The United Kingdom will no longer sign any new grants for India, but will instead focus its significantly reduced assistance to the emerging economy on technical assistance and private sector engagement.
The Department for International Development’s new role in India’s development is expected to cost just one-tenths of its current program. A specific budget for the new programs will be decided in the next comprehensive spending review.
Gemma Blackburn, DfID senior press officer, told Devex the move reflects Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening’s push to refocus the United Kingdom’s engagement with the Asian country on “trade rather than aid.” But Blackburn stressed that the terms of the partnership were concluded after a series of consultations with the Indian government.
Under the new strategy, the United Kingdom’s programs in India after 2012 will focus on the following:
Maintenance of a development expertise hub for advice and skills sharing with the government on poverty reduction.
Investments in private sector projects.
International collaboration on development and other areas of common interest.
The new strategy will not have an impact on ongoing projects, which are all scheduled to end in 2015.
India has successfully positioned itself as a key player today’s global economy. It has also shown commitment to its own people though extensive poverty reduction schemes to improve health care, education, access to water and basic housing.
“Having visited India I have seen firsthand the tremendous progress being made. India is successfully developing and our own bilateral relationship has to keep up with 21st Century India. It’s time to recognise India’s changing place in the world,” Greening explained.
While the decision hardly comes as a surprise, it still garnered negative reactions from organizations such as Oxfam and Save the Children, which said the move is “too hasty” and “premature.” India is home to one-third of the world’s poorest people and accounted for a quarter of global child deaths in 2011.
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