Bhutan has emerged as the primary beneficiary of grants and loans from the Indian government, securing ₹6,541.79 crore during the fiscal year 2023-24. Following the presentation of the interim budget for 2024 by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, it was revealed that Bhutan surpassed other nations in receiving financial support from India.
The allocation from the Indian government comprised ₹4,927.43 crore as grants and ₹1,614.36 crore as loans, exceeding the budget estimates of ₹5,848.58 crore for the fiscal year 2023-24. Looking ahead to 2024-25, the projected grants and loans stand at ₹5,667.56 crore. It is crucial to note that this is a vote on account, with the full budget anticipated in July after the inauguration of the new administration.
The interim budget disclosed a list of countries ranking as the top recipients of grants from India. Bhutan led the chart with ₹2,398.97 crore, including a loan component of ₹1,614.36 crore. The other countries in the ranking include Maldives with ₹770.90 crore, Nepal with ₹650 crore, Myanmar with ₹370 crore, Mauritius with ₹330 crore, Afghanistan with ₹220 crore, Bangladesh with ₹130 crore, Sri Lanka with ₹60 crore, Seychelles with ₹9.91 crore, and Mongolia with ₹5 crore.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Interim Union Budget for the financial year 2024-25, marking her sixth budget presentation during the current term of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government. The full budget is scheduled for presentation in July this year, following the formation of the new government post the Lok Sabha Elections.
The budget prioritized fiscal consolidation, infrastructure development, agriculture, green growth, and railways. Notably, there were no changes in the tax rates, which left salaried individuals disappointed. The focus on key sectors and the substantial financial support to Bhutan underscore the government’s strategic approach to economic and diplomatic relations with neighboring nations.
As Bhutan takes the lead in receiving Indian grants and loans, the budget allocations reflect India’s commitment to fostering regional partnerships and supporting the development endeavors of neighboring countries. The comprehensive budget for 2024-25, anticipated in July, will provide a more detailed insight into the government’s economic policies and priorities for the coming fiscal year.