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India

Volume 526: debated on Wednesday 30 March 2011

I have frozen the India programme at current levels until 2015. Working closely with the Government of India, we will target our support on three of the poorest states. Our programme will change to reflect the importance of the role of the private sector.

Despite the undoubted poverty in India, the Indian Government have nuclear weapons, a space programme and their own programme for foreign aid. What can we do to encourage the Indian Government to spend more money on the things that they should spend money on, rather than on the things that they want?

My hon. Friend is right to ask whether India has reached the point where we should end our development programme. Our judgment is that we are not there yet. As she said, India has more poor people than the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. It also has the biggest Government-led pro-poor, anti-poverty programme anywhere in the world, and through our programme, we are strongly encouraging more of the same.

Will the Secretary of State outline what representations he has received from the Indian Government about his plans to spend 50% of DFID money on the private sector? Is that an aspiration only for India, or is it for other developing countries too?

As the hon. Gentleman will know, the nature of development is to try to move countries off welfare development on to pro-poor, private sector investment, as that is something that helps poor people to lift themselves out of poverty. The decisions on the Indian programme were made in close consultation with the Indian Government, and take account of our priorities and theirs as well.