India’s long-delayed development agency takes form

Children in Hyderabad, India. India’s foray as a donor in the development world remains contentious as it is still a major recipient of aid and home to some of the world’s poorest people. Photo by: John Isaac / U.N. Photo / CC BY-NC-ND

More details have emerged about the foreign aid agency India is setting up, including its official name and projected budget.

The agency has been dubbed Development Partnership Administration and is expected to spend up to $15 billion over the next five years. It is housed within the Ministry of External Affairs and headed by P.S. Raghavan, an additional secretary of the ministry.

DPA was formed by combining three groups within the external affairs ministry that are involved in overseeing India-funded development projects overseas, news agencies say. The government reportedly operationalized DPA in March, but it is not immediately clear when the agency was to set to start taking over India’s foreign aid operations.

The proposal to create India’s own development agency was first introduced in 2007 but died down in 2010 due to various bureaucratic delays and interministerial wrangling. It then resurfaced in 2011, when the external affairs ministry secured the government’s go signal to set up the agency.

DPA will focus on project implementation and monitoring and impact assessment, according to Syed Akbaruddin, joint secretary of the MEA. He stressed the agency will not “lay down policy” or “contribute to policy,” the Sunday Guardian notes. In launching the agency and selecting its name, India is keen to communicate that its aid does not come with conditions and its projects are based on mutual benefits, LiveMint says, citing sources with knowledge of the process of creating DPA.

India belongs to the group of emerging donors known as BRICS, which are fast positioning themselves as alternative sources of development finance through South-South cooperation. India’s foray as a donor in the development world, however, remains contentious as it is still a major recipient of aid and home to some of the world’s poorest people.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.