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Sunday, Feb 24, 2002

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Britain plans 3-fold hike in aid to India

Our Bureau

KOLKATA, Feb. 23

BRITAIN has proposed a three-fold increase in its aid to India over the next couple of years. British aid, which currently stands at around 100 million, is likely to be increased to about 300 million by 2004.

According to Mr Ben Bradshaw, British Foreign Office Minister, India will be able to attract this increased assistance on the basis of more effective national-level policies.

A critical part of this programme will be earmarked for West Bengal, one of the few `partner' States identified by the UK authorities in India. British aid to West Bengal is now in the region of 15-20 million, which has largely been spent on sectors such as health and education.

The UK-India bilateral trade stood at 4.9 billion in 2000, representing a 68 per cent growth since the formation of the Indo-British Partnership in 1993. UK is India's second-largest trading partner, accounting for 5.7 per cent of the country's total foreign trade in goods in 2000-01.

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