A number of people have written to me saying that as India has said it no longer wants overseas aid from us, and as it is now a substantial power with a growing economy, we should discontinue our aid programme. I have received the following letter from the Secretary of State confirming that action has been taken to end official aid programmes:
“As you will know, in November 2012, I announced that the UK would end its programme of financial grant aid to India by the end of 2015. Our new development partnership would instead be based on technical assistance programmes, focused on sharing skills and expertise; and investments in private sector projects focused on helping the poor.
I am writing to update you on progress as we enter the final year of this transition which is well underway. No new financial grant aid to Government budgets has been approved since 2012, and we have been responsibly winding down our existing financial grant aid programmes. All financial grant aid to Government will finish by the end of 2015. The UK can be rightly proud of what we have achieved in recent years – for example, by 2015 we will have reached 3.6 million pregnant women and children under five with nutrition programmes, given access to improved sanitation to almost 2 million people, provided access to finance to over 3 million poor women and provided clean energy to 600,000 people.
After 2015, our development partnership will focus exclusively on technical assistance and investing in private sector pro-poor projects which have the potential for both development and commercial returns. As I set out in 2012, this strategy is based on a rigorous analysis of the drivers of inclusive growth and economic development in India. All technical assistance will be transformational, based on the best of what the UK has to offer, and contribute to wider UK-India bilateral and prosperity priorities. Programmes will also make use of returnable capital to unlock and demonstrate the potential of private sector led growth.
This new partnership will draw on skills and experience across the Government and UK institutions, working with UK Trade and Investment, the Department for Energy and Climate Change, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, HM Treasury, HM Revenue and Customs, and the Departments for Business Innovation & Skills, Education and Health.
India is an increasingly important partner for the UK and a central player on issues like climate, trade and global economic stability and security. The transition I announced in 2012 has set us well on the way to a modern development partnership for the 21st Century, moving us away from a donor-recipient relationship to a strategic partnership of equals based on policy cooperation, investment and trade.