It emerged earlier today the UK government will be stopping all financial aid to India within the next three years as the south Asian country’s economy enters an era of progress and prosperity. It is estimated that about £200m pounds will be spent between now and 2015 while the UK government works out a new type of support plan to be introduced in the form of technical assistance.
Despite the global recession, India is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. It is the 10th largest economy in the world by nominal GDP and since it’s independence, it is the third largest by purchasing power parity. It already has a multi-million pound space programme, a leading finance industry along with an enormous textile industry. It is projected that the Indian translation market is set for big growth as more and more multinational and multilingual companies set up their businesses in megapolis’s such as Mumbai and Delhi. The Indian government has already invested $500 million in the Indian language translation sector which is expected to give translation agencies a massive boost.
But this brings up many ethical questions. Poverty in India is far from done with. There is still an estimated 360 million people surviving on less than 35p a day. It is very likely the aid withdrawn will affect the most vulnerable. The reality of the situation is the population of India makes up more poor people than the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. Save the Children attacked the governments decision calling it premature. Similarly NGO War on Want said aid should not just stop becuase India had become a middle-income country.
MPs have however agreed to focus on sharing skills and expertise with India in an attempt to develop an assistance programme which will focus on priority issues such as growth, trade, investment, education, skills and health. Additionally Indian experts from across the political spectrum welcomed the aid move. Surjit S Bhalla, a Delhi-based consultant and former World Bank economist, said the British decision was “enlightened”. “I don’t think it makes a huge amount of difference. The whole concept of aid is very old and not necessarily relevant for modern times. These programmes were constructed when India and emerging nations were very poor,” he said.