The grant aid of MVR 100 million (US$ 6.9 million) given by neighboring India for socioeconomic projects in the Maldives has been allocated for 13 different projects.
The Indian government agreed to provide the financial support to Maldives during their External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swarej's trip to the archipelago last March.
The Foreign Ministry reported that while the funds have been allocated for 13 projects, the projects undertaken with the funds are those that were brought to the attention of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on campaign trails and by island councils and relevant ministries .
The largest amount has been allotted for the construction of new classrooms in Lhohee island of Noonu atoll and Kinolhas island of Raa atoll. A total of MVR 12 million will be spent on establishing the classrooms and converting the schools to single-session schools, the ministry informed.
Details of fund allotments under Indian grant
1. Establishment of International Convention Center in Aa. Ukulhas - MVR 7.8 million
2. Establishment of Police Training Acedamy in Dh. Vaanee - MVR 7 million
3. Emergency Medical Response Unit in Haa Alif Ihavandhoo - MVR 7.4 million
4. Construction of classrooms in Noonu Lhohee and Raa Kinolhuhu - MVR 12 million
5. Procurement of outdoor fitness equipment for 61 islands - MVR 8 million
6. 11 ambulances for islands - MVR 7.7 million
7. Protection of Aa. Rasdhoo - MVR 8 million
8. Student ferries between B. Fehendhoo and Goidhoo - MVR 1.5 million
9. Establishment of a drug detoxification center in Seenu Hulhudhoo, training of counselors and staff - MVR 6 million
10. Vehicle and equipment for Male’ City council - MVR 8 million
11. Establishment of a community center in Sh. Foakaidhoo - MVR 5 million
12. Vehicles for Maldives Correctional Services - MVR 8 million
13. Establishment of ice plants in two islands - MVR 8 million
While the total project cost for the 13 projects amount to MVR 94.5 million, the remainder of the MVR 100 million fund will be set aside as a contingency budget to be used to cover unexpected costs incurred for the projects. If the reserved funds are not utilized by the end of the projects, the funds will be allocated for another project, an official from Foreign Ministry told AVAS.
Noting that all projects were carefully decided after weighing what would be most beneficial to the communities, the projects under the grant will be managed by the relevant local authorities.
The bilateral relations between Maldives and neighboring India was strained during former President Yameen Abdul Gayyoom’s rule. Upon assuming presidency, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has significantly strengthened relations with India, with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting the Maldives for the first time to attend President Solih’s oath-taking ceremony last November. President Solih’s maiden visit after becoming president was also to India, an affirmation of the government’ commitment to strengthening ties with its neighbor. The Indian government had agreed to provide huge amounts as financial assistance to the Maldives during the president’ visit, including a credit facility of US$ 1.4 billion.
The archipelago is currently preparing for the Indian Prime Minister's arrival to the Maldives on a two-day state visit on June 8 - his first trip abroad after his astounding victory in the Indian general elections last month securing a second term as the PM.