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The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North
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Monday, January 27, 2014
Grants tote up to Nu 71B for 11th Plan
Development partners and international donors released Nu 7.6B so far
The country will receive Nu 71B as grant from development partners and international organisations in the 11th Plan.
Of them all, India committed the highest amount of Nu 50B – Nu 28B under project tied grant, Nu 8.5B as grants for medium programs and another Nu 8.5B as small development grants, besides the economic stimulus plan of Nu 5B.
As of December 2013, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said of the committed Nu 50B, India had released Nu 5.9B.
“Of that Nu 850M was under program grant, Nu 169M for project-tied assistance and Nu 2.5B for economic stimulus plan,” he said. “India will soon release any amount for the small development programs.”
The prime minister was responding to opposition leader’s question on whether there was any downsizing of the 11th Plan.
Among three changes made to terms and conditions on availing grants from India in the 11th Plan, the country would contribute additional Nu 2.8B or 10 percent to project-tied assistance from Government of India that fund larger projects.
Lyonchhoen Tshering Tobgay said this would symbolise the projects being jointly undertaken by governments of the two countries.
“Bhutan’s 10 percent contribution would be used only at the end of the project to meet escalations in project costs,” he said.
The second change in the terms and conditions was increasing the budget ceiling for projects under the program grant from Nu 30M to Nu 50M.
“The government is still holding dialogues over what kind of projects to include in the program,” Lyonchhoen said. “The final change is to employ 200 graduates to complement proper implementation of Indian government funded projects.”
There was, Lyonchhoen said, however, no change in the terms and conditions with international organisations and development partners on receiving the grants or loans.
As of December 2013, Development partners and international financial institutions including Denmark, Switzerland, European Union, Global Environment Fund, ADB, World Bank, Austria and international organisations have released more than Nu 1.7B.
The commitment from international organisations and development partners increased from Nu 58B to Nu 66B following the round table meeting held in Thimphu.
The government has, until December last year, released more than Nu 5.8B for capital works of the total more than Nu 18B allotted for the Plan.
“More than Nu 2.5B received from Indian government has not been released as it has not yet received Parliament approval,” Lyonchhoen said.
The budget outlay of the Plan, as the Parliament approved in September 2013 stands at Nu 213B.
“We’re are assessing 44 business proposals that have been denied since the last three years and looking into how we can help them,” he said.
Before the question hour began, the Parliament observed a minute of silence in memory of the late Drabi Lopen Kinley Gyeltshen whose cremation was held at the same time as the joint sitting yesterday.
One question that was left unanswered came from South Thimphu Parliament member Yeshey Zimba, who raised the issue of people from northern borders encroaching into Bhutanese territory for cordycep collection.