UK `looking carefully` at aid to rising India

Last Updated: Wednesday, August 4, 2010 - 19:10

London: Responding to public criticism of
Britain giving aid to an increasingly prosperous India, the
Department for International Development (DFID) has said it
was looking "carefully" at its current aid programmes to the
country.

India is the UK`s single largest aid recipient with an
annual budget of 250 million pounds.

Amidst mounting national debt, there are growing
demands on the David Cameron government to cut aid to India,
which is widely reported in the UK news media as an "economic
superpower".

Responding to public comments to `The Coalition: Our
Programme for Government on International Development`, the
DFID said many respondents had questioned why Britain gave
money to seemingly rich countries.

"They are right to do so. We are ending our aid to
Russia, and the Secretary of State has decided to stop our
development aid to China as soon as is practical," the DFID
said in its response.

"We will look carefully at our aid to India, bearing
in mind that 20 per cent more people live on less than USD
1.25 a day in India than in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa.

"Meanwhile, we are reviewing all our other country
programmes, as well as our aid spent through multilateral
institutions, such as the World Bank and the United Nations,
to ensure taxpayers` money has the maximum impact on poverty,"
it added.

A decision to reduce or continue the same level of
British aid to India will be taken by the end of the year when
a report of the ongoing review of aid programmes in 90
countries will be finalised.

A spokesman of the DFID told PTI that Britain is
currently reviewing "every single one of our country
programmes", including India.

"The UK is reviewing every single one of our country
programmes to ensure we are giving aid to where it`s most
needed - to help the world`s poorest people. We have also
announced a new independent aid watchdog - to scrutinise aid
on the taxpayers` behalf. In future we will also publish all
details of the department`s spending on our website," he said. The review, part of the coalition government`s efforts
to find avenues to reduce spending and cut Britain`s
burgeoning budget deficit, is scrutinising 90 countries which
currently share 2.9 billion pounds in British bilateral aid.

The Cameron government has made clear that the
international development budget will increase - to 0.7 per
cent of gross national income from 2013 - but it will be
better targeted to where it can do most good.

The redirected money will be channelled to priority
countries and used for poverty reduction measures including
programmes to improve maternal health, women`s right to family
planning and protection against deadly diseases like malaria.

The bilateral aid review will analyse DFID`s programme
in each country to look at results, delivery and value for
money.

The review, which will report after the comprehensive
spending review in the autumn, is expected to herald a new
focus for DFID`s bilateral programme.

- PTI



First Published: Wednesday, August 4, 2010 - 19:10
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