News / Asia

End of British Aid Marks Economic Shift for India

Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid, left, with British Foreign Secretary William Hague, New Delhi, Nov. 8, 2012.
Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid, left, with British Foreign Secretary William Hague, New Delhi, Nov. 8, 2012.
Anjana Pasricha
— Britain has decided to stop giving development aid to India - a country with rising incomes and a growing economy. The move marks a change in the global profile of the former British colony from a poor country dependent on foreign aid to an emerging economy which has itself become a donor nation.     
 
Announcing the decision to stop direct aid to India by 2015, British officials said it is time to recognize India’s changing place in the world.  
 
In India, the move was met with a nonchalant shrug by political leaders. Foreign minister Salman Khurshid said “aid is past, trade is future.”
 
Earlier this year, President Pranab Mukherjee, formerly India’s Finance Minister, had called the British annual aid contribution of about $360 million a “peanut.”
 
For many years after India’s independence from British rule, New Delhi was among the largest recipients of foreign aid in the world.
 
But economist D.H. Pai Panandiker says that over the past decade, the aid has become insignificant to India.
 
“The equation has completely changed," notes Panandiker. "It is no longer the India of pre-2000. Post 2000 India is entirely different. The total annual export earnings would be $ 300 billion. Against that aid of a small amount of a few million dollars becomes almost invisible. India is now self reliant, it does not need any foreign assistance to develop.”
 
In fact, a growing economy has allowed a reversal of roles, and made it possible for New Delhi to emerge as a donor nation. In recent years, India has given a $2 billion aid package to Afghanistan, and has extended lines of credit worth several billion dollars to African countries and Bangladesh. With a growing aid portfolio, India recently announced plans to establish its own aid agency.
 
Analysts say India wants to be seen as an emerging global power which is no longer dependent on handouts by richer countries.
 
However development experts point out poverty is still rampant in India, especially in underdeveloped regions of the country. Two thirds of the 1.2 billion people live on less than $2 a day.   
 
Addressing a seminar in New Delhi Friday, India’s Rural Development Minister, Jairam Ramesh, says that nutrition and health remain critical issues for India.   
 
“A country like Kenya has had a faster decline in infant mortality rates in the last five years than what India has witnessed in the last 25 years. We all know that the health system in India has collapsed. In many of the poor parts of India in fact, the public health system simply does not exist,” Ramesh says.
 
Development economists say while foreign aid may only add up to a small amount, it makes a significant impact on poverty alleviation programs, and the time to “disengage” is not right. An author and commentator in New Delhi, Gurcharan Das, agrees.
 
“For the very poor it does matter, and very often development aid of this kind brings with it organization and technology and method of distribution which make it more efficient,”  Das says.
 
The decision to end British aid comes as many donor countries take a closer look at the need for foreign aid. It also comes at a time of economic gloom in Britain, where some have questioned handouts to Asia's third largest economy.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Bill
November 18, 2012 11:10 PM
William Hague is remarkably silent on Zimbabwe with regard to the situation there.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid