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Bilateral Aid (India)

Volume 531: debated on Wednesday 13 July 2011

3. What assessment he has made of the performance of his Department’s bilateral aid programmes with Indian states. (65538)

The bilateral aid review demonstrates that DFID’s programmes with Indian states yield strong development results with good value for money. The Independent Commission for Aid Impact will evaluate the India programme as part of its work in 2011.

I welcome the Secretary of State’s response. He has recently been urged to discontinue aid to India, but does he agree that for as long as India continues to have a third of the world’s poor living within its borders, we will never achieve the millennium development goals unless that aid continues?

The hon. Gentleman is right: India is a development paradox, as I have said before, and we are right to continue the programme for now. We have frozen the figure for the next four years, and we are moving to work only in the poorest states in India. As the hon. Gentleman has implied, there are more poor people in India than in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa.

Will my right hon. Friend accept the International Development Committee recommendation to put more resources into sanitation and nutrition, as they have been shown to be the prime cause of poverty? Half the population of India has no access to sanitation and malnutrition rates among Indian children are among the worst in the world.

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. Half the children in the state of Bihar are suffering from malnutrition. His point about the programme is a good one. We are looking at increasing the amount we spend on water and sanitation, and all of us are extremely grateful for the strong all-party support his Committee gave to the Government policy on aid and development in India.