India quadruples contribution to Maldives

Neighboring India has increased its contribution to Maldives by four times in the interim budget submitted for the period 2019-2020.

During the last president, Yameen Abdul Gayyoom's tenure, the free aid received from India had significantly dwindled.

According to budget estimates for 2019-2020, Maldives will get Rs 575 crore as aid. This is an increase of 460% from the contribution given to the Indian ocean country in 2018. A sum of Rs 125 crore was granted for the 2017-2018 period, therefore, the current sum sees an increase of Rs 440 crore.

Maldives President Ibrahim Solih visited India in December of 2018 on the special invitation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The visit was President Solih's first foreign visit to any country after taking charge in November last year. During the visit, India and Maldives had jointly announced a credit finance of $1.4 billion to Maldives.

The credit facility includes a currency swipe agreement between the central bank of both countries amounting to $400 million, and Indian Exim Bank credit line of USD 800 million towards development projects in the Maldives and an additional $200 million as a budget support for the Maldivian government, out of which $50 million is free aid.

The revised estimate included in the budget for financial year 2018-2019 included several proposed developmental projects in the Maldives, although the details of these projects are unknown.

The budget estimated for External Affairs of India shows a whopping Rs 7,569 crore as aid for foreign nations. Bhutan, a close partner of India will get a substantial budgetary support of Rs 2,615 crore, which makes up 40% of the entire grant budget.