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SOURCE: Hindustan Times

India’s candidate has been elected in a closely contested race to a key UN committee that controls the financial and budgetary purse of the world body.

Vidisha Maitra, a career diplomat currently posted as first secretary in the permanent mission of India to the UN in New York, was elected to the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) by 126 votes to 64 votes.

Maitra was India’s candidate for the only post in the committee from the Asia Pacific Group, and the other candidate was from Iraq.

India has served as a member of the committee since its inception in 1946. A place on the committee is seen as one of the most coveted positions in the United Nations system.

New Delhi’s win in this election is also crucial as India is set to start a two-year stint as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council next year.

ACABQ performs several key functions, including the examination of the budget submitted by the UN Secretary General to the General Assembly, and advising the General Assembly on administrative and budgetary matters.

The committee also plays a crucial role in ensuring that resources of member states are used effectively and that the UN’s mandates are properly funded.

Members of ACABQ are elected by the 193 member states in the General Assembly on the basis of broad geographical representation, personal qualifications and experience, and they serve for a period of three years.

ACABQ’s members also serve in a personal capacity and not as representatives of member states.

Before being posted to New York, Maitra served in different capacities in the external affairs ministry in New Delhi, and in India’s missions in Paris, Port Louis and New York over the past 11 years.

She has extensive experience in strategic policy planning and research, defence acquisition matters, formulation and implementation of development assistance and infrastructure projects, international taxation issues, and investment and trade promotion.