Skip to main content

Overseas Aid: Discrimination

Volume 454: debated on Monday 11 December 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what safeguards are in place to avoid the risk of (a) caste and (b) racial discrimination in the distribution of his Department’s aid; what measures there are to ensure that UK aid reaches the most disadvantaged Dalit communities in India; and what mechanisms prevent aid going to groups complicit in (i) religiously, (ii) caste and (iii) racially-motivated violence. (107591)

DFID promotes social inclusion in all its programmes in India.

DFID’s programme in India operates in support of Government of India’s efforts to combat caste and ethnic discrimination and social exclusion in all its forms, including by strengthening programme design and monitoring to ensure that the benefits of development reach Dalits, Adivasis and other minority populations.

For example, DFID is providing £190 million tothe Indian Government’s national programme for achieving universal primary education (Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan—SSA). A key objective of SSA, launched in 2004, was to narrow the gaps that exist between the enrolment of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe and other children. The proportion of Scheduled Caste children in the school population has increasedfrom 30.4 million in 2003 to 39.3 million in 2006and Scheduled Tribe children have increased from16 million in 2003 to 20.5 million in 2006. This has been achieved through a range of strategies that have helped tackle discrimination at all levels.

DFID has also provided £252 million in support of the Indian Government’s National Programme to promote reproductive and child health (RCH2). The programme aims to reduce disparities in maternal and infant mortality between Dalit, Adivasi and other women and children. The programme will improve the data available to track progress and make informed decisions to achieve better health outcomes for Dalit and Adivasi women and children.

Although most DFID funds directly support the Government of India, DFID recognises that civil society is an important partner in achieving poverty reduction in India and holding Government to account. DFID regularly reviews the civil society programmes it supports to ensure that all programmes pay due attention to the need to tackle exclusion.