India urges Nepal to finalise reconstruction programme

Kathmandu, February 8

Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today urged Nepal to finalise the post-earthquake reconstruction programme at the earliest to better utilise funding support of $1 billion pledged by the Indian government.

Indian Minister Jaitley made the call during a meeting held with Finance Minister Bishnu Prasad Paudel in the Indian capital of New Delhi today.

During the International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction held on June 25 in Kathmandu, India had pledged to extend Rs 100 billion (approximately $1 billion) to support post-quake reconstruction and rehabilitation works.

Of the aid, 25 per cent was in the form of grant and the rest in the form of soft loan.

Today, Jaitley expressed hope that Indian investors would also invest in other sectors in Nepal.

“Indian investors in the public and private sector will show interest across all sectors in Nepal, especially power, healthcare and road construction,” a statement issued today by the Indian Ministry of Finance quoted Jaitley as saying.

Finance Minister Paudel, meanwhile, informed that Nepal was planning to establish a special infrastructure development bank and sought India’s support in this regard.

The meeting ended with both the finance ministers expressing hope that the cooperation between the two countries would further strengthen during the upcoming state visit of Prime Minister KP Oli later this month, says the statement.

Finance Minister Paudel is currently on a three-day visit to India. On his first day of visit yesterday, he met with Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

During the meeting, Paudel discussed reconstruction issues and briefed Swaraj on ‘political situation, remaining constitutional issues and PM Oli’s visit to India’.

Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi, Finance Secretary Lok Darshan Regmi and Finance Joint Secretary Baikuntha Aryal have accompanied the finance minister. Paudel is scheduled to return on Tuesday.