Dechen Dolkar 

The Government of India (GoI) has committed to increasing its support for Bhutan’s development beyond the 13th Five Year Plan (FYP), according to the Foreign Affairs and External Trade Minister Dr Tandi Dorji.

Speaking after his recent visit to India, Lyonpo Tandi Dorji explained that the 13th Plan, which has two parts covering the next five years and a longer period of 10 years, will include projects that will continue beyond the 13th Plan, with pre-determined targets that will be carried forward regardless of the government in power.

The GoI has agreed to increasing its financial assistance to support the 13th Plan, and has also offered to provide additional funds if needed.

However, the exact amount of support has not yet been decided as the 13th Plan is still being drafted. The draft is expected to be ready by next month.

During the visit of India’s external affairs minister, S Jaishankar, to Bhutan last year, the Prime Minister requested that the two governments focus on larger projects that would have a greater impact on the country.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade of Bhutan noted that it was satisfied with the timely flow of funds from the GoI, which has enabled smooth progress of projects under the 12th Plan. About 90 percent of India’s committed plan assistance to Bhutan has already been released, totaling around Nu 40.1B.

For the 12th Plan, the GoI committed support assistance of Nu 50B, of which Nu 4B is for trade support facilities and Nu 1B for tariff adjustment of the Mangdechhu hydropower project. The funds are being used to implement 82 Project Tied Assistance (PTA) Projects, 524 high-impact community development projects, provide programme grant support to the government of Bhutan, and develop trade infrastructure and governance mechanisms under the trade support facility.