India has again emerged as one of the top ODA (Official Development Assistance) donors to Nepal, clawing its way back to the list of top 5 bilateral development partners of the country. India displaced from the list China which was ranked 4th last year as a development partner in terms of ODA disbursement to Nepal.
Nepal finance ministry's latest Development Cooperation Report on FY 2015/16 puts India at the 5th position behind US, UK, Japan and Switzerland in the list of top ODA disbursers. In FY 2014/15, for the first time in 5 years, India's name had gone missing from the list of top 5 development partners of Nepal as its ODA disbursement had plummeted by over 50 per cent that FY.
According to the latest report, India disbursed US $ 35.76 million from July 16 2015 to July 15 2016 to claim its place among the top 5 bilateral development partners of Nepal. This is 3.33 per cent of total ODA received by Nepal in the year. China in the same period accounted for 3.29 per cent of the overall ODA to Nepal.
In the previous FY, 2014/15, India had disbursed a little over $ 22 million. China had in the same year disbursed $ 37.95 million to knock India out of the list of Nepal's top 5 development partners.
According to the report, the top 5 bilateral development partners for FY 2015/16 are the USAID (US$ 118.93 million), United Kingdom (US$ 89.47 million), Japan (US$ 45.91 million), Switzerland (US$ 36.98 million) and India (US$35.76 million).
Like in the previous year, the latest report acknowledges again that India, China and Korea also provide technical assistance to Nepal through scholarships, training and study tour conducted in their countries and which is not fully reflected in the total volume of assistance.
China's ascendancy in the list last year, which came at the expense of India, caused a mini controversy here with MEA going all out to prove that the figure of $ 22 million (India's aid disbursement in FY 2014/15) was misleading and that it ``totally distorted the picture''.
According to MEA, actual funds released to assist Nepal annually are in the range of Rs 300 to 400 crore annually, or over $50 to $70 million. The discrepancy last year was attributed to the fact that a large part of the aid is not routed through the Nepalese treasury.