MEA is planning to create a contract and procurement management unit, and as part of that, an online dashboard is being built to see how far the project has progressed, even in the last 48 hours, with the click of a button.
“The committee is extremely pleased to see efforts to mark all projects online and monitor their implementation in a way that is consistent with how the budget is spent on these projects,” it added.