Budget allocation for the Ministry of External Affairs should be at least 1 per cent of the Centre’s overall budget instead of the current 0.4 per cent, keeping in view the magnitude and extent of India’s diplomatic outreach and foreign policy objectives, per a Parliamentary panel report.
The committee, headed by PP Chaudhary, in its 20th report on the Demands for Grants of the MEA for 2023-24, presented on Tuesday, also made a case for increase in cadre strength commensurate with India’s expanding international stakes.
Observing that the BE 2023-24 allocation for India’s G20 Presidency Summit of ₹990 crore may not be adequate and G20 Secretariat/MEA would seek additional outlay, the panel urged the Ministry to make careful regular analysis for funding requirements to get funds well on time.
The report suggested that the Ministry should strive to enhance its financial resources in line with its global diplomatic responsibilities. At the same time, an increase in allocation without the capacity to utilise the amount would be meaningless, it said.
“The committee has, therefore, urged the Ministry to work out a roadmap for enhancing its capacities and capabilities, whether it is in the form of structural change in the Ministry or a complete revamp of its organisational structure. Based on the roadmap prepared, a detailed proposal may be placed before the Ministry of Finance. Steps taken in this regard may be communicated to the committee,” the report said.
To work towards global leadership and for executing foreign policy strategy effectively across countries, Indian missions must be staffed with highly skilled diplomats, the report noted. Moreover, with a need felt of having missions in all the UN member countries, there is an increased requirement of manpower in the diplomatic cadre, it said.
“The committee has, therefore, desired that the Ministry should get their cadre review done at the earliest to build capabilities for shouldering the expanded mandate while enriching the capacity of its existing personnel...should primarily be based on a comparative analysis of the strength of the diplomatic corps of our country with major developing countries, countries in the neighbourhood and China,” it said.