Despite Austerity Measures, UK Plans USD1.6B Aid for India

A slum in Mumbai, India. The U.K. government will provide USD1.6 billion in aid to India through 2015. Photo by: Cory Doctorow

The United Kingdom will provide 1 billion pounds (USD1.6 billion) in aid to India in the next four years despite the severe budget cuts pledged by the British coalition government and the Asian country’s staggering economic growth.

U.K. Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell told the Financial Times on Feb. 14 that British aid to the Asian country will remain at 280 million pounds a year until 2015 but will shift to investment and support to private enterprise beyond that.

The move is expected to draw criticisms from Conservative members of Parliament who cannot reconcile the cuts in defense spending and local anti-poverty schemes with sending aid to a rising economic player, according to FT.

Mitchell explained to FT: “India has more poor people in it than the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. If you’re going to achieve the [U.N.] Millennium Development Goals, you have to make big progress in India.” 

In September 2010, the U.K. Parliament’s International Development Committee started soliciting written evidence that could determine the future of the U.K.’s aid program in India. The submission of written evidence was part of the committee’s inquiry into Britain’s bilateral program in the Asian country, as Devex reported.

>> UK Seeks Written Evidence For India Aid Review 

The U.K.’s review of its bilateral aid programs, initiated in June 2010, prompted the Indian government to shun aid from the donor country, with Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao instructing the country’s finance minister to tell the U.K. that India will not “avail any further DfID [Department for International Development] assistance with effect from 1st April 2011.” 

>> Foy: In Shunning UK Aid, India Shows Rising Confidence 

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About the author

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    Louie-An Pilapil

    Louie-An is a former senior development analyst at Devex Manila. She has held consulting and editorial positions at the Asian Development Bank in Manila and a business-to-business media company in Hong Kong and mainland China.