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UK scrutinising aid to India closely; to decide by year end

world Updated: Jul 12, 2010 21:00 IST

Britain will decide whether to reduce aid to India or to let it continue at the same level by the end of the year when a report of the ongoing review of aid programmes in 90 countries will be finalised though it has already decided to phase out aid to China and Russia.

A spokesman of the Department for International Development (DFID) told PTI today that Britain is currently reviewing 'every single one of our country programmes,' including India, which is its largest aid programme.

No announcement on reducing or continuing aid to India is expected during the forthcoming visit of Prime Minister David Cameron, but DFID said it already decided to phase out aid to Russia and China.

He said: "The UK is reviewing every single one of our country programmes to ensure we are giving aid to where it's most needed - to help the world's poorest people.

"We have also announced a new independent aid watchdog - to scrutinise aid on the taxpayers' behalf. In future we will also publish all details of the department's spending on our website".

The review, part of the coalition government's efforts to find avenues to reduce spending and cut Britain's burgeoning budget deficit, is scrutinising 90 countries which currently share 2.9 billion pounds in British bilateral aid.

The demand to cut British aid to an India that is growing exponentially in economic terms has come from a wide spectrum of people and political parties in Britain.

The government has announced public sector spending cuts of between 25 and 40 per cent in the next five years.

In future, the government wants to focus its aid on fewer countries in a move designed to increase the impact of British funding on the world's poorest people, according to the International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell.

The Government has made clear that the international development budget will increase – to 0.7 per cent of gross national income from 2013 - but it will be better targeted to where it can do most good.

The redirected money will be channelled to priority countries and used for poverty reduction measures including programmes to improve maternal health, women's right to family planning and protection against deadly diseases like malaria.

Mitchell said countries such as China, which recently hosted the Olympics, and Russia, a G8 member, will see a phasing out of UK development assistance as soon as practical and responsible.

The bilateral aid review will analyse DFID's programme in each country to look at results, delivery and value for money.