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Should rich countries stop sending development aid to India? Yes

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f78 (Published 10 January 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f78
  1. Jayati Ghosh, professor of economics at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
  1. jayatijnu@gmail.com

The UK has announced that by 2015 it will stop sending aid worth some £200m a year to India. Jayati Ghosh says foreign aid is not key to development, but Nisha Agrawal (doi:10.1136/bmj.f73) says that aid can help the half a billion people in India who live on less than $1.25 a day

Poverty, undernutrition, and extreme destitution are rampant in India. Hundreds of millions of people still live in homes without electricity and without access to improved sanitation. Millions of children never finish elementary schooling, and health conditions are still appalling for most.1

Surely this is a country that must get development aid? But when the UK government decided to cut its aid to India, much of the Indian response was indifference or even relief.2 There are several reasons why countries like China and India increasingly feel that they do not want development aid from rich countries.

Firstly, the amounts involved are too small to make a difference in these large emerging economies. In India, for example, aid from the United Kingdom at around £280m (24 600 million rupees; €344m; $450m) amounts to less than 0.04% of India’s national income, and is even smaller than 2% of what the central government spends on the food subsidy and rural employment programmes alone.3 In China the aid amounts seem even more trivial and inconsequential. …

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