British aid to India is to be brought to an end in 2015 in recognition of the booming sub-continent’s “changing place in the world”.
The UK’s controversial programme of direct financial assistance to India will be wound down over the next three years after International Development Secretary Justine Secretary announced an immediate halt to any new commitments.
While aid programmes in India that are already under way will be completed as planned, no new ones will be signed off
The move prompted criticism from some humanitarian organisations, who warned that British aid still made a difference to the poor of India despite the country’s increasing wealth.
But Oxfam’s director of campaigns and policy, Phil Bloomer, said: “We’re concerned that completely withdrawing British aid to India by 2015 is too hasty. It’s crucial that we don’t cut off money which gives a lifeline to poor families.”
Poverty campaign group One also warned against worsening “the plight of children” in India as funding is stopped. Its Europe director, Adrian Lovett, said India still faced “major challenges”. He said: “Millions of Indian people live in extreme poverty and a shocking number of children under five die each year.”