Press Notice 21b, Session 2004-05

Publication of Report

Third Report of Session 2004-05

DFID’s bilateral programme of assistance to India

A new report published by the International Development Committee into DFID’s aid programme for India warns that the UK Government’s approach lacks strategic focus.

It cautions that DFID needs to be more transparent about its choices, and disclose more information about the trade-offs associated with the decisions it takes.

The report also recommends that the UK Government continually re-visit its rationale for providing assistance to India. Although 350 million of India’s population live on less than one US dollar a day, India is developing rapidly and according to current projections, is likely to become a middle income country within the next 10-15 years. As such, it will become a much lower priority for DFID, MPs argue.

In the meantime, the report says that DFID should concentrate on developing its innovation, research, technical advice and demonstration projects.

There is also a need for DFID to draw the Indian Government’s attention to socially-excluded groups, expand its focus on India’s off-track Millennium Development Goals and, develop its work in the poorest states.

Notes for Editors:

1. DFID's £200m assistance to India, planned to rise to £300m in the medium term, is the UK’s largest programme of bilateral aid to any single country. Although a large sum for DFID, it is marginal for the Government of India and brings DFID little influence over the Indian government’s development policies. However, at state and district level, and within the sectoral programmes with which DFID is involved, DFID’s expertise, flexibility and innovation is highly valued.

2. For further details of the inquiry, including its terms of reference and transcripts of oral evidence received by the Committee, please see:

3. The Committee will be publishing its Report on DFID’s bilateral programme of assistance to India on Thursday 17 March 2005 at 00.01 a.m. as the Third Report from the Committee, Session 2004-05 [HC 124].

Embargoed copies of the Report will be available for collection by witnesses, Government Departments and the press from the Reception Desk at 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA and from the Press Gallery from 11.00 a.m. on Wednesday 16 March.

If you would like to arrange collection of a report from 7 Millbank please e-mail or call 020 7219 1223.

If you would like to arrange interviews with the Chairman or Committee Members please contact the Media Officer, Adele Brown on 020 7219 0724

Copies of this Report can be ordered from The Stationery Office (Tel: 0845 702 3474) or from the Parliamentary Bookshop (Tel: 020 7219 3890) or it will also be available on the internet, from 3.30 p.m, on Thursday 17 March, at:

The membership of the Committee is as follows: Tony Baldry (Chairman) (Conservative), John Barrett (Liberal Democrat), Mr John Battle (Labour), Hugh Bayley (Labour), Mr John Bercow (Conservative), Ann Clwyd (Labour), Mr Tony Colman (Labour), Mr Quentin Davies (Conservative); Mr Piara S. Khabra (Labour), Chris McCafferty (Labour), and Tony Worthington (Labour).


Further inquiries should be directed to the Second Clerk of the Committee (Hannah Weston on 020 7219 0851 or or to the Media Officer (Adele Brown, 020 7219 0724 or