UK aid watchdog recommends: More technical assistance, not funds, to India

    An ambulance service supported by U.K. aid provides immediate medical attention to mothers and newborn babies in India's Madhya Pradesh state. A new report by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact says U.K. aid is making a difference in India’s health and education sector. Photo by: Nick Cunard / Department for International Development

    Britain can better help India through skills and knowledge transfer, rather than finance, according to the U.K. Independent Commission for Aid Impact.

    U.K. aid to India continues to stir public debate. In response to some media reports, U.K. Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell earlier this week stressed anew that the government is “walking the last mile” with the emerging economy but “now is not the time to end” the aid program.

    ICAI’s recent report upholds both governments’ pronouncements about the valuable contribution U.K. aid has made in India, particularly in improving access to education and health care in the state of Bihar.

    It did recommend that the Department for International Development spend its money more on technical assistance, rather than give grants to Indian institutions and programs.

    In Bihar, U.K.-funded technical assistance aims to build administrative and management capacity of the state’s health and related departments.

    “It is easier to identify DFID’s direct impacts where it has provided technical assistance support than it is to attribute particular results from pooled funding,” ICAI says.

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    About the author

    • Eliza Villarino

      Eliza Villarino currently manages one of today’s leading publications on humanitarian aid, global health and international development, the weekly GDB. At Devex, she has helped grow a global newsroom, with talented journalists from major development hubs such as Washington, D.C, London and Brussels. She regularly writes about innovations in global development.