India on Thursday approved small-scale projects worth $100 million for implementation in strife-torn Afghanistan. The Union Cabinet, at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, approved the third phase of the Small Development Projects in Afghanistan.
The outlay for the third Phase of the SDP is $100 million or approximately Rs 540 crore, Finance Minister P Chidambaram told reporters.
The Cabinet decision comes ahead of the visit of Afghan President Hamid Karzai here next week. The SDP directly impact local communities and support social-economic development and facilitate community life through creation of infrastructure in various sectors including education, health, agriculture, Chidambaram said.
"Local communities of Afghanistan would directly benefit from the SDPs which will cover all 34 provinces of Afghanistan," he said.
The SDPs were earlier implemented in two phases -- the first in July 2006 comprising 50 projects worth $11,216,179; and the second in June 2008 comprising 51 projects worth $8,579,537.
Most of the projects in the two phases have been completed, Chidambaram said.
Karzai, who will be in India from November 9-12, will hold wide-ranging talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on regional security situation and safety of Indian nationals and Indian projects on November 12.
Having committed a $2.3 billion aid programme, India is one of the largest donors to Afghanistan, investing in the economy, humanitarian aid, education, development, construction and electrical projects.