More on British 'aid'
Cut in DFID aid not a concern for India
"Indian activists say access to DFID funds is contingent on hiring consultants, mostly British. “When they (DFID) give money they send their own consultants. The way they handle it, it would be better if they didn’t give anything,” said Harsh Jaitley who heads VANI, a network of 2000 NGOs.
Echoing Jaitley’s views Anil Chaudhury, activist and founder of NGO Peace and Action Centre (PEACE), said agreements signed by DFID (and other agencies) have inbuilt clauses that ensure that a chunk of the money was paid to consultancies — a large proportion of these bodies are run by expatriates to ensure that the money flows back into the British economy.
As much as 60 per cent of the grant could often go towards paying the consultants hired by DFID to audit and monitor the programmes. Leakages take care of the rest, said an activist who didn’t want to be named.
Amitabh Behar, co-convenor of the National Social Watch Coalition said none of the ongoing programmes in India that are funded by DFID would be affected if British development aid were to be cut because the Indian government is capable of filling up the gap.
He said a cut back on DFID aid could be the best thing to happen to the development sector. What DFID should fund is not the Indian government but institutions that ensure governance, monitoring and auditing of development funds.
But many activists objected precisely to this: large monitoring mechanisms. These interventions, they say, are nothing but the means to get a handle on policy making and to buy clout in the government. “Their role is to influence policies to the advantage of British trade interests.”
Grass-roots organisations are least conerned about a possible withdrawal of British aid. Abhay Singh of Dudhi Vikas Samiti in Sonbhadra said NGOs like his had never received anything from big donors who fund the government directly. The government selects a handful of big NGOs who then provide smaller ones some money on and off to do their work."
No doubt when Cameron visits later this month with his massive retinue of hanger ons, he's going to try and wrangle some way for the 'aid' to continue, so as to provide a cushy mechanism for British consultants fly back and forth in J/F-class while patting themselves on the back.