Proposal for India’s New Central Aid Agency Scrapped

The plan to establish an autonomous aid agency for India has been officially ditched due to objections of some government officials who “questioned the rationale” behind the initiative.

Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee introduced the idea of having an independent agency such as the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.K. Department for International Development three years ago, Thaindian News reports.

Mukherjee envisioned an aid agency serving as the “one-stop shop for coordinating all projects, lines of credit, technical cooperation, deputation of experts and training of foreign nationals in India.”

Though India remains a recipient of official development assistance, it is also providing grants and loans to countries in Africa and South Asia. The Ministry of External Affairs is the nodal agency for managing over 130 lines of credit worth USD4.5 billion for 94 countries.

The proposed aid agency would have been named as India International Development Cooperation Agency or IIDCA, which was eventually changed to the Indian Agency for Partnership in Development or IAPD.

The delay to act on the proposal was due to the “long-drawn process” of inter-ministerial consultation until MEA finally gave up in April due to objections to the grounds behind the decision.

Answering a query from the standing committee, the ministry said the “proposal regarding IIDCA/IAPD may be dropped and the desired objectives be met by strengthening the MEA Divisions concerned.”

A senior government official said it it was a case of ” simple turf war,” as “nobody wanted to give up their powers.”  

About the author

  • Chiden Balmes

    Chiden, a correspondent based in Seoul, focuses on computer-assisted reporting to provide international development professionals with practical business and career information. He also contributes to the Development Newswire and the Global Development Briefing, two of the world's highest-circulation development publications.