Financial Aid Current Affairs - 2020

India contributes US$ 5 million to UNRWA in support of Palestine refugees

India has contributed US $5 million to United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The contribution was provided in support of UNRWA’s core programmes and services, including education, health care, and relief and social services.

About UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA)

It is relief and human development agency of UN which supports more than 5 million registered Palestinian refugees, and their descendants. It is only UN agency dedicated to help refugees from specific region or conflict. It is separate from UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Founded: It was established December 1949 following 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict by UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 302 (IV).

Mandate: Its mandate is to contribute to welfare and human development of Palestine refugees, who had fled or were expelled from their homes during 1948 Palestine war as well during and following 1967 Six Day war.

Services: It originally offered services intended to provide jobs on public works projects and direct relief, but now it provides services like education, health care, and social services to population it supports. It also allows refugee status to be inherited by descendants. Currently, it serves about 5.3 million refugees scattered around Middle East.

Areas of Operation: It provides aid in 5 areas of operation viz. Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Gaza Strip and West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Whereas, UNHCR provides aid for Palestinian refugees outside these five areas.

Funded: It is funded by voluntary contributions from member states of UN. It also receives some funding from regular budget of UN (mostly used for international staffing costs). India has increased its annual financial contribution to UNRWA from US $1.25 million in 2016 to US$ 5 million in 2018 and 2019.

India extends financial aid to Nepal for rebuilding earthquake-hit houses

India extended a financial aid of 1.6billion Nepalese Rupees (NPR) to Nepal government for rebuilding earthquake-hit houses in two district that were most hit.

This sustained and generous humanitarian support extended by India for post-earthquake reconstruction was appreciated by Nepal.

Key Highlights

  • Background: In February 2016, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between India and Nepal for grant worth USD 100 Million to be provided by India, for supporting reconstruction of 50,000 private houses in two districts of Himalayan nation namely Nuwakot and Gorkha that were most damaged in earthquake that hit Nepal in 2015.
  • The devastating earthquake which struck Nepal in April 2015, claimed more than 9,000 lives and damaged over 800,000 houses. The epicenter of earthquake was central Nepal’s Gorkha district.
  • Financial Aid: Manjeev Singh Puri, India’s ambassador to Nepal handed over financial aid cheque to Rajan Khanal, Finance Secretary of Nepal for undertaking reconstruction work in Himalayan nation. The amount was released towards reimbursement of part payment of first and second tranches of housing reconstruction extended by Government of India to 50,000 housing beneficiaries in two districts.
  • Importance: The move showed that India remained committed to partnership between two nations and also to completion of post-earthquake reconstruction projects in Nepal.

Other grants by India:

  • So far a total of Rs 4.5 billion Nepalese rupees have been granted Nepal to India under housing reconstruction projects.
  • India has partnered with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) for providing socio-technical facilitation to people who lost their houses to ensure that they rebuild their homes in accordance with Nepal government’s earthquake resilient norms.