Aid to India part of broad plan to build trade and investment, says minister - UK Politics - UK - The Independent

Aid to India part of broad plan to build trade and investment, says minister

 

Delhi

The Government's controversial decision to continue giving money to India, a nation that has more billionaires than the UK and an aid programme of its own, is directly linked to developing trade and investment opportunities, a senior minister admitted yesterday.

In terms of perhaps surprising bluntness, international development minister Andrew Mitchell said the decision to spend £1.2bn over the next five years was part of a broader partnership that also included the hoped-for sale of fighter jets to India.

"It's an important market, and for our children and grand-children, it will be an even more important market," Mr Mitchell told British journalists, while on a visit to Delhi. "It's a very important relationship."

Ever since it announced earlier this year the results of a review of its overseas programme, the government has come under fire for a scheme that gives money to a so-called "development paradox", a nation with a space programme, an economy growing at more than seven cent and the resources to offer aid to countries such as Afghanistan and Burma. In such times of such straightened circumstances, critics have said, how can the money be justified.

The Department for International Development has argued that while there is a growing upper middle class in India, hundreds of millions of people survive on less than a £1 a day. There are more people in poverty in India than in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. Britain's aid to India is precisely targeted, at projects in three of its poorest states, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. Among one of the flagship projects will be a scheme to help young girls from tribal and low caste communities in Orissa attend school.

Mr Mitchell said half of the money donated would go towards developing public private partnerships. The first of these was launched yesterday, with Mr Mitchell announcing a tie-up with the Industries Development Bank of India. The scheme, called Samridhi or prosperity, aims to help poor people gain access to financial services.

 "I believe that entrepreneurs with innovative and creative ideas, who take risks and work hard to produce a product or a service, especially those which can help poorer segments of society, deserve to be encouraged and supported," he said. "Using returnable capital rather than grants, they will be able to start and expand businesses and pay money back so that it can be used to deliver another cycle of benefits."

Soon after he was elected, David Cameron announced that he intended to make developing Britain's relationship with India a foreign policy priority. Last year, in one of his first foreign trips  after becoming prime minister, Mr Cameron came to India with a delegation that consisted of six cabinet ministers and around 60 businessmen. With bilateral trade worth £11.bn, his aim was to secure jobs and investment back home, and he said he wanted make Britain the "partner of choice" for India.

Since then, Britain has seen its exports to India increase by 45 per cent and there is the potential to develop that ever more. One potential deal officials are anxiously following is the sale of 126 fighter jets to Delhi. The EuroFighter Typhoon, made by a European consortium including Britain's BAE Systems, is one of two jets that have made the final shortlist in a deal worth an estimated £6.6bn

Asked about the strategic goals of Britain's aid programme to India, Mr Mitchell  yesterday referred to the proposed education scheme in Orissa, and added: "It's about everything I have just mentioned. The focus… is also about seeking to sell Typhoon. The relationship is a relationship you have to take in the round."

Meanwhile, Mr Mitchell said Britain's aid programme to Pakistan would involve an agreement on policy changes by the authorities in Islamabad, in particular an undertaking to reform the tax  system. Currently, around just two per cent of its population pays tax, one of the lowest global figures. "They should tax their elite," he said. "We cannot be in a position where our tax-payers' money is [subsidising] an elite."

Life and Style
tech
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Administrator - Graduate

£18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

Project Officer (HMP Brixton Mentoring Project)

£24,000 per annum pro rata (21 hours per week): Belong: Work as part of a cutt...

Exam Invigilators needed

£45 - £50 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Randstad Education are currentl...

Looking for work in Secondary Schools?

£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Are you looking for work in Ed...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week