London: Britain should continue its 280
million pounds per annum aid to India for the next four years,
a top parliamentary panel has said, but sought fundamental
changes in the policy in 2015.
"The test of whether the UK should continue to give
aid to India is whether that aid makes a distinct, value-added
contribution to poverty reduction which would not otherwise
happen," said Malcolm Bruce, the chairman of the parliamentary
committee on international development.
The panel said that the aid should directed more at
improving sanitation, challenging social exclusion and
The panel noted that more than 400 million people
still live on less than USD 1.25 a day in India and British
funds can still make a difference.
There has been debate in Britain about whether it
should maintain aid to booming India when the government is
forced to cut spending at home.
The Indian government currently invests "significant
funds" in social programmes for the poor, but Bruce warned
that "the poverty there is on such an extreme scale that it
will take many years for India to achieve internationally
agreed Millennium Development Goals."
The report defended India`s space programme, saying it
"delivers important socio-economic benefits including the
provision of satellites, mapping, weather patterns and
However, the report says that in 2015, "the
development relationship must change fundamentally to one
based on mutual learning and technical assistance".
Britain plans to focus its aid from now on three of
the poorest states, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa, and the
report said Bihar at least had made a "serious effort" to
reduce corruption and ensure the money is well spent.
However, it questioned the British government`s aim to
deliver half the aid through the private sector in India,
saying the plan was not well thought out and also risked
skewing the market.