28 Feb, 2011
Source: Daily India
London, Feb.28: Britain will continue providing financial aid to India, but will cut off aid to sixteen other nations, following a review, that proves they are no longer in the poverty bracket.
Following an inquiry ordered by International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell, countries such as Russia, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Moldova and Serbia will not be provided financial aid by UK, the Daily Mail reports.
The UK however, has decided to continue providing 280 million pounds to India.
The overall aid budget is likely to increase by four billion pounds over the next four years. Nearly 30 percent of the increased budget will be given to countries like Yemen and Somalia, to help them fight terrorism.
Since Britain will have no way of keeping a check on how the money is used, critics are raising questions about its possible misuse by officials.
The total aid will increase from seven billion pounds to eleven billion pounds at the same time when front line public services in the UK are being reduced.
Mitchell agreed that many of his constituents ‘go ballistic’ about the amount of British cash spent on overseas aid at a time of belt-tightening at home. But he said the plan was to ‘buy results’ rather than ‘lob money at problems’ – setting targets and stopping aid if they are not met.
He might also order termination of funding to international organisations, like the 12 million pounds given to UN cultural body.
He said: “From now on we will only give aid where we can follow the money and ensure that the British taxpayer is getting value for money. Most international organisations are doing a decent job, but some need to be shown the yellow card. Others will, frankly, get the bullet.”
He also announced the first ‘cash-on-delivery’ aid scheme in the world, which aims to get more Ethiopian girls into school.
“We will only release funds once firm evidence of results has been seen”, he said.
He defended the huge amount spent on international aid at a time of stringency at home, saying: “The reason why at this time of a dreadful economic inheritance, we made it clear that we won’t balance the books at the expense of the poorest people in the world, is because it is morally right to do so.”
He further added: ‘But it’s also very much in our national interest to tackle these effects of dysfunctionality and poverty, such as piracy, migration, terrorism and disease in Somalia. Tackling the causes of poverty upstream is much less expensive than sending in troops.’