New Delhi: The UN has thanked India for paying its regular budget assessments, only the fourth nation to make full contributions within the specified timeframe of the 193-member world body. India paid USD 23,396,496 net assessment on January 10, becoming only the fourth country to have paid its regular budget assessments in full by February 1, 2020, within the 30-day due period specified in the Financial Regulation. Also Read - United Nations Security Council Reaffirms Stance on Chemical Weapons

“With a fourth country paying up today, we are going to repeat thanks to Armenia, Portugal and Ukraine, and freshly thank India, which paid up today,” Stphane Dujarric, the spokesman of US Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters Friday. On the timely payment, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin tweeted, “Very few have already made it… Hope many, many more make it”, referring to the “UN 2020 Honor Roll” of nations having paid their regular budget assessments in full. Also Read - Kashmir: United Nations Should Support, Not Prescribe, Says India

Dujarric said the UN closed out 2019 with 146 member-states having paid their dues in full for the 2019 budget. As of Thursday, 10 member states were in arrears – Central African Republic, Comoros, Gambia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Sao Tome and Principe, Somalia, Tonga, Venezuela and Yemen. Also Read - United Nations Expresses Concern, Asks India to ‘Fully Restore’ Rights Denied to Kashmiris

The UN General Assembly had late last month adopted a budget of USD three billion for the United Nations to cover the year 2020, an increase of approximately USD 8 million on what was initially requested by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. It also marked the first time since 1973 that the UN adopted an annual budget instead of a two-year one.

Last year also, India was among the handful of only 34 UN member states that had paid their regular budget dues in full and on time to the world organisation.

India had paid USD 23.25 million in regular budget assessments by January 31, 2019, the 30-day due period specified as per the UN’s Financial Regulation rules.

Subsequent to the end of the 30-day due period (January 31), 95 additional member states paid their 2019 regular budget assessment in full.

In October last year, UN Secretary-General Guterres voiced deep concern over the “severe liquidity crisis” facing the world organisation.

Writing to the member states about the worst cash crisis facing the UN in nearly a decade, the UN Chief had said the organisation ran the risk of depleting its liquidity reserves by the end of October 2019 and defaulting on payments to staff and vendors.

Austerity measures undertaken at the UN last year to meet the financial crisis included reductions in official travel, postponing spending on goods and services and discontinuing events scheduled outside official meeting hours at headquarters duty stations.

The secretariat water fountain was also shut down, air conditioning and heating reduced outside normal working hours of 8 AM and 6 PM on weekdays and throughout weekends and official holidays and escalators to certain floors closed.