UK’s £2bn of aid sent to India over five years ‘failed to hit goals’ like poverty reduction, report finds
- UK provided £2.3bn to India between 2016 and 2021 to invest in development
- But it has failed to deliver goals due to incoherent approach, a review has found
More than £2billion in British aid to India over the last five years has failed to deliver its development goals due to an incoherent approach, a review has found.
Despite providing £2.3billion between 2016 and 2021 to invest in development goals, the UK Government has failed to achieve value for money in supporting inclusive growth and poverty reduction.
It also failed to adequately support Indian democracy and human rights, the audit from the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) found.
The review gave the UK’s model of development cooperation – where aid is provided to developing countries – a score of amber-red which suggests it has resulted in a fragmented portfolio of investments without a strong development plan.
Dr Tamsyn Barton, chief commissioner of ICAI, said: ‘India was the 11th largest recipient of UK aid in 2021, receiving more aid than countries like Bangladesh and Kenya, so it is all the more important that every penny is well spent or invested.
More than £2billion in British aid to India over the last five years has failed to deliver its development goals due to an incoherent approach, a review has found (stock image)
‘However, we found that the portfolio wasn’t coherent and that the development rationale for it wasn’t clear. And while we appreciate that democracy and human rights in India is a sensitive area for the UK, we were surprised to find out that the UK had largely ceased supporting work at the local level.’
She said there were some positives – particularly on climate change – but aid should focus on helping the Indian economy grow.
Although the aid included more than £1billion in investments, with the rest of the money being for general support, the audit found the portfolio was not being managed ‘coherently’ to make full use of the money.
A spokesman for the Foreign Office said that ‘since 2015 the UK has given no financial aid’ directly to the Indian government.
The spokesman added: ‘Most of our funding now is focused on business investments which help create new markets and jobs for the UK, as well as India. UK investments are also helping tackle shared challenges such as climate change.’