UK nonetheless offers support to India dressed up as ‘enterprise investments’ fairly than direct handouts: Britain watchdog

LONDON: UK support to India was meant to have stopped in 2015 after India stated it didn’t need it, however a assessment by the UK support spending watchdog has discovered that round £2.3 billion (Rs 23,000 crore) in UK support went to India between 2016 and 2021.
In 2012, India’s then finance minister, Pranab Mukherjee, had famously described Britain’s annual £280 million (Rs 2,798 crore) support to India as “peanuts” and British critics on the time questioned why Britain was giving support to India if India was funding its personal area programme and had its personal international support finances. In 2017, the Indian authorities said it gave extra international support to nations than it obtained.
A phasing out of economic support by 2015 was duly adopted as UK authorities coverage in 2012.
However on Tuesday the Impartial Fee for Assist Affect (ICAI), which scrutinises UK authorities support and is impartial of the federal government, in its assessment ofUK support given to India, said, “We calculatethat the UK offered round £2.3 billion in support to India between 2016 and 2021.” This determine consists of £441 million in bilateral support, £129 million in improvement funding by way of the International, Commonwealth and Improvement Workplace (FCDO), £749 million of support by way of multilateral organisations and £1 billion in investments by way of British Worldwide Funding (BII), the UK’s improvement finance establishment. “BII is the world’s oldest improvement finance establishment, established in 1948 because the Colonial Improvement Company with a mission to do good with out shedding cash,” the report states. It has a portfolio of 389 investments in India valued at £2.3 billion in 2021 — by far its largest nation portfolio at 28% of the overall.
“Many stakeholders could also be shocked to see UK support to India persevering with at this stage a decade after the UK introduced its transition away from its conventional improvement partnership. Whereas the UK authorities said on the time that improvement funding and technicalassurance would proceed, the clear expectation was that total support volumes to India would lower quicker than they’ve,” the report states.
“Whereas there are nonetheless substantial volumes of UK support to India, it’s now very totally different in nature and objective,” the report notes. “It helps a variety of the 2030 UK-India Roadmap aims underneath the excellent strategic partnership, serving as a software for UK international coverage, diplomatic and commerce aims,” the report states. “UK support to India is now largely targeted on local weather, infrastructure and financial improvement, fairly than the supply of primary companies similar to well being and schooling to the poorest states in India.”
The report cites examples of how UK support is poorly focused in India. For instance a big funding by BII right into a midsize Indian financial institution which was meant to help inclusive development by way of the enlargement of the financial institution’s micro-finance lending was not ring-fenced and as an alternative used to increase the financial institution’s complete enterprise, most notably bank cards. ICAI gave the UK India support programme an amber-red rating, the second-worst rating accessible.
“The UK’s overarching goal is a stronger bilateral relationship with India, and support is being utilized in a wide range of methods to help that partnership. This leads to a fragmented portfolio with no compelling improvement rationale.Whereas the help portfolio could also be serving to to help UK-India bilateral relations, it lacks a powerful hyperlink to poverty discount, which stays the statutory objective of UK support. We’re additionally involved that the UK has, since 2017, largely chosen to not interact with the rising challenges within the areas of democracy, human rights and civic area in India, as recognized in world indices. “
An FCDO spokesperson stated: “Since 2015 the UK has given no monetary support to the federal government of India. Most of our funding now’s targeted on enterprise investments which assist create new markets and jobs for the UK, in addition to India. UK investments are additionally serving to deal with shared challenges similar to local weather change.”

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