India Insight

Should Britain continue its controversial £1bln India aid package?

February 14, 2011

The UK will continue to send more than £1 billion to India over the next four years, despite huge cuts to government spending under London’s Conservative-led coalition government and soaring economic growth in the Asian giant.
Britain's Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell speaks during a plenary meeting of the 64th General Assembly of the United Nations  August 19, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Andrew Mitchell, the UK’s international development secretary, told the Financial Times on Monday that Britain’s annual £280 million aid payments to India would not be reduced, in spite of the country’s space ambitions, nuclear energy development, soaring numbers of billionaires and its own aid program to many African nations.

Mitchell’s comments, a day before an official announcement, are likely to infuriate some UK MPs who have seen spending slashed in their constituencies, and those who have called for a reduction in overseas payments as British taxpayers brace for a period of tough austerity measures.

In September, suggestions from Westminster that aid may be reduced sparked a terse response from New Delhi, as Indian officials reportedly mulled rejecting UK support rather than waiting for London to decide whether its slice of the pie would shrink.

British newspapers have questioned financial assistance for a country whose economy is growing at over 8.5 percent with a $31.5 billion defence budget and ambitions to join the U.N. Security Council. Permanent Security Council members Russia and China were told by London last year that continuing to supply aid to them was “not justifiable”.

Yet despite its booming economy and global power aspirations, India still accounts for a large proportion of the world’s poorest people, presenting international donors with a quandary.

“India has more poor people in it than the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. If you’re going to achieve the [UN] millennium development goals, you have to make big progress in India,” Mitchell told the Financial Times.

But should India need cash from British taxpayers to protect the poorest in its society, and could the UK’s overseas aid be better spent elsewhere?

Comments
4 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

let them give that money,anyways that doesnt account much when compared to the riches they plundered from this country by their raj in 300 years.

Posted by rague | Report as abusive
 

They may stop giving ‘Aid’ when they give back the Loot. It is astounding to see them justify it…

Posted by ShahofShahs | Report as abusive
 

Its time that Indians stopped winging about the Raj. What Loot? How about thinking about everything we gave them. All of their Law, transport, science, medicine, eccononics, communications, manufacturing, utilities.

Yeh, I gues that three hundered years of oppression realy stunted their growth.
That we are now sending $280M a year for the next four years to them is just crazy. Oh and yes in case your thinking “this guy knows nothing about India”. Iv’e visited seven times and done business there.

Posted by ProudEnglishman | Report as abusive
 

Have the Brits gone crazy or what?? Despite the billionaires and billion scandals in India why would Indian people want to see the money inflow being hampered. Brits can stop aid at risk of getting their investments kicked out of India. Do you want Vodafone to pack up from India and many others as well??? Yes its a blackmail but then Brits looted the Golden Bird for 300 long and painful years…pay the price now!!

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive
 

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